By Malie Mills
Compared to searching for your undergraduate degree school of choice, venturing into the world of graduate school for terminal degrees is an entirely different beast. All of your worries of reference letters, your resume, transcripts and application fees are relived when applying for graduate school. On top of all of that, music majors like myself have to prepare not only several selections of solo literature but also orchestral excerpts, etudes, scales and even prepare for sight reading pieces. Everything intimidating about auditioning – being in that very vulnerable spotlight – is brought back more intensely than ever before, and interviewing for those few studio spots is nerve-racking. Personally, however, I have found the journey of searching for that perfect graduate school for me to be extremely rewarding, despite all of the extra hard work gathering materials and preparing for auditions.
Over the past few months, I have travelled to four different graduate schools to audition for their respective Masters of Music programs for flute performance. Each school has had unique prospects about not only their own campuses but also in the huge cities surrounding each university. Currently, I have auditioned at the programs in Illinois State University, University of Kansas, University of Missouri, Columbia and Eastern Kentucky University. Now I can say I’ve seen the beautiful cities of Bloomington-Normal, IL, Lawrence, KS, Columbia, MO, and Lexington, KY and how they influence and shape each university. Simply travelling to all of these places of academia has been an adventure in and of itself. Seeing places I’ve never been to before, and exploring the world throughout my travels has been very exciting and memorable.
My greatest adventure of all, throughout these auditions, has been the personal growth and hard work I’ve put into my music and my flute for these programs to see. Developing as an individual through McKendree University’s many teachings and supportive professors has given me that extra piece of the puzzle to shine throughout my auditions. I have given my all to these four sets of applications, and I have been privileged enough to see all four schools in person for my auditions. After experiencing these auditions for graduate school in music, I would not change a thing. I am very glad to have chosen to go down this path in my life, and I hope to one day be in the newspapers for all of my McKendree family to see. This will be just another stepping stone to my goal of being a professional flutist. In the end, all of the support from McKendree, the struggles of gathering paperwork, even the hours upon hours of practicing each piece of music, will have been worth it.