PCM: Where are you right now and who are you with?
EL: Right now I’m living back at home with my family in La Canada Flintridge, CA. I was living near USC where I go to school and moved home as soon as my classes moved online.
PCM: How are you feeling and how have you adjusted to life at home?
EL: Life at home seems to provide a better quality of life for me than when I lived at school, which is an improvement! I’m eating three meals a day and being generously taken care of by my parents even during the weekdays. Adjusting to the pace of life was a challenge because I’m conditioned to a more relaxed lifestyle than when I am at school, and as a result, my work pace is slower than usual, despite having the same amount of schoolwork to accomplish. On the bright side, I have my own piano by my side to practice on – no more practicing on uprights or waiting for practice rooms during rush hour at Thornton’s University Gateway Practice Rooms!
PCM: What does a typical day look like for you right now?
EL: A typical day for me usually effectively starts after my first cup of coffee. My classes start at 10 AM on most days, giving me enough time to squeeze in a piano warmup before dashing to my room for an online class. I break between classes to water my beloved house plants and tend to my backyard garden. Taking advantage of the fact that I no longer need to spend time walking to class, I am able to weave my piano practice in between classes and meetings gaining an hour or so of practice time during the day. While I am currently in the thick of the semester wrapping up with final presentations, group projects, and research papers, my family and I always reserve 7-7:30 pm on weekdays for Jeopardy! (we recently watched USC make it to the finals in the College Championship).
PCM: In what ways (large and small) has the current situation impacted your lessons, practice schedule, and music education experience in general?
EL: I now pre-record repertoire for my lessons and studio classes and send them in advance to my professor for evaluation during those respective times. Recently my studio had a discussion about the process of recording and we concluded that the situation has provided us an interesting perspective on recording ourselves for educational purposes. However, it has also led to a bit of cognitive dissonance because while we recognize that lessons are for works-in-progress, we are also naturally inclined to constantly improve. So, we continue to record take after take until ultimately settling on usually the first or second run through.
PCM: What are you most looking forward to when everyone returns to campus? What, if anything, will you miss?
EL: I am looking forward to visible music-making again! Music is inherently a collaborative and social activity and while it can continue during social distancing, it is ultimately better together. 🙂