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SFCM Grads Share Their Best Advice for Incoming Students

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As we start a new school year, recent SFCM alumni share their advice to the music students of today.

August 28, 2023 by Mark Taylor

Daniela Gonzales Siu, '23 (Cello)
In my years at SFCM, besides being part of an incredible community, one piece of advice I’ve always tried to keep has been staying true to who I am as a person. I have found that with so much happening around you, you can easily get lost or confused, and the best thing you can do when moments like that happen, is stay true to yourself and know that whatever happens you’ve done your own part for your own growth, and know that you are never alone."

Daniela Gonzales Siu.

Daniela Gonzales Siu.

Aidan Siemann, '23 (RJAM) 
"Make sure to explore what San Francisco and the Bay Area have to offer. Not all learning can be done within the confines of a musical community like SFCM, and if you make an effort to search for things that inspire you outside of the school building, you will be surprised at how much amazing art exists here. A balance between focus on school and focus on exploration are essential to maintaining the motivation to improve, grow, and innovate as musicians."

Kyle Tingzon, ‘22  (Voice)
"Learning, mastering, and perfecting technique is absolutely necessary, but never forget that we ultimately serve the music and our audiences. Make bold artistic choices and integrate those in your practice. Work towards making our audiences feel something."

Christian Hales, ‘22 (Double Bass)
“If you want to be a performer, practice performing! Whether it's for schoolmates, your assigned teacher or any other faculty member, the greatest resource you have to help you get better is all the skilled musicians around you!”

Juan Samacá, ‘23, (Guitar)
"Try out the great food scenes in all the different neighborhoods of San Francisco, and specifically go to the Mission district for burritos, my personal favorite is Taqueria Cancún!"

Juan Samacá

Juan Samacá, ‘23.

Jaco Wong, ‘22 (Conducting) 
“Doing an internship is a great way to gain professional experience and connections, which may even lead to more after graduation!”

Abby Monroe, '21 (Cello)
"Make the most of your time here. Having the opportunity to learn from your professors and alongside your talented colleagues is an inspiring experience that shouldn't be taken for granted."

Abigail Monroe

Abby Monroe, '21.

Julia Pyke '22 (Flute)
"Jump in, ask for help, try new things, use your resources, do as much as you can!"

Taylor See, ‘23 (Voice)
"There are so many wonderful teachers here that helped me grow as an artist and a person. The diction, acting, language, theory, musicianship, history classes, etc. have shaped me into a better and more rounded musician and singer. Every student should take advantage of that, as well as the many performance opportunities, including several operas each year, musical theatre shows, and recitals to help you work on your stage presence, the ability to take direction and work well with colleagues.”

Natasha Frank, '23, (Technology and Applied Composition) 
“My advice would be to stay open to surprising yourself and see where your creativity takes you.”

Rose Crelli, '22 (Violin)
"Be creative and think outside of the box in terms of your career, there's so much more than teaching and performing, for example music therapy, music administration, management, etc, learn about promoting, marketing, contracting yourself as a business. You have the power to build your dream career yourself if you have the vision!"

Learn more about studying at SFCM.