Category Archives: UCSB Living

An Interesting Idea — Apprenticeship

I am always looking up my favorite performers, and checking out their schedules to see if they’ll be in Santa Barbara any time soon. Joshua Bell is really nice, he invited our violin studio to his concerts and posed for photos with us, like this one taken by our professor, Yuval Yaron.


I’d sell my soul to have Joshua Bell teach me in a master class at the Granada before a show, but he’s not someone with a lot of time. In fact the only way to get a lot of time with a first rate performer would be to follow in his or her footsteps as an apprentice.

Wouldn’t that be awesome to travel with Joshua Bell or Hilary Hahn? It would be even better if there were an apprentice program that allowed me to play in the back of the violins at each of their concerts.

Playing the violin is one thing, figuring out how to get around airports, concert halls, and rental cars is quite another. So I guess an apprentice would have to be old enough to drive, and maybe even 21, just in case we needed to go into a club.  In my imaginary apprenticeship, the apprentice would be between the first and second year of a master’s program and she would have auditioned for an apprenticeship with the artist. And there would be a very large stipend. A girl can dream. Let’s see, I’m a third year Bachelor of Music major, so that’s two years until I’m ready to go!

Rather than the artist having to actually figure out any logistics, their agencies could take care of all of the details. If all of the agencies did something like this, it would become an accepted thing in the music world. Symphonies would make space for the apprentices without ever even thinking about it.

The apprentice system might also solve one of the fundamental problems with having a first rate teacher who still performs all over the globe. I am lucky that my UCSB professors and ensemble coaches are very dedicated, but I have heard that at some universities, the big name artist that draws the students to the school are often unable to keep lesson appointments because they are traveling. With an apprentice system, you could get your lessons on the road.

Imagine being on a ride-along with Sarah Chang and her mythical beast, Chewie. Right now, Chewie has to stay at home while Sarah goes off to play, but in my imaginary world, he’s be traveling with us.

Who else would be fun? Rachel Barton Pine is cool, and maybe she’d bring an extra Stradivarius from her foundation for me to play on. Or she could get me up to speed on the electric violin. She played a 6-string viper in Earthen Grave, now sadly disbanded.


I’d also love to travel with Itzhak Perlman. He’s going to play in Los Angeles on January 24, 2017, and I really want to see that concert. He’s going to be at Disney Hall. Maybe I could even sneak backstage and mention that he might be way more popular with a cute little apprentice.

Future apprentice with her own cute little doggie.

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They Came to Play.

On Sunday morning, November 8th,  UCSB dorm residents and members of the Isla Vista community were treated to a remarkable concert.  Carillon students from UC Berkeley visited Storke Tower and played a recital program that sent the peal of carillon bells for miles in every direction.


There are two ways to listen to a carillon concert.  Up close, and not so close.  If you are, by some extreme of luck, able to go inside the tower, you will hear the machinations of the carillon as well as the music of the bells.  It reminds me of the ballet.  When you are on the stage, you hear the thunks, cluncks, and slides of 100 (or more) pounds of dancer hitting the floor again and again.  But if you are across the orchestra pit, a mere 50 or 100 feet away, you only hear the strings, the woodwinds, the brass, the percussion. In the tower, things can be noisy because the musician is banging  his or her fists on wood and although the chime of each individual bell spreads out as it leaves the tower, while inside the tower, the bells are loud and the echos are powerful.

UCSB’s Storke Tower sits in a lovely plaza with a reflecting pond.  There are wide stairs into the plaza, which is lower than the surrounding grounds, and on Sunday, there were several people lounging about on the stairs enjoying the concert and the day, which was perfect for bells. I listened from a cozy UCEN nook. Outside the plaza, and off campus, my roommates were also enjoying the concert.  The most wonderful thing about that heaviest of all musical instruments, is that you don’t go to the concert, the concert comes to you.

The four UC Berkeley musicians, Leslie Chan, Kunal Marwaha, Anders Lewis, and Felix Hu played a variety of selections, including my favorite, Londonderry Air, arranged by Sally Slade Warner.  I wasn’t able to record it, so the link is Stacey Yang playing similar version on the University of Sydney War Memorial Carillon. In fact, I found an unexpected number of carillon videos, and although I have midterms coming up I found time to watch more than a few.  My favorite was Jeff Le (class of 2008) playing the Harry Potter theme at the University of Rochester Hopeman Memorial Carillon.

I’m now more than a little interested in trying my hand at the carillon.  I haven’t had the good fortune of going up Storke Tower for a tour — every time my email tells me that a tour is offered, I’m too late to reserve a slot.  And of course, if you follow my posts here, you know I’m all about the post-concert reception cookies.  When you are at home and the carillon concert comes to you, you have to bake them yourself!

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