COMMENTARY | Has COVID-19 Jeopardized the Future for Visual Arts Senior Concentration?

Opinion, School Year 2021-22, The Arts

By: Quinn Bryant 

Students in the Visual Arts department, like most departments, spend three years dabbling in a variety of mediums within their discipline, but something that makes the Visual Arts curriculum stand out from the rest is Senior Concentration. Senior Concentration is the opportunity for Senior Visual Artists to choose one or two specific Visual Arts disciplines to focus on for the entirety of the year. During Senior year, Visual Artists only have three other classes outside of Senior Concentration: Art History 3, Sculpture 2, and Mixed Media.

Senior Concentration is a lengthy process and starts before Visual Arts seniors have their first day of classes. It starts with junior year juries. Juniors discuss with their jurors what medium they might want to pursue and why? Then, according to Visual Arts Department Head Archie Veale, over the summer, rising seniors should spend their time creating concrete ideas within their sketchbooks, so they can take their work “right from the sketchbook onto the wall,” says Veale. 

When I was considering applying to BSA, this was one of the parts of the school that sold it for me. The opportunity for me to spend the majority of my final year focusing on the art medium I enjoy most and preparing for what I might be doing in college excited me. It is something that not only me, but many of my peers were fascinated and excited about since freshman year. 

But the unique thing about Senior Concentration that I don’t think people fully understand is that it’s not just taking one class for the majority of the year. This course is completely self-driven. There are no prompts, no teacher-assigned lessons, or given teacher restrictions. It’s all up to you. It is all about the Visual Artists creating their own body of work, on their own, without any push from teachers. Teachers essentially work as a facilitator and give additional help to the students.

Whether students in the Visual Arts department want to become a doctor, a professional painter, or work in art therapy, the idea of creating your own body of work without any teacher instruction is very compelling. Visual Arts Seniors Gigi Pilla and Anastasia Glass had the same feeling that a lot of Visual Artists have when they found out about Senior Concentration. Pilla said it gave her the chance to explore and Glass felt as though they would be well prepared for when they moved on from high school.

Visual Arts Senior, Anastasia Glass , and guest looking at artwork. Photo by Ella Haber.

However, with Senior Concentration being a very independent practice, there is a lot of student self-accountability. As Veale says, “It’s not for everyone”. But it is not something some students can do while others sit out. “You cannot send three students to the moon,” says Veale. I agree that it is a tremendous amount of accountability that students have to hold to themselves. They have to produce a body of work that not only reflects them as an artist but reflects all of the techniques they have learned here at BSA. 

However, for next year’s Seniors and possibly the Seniors following them, Senior Concentration is in jeopardy of continuing a little differently or not at all, and it’s mainly due to COVID-19. Yes, COVID-19 has affected much of our lives inside and outside of the classroom, so it isn’t a surprise that COVID has affected this big self-driven curriculum. As previously discussed, Senior Concentration is the culmination of three years of practice, and missing just one of those years can be very difficult. This year’s Seniors had to do virtually one of the most informative and impactful years as a Visual Artist, Junior year. 

Pilla, Glass, and fellow Senior Visual Artist Ayana Hall attested to that. Hall discussed that she sees Junior Visual Artists creating artwork she never got the opportunity to even start thinking about because of the virtual year. And I can agree on the same thing. I was surprised when I saw the Visual Arts Freshman working in color, as that was something I never got to do Freshman year.

The Covid year has affected our arts all in different ways, some positive and some negative. First, Pilla discussed that she was in a rut during virtual school. She often lost motivation to create art, but she did stay very active in photography, which is why she chose that as her Senior Concentration. However, Glass felt as though she was very motivated when she got back in the building to push through with Senior Concentration because she was just excited to be back in a real live art room with all of her friends. 

The current Visual Arts Juniors had to spend their Sophomore year, which is part two of refining their technical skills, virtually. Additionally, they were not able to do a traditional first year of art school, which as you can imagine is a very vital year. Due to these drawbacks, Juniors and Sophomores (but more prominently Juniors) opportunity to do Senior Concentration is being debated. It may be that this year’s Freshmen, if COVID permits it, will be able to do Senior Concentration if no other classes do, according to the Veale.

