A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life of...
Adam Merrill, Piano

Teaching, working, practicing, exercising – all in a day for Pianist Adam Merrill. Adam hails from Pocatello, Idaho and is a first year Masters student studying with Spencer Myer. He outlines a typical Tuesday in February.

5:30 am —
I like to start my day with some yoga, three pages of journaling, and a warm shower. Today is a long day, and any day is better if it is started with self-care. Afterwards, I feel prepared to take on my whole day. Then…

— 6:15 am
I cut up some vegetables, put some coffee on the pot, and make an omelet. After breakfast, I put my coffee in a to go cup and start my walk. I live in an apartment in Allston and it is a bit of a walk to Longy, but this is one of my favorite parts of the day. As I leave the neighborhood in Boston, I cross one of the many beautiful bridges over the Charles River and walk by some magnificent trees in John F. Kennedy Memorial Park and Harvard, Until…

7:30 am —
I arrive at Longy! The School is pretty quiet this early so I head into one of my favorite rooms on the top floor of the Zabriskie House. Today I warm up with some Rachmaninoff Études and dive into Debussy’s Images Book 1 (which I’ll be performing later tonight).

— 10:30 am
After practicing, I head down to Wolfinson for The Power of Art for You and Your Community class. Today, my friend Robyn is giving a presentation on her project. She collaborated with Karl Stephen, a painter who teaches at the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. He painted 6 improvisations and Robyn discusses the history of improvisation in performance practice and then performs an improvisation for each of Karl’s paintings.

12:00 pm —
Normally the Noon Hour features a speaker from The Multifaceted Career series, a Teaching Artist Moment, or a Masterclass, but today, I catch up with my friends for a few minutes and then head home.

— 1:00 pm
Once home, I make my lunch and take out my computer. As part of my Graduate Fellow scholarship, I am a researcher and assistant editor for The Ensemble and The World Ensemble, two Longy newsletters about the El Sistema movement. I spend most of the hour reading about a summer program in India and writing an exposé.

2:00 pm —
Now I grab my teaching bag, walk out to my car, and head to work at Dedham School of Music. Once I arrive, I start to set up for my first class. DSM’s goal is to provide equal access to music education and I am thrilled to be teaching many first-generation musicians.

— 3:30 pm
After my intro to piano class, I teach private lessons to many talented young pianists. Some are in their first semester of lessons, others are getting ready for college, and most are getting ready for their spring recital!

7:30 pm —
After my last student heads out I clean, get back in my car, and make my way back to Longy. I grab a quick bite to eat for dinner on my way out, park by the Cambridge Commons, and walk in for…

— 8:30 pm
…Studio class! This is my favorite night of the week. My studio has many incredible pianists. I am always so proud and inspired after studio class and tonight is no exception. We hear a couple of Études, a Schubert sonata and I play my Debussy. Then we hear some of a Brahms Sonata, a Prokofiev Sonata, and then a Chopin and Scriabin Recital a former studio-mate is giving at Carnegie hall soon.

10:45 pm —
After an incredible class, I chat with some friends before heading home and hopping into bed. I reflect for a few minutes before falling asleep to rest to start the next day!

A Day in the Life of...
Jessica Wu, Flute

Flautist and second year Masters student Jessica Wu chose Longy because its intimate environment allows students to connect with their peers and mentors. She says the school’s flexible structure allows her to take things at her own pace and curate her own educational experience. Her busy Friday highlights just that.

7:30 am —
My multiple alarms have been going off since 7am but I’ve finally reached the point of no return and must get up. I quickly check the Transit app for when I must catch the bus to make it to school in time for my 9am rehearsal. I have found this app to be the most reliable because it has real time updates from fellow app users.

— 8:00 am
After showering, I like to check the weather app while I’m getting dressed to be sure I’m prepared for the day because usually once I leave in the morning, I don’t come home until my day is done. When I lived in Texas, I drove everywhere so stocking my wardrobe with walkable shoes and a raincoat has been a life saver since moving to Massachusetts!

8:25 am —
I grab my breakfast to go, usually a granola bar of some sort, as I run out the door to catch the 77 bus. Usually it would be about a 15-minute bus ride to reach the stop closest to Longy but there tends to be traffic in the morning. Commuting to school by public transit is very convenient because it is located very close to Harvard Square.

