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Mindfulness and preparation are central to Meli’s mindset concerning the study of music. A freshman at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, she studies Clarinet Performance and has found a new interest in the exploration of work with Music Technology.

One of the highlights of her time so far has been time spent with the clarinet studio at SCFM. She notes that not many studios get the chance to collaborate with each other, as most are treated like masterclasses. But, she was happy to participate in their clarinet choir, where she was able to play and connect with the other clarinetists in addition to having opportunities similar to the standard masterclass setting.

When it comes to community, Meli has been active in creating a space for Hispanic students at the conservatory to connect. She shares that moving to San Francisco was a bit of a culture shock at first, especially coming from the South Side of Chicago where she grew up among a diverse population with mainly Hispanic people at her school. In creating this club in the conservatory, she was able to establish a web of support for herself and other students to feel seen in the spaces they occupy. Meli also finds joy in exploring her new home in San Francisco and notes that walking has been much better than driving when it comes to seeing the city.

Along with Meli’s traditional conservatory classes, she is taking a unique course that combines her interests titled “Gender, Class, and Audio.” This class is outside of the conservatory and is a classroom full of people from different backgrounds.

When asked about college generally, she says, “It’s hard because it’s new to me, but that’s college – it’s a challenge.” She has been creative with her organization to keep balance in a busy life. Meli says that she sometimes misses practicing when on certain days she has too full of a schedule to get in all of the practice she would like. She is in multiple ensembles and has lots of lesson repertoire to practice as well. With a google calendar and an hour-by-hour schedule she says, “It’s easy to discipline yourself.”

Meli’s playlist is varied, with K-Pop and classical hits living side by side in her library. She enjoys exploring the hundreds of genres one can find on Spotify, but still notes Debussy as being her favorite composer of classical music.

Meli shared advice for CMPI students, advising that it is important to find a good musical role model so that you don’t feel lonely in your journey. Find someone who is in a similar career path to look up to. She also emphasizes the importance of having a great pre-performance routine. “Start to think about it. You’re going to practice and perform much more in college. You’ll push your skills in performance anxiety management really far. Know yourself as a musician. Think of practice differently, not that you have to practice, but that practice can help you grow and play well. Mindfulness!”


Top: Melissa Everson

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