I do not think Senior Concentration should be cut, which is an obvious notion as I am a Junior Visual Artist eager to do an entire year of painting. It might just need to be modified. In my discussion with Pilla and Glass, they talked about having more structure in the program, and I was interested to find out that certain parts of the program I thought would be included weren’t something they ever did. 

Pilla discussed that she would have enjoyed the opportunity to get together with the entirety of the class for critiques a couple of times in the year. It was hard for her to get critiques because her Senior Concentration focus, photography, only included one other person. I was surprised that the Seniors never all got together to talk about what they were working on.

Visual Arts Senior, Gigi Pilla , and guest looking at photography. Photo by Ella Haber.

Pilla also expressed the need for more teacher push. I know Senior Concentration is meant for students to work solely independently, and they have to hold themselves accountable, But I think we can all agree if an academic teacher doesn’t give a due date on an assignment or tells you to submit it “whenever”, you are most likely to keep prioritizing other things over it. Senior Concentration is something where the final due date is the end of the year. But one of the changes Pilla suggested to the Senior Concentration  curriculum is for their to be more actual deadlines.

The difficult thing about that is students are going to produce different amounts of work and some pieces could take longer than others. So one of my personal suggestions is a beginning of the year assignment where students have to make a year long or semester long schedule with due dates that they want to abide by. That still calls for student accountability, but it also helps students have the pressure of the assignment there to push them to keep going. 

As the school year is ending, Veale expresses his advice to the Junior Visual Arts class and the underclassman. “Juniors need to prepare themselves for what’s going to be a very stressful year,” according to Veale. Juniors should not take the summer off from art; they need to use their sketchbooks continuously to gain a snapshot of who they are. Juniors should reflect on their past work at BSA and come ready to play and experiment during Senior year.  

Veale has two main pieces of advice for underclassmen. One to “Continue to make art for yourself, not just the assignments we give you,” says Veale. And second, all Visual Arts classes should never lose their love for their art. Veale does not want the weight of the academic schedule or the art assignment to make underclassmen forget why they are here. 

Senior Concentration is an incredible opportunity. It allows Visual Artists to take everything they’ve learned and bring it all together. The Senior show holds some of the most creative pieces of the year the Visual Arts Department produces. So as you find yourself on the first floor, stop by the gallery show and look at some of the incredible work from this year’s Seniors class of 2022.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at

A CityLink Red Bus travels along its route.

OP-ED | How We Get There: Commuting, School, and the Environment

Archive, Opinion, School Year 2021-22

By: Tristan Stefanovic for the BSA Muse

The Baltimore School for the Arts is a diverse school in many ways – from the makeup of its student body, to the many interests they pursue. One thing that members of the BSA community may not think about, however, is the way that students get to school. For many students, getting to BSA is an easy walk – or a quick drive – but this isn’t the case for everyone.

For those who live far away, or for those who wish to be environmentally conscious, getting to school may be a frustrating and arduous process that adds stress, and subtracts precious hours of sleep from a student’s day. So what can a student do to reduce their carbon emissions, while not forcing themselves through a big hassle in the process?

Better Automobile Usage

Carpooling, Cutting Idle Times, and Transit Connections

If a car is your only option, whether it be for distance, time, or convenience, there are still plenty of things you can do to reduce your commute’s impact on the environment.

One of the most popular options is to carpool – just find another student near you who needs a ride, and pick them up on your way to school. Carpooling is a great way to reduce the number of cars on the road, and therefore reduce emissions and traffic. Plus, carpooling can offer you a chance to socialize with friends on the way to school, which is certainly a bonus.

Something I personally have a huge issue with are parents who idle outside of the school, taking up parking spots and spewing CO2 into the atmosphere, both before and after school. In fact, this issue alone was the catalyst for me writing this op-ed.

If you’re worried for your child’s safety, or maybe want to keep them warm on a chilly day, it is more than acceptable for you to wait with them in your car. But please, please turn the car off – they’re well insulated, and worst case, you can put on a jacket. Idling for more than 10 seconds creates more excess CO2 than just turning your car off, then back on again (US Department of Energy), and there’s no reason to do it.