— 9:00 am
This morning, I am rehearsing Petroushkates by Joan Tower. My chamber group is preparing for our performance at the annual Gala Celebration held in Sanders Theater at Harvard University, where Longy will honor the composer. It’s nice to rehearse or practice in the mornings before most classes start because you can have access to the larger classrooms upstairs.

10:00 am —
Done with rehearsal and I can finally eat that granola bar 😀

— 10:30 am
Dalcroze Eurhythmics Class! This is one of the most special classes I have taken at Longy. The instructors guide us through steps, body movements, and gestures to encourage an emotional response to music. The Dalcroze methodology is deeply rooted in the school’s history as Renée Longy, Georges Longy’s daughter, used eurhythmics to supplement her teachings of solfège and the school still hosts a summer institute every year.

12:00 pm —
Time to toot a flute pitched at 415…. that’s right, Baroque Flute Ensemble rehearsal. I think the Historical Performance department is one of the most unique things Longy has to offer and we are so lucky to have access to all of their classes regardless of what your specified major is. Many of the early music faculty are active performers and work very closely with the Boston Early Music Festival which is recognized as “the world’s leading festival of early music.”

— 1:00 pm
Got to put on my theory cap for Schenkerian analysis class. This was one of those subjects that flew over my head in undergrad and really didn’t get much time dedicated to it. However, I wanted to come back around and visit it because I realized that it could help me make educated decisions in my music making. Longy has a vast selection of courses that focus on the in-depth exploration of one subject.

2:30 pm —
I am done with classes for the day and usually like to take this mid-day break as a chance to grab coffee with a friend or have a meal. Harvard Square is about a 10-minute walk from school and has a variety of food and drink options. One of my go-to places for coffee and a sandwich is Flour Bakery.

— 3:30 pm
Practice time! Although practice room traffic fluctuates, every student is allotted two hours a day that they can reserve in the booking system two weeks in advance. I like to use my reserved hours during the busiest times of the day and then either arrive early or stay late to practice more.

5:00 pm —
What’s better than one flute? Two flutes! This rehearsal will be spent with one of my best friends from my studio and we will be working on the Doppler “Concerto for Two Flutes” in preparation for the annual concerto competition. Winners of the Concerto Contest are invited to perform with the Longy Chamber Orchestra on next season’s program

— 6:00 pm
After a full day of classes and rehearsals, what better way to end the day than with a dress rehearsal for The Marriage of Figaro with the Boston Opera Collaborative. Longy collaborates with so many local music companies and BOC is one of them. The cast and orchestra are a mix of professionals and students.

10:00 pm —
Mozart…I love you…but after four hours of rehearsal, I think we need to spend some time apart…I often stay at school until the building closes at 11pm either to practice, rehearse, or work a concert and I have never felt unsafe while making my way home by myself.

— 11:00 pm
Treating myself to an evening snack at home while working on some assignments. The plan is to get to bed early tonight so I can be back at school by 8am tomorrow for the El Sistema inspired Side-by-Side Program. Being a graduate fellow for the SBS program has been a great opportunity to work on both my teaching and administrative skills.

12:00 am —
Finally, cozy in bed. Got to get my beauty sleep so I can be ready for the day tomorrow!

A Day in the Life of...
Aaron Clarke, Composition

Rockland, Maine native Aaron Clarke is a composition student who has thrown himself into Longy life since arriving here two years ago. He chose Longy for its top-notch faculty, small class sizes, and real sense of community and friendliness. He says, “Within a few minutes of walking in the building for my audition, I had several substantive conversations: not your typical audition day meet-and-greets, but an actual interest on the part of faculty and administrators in who I was and what I wanted to do.” He walks us through a typical Monday in March.

8:00 am —
Awake; though I’m mourning the passing of the weekend, I’m ready to dive into a fresh week of music-making!

— 9:15 am
Hop on the 96 bus from Medford and catch up on the news of the day on my way to school.

10:00 am —
First thing’s first: time to hit the practice room. Though I’m a composition student, it’s very important to me to maintain a heavy performance schedule as well.

