These seven methods will have you ready for term in no time

I’m positive you made yourself the same promise as I did this spring; This summer I will practice hard so I’m ready when term starts.
Then what happens? Without warning, term is a week away and you’re panicking because you haven’t even started that piece you wanted to show off memorised on the first lesson.

We’ve all been there, and it’s alright. It’s important to take breaks once in awhile. Just make sure that you know how to get back into a good routine as quickly as possible.

Two weeks ago I came with some tips for those of you starting your music education this year. The first year is often confusing and frustrating. You’re usually in a new place with new people and new systems, but don’t worry. It will get easier,. Just give it some time, and one day you’ll suddenly realise that those bad feelings are long gone.

This is my fourth time moving to a new place for school and I’ve picked up a few good habits on the way, that quickly get me back into a good routine every time I take a break. That is what I want to share with you today.

I will not offer any guarantee that these tips will you get into shape immediately, but I use them all the time, and they work for me. Getting into routine quickly is a skill that needs practicing, just like your scales. For me it’s taken four years to finally feel secure in my ability to jump back in once term starts. Have a little patience.
On that note, let’s jump right into it.

Have a practice journal

One day, I will give you access to how I set up my practice journal, but for now I’ll just impress upon you how much time it will save you.

And I’m sure that you will now ask yourself if it won’t take more time and take time away from your practicing. But, if you keep a journal, you have an overview over what you did last time, and what you need to work on.

Trust me, as the term progresses and your repertoire expands, you won’t have the chance to practice everything every day. In that case a planner will save you a lot of time and energy. And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to look like those planner junkie profiles on Instagram. Mine is simple and easy to use, with no more decorating than necessary.

Make a goal for you term

It’s easy to get lost in everything everyone tells you that you have to do. Every week my teacher would tell me some new thing I had to do every day. But if you do all those things every day, after a while, you won’t have a chance to do anything else.

If you define for yourself what you want to achieve this term, it will be much easier to filter what you need to listen to and what you can write down for later. If you coordinate this with your teacher, it will be even easier to keep track of.

Book practice rooms and reserve your practicing for that time

It’s so easy to think that you need to practice all the time, and think about practicing for the rest of it. But it is much more effective to keep your practicing to a designated place and then keep your mind on other things elsewhere.

If your mind is on practicing while you work on your music history essay, you won’t focus on the task at hand, and then you have to take more time off practicing to work on the essay. Keep your mind where you are.

Also, don’t practice at home

Unless you can with your mother’s life at stake swear that you maintain focus and productivity at home, you should not practice there.

Whenever I try practicing at home, I always have to make a cup of coffee or tea before I start, then some snacks if it’s been a while since I ate. The break that should have lasted five minutes, turn into twenty minutes because I decided to do some laundry and fold my clothes. I’ll make a bigger lunch, which takes more time and then I’ll sit and chat with my roommates for a while after. Suddenly those five hours I had at disposal turned into a two hour practice session and three hours house work.
Don’t let that happen to you. Practice at school.

Make practicing social

Not every day, but some days it’s good to collaborate with your classmates to make practicing a social affair.

The violinists in Tromsø sometimes arranged practicing marathons after lectures. We practiced for four hours with ten minute social break in between and then we played what we practiced for each other after those four hours, before we went out for a beer.

You can also break up your routine once in awhile to practice things you rarely make time for. In my case it’s things like sight reading.

Try to practice at the same time every day

It’s hard to make a habit or routine if you change it every day or every week. Of course you need to work around your schedule, but try to keep some consistency. If you start late one day each week and like practicing in the morning, don’t alternate that time between practicing and course work from week to week. Keep designated time slots in your schedule for practicing. It’ll be much easier to remember too if it’s regular.

Turn off your phone

Or put it on flight mode.
If you start the term off with a distracted mind, it’s more likely to stay that way. Turn off your phone and put it away and only turn it back on when you’re done.
During breaks it’s much better to stretch, eat a snack or step out of the practice room for a while, anyway.

Last night I talked to a mate who was so frustrated. He felt like he was practicing alright, keeping up with his coursework and staying social. Yet he still felt stressed, dissatisfied and frustrated.

This might be you too, so I’ll tell you what I said to him; It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed at the beginning of term no matter if you started a new school or not. You’ve spent the past two months either working or having time off. (Hopefully both) It will take some time to change your mindset back to school.

Take a deep breath and be a little kind to yourself. It’s not possible for anyone to be focused and perfect all year anyway, so just give your head some time to adjust and you’ll be settled in in no time.