Another possible option for those who live far away is to use a car to connect to a transit option, such as the Light Rail, Metro, or even a bus. The train systems in Baltimore have ample parking, and some have Park-and-Ride systems that you can use to minimize how far you need to take your car. Plus, then you don’t have to worry about parking when you get into the city, or dealing with horrible drop-off traffic.

Mass Transit

Busses, Light Rail, Metro, & More

The corner of Madison and Cathedral St, as well as the surrounding areas, are a hub for mass transit options*. Cathedral St. is serviced by LocalLink 51, which runs all the way from the Inner Harbor to Towson Town Center, while Madison St. hosts CityLink Pink, running from the West Baltimore Marc Station to Rosedale.

St. Paul Street, only two blocks away from BSA, has a host of transit options – from the Purple Route Circulator, to CityLinks Green and Silver, as well as Local and ExpressLinks 95 and 103, respectively*. All of these options cover a wide area of the city, and will drop you off just blocks from school. CityLink buses also run very frequently, eliminating the need for a long wait, or the need to worry about missing your bus.

In addition to bus options, LightRail Link runs on nearby Howard Street, and provides a limited but fast service for various Baltimore locations.

The Baltimore Metro is also a quick 10 minute walk from BSA, and though it is also very limited, it connects some areas of Northeast Baltimore to Owings Mills.

And if you are worried about missing your bus or train and getting to school late, don’t be – the Transit App provides real-time bus and light rail data, including user-inputted data such as how crowded the bus is, or if transit stops are wheelchair-accessible.

Plus, mostly due to the launch of the new bus system, 77% of buses have been on-time, while 9% have been early, and only 12% have been considered late (MDOT MTA).

And just a reminder to those who may have forgotten – you can ride any mass transit vehicle FOR FREE from 5AM-8PM on weekdays! All you need is your school bus card, and if you don’t have one, talk to an administrator about receiving one!

*Since all of the streets mentioned are one-way, you’ll need to check routes for their Northbound street counterparts.


Bike Infrastructure, Sharing the Road, and Bike Pods

Another climate-friendly option for some is cycling, or biking, to school. Cycling is not only good exercise, but can also be a great option for getting around a city. Unfortunately, Baltimore severely lacks proper cycling infrastructure, though this has been improving in recent years.

One of the biggest dangers when biking can be motor vehicles, as there are many of them, and they can cause serious injury on impact (Mark Hambleton).

Dedicated cycling lanes, especially parking-protected lanes, mitigate this problem by removing cars from the same areas as cyclists, and also allow for bicycles to pass car traffic in heavily congested areas. In addition to dedicated cycling lanes, you are allowed to ride your bicycle on most sidewalks or any roadway (with the exception of highways), and motor vehicles are required to yield to cyclists in most cases (Bike Maryland).

If you feel unsafe biking alone, or are forced to use roadways with lots of car traffic, it may be a good option to form a biking “pod” with other students, or even parents – this allows students to ride in a group and be much more visible to any traffic, while being a fun, social way to commute to school.

Since there are not many dedicated cycling routes in Baltimore City, it is highly recommended you plan your route using this interactive map by Bikemore, a local cycling advocacy organization.


Local Politicians, Groups, and Self-Education

Just because you don’t use transit or cycling infrastructure doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help improve it. Better infrastructure like separated bike lanes, bus priority, and more, can help get more people out of cars, and therefore reduce traffic. But better transit can lead to many other benefits, such as helping low-income communities, investing in the land around transit hubs, and much more.

You can get involved by finding your local city council member, or state congressperson, and contacting them about investing in better infrastructure for cyclists and transportation, as well as pedestrians.

You can also get involved by joining local groups, such as the Baltimore Transit Equity Commission, the Central Maryland Transit Alliance, or Bikemore. These groups not only help provide ordinary people with a platform, but some offer information, or even classes on how to help bring about better transport infrastructure to our communities.

