Isabel Barragan is a Pasadena Conservatory of Music alumna and LAYGO member. She studied at PCM for four years with Connie Sheu and is now a freshman guitar major at California State University, Fullerton, studying with Martha Masters.
Connie Sheu: How has your experience been so far as a music major at CSUF? What have been the most challenging things, and what have been the most fulfilling and positive?
Isabel Barragan: I really enjoy being a music major at CSUF. It’s a very welcoming environment and all the guitarists in the department are great people. They’re all very helpful, encouraging, and have made the transition from high school to college much easier.
The most challenging and fulfilling thing for me has definitely been completing my music theory and musicianship courses. Identifying intervals by ear, sight singing, and melodic dictation are all things I had less experience with — it felt amazing to be able to overcome all my self-doubt.
CS: Did PCM prepare you for life as a guitar major?
IB: PCM especially prepared me for the performance aspect of being a guitar major. I was able to overcome stage fright at a young age and learn how to continue performing despite hiccups.
Also, PCM prepared me for juries! When the fall semester was coming to an end, every freshman I knew was stressing out about juries. The majority of the students had not experienced them before and had no idea what to expect. My familiarity with juries caused me to go into them much more relaxed and confident than I would have otherwise.
CS: What are your favorite things about college so far? What do you miss about high school?
IB: I love the independence. Being able to pick the times I attend school and which days I have off makes my work schedule much easier to manage.
I like that I’m being challenged in my courses and learning new things.
I miss how small my high school was compared to CSUF. I am definitely more of an introvert, so the size of the school and the amount of people I am surrounded by can get a bit overwhelming at times.
CS: What do you dream that you’ll do after college?
IB: I want to become a professional performer. However, I also have a passion for teaching. I would be happy with either profession!