Let me tell the truth about universities

Monday was my first official day at The University in Oslo. I was so excited to started a new bachelor, and so far it’s living up to my expectations. My first impression of the University in Oslo is great, so I hope it keeps impressing me.

That being said, it’s always hard to know what university to choose, isn’t it. On their webpages it’s all about how good the university is and how happy the students are. Unfortunately, that’s never the entire truth, is it? They’re never as perfect as they project themselves. Understandably of course, seeing as they would lose students if they did.

This is my solution

I love studying and wish I could do it forever. It’s the only thing I know how to do. Even as a kid I said I wanted to be a student when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. A friend once told me I should just become a professional student. He meant it as a joke; I thought it was a brilliant idea.

Imagine going around the world, reviewing universities. I could tell the honest truth about them so that those who apply can know exactly how it is, instead of a honey coated version. That would be a dream come true.

So here I am, already with two institutions in my pocket and beginning the third one. Consider this my audition to become a full time student:

Over the course of the next few months I will review different aspects of the places I have studied. I will start with Tromsø and then Reykjavik. When I’m done, I might be ready to start on Oslo too.

Reykjavik from Hallgrimskirkja

I will go truly in depth of the student experience in the school as well as the city.
Here are some of the things I will include:

  • Facilities
  • Teachers and administration
  • Projects
  • Collaborations
  • Year abroad
  • Environment among the students and the teachers
  • Eating and drinking in the city
  • Entertainment
  • Gyms and health facilities

When I’m done, I hope you have a thorough understanding of how it is to study in one of these places. (Keep in mind that I will focus on the music courses and facilities, although my goal is that students of all directions will get something out of this.)

This is a project I’ve wanted to do for some time now, and I’m really excited that I finally have the opportunity to do it. I hope you will get something out of it too.

Psst, don’t forget: Are you starting a music school this year? Read my post on Things I wish I knew when I started my performance bachelor

This is why you need to do an orchestra course next summer

You might be confused. I updated my blog in June saying I was busking through Germany, and then suddenly I was on a summer course and tour with the Norwegian Youth Symphony Orchestra. I will give an update on that soon.

Tonight I’m playing with the Norwegian Youth Symphony Orchestra for the last time this year. It’s a summer course that runs every year in the end of July/beginning of August. And then as a winter course around New Years as well. I participated four years ago, but because of work the past years, I haven’t been able to attend again until this year.

Last time I came in for Mahler’s sixth symphony because they were missing string players. The administration had been calling institutions all over the country for recommendations as to who they could try to enroll. My teacher suggested that xthey give me a call.

I came in the last week of the course, fresh off my audition to the conservatory in Tromsø, but hadn’t started yet. I didn’t know anyone, and because I was called in so late, I got the music less than a week before.

Needless to say, I was scared shitless and didn’t enjoy the experience very much.

This year on the other hand, has turned into the best summer in life because of this course! I’ve played a variety of fun and challenging repertoire, toured to Berlin, Aalborg and Oslo. We have been tutored in orchestra playing by professional orchestra players, and I’ve met some truly amazing people.

The two first weeks, we played Bruckner’s fifth symphony conducted by Eliahu Inbal, the Candide suite and the Candide overture by Bernstein, as well as the suite from the movie he scored in (YEAR) On the Water Front, and the third movement of the Gershwin piano concerto, all conducted and Gershwin also played, by Wayne Marshall.

This last week we have toured with Nielsen’s third symphony, a fantastic contemporary piece by Anders Hillborg that you have to check out called Eleven Gates, and six pieces for soprano by Grieg.

This experience has given me a reason to do everything in my power to keep classical music in my life as much as possible. I have also found new inspiration to keep practicing the violin as much as possible.

When I arrived at the course I viewed this as a perfect way to kick loose.

I’m changing focus to vocals and popular music this year, and wanted to something special on the violin. However, it has proven to be so much more. This week is just another proof of how much I love classical music. I always had the intention to continue playing the violin even if I did change to vocals this year, but I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to do.

I’m so glad this course turned into such a fabulous experience. I have met some people who I’m sure will turn into great friends and contacts. I have rediscovered my love for classical music, and gained a teacher in Oslo. All in the short span of three weeks.

And this my friends, is why summer courses are so invaluable. As musicians, we need each other in order to make quality content, and the best way to meet other musicians is when you’re thrown together for a couple weeks.

If you ever have the chance to go to a summer course, don’t hesitate, just do it.