Another way to get involved is to educate yourself on alternatives to car-centric buildings, as well as zoning laws – sometimes the best way to help is talking to another person about issues, and in order to do that you need to know what you’re talking about. Some good resources for self-education include Strong Towns, which has many excellent articles on various topics, or the YouTube channel NotJustBikes, which compares North America’s infrastructure with Europe’s, or more specifically, the Netherlands.


We can all make an impact!

Though all these actions may seem small, the more we do something, the more it seems acceptable to others, and the more important it may seem to our leaders. This can lead more people to consider alternative transportation options, and can cause the government to fund them.

Even if you aren’t planning on staying in Baltimore, or America, you can take the skills you learn from transit advocacy and apply them to wherever you live, including if it’s as simple as talking to friends and family.

And if you are in a unique situation where you can’t explore any alternatives – spread the word to others who can, because it’s only together that we can make a difference.

This is an opinion piece and does not reflect the views of the BSA Muse, BSA Administration, or any student, parent, or employee of the Baltimore School for the Arts.

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This article was submitted to the BSA Muse by an external contributor. If you would like to submit an Op-Ed, please email Quinn Bryant and Alex Taylor or

COMMENTARY | Election Are Coming Up, Should You Care?

Archive, Opinion, Politics and Activism, School Year 2021-22

By: Quinn Katz-Zogby

Well folks, it’s that special time of year again. Bring out your wordy yard signs, put on your ugly T-shirts, and get ready to argue about nothing else for the next year, it’s election season.

This November is a midterm election. There is no presidential election and while every house seat is on the ballot, only about half of the senators will be up for reelection, while for us Marylanders, the most important election will likely be that of the governor race, with primary elections taking place on July 19th and general elections being held November 8th. Our current governor Larry Hogan will fortunately not be eligible to run again this year. However, do not worry, for a host of other terrible candidates have risen to replace him.

The Republican primary is fairly light on candidates, with the two main competitors being the unfortunately named Dan Cox, an ardent Trump supporter, and Kelly Shulz, who is basically just saying “I’ll pretend to be Larry Hogan for another four years.” Cox is running on a platform of basically everything you would expect, supporting the “thin blue line,” promising to loosen gun regulations, and shadow boxing against “critical race theory” while fantasizing about cutting eye-holes in his sheets.

 Shulz on the other hand, is running on the same boring policies that Republicans have been running on since Reagan decided that he couldn’t hurt Black communities enough in Hollywood and pretended to care about “states rights”. She wants to lower taxes, fistfight teachers’ unions, and protect small businesses.

The Democratic primary is far more interesting, primarily because their policy proposals amount to more than trying to solve imaginary problems. So far nine people are running for the Democratic nomination, and while most of them have absolutely no shot at winning, I think that it’s in all of our best interest to at least mention and laugh at most of these pale imitations of genuine left-wing opposition to America’s hegemony.

First up, we need to speed through some of the people who have no shot:

 John King is a former Obama education secretary who’s only interesting policy idea seems to be weed legalization, something so run of the mill for politicians nowadays that even Trump types are adopting it. 

Jerome Segal is a socialist who switched to the Democratic party from his own Bread and Roses party, presumably due to the realization that starting a third party has literally never worked for anyone in America in the last 150 years. Segal has essentially no shot at winning, especially since the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) would be the endorsement he needs to get any traction, and they will never associate with him due to his heavy involvement in supporting the state of Israel in otherwise progressive circles, being involved in the creation of the J-Street program, which the DSA condemned Representative Jamaal Bowman for simply taking part in.

Rushern Baker III came second in the Democratic primaries in 2018 and it’s not exactly surprising that he didn’t win, considering that his only campaign promise seems to be to “Take Dark Money out of Politics!” a vague political slogan seemingly only on his website to adorn the large green button prompting you to give him $250.

Jon Baron, despite having the name of the bad guy in a Pixar movie, is actually a former Clinton and Obama staffer who worked to give away $450 million in taxpayer money every year to private tech companies, so he clearly is using his Ivy League education well.

