Life @ Longy: Stacey Chou, Flute
Name: Stacey Chou
Hometown: New Hyde Park, NY
Instrument: Flute Performance
Degree Program: Graduate Performance Diploma
Class of 2016
Briefly describe your ideal career: Playing in one of the DC military bands, teaching private flute and piano students, hosting occasional solo recitals, and performing with my flute quintet.
Why did you choose to attend Longy?
I had a great audition day experience! I had a (free!) trial lesson with my current teacher, with whom I really clicked. I had an idea of what I wanted to achieve with my Master's degree, and I felt like he was the one that could take me there. Also, the dean specifically and personally came up to me and struck up a conversation and remembered my essay and which school I came from, etc. I wasn't just another number in the system, as opposed to every other school that I auditioned at (minus my own undergrad).
What do you think makes Longy special?
The faculty are all stellar musicians and teachers, and they are very personally invested in their students. They're all clearly not teaching here solely for the money or the institutional name, but because of the care they extend to their students, their art, and their teaching.
How would you describe a typical school day?
It probably depends on everyone's individual schedule and preferences... I prefer not too have too many things early in the morning as I am not a morning person. I also prefer to spread things out. For example, I would prefer to have one class a day, versus all of my classes happen on two days and the rest of the week is free, or something. Things can be pretty busy between classes, schoolwork, rehearsals/coachings/lessons, meetings, work, and practicing. However, I'm in school full-time, so that's pretty much expected — it's all good, ha ha. I like to keep fairly busy.
What is your favorite aspect of the Longy curriculum, and why? The Teaching Artist Program and chamber music! There's a lot of flexibility with the chamber music program here, which I really appreciate. I've always been able to play the repertoire that I've wanted to play and even with the people I wanted to work with. The dean really considers your requests seriously, which is awesome. You also get the opportunity to work with (and request) teachers as coaches whom you wouldn't normally get to work with.
Teaching artistry at Longy is such a great vision for students to strive for in this changing musical and social world. I'm glad we are required to look more deeply in how we be more affecting with our art. (And if we stay the same, how can we get better at what we do?) Without it, I would probably have the ideas but not the tools or experience to engage my audience more and more every time so that they keep coming back and bringing more people with them too! Organizationally there's a few tweaks needed every year, but that's how the course can improve! I took the course last year and I'm TA'ing it this year, and it's really nice to see that administration has really taken into consideration the suggestions made by students on their course evaluations.
Biggest unexpected challenge in your coursework?
Fitting in practicing? But that's pretty expected, haha. It was also a bit of a challenge to get adjusted to finding more ensemble experience on my own and figuring out how to really take care of myself organizationally. You're not in undergrad anymore; your school isn't quite going to nurture you and throw opportunities in your laps. But I think that's a good and natural part of growing up.
What advice you would give to incoming/prospective students?
For graduate students, I'd definitely concentrate on finding a good teacher, one who you can really connect with and one you can see helping you achieve your goals and even giving you some more ideas for your career! For graduate students more especially than undergrads (because it's a shorter program), I think the teacher is more important than the actual institution you study at. So, be in touch with the faculty here! They're all really open and educated individuals.
What’s your favorite non-musical activity?
I love going up to New Hampshire to ski! It's only about 60-90 min. away!
Link to a video clip of a recent performance: Check out all of my flute quintet's videos!! We even currently have a fundraiser going on! http://inradiance.weebly.com/media.html. Or my own YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/staceychoumusic.