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Posted on Monday, December 14, 2015 - 14:58

Posted on May 20, 2014 by Chuong Vu
May 13, 2014.

A group of UNT College of Music faculty and students is visiting Vietnam between May 12-31 for some fantastic musical and cross-cultural adventures. We have been here for a few days now and are ready to start chronicling our daily experiences. The group includes Dean of the College of Music, Prof. James Scott, Associate Professor of Violin, Dr. Felix Olschofka, Assistant Director of Orchestral Studies, Dr. Clay Couturiaux, Artist Teacher of Viola, Dr. Daphne Gerling, and DMA candidates Dan Totan, cello and Chuong Vu, violin. We are especially grateful to Vu for organizing the trip.

May 13th marked the arrival of Vu, Dr. Couturiaux and Dan….who after more than 24 hours on the road found that they had no suitcases….and even worse, no cellos! This was thankfully sorted out over the next two days, and their instruments arrived safely!

May 14th, Dr. Gerling arrived with her husband, Dr. Coulter George, who is an associate professor of Classical Languages at the University of Virginia. Needless to say, he has been excited to learn some Vietnamese on this trip– a very different language than the Latin and Greek he teaches daily at UVa.

May 15th we were excited to have Dr. Olschofka and Melissa Sanderson join the group. We are all comfortably settled in our apartment-hotel, located centrally in Ho Chi Min City. In between rehearsals and jet-lag recovery we have all shared some terrific meals together! Luckily for us, Melissa and Coulter have been able to take lots of pictures of the main sights around the city, and they have been taking us around to catch up at the end of the day.

On Friday May 16th, Dr. Gerling taught a master class for pre-college violists and violinists at the Ho Chi Min City Conservatory. I hope to get some pictures of that up very soon! It was an exciting morning- arriving at the school, hearing the sounds of violins, trumpets, bassoon and even Vietnamese traditional flute being practiced throughout the hallways and stairwells. The students in the master class were so polite and very eager to learn. The played works by Stamitz, Max Bruch, Rieding and Hummel, and ranged in age from 13-17. Their teachers attended the classes and were very attentive. One beautiful thing to see was that all the students had immense respect for their teachers, bowing before they played, and observing traditional formality. However, it was clear that the atmosphere was very supportive, and when the students did well responding to my comments, they immediately were cheered and received a warm applause. The Vietnamese conservatory culture seems to blend a great balance between discipline and warmth. It was nice to see students greeted on the stairs by their teacher with a hug of congratulations for their performance. Everyone seemed so happy all morning, and it was an absolute pleasure to share in it with them.

As soon as we can, we will add pictures of our travels…so stay tuned!


Posted on Monday, December 14, 2015 - 14:57

Hey all –

This past week in Leeds has been quite interesting.

I signed up for an Astronomy class at the University of Leeds to fulfill a lab science requirement at UNT. I heard from a friend that Astronomy at UNT is a fun class, where you learn about the properties of the sun and stars, and get the chance to view them on telescopes. I signed up for the class at the UoL thinking it would be similar. When registering for the module, it had listed – Prerequisites, A Levels in Math and Physics. At the time, I didn’t know what A Levels were so I signed up anyways.

Fast forward three weeks into classes – I’m sitting in my astronomy lecture, and my professor asks the class to calculate the total flux of the sun and stars and I don’t even know what else. They all quickly pull out their graphing calculators and respond with the answer in less than 30 seconds. I don’t even have a calculator, let alone know how to plug in the numbers that my professor just told us. It was that day that I realized that the class was way above my head. I went to Jo Fairley, my music tutor at the University of Leeds (who, by the way, is incredibly helpful and kind) and she informed me that A Levels are something that UK students do in high school. They choose four subjects to do advanced study in, so the students in my astronomy class have had two years of advanced study in both Math and Physics, while I have only taken elementary statistics. With the help of UNT and the University of Leeds departments, I was able to change classes, but I write this to inform those who are studying abroad to make sure you research what different phrases like A Levels can mean so that you don’t end up having to switch classes three weeks into a semester. All is settled now and I can look forward to looking at the stars next semester when I’m back at UNT.