— 11:00 am
Head up to Room 14 for my jazz guitar lesson with Eric Hofbauer. Today, we’re working on using Eric’s “Diamond” method of improvisation over Charles Mingus’s Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. To learn more about The Diamond, be sure to sign up for Advanced Jazz Theory in the spring, which Eric also teaches!

12:00 pm —
Lunch time! After a quick walk with some friends to the Starbucks a few blocks away, we settle into the Cabot Foyer by the front desk to talk shop and eat. I’ll catch up on some emails and maybe pop up to the concert office, where I work, to see Billy, our Concert Manager about logistics for any performances we have that week.

— 1:00 pm
Now it’s off to Wolfinsohn for Andy Kozar’s Create Your Own Gigs class. After everyone shares where they are with preparing their gig ideas, we dive into the lesson. Today, Andy is talking to us about the finer points of email etiquette and pertinent info when reaching out to promoters to book your gigs. Very important info for the modern day musician!

3:00 pm —
My last class of the day is Ensemble Uncaged. As an ensemble dedicated to the performance of new music, these rehearsals are often equal parts challenging, rewarding, and fun! Today, we’re rehearsing a piece I’ve written for some members of the group, as well as Sarah Kirkland Snider’s song cycle Penelope.

— 6:00 pm
As the Graduate Fellow for the Composition department, one of my tasks is to assist with theory and dictation tutoring. I head up to Room 11 to work with a student for a while as my last officially scheduled item of the day.

7:00 pm —
Another quick practice session; never enough practice!

— 8:00 pm
Okay, maybe enough practice. Time to bus home.

8:30 pm —
One of my favorite parts of the day: cooking dinner! With our busy schedules as musicians, I find it’s really important to carve out some time to unwind. I love cooking and am always trying new recipes, so this is a welcome respite from a packed day that still leaves me feeling creative.

— 9:30 pm
Finally time to do some writing! Since this is my last semester, I’m working on a lot of different projects, so I think the first step is narrowing down which one I’m going to work on tonight!

1:00 am —
I’m a night owl, so now is a chance for a little brief relaxation; maybe an episode of The West Wing or The Sopranos. Then, catch some shut-eye before another full day tomorrow!

A Day in the Life of...
David Mather, Baritone (Historical Performance)

First year Masters student David Mather has a full day between classes, voice lessons, his Graduate Fellowship in the Concert Office, and outside gigs. David is a Baritone in the Historical Performance department and hails from Traverse City, Michigan. David chose Longy because of its incredible location to live, study and work, for its exemplary faculty and their connections to the Boston music scene, and for the flexibility that the programs offered provide for students, all of which are featured here on his busy Monday.

7:00 am —
Wake up at my house in Middleboro, MA (I’m a commuter student, so lots of early mornings for me!). I grab a granola bar and pack a lunch for the day because I’m gonna be in the city all day.

— 7:57 am
Take the Commuter Rail from my stop into Boston’s South Station; the train takes about 55 minutes to get from my town to the station, so I have time to check my assignments before class, watch some Netflix, or catch up on any sleep I missed.

9:00 am —
Arrive at South Station with hundreds of other bustling commuters, grab a bite and a drink from Starbucks, then hop on the Red Line to get to Harvard Square.

— 9:40 am
I get to Longy after a short walk from the Square and chat with my friends either in the Lounge or at the little window seat outside the Wolfinsohn Recital Room. These two places are popular for students to hang out in and eat, do homework, and pass time before class.

10:00 am —
My first class of the day is our Historical Performance Seminar run by our department chair, John McKean. It’s always a great class because we get to hear our colleagues and friends performing music for their upcoming recitals, projects, and lessons. We also have amazing discussions on the topics of performance practice, authenticity, ornamentation and style, as well as providing lots of positive feedback and comments. What I like most about the seminar is that it involves everyone in the HP department, so the singers and instrumentalists all get to learn from one another and expose each other to different repertoire.

— 12:00 pm
Lunchtime! My favorite place to eat is up in the Concert Office in Pickman Hall. I work there as a Graduate Fellow during the week making concert programs and managing main stage events. I stop by to check in with my supervisors and see what events are happening this week while I munch. They’re all super friendly and it’s one of many awesome places to work on campus if you’re looking for some extra income!