And this is where I repay my amazing Norwegian Youth Sypmhony Orchestra with some free advertising:

The Norwegian Youth Symphony Orchestra is free! No joke: All you have to do is get to Norway, and then accommodation, food, tour and tutoring is all paid for by the state. And to top it off, you can audition over Skype, so there’s no need to fly over for auditions.

Check them out at ungdomssymfonikerne.no

And while you’re at it, check out this video recording from our concert in Berlin konzerthaus:

https://www.facebook.com/Young.Euro.Classic/videos/278627262731039/?t=2463

Hope to see you next summer!

11 things I wish I knew when I started my music education

My term started this Monday although I wasn’t there to see it. I just returned to Oslo after a week’s tour in Germany in Denmark with the Norwegian Youth Orchestra.

Luckily courses won’t start until Monday, so I have exactly one day after tomorrow’s concert to move in and get ready for uni.

If you, like me, live in Scandinavia, you might start term soon too, and if not, it’s still just around the corner. I just finished my bachelor’s degree in violin this Spring, so I know how it is to start a new school, and especially higher education can be scary in the beginning.

So, to celebrate starting my second bachelor, in musicology, I want to kick this autumn term off with some tips for you who are about to start a music education.

#1. Make sure to have a good relationship with your teacher

This might seem a little obvious, but I’ve known people who got off on the wrong foot with their instrumental teacher and their education really suffered from it. I’ve loved all my teachers to a fault, although I’ve liked some more than others, and it really affects the way I practice. It also affects how they treat you during the lessons too. If you get along, they will want to see you thrive.

#2. Be on good terms with the pianists

They’re not accompanists, they’re pianists. Appreciate them and respect them. They will reward you for it, I promise. When you do get new repertoire last minute, and you will,  they will be more accommodating, and if you have a recital, they’ll be more inclined to help out, if you’re nice to them.

#3. Start an ensemble

If you’re lucky, the school has this covered and you get tutoring in ensemble playing, but get one on the side anyway. Preferable at the beginning of the term. I didn’t the first two years of my bachelor, and I truly regret that. It creates a special relationship with your fellow students, as well as helps you establish yourself as one who gets stuff done.

#4. Say yes as often as you can

When I studied my first year in Iceland, I got a summer job back in my hometown in Norway that I had to get back to as soon as my final exam ended. One month before I left, a musician from kaput, the biggest group for contemporary music in Iceland contacted me and said that after working with some of them for a school project, they wanted me to play with them on their next concert. It was so exciting, but since the concert was after I left, I had to decline. They didn’t ask me again.

What can you take away from this story? Say yes. Play with as many people as you can, in as many genres as you can. You’ll get priceless experience, good contacts and not to mention again, establish yourself as one who says yes and gets stuff done.

#5. Listen to music

When you practice several hours every day, learn about music and breathe music every minute of your school day, it’s nice with some quiet time when you get home.

I’m not telling you to listen to music constantly. What I’m saying is that you should always pursue new music and discover new music every day. Check out new composers, get someone to recommend music to you. Part of your job will be to listen to music as well, so make sure you practice that too.

#6. Get out of the practice room

It’s becoming more and more of a trend to stay in the practice room all day and never doing anything else. Don’t do it. It won’t you help you as much as you think it will. Actually, it might be more damaging. Itzhak Perlman says that at the most, he practices three hours a day. Do you need to do more? Sure, that’s fine too, but make sure it’s productive.

And remember, those are your future colleagues outside your practice room. Get to know them and be social.

#7. Pay attention to your other classes

Everyone wishes they could just play all day long, but you have theory classes for a reason. It’s not like high school math- You will need the knowledge you get at university. I have already used both composing and arranging, I use aural skills and theory every day, and music history makes it quicker and easier to interpret a piece. Trust me on this; Your other classes are valuable.

#8. Get friends who aren’t musicians

In my two first years in Tromsø, all my friends were at the conservatory. Same with my first year in Reykjavik. Then girls from other courses came to live in the house I was in.

I lived with a law student, an architect, archeology student and some girls I didn’t even know properly what they were doing, but they were all interesting as hell. After three years, it was lovely to be able to talk about something other than music or music related. So much that my mother pointed out that I mentioned it in every phone conversation with her.

#9. Remember that you got in for a reason

Sometimes you will feel hopeless. Your teacher might demand more than you can perform and you feel stretched out like butter over too much bread. Take a step back and breathe. Remember that you got into the conservatory for a reason. You’re there because you’re good at what you do.

#10. Your fellow students are your future colleagues

It’s easy to get jealous if a fellow student gets attention, and in the end we are going to be applying for the same jobs. But, keep in mind that these are not your competitors, they are your colleagues. If you create a good environment, everyone will thrive on it.