In other news, I went to Ilkley, a town close to Leeds and only costs 6 pounds by train and saw the beautiful English countryside. In the UK, you do more private study hours than in class lectures, so you have more time to travel.  Make the most of your time!

Jasmine

 

 


Posted on Monday, December 14, 2015 - 14:54

Hello again!

I arrived in Leeds after a week of traveling on Wednesday that 17th. Leeds is a beautiful city, very much like Denton in that it is a booming college town. I’ve been busy with orientations, getting moved in, and running errands, but it has all been fun and exciting. Everyone (students, teachers, tutors, orientation leaders, etc.) has been SO welcoming and helpful.

My first music orientation was yesterday, and my personal tutor, Jo Fairley, is a very sweet and kind lady. We took a tour of the music building and got to meet other music students from Leeds who just returned from their year abroad.

Classes start Monday, and I’ve had plenty of time to get prepared for them. I’ll be taking a Music History class focusing on the Judeo/Christian history, as well as lessons, orchestra, and a core discovery class.

I traveled to Paris and London for about a week before coming to Leeds, and I would highly recommend doing that for anyone wanting to go abroad. Being in the UK gives you a much better opportunity to travel to the other countries. So if you have the time and extra money (although the University of Leeds plans some fairly inexpensive trips, which is great), you should absolutely travel!

The last thing I’ll say is that culture shock is more prominent than I thought it would be. I think I assumed that since England speaks the same language as we do that culture shock wouldn’t be a thing, but I was quite wrong. There are big and little things that the British do differently, which can cause some culture-sickness as you try and figure out how to get things to work. Obviously the cars drive on the opposite side, but little things like getting the washer/dryer to work, getting around the city, etc., take a lot more time and effort than I planned. However, if you go about it with a learning attitude, you should be fine!

One last thing, I ended up getting private accommodation, which is cheaper (typically) than the university residence. I do like it, but it’s a bit old. If you get private accommodation, make sure that the Landlord is a recommended landlord by the University. Thankfully, mine is, but just check with the university. They should send you a link to it when you go.

Here are some pictures of my time in Paris, London, and now Leeds –

Until next time,

Jasmine

This is a park basically in the back yard of where I live.

The eiffel tower in Paris! Sorry, couldn’t figure out how to rotate it.

Windsor Castle, where the Queen lives, near London.

 

Hampton Court Palace, where King Henry VIII lived.

 

Buckingham Palace Royal Marching Band.

 

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

 

Walking down the long walk towards Windsor Castle


Posted on Monday, December 14, 2015 - 14:48

Hello! My name is Jasmine Daniele and I will be studying abroad at the University of Leeds, UK in the Fall of 2014.
Preparing to study abroad has been quite an endeavor. When I first arrived at UNT in 2011, I knew I wanted to study abroad in England, but the timing wasn’t quite right. This year I decided I wanted to pursue it. Applying and preparing to study abroad is not an easy process, but I’m fully expecting it to be rewarding.

For music majors it can be even more challenging because not all of the universities offer courses that can transfer back to UNT. Luckily, I was able to find a few I could take that could go towards my major. Becky King was extremely helpful in taking the time to go through each class with me and figuring out how to transfer it back to the states. If you are considering studying abroad, I would advise you to meet with her as soon as possible. Also, do a LOT of research about the university you want to go to and the classes you want to take. The more you know about your school, the easier and quicker it is to get there.

What has been the most frustrating thing for me is applying for the Visa. There are two types of visa’s, Tier 4 and the Student Visitor Visa. The Tier 4 allows you to work while you’re in the UK while the Student Visitor just allows you to .. well, visit. I’m applying for the Student Visitor, and it is frustrating only because the process is so strenuous. Don’t be discouraged, however, by anything that might take awhile or that takes a lot of effort. I know when I return from England I would go through the process all over again to have the experience.