1:00 pm —
Time for class again – this time, it’s a project-based course run by the Artistic Director for the Boston Camerata, Anne Azéma! She is a member of the Longy faculty and regularly brings in Longy students to perform in the Boston-based Camerata shows! It’s an amazing opportunity to be a part of a professional company, to network, and to gain performance experience. In theclass, we look at the original manuscript of the medieval liturgical drama, The Play of Daniel, talk about the context of where/when it would have been performed, and learn the music from its original notation, asking important questions that help us make sense of the manuscript’s intentions.

— 3:00 pm
After class, I usually have my voice lesson with my teacher Ellen Hargis, where we work on technique, language, and style of performing works of early Italian monody, French airs de cours, cantatas, and much more throughout the course of the semester.

4:30 pm —
I use this time after my lesson to get started on homework from the day, make copies of music from the Bakalar Library, or unwind a little after class. Then I’ll go practice for about an hour to solidify the work I did in my lesson earlier.

— 6:30 pm
By this point, it has been a full day already so I grab something with some caffeine and order dinner from a new restaurant I haven’t tried! There are so many incredible places to eat in Harvard Square that it’s hard to decide what to get next!

7:30 pm —
Around this time I’ll often have a rehearsal somewhere in Boston like my church choir rehearsal, a gig with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, stage managing a production with Boston Opera Collaborative, or going out for an audition. These experiences help me build my professional career as a freelance singer in Boston while finishing my education which is a big advantage of being at Longy. The plethora of public transportation options makes it easy to get around fairly quickly, which is great!

— 9:30 pm
I find a coffee shop nearby to sit and do homework in for a couple hours before the last train leaves South Station for the night to my city. I’ve got to time things carefully because I don’t want to miss my ride home, so I leave myself plenty of extra time just in case.

11:30 pm —
I get home from my commute, watch a little TV, and head straight to bed to do it all again the next day!

A Day in the Life of...
David Harewood, Piano (Jazz and Contemporary Music)

Most Longy students have pretty busy days and pianist David Harewood is no exception. David, a second year Masters student in the Jazz and Contemporary Music department, moved from Connecticut to attend Longy, which he says is “a place specifically designed for me!” Here’s a glimpse of his Wednesday schedule.

7:00 am —
On a typical Wednesday morning, I know I have to get up early and get ready for my 9am counterpoint class. At this point in my life, I no longer need to be awakened by an alarm. Not only am I awake before seven, but I’m excited to get on the bus and head to Longy. But first, I’ll get in some practicing at home. Bach is always a great way to start the day. Then I will do my usual and begin to improvise a bit. Need to remember to look at the clock so I don’t get lost in the moment and have to end up driving to school and instead of taking the bus.

— 8:30 am
I’m on the bus and checking out YouTube on my mobile. I’ve come to the realization that while attending Longy, I like being in school learning old things and seeing them from a different perspective.

9:00 am —
Once I arrive at Longy, I am usually the second student to arrive. Dr. Evans is always there first. Attending school at my age provides loads of freedom to be myself and Dr. Evans is a perfect foil for that freedom. Counterpoint is a serious subject, but you’d never know it if you walked by our classroom and heard us erupt in laughter. “Really? You can’t see those parallel fifths?” Ah, good times!

— 10:30 am
Now what do I do? My next class isn’t until 1pm and it doesn’t make sense to go back home to Arlington. Since I have a piano and studio at home, I made the decision early in the year that I would not take up valuable practice room time from fellow students that don’t have that option available to them. To Darwin’s! A nice coffee shop over on Mt. Auburn Street. I’ll eat and catch up on some reading for my American Sonic Practices class on Friday.

12:30 pm —
Start heading back to Longy. It’s a beautiful clear day in Cambridge and a feeling of gratitude comes over me. Can’t believe how lucky I am to be here doing what I love. That happens a lot.

