Pursuing the Arts Beyond High School

Taking a look around, you begin to see how much art and music plays a role in everyday life. Fellow peers are plugged into their phones; music plays in the field house as students carry out their gym class routine. Walking through the hallways you see murals placed throughout the school, and in the library there are even more student-created pictures decorating the walls. Music and art are constantly contributing to everyday experiences that many people may take for granted.

Their role, however, stretches beyond just providing entertainment as multiple studies at Stanford University, Northwestern University, and the University of South Carolina have shown. According to their research, being involved in music and art can enhance memorization skills and the ability to process and organize information faster.

Some of Glenbard West’s own seniors have decided to move forward with their talents and follow a career path either in music, drama, or art. Here are four seniors’ written responses about their college decision.

Andrew Scheller

Major: Music Education

Why did you choose to major in Music Education?

I have wanted to major in music because I feel like I have a talent for it and love it at the same time. The education route in music will provide me with the opportunity to teach and possibly become a director of some sorts, but also be able to continue to perform.

What is the most important thing to you about the arts?

The most important thing to me about the arts is its difference from other classes/career paths. By this I mean that most of the other classes I take and most of the subjects my friends are majoring in are strict, book-oriented, and task-based whereas the arts are a great escape from the pressures of schoolwork.

What would you recommend to other students interested in pursuing the arts as a career?

For someone planning to major in the performing arts, I would recommend involving yourself in as many performing groups/opportunities as possible. Practicing on your own is obviously necessary, but I have found that I have grown the most through playing in groups that push me by surrounding me with top-flight musicians and allow me the chance to pick up on tendencies and techniques that I would not have thought of on my own.

Ori Harris

Major: Acting

How has Glenbard West’s Arts Department influenced you throughout your high school career?

West Theatre helped by providing a safe place to experiment and learn from peers and directors as well as by opening doors into things like theatre institutes and professional auditions.

What do you do by yourself to hone your skills?

Just observing can be extremely helpful. Whether it’s taking mental notes on physical ticks someone might have or just keeping tabs on how certain situations make me feel emotionally, it all ends up leading to more truthful performances.

What advice do you have for anyone interested in majoring in acting?

Check your college’s monologue and/or song requirements. Meet with professors at the school beforehand if you can so they already know you when you come in for the audition.

Jacob Johanson

Major: Graphic Design

Why did you choose to major in Graphic Design?

I have always been interested in visual arts in multiple mediums, but I think that graphic design is very applicable in the real world today and is an intersection between a lot of the mediums I am interested in.

What is the most important thing to you about the arts?

Just the power to create and the power to move someone with that which you create. Art is a form of communication and when words don’t communicate what you are trying to say that’s where music and art come into the picture.

What would you recommend to other students interested in pursuing the arts as a career?

If this is what you love to do and you have a passion for it then do it. Go for it. Make it what you do every day for the rest of your life. You won’t work a day in your lifetime if everyday you are doing what you love. Don’t let anyone discourage you from majoring in art because they don’t think there is a job market for you because if they didn’t have people like you then their lives would surely not be the same.

Ellen Maloney

Major: Violin Performance

How did you decide on your college of choice?

When choosing a music school, the most important aspect is the instrumental professor you would be working with continuously for four years. At the Jacobs School of Music, I found the perfect teacher that would be able to enhance my violin abilities significantly. Additionally, this school is one of the top music schools in the country, and it would be an honor to study there for my undergraduate degree.

What is the most important thing to you about the arts?

The arts have a way of expressing emotion that can connect to both the artist and the audience. They can be appreciated through both their beauty and their emotional impact and can relate to an infinite number of topics.

What advice do you have for anyone deciding on a major?

If you happen to already know exactly what subject you would like to pursue in the future—whether it be a realm within music, science, English, etc—learn as much as you can about it now. Talk to your teachers or parents about your ambitions, and find a group of friends that encourage you to reach your goals.