Don’t be the person who gets petty when someone else gets the solo. If you do you might in the future find yourself in the need of musicians for a project you really want to make, and none who will play with you. Be friendly, always.

#11. Take time to enjoy yourself

You’re at a conservatory with people who are passionate about the same things as you are. The teachers you have are full of knowledge just waiting to become yours. Enjoy that and appreciate it. At this point you have the most time to explore and acquire new knowledge. Use the time wisely and have fun while you do it.

Be safe, have fun and remember that this when the real work begins. Enjoy it!

Touchdown in Hamburg!

My Summer adventure has officially begun! Last night I left straight from a concert in my hometown to go to the airport and one in the morning. I landed in Hamburg at 9 am this morning.

DumDum Boys

Today I will take things a little slow. I’m meeting some friends of the family later tonight to stay with them for a couple of days. Because of that, I’m currently stuck carrying my big rucksack all day.

I played for thirty minutes earlier and earned 20 euro, so I think this will be good. Hopefully I have enough for a knew bus ticket soon. As for now, I’m going to enjoy the sunshine and the warm weather. Later I’ll have a look at what exciting things you can do in Hamburg.

Hamburg

Busking in Hamburg

The rules for busking in Hamburg are very extensive, but the City Council of Hamburg has issued a document with all the rules written in English. You can find it here.

Basically, you can’t play with amplifiers or loud instruments like drums or trumpet unless you apply in advance. You have to move at least 150 meters every half hour, and playing between 9 pm and 10 am is strictly forbidden
Reasonable demands if you ask me. It ensures that the music being played is pleasant to listen to and is not bothersome to people who live and work in the area.

I’ve been to Hamburg a couple of times before because we have friends in the area. It’s nice to start off somewhere I can stay with friends. From here though, I plan to exclusively go to places where I’ve never been before. The whole point of this adventure is to discover new places that might become new favorites.

Have you ever busked before? If so, let me know your experiences in the comments down below.

Europe on an E-string

I’ve been home for almost three weeks now. And while it’s been lovely so far, I’m used to a high tempo, working to get through my exams. So, you could say I’m getting a little restless. Which is why it’s good that I have a lot of exciting projects coming up. On Saturday I’ll be volunteering on my first ever Pride Parade. In the end of July I’ll go away for a three week orchestra course with a tour to Berlin, Aarhus and Oslo.

But before that, I’m going on a trip that I’ve dubbed Traveling Europe on an E-string. For approximately two weeks I’ll be traveling across Western Europe, and I’ll fund it by busking. (Playing on the street for money.)

On July 9th I’m leaving for Hamburg, and from there I’ll make my way through Germany to Switzerland. From there, the journey will go to France and then either Italy or Spain.

To be honest, I don’t really have a proper plan. It’ll all go by spontaneous decisions and what I want in the moment. But of course, I’ve made an extensive list over which places are good for busking or not. Other than that, I’ll stay a couple of days before I’ll make my way to the next place. Where that will be depends on the buses and trains that are going and on the accommodation I can find.

I’m really excited to get going, and to share it all with you. I got myself a compact camera to bring with me and I’ll document everything and try my hands on vlogging for the first time. It’s all exhilarating and scary at the same time.

I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous about the whole trip. I didn’t used to, but then I started telling people and not only do they say things like: “That’s sounds so scary?” “Are you going all alone?” “You have to be careful.” Or the best one that my mum’s aunt told her: “Just steal her passport, then she can’t get anywhere.”

I think it’s going to be all right. What makes me nervous is that so many people know about the trip now that I feel like I have to perform well or it will be a thorough failure. I keep telling myself that whatever happens, it’ll be fine. If I have to come home after two days with my tail between my legs, it’ll be fine.

The most important thing is that I’m trying and see what will happen. No time like the present, right?

Can’t wait to keep you posted!

 

New repertoire

I got my grades back on my thesis and graduation concert yesterday. B on both, so I’m really happy about it. Getting my results though, really highlights the fact that I am completely, one hundred percent done with my bachelor. Which is scary!

Not only because the future is uncertain, but I suddenly find myself without a teacher for the first time ever since I started on the violin. I’m not sure if I’m ready to take over as my own teacher yet.

But, I try. Already last month I began to look into how I could best prepare myself to be on my own. (Although I will be looking for a teacher next year as soon as I settle) The first thing I realised, was that I need to keep myself busy.