Peter Franchot is a former Comptroller of Maryland who is running as a political outsider despite having worked in state government since 1986. While he is much older than most of the other candidates on the ballot, time which he clearly used well as he spent most of his youth fighting on behalf of US imperialism in Vietnam. Since then, he has worked with progressive figures like Ralph Nader to be a real progressive voice and has fairly thorough plans for improving Maryland public transportation and expanding quality internet access across Maryland.

Right back into the liberal cesspool though, Doug Gansler is the former Maryland Attorney General who decided to split his time in power between combatting ExxonMobil, and teaching working class kids lacrosse so that they could win scholarships to go to Gilman and other private schools. Frankly, I think that playing lacrosse at all is grounds enough to lose my vote.

Now, onto people who do have a chance: 

Ashwani Jain is by far the underdog of those who have some chance at winning, being a former Obama staffer who gained notoriety and press coverage for his bid. If he would win he would be the youngest governor ever and the first POC to be governor of Maryland. However, especially when his two most serious opponents are also POC, this means relatively little, and if he can’t even win a city council race for Montgomery County, why should he be trusted with our livelihood as a state?

He has never held elected office, and while his campaign promises of eliminating income tax for the working class, making public transit free, and creating a jobs guarantee for all adults in Maryland are all promising and could yield amazing results for the working class population of Maryland. Though his own inexperience and reliance on imitating Obama during his speeches definitely leave a bit to be desired.

The next, and probably worst Democrat running seriously, is Tom Perez, the failure of a DNC chair slithering to Maryland after being ousted from the top position of his own party. Tom Perez, ironically, removed much of the inter-party democracy of the Democratic party, kicking out progressive figures and being largely responsible for laying the groundwork for the collusion and corruption that the establishment of the party have been using to make it more difficult for progressives and democratic socialists to win primaries.

He also was involved in the chronic mismanagement of the case against George Zimmerman after he murdered Trayvon Martin and failed utterly to bring justice to the family of Trayvon Martin and the greater Black community. He led the way for the continuation of these sorts of hate crimes to continue until today, crimes that are especially prevalent in Baltimore City. Perez is a crony of the Democratic establishment, listening to no one but his corporate donors and has been holding the Democratic party back from real change for the past 20 years; we should never let him do the same to our state.

Lastly, author, non-profit CEO, and man who killed human beings in Afghanistan because “college was really damn expensiveWes Moore. Who, while working with New York hedge-fund manager and natural gas lobbyists, earned $800,000 a year while working to “alleviate poverty.” Moore is portrayed by most media outlets as a progressive, for his brilliant policy ideas of “not giving tanks to police departments” and “Unions: maybe they’re fine?”

Wes Moore is promising to increase workers’ collective bargaining power and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which, according to an MIT study is far less than the $17.93 an hour that would be a living wage for an adult living on their own with no debt of any kind. While Moore may be better than much of the opposition, it doesn’t change the fact that he is just as much a mockery of left-wing politics as every other politician Maryland has seen for the past 30 years.

Now, I know that this article may have been a bit pessimistic, painting a grim picture of the myriad of bad options that Maryland will face this November, but I do still want to circle back to the end of the title of this article. The big question that you no doubt have been losing hours and hours of sleep to: “Should you care?” In a race with this many corrupt, under-experienced grifters running to lead our state, it is easy to feel like your vote doesn’t matter, and if I’m being completely honest, it doesn’t especially matter.

No matter who you vote for, it won’t change the root causes of the problems facing our state, it won’t stop your boss from stealing your wage, banks from gentrifying your neighborhoods, and police from murdering your friends, family, and community members with impunity. But while you can’t kill the virus, you can treat the symptoms. Vote for who you think will be the least bad, but don’t think that your responsibility to your community ends at the ballot box.