If you are planning to live on campus, the university will provide you with information. If, however, you want to stay in an apartment you can look at – http://unipol.org.uk/home

This website is a great tool to finding an apartment. I’m not sure currently where I will be living, but I think my first choice would be in an apartment.

I think that is all for now and I will be posting more as I get close to leaving (September).


Posted on Monday, December 14, 2015 - 14:47

I am currently about half way through my term at leeds.  England has been beautiful and I have had many performance opportunities. I have performed with the local Symphonia,  a musical ‘Crazy for You’ and subbed for the Leeds Music college orchestra. I will give a final recital in leeds on the 17th of may and I am looking foreword to that! This has been a life changing chapter in my life.  I can not believe a had this opportunity.  I would defiantly recommend YES to going abroad.


Posted on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 16:46

Wow. Here I am sitting at home its crazy to think that my trip is over. Looking back, I could not have asked for anything more from my Exchange experience. Originally I was a little bit nervous and didn’t know what to expect. Having family in the city, I had been to Stockholm before, but I had never stayed longer than a few weeks, let alone on my own. But everything just seemed to work out great.

Right off the bat I made tons of great friends from all over the world who were also studying abroad in Sweden and living close to me.  We did things together a lot and now I have fellow musicians and friends to stay connected with from over 10 countries around the world. As soon as school started I knew it would be a great semester. First off, as classes began I started to see the way that they taught over there and really learn the Swedish style. I was excited because it is a very different style and way of learning from the schooling I am used to and it helped give me a new way to listen to music and think about what I play.

And the people I met were just wonderful. I made friends in Sweden that I will be sure to visit and stay in touch with forever. We jammed weekly and they showed me everything great about the city from the good bars and shopping areas to beautiful spots in the city and the best Jazz Clubs. As I started to know my way around I began to see more and more live music and amazing performances every week. It was phenomenal the inspiration I could go find on any given night. All different levels and styles all over the city. I am really going to miss Stockholm. It was amazing experience that I would never take back. The life long friends I made, the experiences I had, the things I saw, the music I heard and the knowledge I learned both musically and culturally could never be replaced. I never knew there was so much to see until I actually experienced it.


Posted on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 16:45

Everyone who told me about amazing things in Sweden said that one of the most beautiful times is Stockholm during Christmas. From the lit up gorgeous streets and decorations to the food and beautiful events that are put on this time of year the whole city is alive. And I must say, I was not disappointed in the least. It really crept up on me until one evening I was walking in the city and realized that 80% of the windows in every building had candles in them and it was gorgeous. Amazing seeing a normally dark apartment block in the city, now lit up by the faint illumination of a candle in every window, together providing warmth to the street. And the decorations were just beginning. As the 25th came closer, more and more Christmas markets, or “Julmarknad” in Swedish, began popping up all over the city. With all kinds of traditional Swedish Christmas food and hand crafted gifts, it was a wonderfully comfortable place to just go look around or do some Christmas shopping.

During the winter time, in the middle of the city in a park called Kungsträdgården they isolate an area around a large statue and have an outdoor ice skating ring! It is a very popular spot for people to go and spend a few hours in the winter. It is free for anyone with skates but since I didn’t have any, rentals there were still very affordable. I had never been skating outdoors before so when I went with a few friends, it was a new and very fun experience.

Wherever you go in Stockholm during the Christmas season you will find something great to do, but one of the most well known and wonderful things during this time of year in Sweden is the food and especially the Julbord.  Swedish Christmas food comes in a plethora of delicious varieties ranging from Swedish fish, meatballs and ham to all sorts of different baked cookies deserts and drinks. I fortunately had the pleasure of being treated to a real Swedish Julbord at a restaurant one evening and it was glorious. A Julbord is basically a large buffet style feast with all different kinds of foods traditionally served as a 7 course dinner with different drinks to go with each plate. Much of the time today people have less courses but if you follow the traditional 7, let me tell you, by the last plate you will feel as if you wont need to eat for days. But it is a wonder feeling.