— 1:00 pm
Head into my Teaching Artistry class where, once again, my perception has been altered for the better. At first, I was very apprehensive about what this class could possibly “teach” me about being a performing artist. I thought I already knew what I was going to do with my music and how I was going to do it. Wrong! I came to enjoy the class discussions and the instructor who taught the class. I even embraced the concepts of integrating the audience with my performances. This was an eye-opening experience that ultimately changed the course of my thinking.

3:00 pm —
Done with class for now and head back home to Arlington on the bus.

— 3:45 pm
Get home to my cats Mingus and Sophie. My partner, Ariadna, is out teaching in Winchester so I’ll have some time to practice, eat, and get ready for my piano lesson back at Longy.

4:30 pm —
I begin practicing and as always, get distracted away from the Bach Duet No. 1 I’m working on and start improvising. At this point I’m no longer chastising myself over a lack of focus and instead incorporate elements of the Bach into my free playing. It was the encouragement I received at Longy that eventually allowed me to accept and completely own my artistry.

— 6:30 pm
I move over to my computer to work on some solo piano music I recorded in Pickman Hall over the semester break. Each student at Longy is allowed two hours of time in Pickman Hall every semester which can be used for rehearsals or recordings. I leave the tabs open on my computer for when I get back from my lesson.

7:00 pm —
I drive back to Longy to meet Don Berman for my lesson. Don is truly the first piano teacher who understands who I am as a pianist and subsequently prescribes me the necessary tools to get better. It’s never too late!

— 8:30 pm
Head back home and Ariadna is back from Winchester. The recording that I set up to work on doesn’t happen and we spend the rest of the evening talking and watching a show or two on Hulu or Netflix or Amazon Prime or YouTube or…….

11:00 pm —
Goodnight! I’ll get to that recording eventually.

A Day in the Life of...
Monica Rajan, Soprano

As a first year Masters student, soprano Monica Rajan juggles all sorts of priorities from opera rehearsals to repertoire classes to her graduate fellowship. Monica grew up in Scarsdale, New York and chose Longy for its excellent voice faculty, unique course offerings, and proximity to both Boston and New York. She recounts a Thursday in November.

7:00 am —
My alarm goes off. Maybe I’ll hit snooze just once…

— 8:00 am
Quick walk to Davis Square to catch the red line to school.

8:33 am —
Once I get to Longy the first thing I usually do is store my lunch in the refrigerator in the Bistro. Then I’m off to warm up before my first class! It’s generally pretty quiet before 9am so I have my pick of practice rooms.

— 9:00 am
Rehearsal for Opera Theatre class! Today I’m working on the role of Columbina in Le Donne Curiose by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari for our Fall Opera Scenes Concert. The music is pretty tricky so we are continuing to fine tune it before we begin staging.

9:30 am —
Grab a coffee and maybe a pastry before my next class at my favorite restaurant in Harvard Square – Tatte! They serve breakfast all day. Definitely try their shakshuka if you have the time, it’s the best! 🙂

— 10:30 am
Spanish Repertoire Class! One my favorite classes this semester. In addition to presenting our songs, we have the option to project artwork or photographs on the screen behind us if we feel it could enhance our performance. I’m really enjoying seeing what artwork my classmates choose and why – and of course, hearing them sing!

12:00 pm —
Time to meander over to Pickman Hall for The Multifaceted Career Speaker Series. At Longy there are no classes scheduled between 12-1pm so that all students have the opportunity to attend the many speakers and masterclasses that occur daily. Today I’m going to hear a talk by violinist Sarah Whitney who founded her own quintet and started a concert series to break down the barriers between the audience and the performers. Pretty cool!

— 1:00 pm
Grab my lunch out of the fridge and head to the Admissions Office where I work as a Graduate Fellow! If you’re visiting Longy be sure to ask for a tour…I’ll probably be your tour guide! 🙂

3:00 pm —
My last class of the day is Diction. This is a full year course that all Voice students take. We began the year with English Diction and will move to German Diction next week. I love studying with Mr. Moll; he is very knowledgeable and fun to work with!

— 5:00 pm
Grab a snack in the Bistro before heading to the library to print music and catch up on some e-mails.

5:30 pm —
Confirm my practice room. Our school uses Asimut, a program that allows you to reserve practice rooms ahead of time. I like to plan when I will practice at the beginning of the week as it helps me organize my days.