Work together with your neighbors and community to build real alternatives to this awful system, spend your free time volunteering for mutual aid organizations, educate yourself on politics, and don’t grow complacent. There is a better way for our society to run, but improving our society is not as easy as ticking a box on a sheet of paper; it will only get better if we work to make it better. November is looking dark, but there may still be light on the horizon.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at

COMMENTARY | 10 College Tips for Future Performing Arts Majors

Archive, Opinion, School Year 2021-22, The Arts

By: Rose Coomes

In your senior year, you will make decisions that may decide the course of the rest of your career and life. The college process is becoming more and more stressful and competitive, especially for performing arts majors. After going through the process of applying and auditioning for a degree in violin performance at several different music schools, I asked myself and my colleagues what they wished they had known, what they did that helped them, and what advice they had for people preparing to do the same next year, and these ten tips are what I thought would be most helpful. 

1). Get started now. 

If you take anything away from this article, take this. It’s always better to be too early than late. At this point, juniors should have a running list of colleges. Some things you can get out of the way are your resumes, repertoire lists, essays, etc. They are the little things that turn into what can determine your acceptance into your dream school. The summertime is a great opportunity to add things to your resume, visit colleges, and do trial lessons. You don’t want to have to worry about paperwork and traveling when you have upcoming auditions to practice for. If you need examples of a resume or repertoire list, click on the links. 

2). Audition Repertoire. 

The audition panel hears the same concertos and movements of Bach every year. At an in-person audition, I heard three people play the same Mozart concerto back-to-back with little difference. Make sure to take advantage of the requirement for an extra piece, it is usually described as a, “short virtuosic piece that showcases your ability.” At one audition, I opened with Jessie Montgomery’s Rhapsody No. 1. I had a lesson with one of the audition personnel a few days later. Although they didn’t remember the concerto or movements of Bach that I played, one of the first things they asked me was, “you were the one who played Jessie Montgomery right?” Most colleges get well over a thousand applicants and auditions, make sure to be memorable. 

Secondly, start thinking about your repertoire now. If you choose to start your repertoire at the beginning of the next year you will be fine, but it will be considerably less stressful if you start during the summer, especially for pre-screen recordings. Even just making a plan before the year starts would be extremely helpful. In addition, when picking your pieces there are a few things to consider: definitely talk with your teacher, don’t play things that are too difficult for you simply because they are difficult-play something you will be able to play well under stress, and don’t change your repertoire at the last minute even if you think you have time. I played two different concertos, one for pre-screens and one for the final audition. I only had about two months to really learn the final audition’s concerto. It is important to refine the piece you play so much that you can play it very well under stress. I could play the piece well in the comfort of my practice room, but as soon as I was in front of an audience it would fall apart. It cost me the quality of my first auditions. 

3). Taking care of yourself. 

BSA’s school schedule is demanding as it is, for those of us who go home just to practice more it can be especially difficult. Over the years, whether you like it or not, we have learned time management skills, like how to balance academics and our arts. Now is the time to use those skills and add in scheduled time for yourself. I can’t count the number of times I wanted to give up this year. Forcing yourself to take time away from your art and school work even if it costs you your grades or approval from teachers is just what you have to do, especially so you don’t burn out or get injured. If your teachers or parents can’t understand, then that’s their problem, not yours. Getting proper sleep, eating well, drinking water, and taking care of your overall well-being, are some of the best things you can do for yourself and are much more important than school. 

Senior violist Sofia Scherer advises that exercise can help decrease stress (safe exercise). According to Mayo Clinic, “exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.” Exercise, meditation, listening to music, or simply taking a walk- whatever works for you- are all things that can help put you in a better state of mind and, in turn, increase your chances of being successful under stress. 

4). Practicing performing. 

No matter how well you play by yourself, nerves can make you forget everything you worked on. Thankfully there is a way to improve performing: by performing. Take advantage of BSA’s repertoire classes and the summer time. During the summer, many churches, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and other community centers are desperate for volunteer performers; it’s a very easy, judgment-free performance opportunity. (Not to mention it looks great on resumes and spreads positivity). 

The thing to remember about performing is the importance of your mindset. It’s not something you can just do when you’re actually performing, you need to practice going into that mindset. “My teacher and I worked on a lot of mental practice this year, and specifically how to practice mindfulness. It’s not just something you can nail during your audition like, ‘oh I’m going to be super mentally aware at the moment,’ because when you’re in a stressful situation, you’re not going to remember to do it. So you have to practice it along with your intonation and bow-distribution and things like that so that you can nail it during the audition and it’ll help you a lot with nerves and things like that” says Leah Vey ‘22, Violist.