While with my teacher in Iceland, she taught me a lot about how to build a repertoire to keep me on my toes, ensure a sense of achievement and make sure that I utilize every technique that I learn. With this in mind, I have chosen the following repertoire for the Summer and Autumn:

Violin Concerto in A minor by Antonin Dvorak
Violin Sonata in F major by Edvard Grieg
Poem by Zdenek Fibich
Chaconne from Partita in D minor By Johann Sebastian Bach
Violin Concerto in A major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

In addition to this, I’m attending a youth orchestra course this Summer, where we are playing:

Ouverture to Elverum by Johannes Rusten
Symphony no. 5 i B flat major by Anton Bruckner
Eleven Gates by Anders Hillbor
Solveig’s song (from op. 23)
Spring (from op. 33)
By Rondane (from op. 33)
A Swan (op. 25, no. 2)
Zur Rosenzeit (op. 48, no. 5)
Ein Traum (op. 48, no. 6)
– All by Edvard Grieg
Symphony no. 3, op. 27  by Carl Nielsen

It’s a big and challenging program, but I’m really excited about it. Some of it is very challenging, like the symphony by Nielsen. While something, like Poem by Fibich, is a small side project for fun because I  absolutely adore that piece.

I chose the Grieg Sonata because I learned the G major this year, and I decided that I wanted to learn all of them. And then, it’s always good to have something by Bach, and I have learned the entire D minor partita except for the chaconne.

The two concertos that I chose is mainly to prepare for auditions in the future, but they are also (especially the Dvorak) my absolute favourite concertos for the violin. I already started on the Dvorak a little bit before my exam just to occasionally give myself something else to do.

That is my program for the coming months. Hopefully you learned something about how to build a repertoire from seeing this. If you have any questions, you can always write them in the comments and I’ll answer them to the best of my abilities.

Poem in Dimmuborgir

Following my bachelor recital, my dad and I went on a road trip around Iceland. We’re currently in Akureyri in the north. Five days in, with five days to go. Halfway!

So far, we have seen a large amount of waterfalls, we have been horse riding, swimming in hot springs, walked on volcanoes, and visited caves. I could write about it for days, but instead I’ve taken some footage along the way. When I come back to Norway, I will try my best to make my first ever video montage/vlog.

Whenever we stopped in cool areas, we also took the time to shoot some videos of me playing in different locations. I have chosen a few of them to feature them here on the blog.

Poem

The first one I will be showing, is Poem by Zdeněk Fibich. The piece usually played with accompaniment. However, getting a pianist- not to mention a piano up in the middle of nowhere, proved to be tricky. Therefore I play it unaccompanied.

My dad and I have a special relationship with this song in particular. When I started playing the violin, he read me some books by a Norwegian author about a girl from Norway who played the violin, called Ingrid and the Violin. She played this piece constantly, and after a couple of years, when I started mastering the violin, my dad bought me the sheet music for this simplified version of Poem.
One of my projects this Summer is to learn the complete version.

This performance is from Dimmuborgir in Mývatn

 

Leave a comment if you liked the video and check in for more content in the future.

Here’s to new beginnings

Today is a big day.

I played my final recital yesterday, which marks the end of my four year bachelor on the violin. It seemed fitting to start my new blog with this announcement; The beginning of something big just at the end of another.

It’s hard to describe the emotions I’ve been going through over the past few weeks. It’s been a mixture of relief over being done, sadness that it’s over, pride that I finished and fear for what comes after.

Thinking back on where I came from when I started my bachelor, I see how far I’ve come. From a small town girl from Norway with big dreams and a naive belief in the world, to a more realistic person, but no less a dreamer and even less of an adult.

I’ve learned to work hard for what I want, and not to give up even if it’s hard. These might come off as rather obvious lessons, but I needed to experience the hardship on my own before I to realise just how hard you have to work sometimes.

Funnily enough my love for music has only grown. You hear stories all the time of people who have fierce passions only to watch them fade away once they start studying it. My passion for music has only grown and become even broader.

The two years in Iceland has been the best, and hardest of my life. Last year I struggled nearly daily to be able to continue my studies here after my year abroad ended. This year, sickness and death in the family has taken its toll. For a long time I was uncertain whether I would manage to finish my bachelor or not. Sometimes though, education and passions might be exactly what you need to escape the real life. If only for a little while.

Now a new adventure begins and I can’t wait. A bachelor in Musicology in Oslo might be exactly the break from performance that I need. However, I’m very certain I’ll find ways to busy myself with performing music despite the course’s low provision of live music.

The plan was to film the concert, but due to technical difficulties, that didn’t happen. I will however receive a recording from the school any day now, and I will share it with when that happens.