Thoughts about Berit going to music school

First, let it be said that going to formal school for 9th grade and the rest of high school is Berit’s decision.  She is led to play the harp and she feels that her life’s work centers on both playing the instrument professionally and in teaching children to play the harp as well.  She applied to a school with roughly 1200 applicants for 100 spots in the incoming 9th grade class, and was accepted.  She plans going on to study at Curtis Institute of music in Philadelphia after high school.  Its a good plan, and we support her in following her leadings.

It s a public school, and we will have to pay a little tuition because we live outside its district.  The kids spend half the day in academics and the other half in music study.  She will have much longer days than she was used to having at home, and plenty of homework besides what she does during the school day.  I have my worries about that, but Berit feels up to the challenge and she wants to do it so much that I am shelving my concerns.  They center on my belief that stress is not a very healthy thing for kids, but – I am reminded – she is 14 and embarking on this adventure of her own volition.  I’m happy to move into a support role for her, but it is with some trepidation that I do it.

She won’t have a built in quiet time for reflection and worship each day.  She will be outside the guarded education of home.  On to being herself in the world, trying out one of her options for life.  I am so deeply proud of Berit.  I admire her sense of direction, her faith in her ability to do what is necessary to reach her goals.



  1. Ganeida said,

    July 28, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    You have obviously done a wonderful job training Berit. I am madly envious. I love the harp but have no ear & cannot play at all. Congratulations.

  2. Peter said,

    August 24, 2009 at 5:18 am

    I am actually going off to music school in about 2 weeks. I play classical guitar. Please let it be known to her that this is a serious thing. This is not like going off and choosing any profession. She has to be dedicated to nothing at all more than her harp, and by more dedicated I’m saying that she shouldn’t do anything more than her practice,besides sleep(and i’m pushing 8 hours practice/7.5 sleep haha). That dedication has to be unwavering because there’s no going back! She has to be ready for ALOT of sacrifices. I mean, sacrificing everything… sometimes it hanging out with friends, sometimes it’s losing friends, sometimes it’s not hanging out with parents. And then the sacrifices down the road such as having a family, finances, etc.
    If she wants to get into curtis, going to an exclusive preparatory ISN’T going to be enough. You need to do recitals, get reviewed, do every kind of technical examination you can do. Be EXTREMELY prepared for a denial. I cannot emphasize this enough. Believe me, I wanted to study in vienna, I absolutely nailed every part of the audition, had an impeccable resume as it came to recitals and still it wasn’t enough. I ended up in Boston which, at the time of my denial, seemed like such a denigration. If you can, seriously consider sending her to a masterclass or private lesson with someone seriously amazing and famous and play as good as she can and try to get a reference from them.

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