5). Colleges and professors do not determine your worth or ability. 

You have to be prepared to be rejected, and know that it doesn’t mean anything against you. Performing arts schools have become increasingly competitive. It doesn’t matter how prepared and talented you are, it costs the school nothing to reject you. Whether you get accepted or not usually has absolutely nothing to do with your worth or ability as an artist or person. Rejection happens to everyone, it’s important to keep your mental state positive. 

Another thing to remember is that the professors and admissions teams you meet are just average people. “Remember that whoever’s judging you is just a human being even if they’re like a professor, you can’t see them as being someone who’s so big, they’re just another person. And they’re probably just as nervous as you are because they’re looking for good students too” says Avagail Hulbert ‘22, Violinist.

6). Check and double check for requirements. 

Whether it’s the application materials or the required repertoire, keep checking it every so often and especially a week or two before the deadline/audition. At my last audition, while waiting for a practice room about an hour before my scheduled audition, I heard other people playing more than one concerto. I thought it was strange so I checked the repertoire, and sure enough they were asking for a whole movement of Mozart with a cadenza along with the usual required concerto. I panicked and wasted a lot of time trying to quickly memorize a movement. Luckily, they didn’t even ask for it in the audition. Not being informed and prepared in an audition can lead the audition panel to think that you’re not interested enough. In addition, most colleges have enough applicants to easily take someone who took the time to check the requirements over someone who didn’t. 

7). Presentation matters. 

The people you will meet are human, and people naturally make biases based on appearances and manners. Wearing a nice audition outfit, hair out of your face, and greeting people with a smile are easy ways to stand above other applicants. No matter how talented you are, if you make a rude or too-good-for-this-school impression, you can be denied over someone who simply made the effort to say good morning or send a thank you note. 

8). Do your research. 

Applying to a school just because of its name is not a good idea. Among many things you should pay attention to who your future private lesson teacher would be. Picking the right teacher is especially important because you will have to spend your next four years with them. That means stepping out of your comfort zone to have trial-lessons. Speaking from this year’s experience, trial-lessons are really not as nerve-wracking as you expect. Just be yourself, and try your best to work well with the professor. An important thing to remember is to take notes after each lesson. Trial lessons will help you decide which school you want to go to. They also show your improvement during your audition, since the teacher will most likely be on the audition panel. 

A few other resources to take advantage of are, “day in the life of a … student,” videos on youtube, and current students’ social media pages. You can usually find current students’ practice routines, concerts, recitals, and information on what going to a certain school is like. 

9). Be organized. 

Senior year will put a lot of demands and expectations on you, both academically and in your art. Staying organized can be the glue that holds everything together. For academics, investing in a planner or wall calendar can help you keep track of everything. For your art, organizing your time and planning out when and what you will practice is important in order to get things done. For the college process specifically, it is imperative that you have some sort of organization technique for due dates, required paperwork, audition repertoire, notes for each school, etc. For me, I kept a live google document with a list of all of my schools and notes for each, like teacher preferences, audition dates/locations, etc. 

10). Be confident in yourself. 

In the end, going to college should and will be a fun, exciting experience. But to get into your dream school, you can’t only rely on luck. Almost no one gets into top schools without hardwork. My last tip is to be confident in yourself. You are unique, talented, and colleges will want you. Don’t downplay anything in interviews, auditions, resumes, or your essay. And don’t be afraid of the odds, there is no harm in applying to a school even if you don’t think you would get in. 

Feel free to ask me or any senior questions, and even about the school we attend next year. A special thanks to senior instrumentalists Sofia Scherer, Leah Vey, and Avagail Hulbert for their tips.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at

Why Choosing the Right College Can Be Difficult

Archive, Opinion, School Year 2021-22

By: Moonasia Williams

Deciding on the right college can take some people a day to decide while others months. This can really impact the students in a variety of ways. So in this article I’m going to give you some advice on choosing the right school for you, regardless of the situation you are in right now. 