— 7:30 pm
After a solid practice session, I gather my things and head back to Harvard Square to catch the 96 bus home. My days are pretty long but I’m thankful to be studying what I love.

7:50 pm —
Back in Somerville for dinner, homework, and maybe an episode of The Office.

— 11:30 pm
Time to close the laptop and get ready for bed. Tomorrow is another day!

A Day in the Life of...
Emily Bieker, Violin

There’s no slowing down at the end of the year for Longy students, as freshman Emily Bieker’s Wednesday—classes, a violin lesson, orchestra rehearsal and a chamber coaching—reveals.

8:00 am —
I turn off my alarm and head to the kitchen to heat up my breakfast bagels (Thank you, meal prep!). I open my bedroom window to soak in the morning sun.

— 8:30 am
Check the weather report before getting dressed and ready for school. Coming from Arkansas, I’m not used to the colder weather and need to prepare. One lesson I learned – always look at the windchill!

8:40 am —
I walk to Porter Square to catch my bus and maybe stop to get a mocha in Caffe Nero if I have the time!

— 9:00 am
My first class of the day is Music History, a required class for all undergraduate students that is taught over the course of 4 semesters. I walk in to greet my 18 other classmates. We’re a pretty tight-knit group since our school is so small! This semester we are learning about different nationalities within the Baroque era. It’s interesting how French, English, Italian, and German baroque music can sound so different!

10:25 am —
Coffee is on my mind! I head to the Bistro to indulge my craving. I keep a reusable K-cup in my locker along with ground coffee and creamer. The school Keurig has honestly been my lifesaver.

— 10:30 am
I mosey up to the second floor of Zabriskie to my Harmony class. This week, we are analyzing scores with extended tertian chords and learning how to write them in four-part harmony. My professor Dr. Brust never fails to tell an interesting story about what we are covering, everything from Beethoven’s influence on the modern piano to the Brahms-Robert Schumann-Clara Schumann love triangle conspiracy!

12:00 pm —
Time to heat up my lunch in the Bistro! Longy has dedicated an hour between 12 and 1 to allow students time to eat, relax, study, rehearse, play in masterclasses, attend meetings of the Longy Student Association or Black Student Union and enjoy Noon Hour lectures from visiting artists. With everyone’s busy schedules, this eases the feelings of FOMO since we all have the same block of time free.

— 1:00 pm
Lesson time! I have a one-hour lesson with Sean Wang, the chair of our string department and we go over scales and études, a concerto, and a Bach sonata or partita. Today we talk about projecting to the audience and creating the message we want to put behind our music. I always leave feeling inspired and wanting to practice more!

2:00 pm —
The best thing about Longy is how everyone knows each other and how the teachers are always there to support each student. I love talking with my professors during this time about music, homework, life, anything!

— 3:00 pm
I make my way over to Pickman Hall for orchestra rehearsal. The orchestra usually hosts three concerts a semester, including an opera concert featuring arias and duets sung by Longy vocalists. We rehearse for three hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays and hold sectionals to work out the more difficult spots. I love playing with all of my friends and engaging ourselves in the music!

6:00 pm —
Rehearsal comes to an end. My friends and I make our way to the lounge to rest up. Our conversations usually revolve around our rehearsal, possible dinner plans, finishing up homework, etc.

— 7:00 pm
This is my usual practice time. I swipe my ID card for my room reservation. Our school uses a system called Asimut to reserve our practice rooms. Today I have a rehearsal with my chamber group to prepare for a coaching session. This semester we are working on Strum by Jesse Montgomery, a fun piece showcasing different techniques within the string family. Our coach, Ashleigh Gordon (Artistic and Executive Director for Castle of Our Skins), really guided us to make conscious and artistic musical decisions!

9:00 pm —
I leave the practice room to finish the rest of my homework or study with my friends for tests and quizzes. I try to keep all of my school work at school: it is important for me to be able to relax and destress from the day once I’m home.

— 11:00 pm
Pack up my things and head to the bus stop to go to Porter Square.

11:15 pm —
Walk up the steps to my apartment, take off my shoes, and get ready for bed. A new day of joy, improvement, and excitement is only a sleep away!