This was the first time I had ever been to Sweden during the winter and Christmas time, but it definitely lived up to its expectations.

    


Posted on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 16:42

If you haven’t heard of the Ice Hotel of Sweden, I would say it is definitely something worth looking into. This amazing structure which is located in northern Sweden, is the largest and most luxurious hotel in the world completely made of Ice. Constructed of 31,000 tonnes of snow and ice from the Torne River, everything from the walls, doors and tables to the beds, glasses and chairs are all made of ice. This marvel is reconstructed every year and visited by over 50,000 people annually.

Unfortunately due to the expense and time I was in Sweden I was not able to visit the actual hotel…. BUT I was able to experience the next best thing and got to the Ice Bar in Stockholm which is organized by the same company. It is located in the middle of the city just a block down the street from the Jazz Club Fasching and is a popular spot. After paying an initial fee to get in, we were all given ponchos and a ticket for one Vodka drink. As we opened the heavy insulated door, the breaths in front of us turned to vapors and our cheeks were chilled. Everything was ice. The benches, the walls, the art and even the glasses we received our drinks in. It was a very cool place to be (no pun intended), and surprisingly we were not as cold as we expected. The only thing I wish was that they had given us better gloves, because our fingers were frozen. But over all it was definitely worth the trip. Now its time to go visit the full Hotel!!

 


Posted on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 16:40

I must stay that one of the only downfalls of doing a study broad for one semester is that right as you begin to put together a group of musicians that your really enjoy playing with and want to start giging, it’s pretty much time to go. It is crazy to think that my time here is almost done! I only have two and a half more weeks yet it feels like I just came!!! Never the less, this past Wednesday I had a gig with the quartet I put together in a small pub in Gamla Stan called Santa Clara. Together with Michael (the other student from UNT) and two Swedish students from our school on Guitar and Bass, we played a combination of standard tunes, and a few more modern less known ones. Many people came out to the gig, everywhere from general public and school students, to other exchange students and family. It was almost a packed house and with such a supportive crowd it made the environment for playing very fun. It was nice to finally get the chance to play outside of school and we got a great response from everyone that came! We even got some people who are not jazz fans to come out and they said they really enjoyed it so maybe they will be joining us on the dark side soon enough.

 


Posted on Friday, December 11, 2015 - 16:38

Last week was a very special week at KMH. 3 weeks out of the semester we have intensive weeks in school, where there is no classes and it is a time for students to work on the term projects or to prepare for the large concerts (such as the symphony orchestra or big band). Usually for first year and exchange students this week is very relaxing because if we are not playing in one of the large ensembles we are free all week, but this past intensive week was an extremely busy yet exciting week for all of the Jazz students. This week we had the special privilege of welcoming all the students from the monk institute to our school. The monk institute in a school in L.A. that takes in one full ensemble of masters or higher level jazz students every two years and they earn their degree under the guidance and mentorship of some of the largest names in jazz such as Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. These students are very high level musicians and were accompanied the whole week by the great Dick Oatts as their mentor. The week was spent having master classes, private lessons and ensembles with together under the guidance of the monk students. Each one of them had so much knowledge and information to share, it was a very inspiring week. Each evening ended in a pub and jam session at our school which gave us an extra chance just to hang out and get to know all of them personally. The week culminated in a great joint concert on Thursday night with the KMH Jazz orchestra and the monk students collaborating together in one evning. first the Jazz orchestra played a set, then the Monk Students played with their group and we finished up the evening  by combining our two groups together. All of the students and teachers from both of our schools really thought it was a successful week and this may be the start of a great school collaborating tradition. Over all, it was a very inspiring week, and I was very lucky to have had the chance to be here for this week and learn so much. Time to go practice!!

 

Posted on December 4, 2013 by Nils Mossblad

 


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