When choosing the right school we can start by thinking about “What do we want to do?” Do we want to be a doctor, a dancer, or a veterinarian? Picking something that you are passionate about can really help you in choosing the right school for you. Even if you don’t know what you want to do at this moment, that’s fine. Some students who apply for college pick ‘undecided’ if they don’t know what they want to do. Picking undecided can be a great gateway for  opportunities as you discover your interests and passions.


If you go to college, you may stay on campus and if you do, you might want to get things you could get in your hometown. Pick the right school that has stores, restaurants and other establishments that you think you will need in your life. If you get your nails done every two weeks, find a college that has a nail salon in the town or city. You want to be comfortable and enjoy your time in college, so pick where you want to go for your leisure and or fun. 


When choosing the right college, the environment is a big factor in your decision. Do you want to live in a city or the countryside? Do you want shopping centers around you or small hometown stores? Picking the right environment for yourself is important because you don’t want to be in an environment in which you feel uncomfortable. Pick the environment that you believe will make you feel comfortable no matter what. 

In conclusion, choosing the right school can take you time. But regardless of the school you choose, have fun and believe in yourself because you are going to do something great.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at

Care About The Climate

Archive, Opinion, School News, School Year 2021-22

By: Tessa Lake-Goldstein

Over recent years we’ve seen a rise in abnormalities surrounding our environment and current climate. These subtle temperature changes cascade into dramatic changes in our weather patterns, which directly affect the atmosphere we surround ourselves in.

 Scientists have been worried about the implications of global warming for years. But, when those human-induced changes finally catch up with us, it adds a sense of urgency and realism to the otherwise prophetic ideology.

 This specific thought process has entered the minds of thousands of humans, in the 2021-2022 winter months. In fact, 6 in 10 U.S adults say they are worried about climate change, leaving the majority of individuals grieving the loss of a worldwide effort to inflict change. 

Specifically, looking at this most recent winter in America has shown how common occurrences are actually a red flag for our future. The sharp ideological divide in our constantly polarized society contributes to a gridlocked stance on action for change.

 Pew Research Center says, “While 67% of conservatives in the U.S. say the country is doing a good job, only 26% of liberals agree.” If we cannot create a unified opinion on the future of Earth, we cannot enact the change and initiative we need to explain the extreme weather in recent months. 

There are things like the Paris Climate Accord, a committee put in place to help hinder the consequences of rising carbon emissions, excessive fossil fuel usage, melting ice caps, etc. However, it’s seen as a political movement rather than a universal movement for the betterment of Earth and her health. 

The Pew Research Center also said, “Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say the opposite: that international action to address climate change will mostly harm the domestic economy (63% vs. 11%, respectively).” Emphasizing the idea that political parties divided based on climate change negatively affects the real-world conditions we live in. 

“U.S. average temperature has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F”, leaving a .5 margin for growth in temperature due to human inflicted reactions. The average rate of increase has doubled in the past 20 years, causing the dramatic contrast between 48 degree winter weeks and 19 degree winter weeks. We saw a period of time in December when temperatures didn’t dip below 60 degrees. 

All of this is due to the warming winter effects of climate change. The Washington Post said, “From 1952 to 2011, winter shrank by at least 2.1 days per decade on average.” Despite what our avid groundhog predictor Phil says, winter is not lasting for three more weeks, rather getting progressively shorter! 

The surprisingly warm temperatures are due to this idea of false springs, when global temperature increases in short bouts, causing organisms to mistake their environment for livable temperatures, only to be killed later when those warm temperatures recede. 

Remember when Texas, of all places, fell victim to an intense snow storm? That was due to climate change! Polar air spilled South, unable to use their natural resources like ice caps to trap the colder molecules. That evidently spread to states like Texas, causing detrimental damage to places not equipped to handle these extremes. 

Climate change is a real and pressing issue evident in every part of the world. It is our responsibility to enact change and put forth efforts to consciously hinder the effects we inflicted.

To contact this writer, email Muse Newspaper at