by Evelina Flodin, student at Stockholm University
I was seven when I started taking lessons at my local music school. I’d been to this open house that my parents dragged me along to, much against my will, but my objections didn’t matter. They wanted me to go, so I went. Once there they managed to get me to try the clarinet, and the guitar (a tad easier since I knew the teacher), but my interest was zero. But when we went to another room, and I tried the instrument there, my heart stopped. This was it. At seven, I knew that this was my instrument. The recorder.
I kept on playing and practising, all through compulsory school. Then came that choice –– the choice that, at the time, felt like it would decide my entire future. The dreaded upper secondary school, which in Sweden feels like the most important decision you’ll ever have to make (that is, of course, until you have to decide what to do with your life after you’ve completed that stage in the Swedish educational system). I wasn’t really sure of what to do, so I did the best I could with what I had. I knew I loved music, so why not pursue that and see where it went? That’s how I ended up at a music high school. There weren’t many music schools that offered high-quality education for a recorder player, so it was a natural choice.
Well into my second year I was a hundred percent sure that I was going to pursue music full-time. I researched possible music schools, prepared for auditions, and so on. But in my third year, when all that was meant to come true, I changed my mind. Luckily I’d had a back up plan stored in the back of my mind for a while, something I knew I wanted to do if I wasn’t to pursue a career in music.
So, now I’m a full-time student at Stockholm University, studying to become a teacher in History and English. Choosing these subjects wasn’t a very difficult task, they’re subjects that I enjoy and always have done quite well in. It was an easy decision, much easier than deciding to leave music behind.
I’m still in the mode of going to a music school though, just a little bit. But it’s proven useful –– I’ve used my knowledge of music and incorporated it into some essays, and the responses I’ve gotten have been quite good. I’ve used my musical knowledge to, let’s say, ‘stand out’ from the crowd in these essays, and it’s made them a whole lot more fun to write. The only negative aspect of this is probably that I’m studying History, yet I’m thinking in music-historical periodisation –– which at times can be confusing.
It was quite the transition, to enter an environment almost completely devoid of musicians –– at least when it came to the people I ended up studying with. The way that the pace of studying increased, that, I could take, but I felt quite different whilst doodling chorals in my notebooks all the time. But to be positive: I do get to practice my teaching abilities whilst trying to explain musical terms and instruments to my non-musician friends. It’s always nice feeling like you’re capable of something.
I keep playing, though, of course. I could never stop. Outside of school I’m in a chamber orchestra, and otherwise I play for myself. Even though concerts are a thrill, I mostly take some alone-time with my instrument as a way of channelling whatever I’m feeling. Scales are brilliant for emptying your head and only focusing on your playing, and Chopin is an excellent way of releasing frustration when an exam is closing in!
The school was, as is commonly known amongst its students, like a second home –– and I honestly miss the school’s atmosphere and people (as well as its practice rooms). I participated in incredible concerts and played in ensembles with a bunch of talented musicians, and it honestly was, over all, a blast. The Junior Academy let me express my love for music and play in so many venues, and I don’t regret a second of it.
What is important to know is that even though you give it all you’ve got, it’s not all wasted if you don’t end up at KMH or another music school. You can give music your all, and still receive everything possible from it. I’ve grown as a person, which is cliché I know (forgive me), from my experiences these last couple of years before deciding to become a teacher, and I’ll keep this knowledge with me for at least a couple of decades.
“Music can change the world”. It’s changed my world at least, for sure. Ever since I started playing I’ve always had something to support me, and back me up when things got rough. By playing and composing, I’ve seen a development in myself, that I myself almost can’t believe. The Junior Academy has been a great part of that development, and for that I want to give my thanks, and my deepest gratitude.