Saturday, June 16, 2012

Music is my Heart

I want to tell you something that has nothing to do with Lolita, but everything with my life. I am so happy and excited and honoured about it that I just want to share it with all of you. I always have trouble to talk or write about things I did that make me proud, but I’ll do my best. So this post is very personal and very long.

As long as I can remember, singing has been my passion. Do you know the song ‘Thank you for the music’ from ABBA? The sentences ‘Mother says I was a dancer before I could walk. She says I began to sing long before I could talk’ really apply to me, as my mother always says. I sing all the time and everywhere. I never really had a particular style I preferred, I basically liked to sing anything.
For a long time I have wanted to become a singer when I grew up. Of course I also wanted to be a fairy and a dolphin trainer, but I think singing has always been there. My mother’s side of the family is really musical.  One of my grandfather’s brothers is even a famous concert pianist!

For years I have wanted to go to the conservatory. Since I have experienced not everyone knows what that is, I’ll explain shortly: according to Wikipedia, conservatory, or music school, refers to an educational institution specialized in the study, training and research of music. Well, that’s basically what it is, but I’ll clarify it a bit more. Here, a conservatory comes after high school, so I guess it’s sort off like college. Here in my country we have multiple conservatories, about nine. There are the four big ones, in the cities Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht, and the lesser big ones. To get accepted into a conservatory, you have to audition for a commission of your instrument of choice and you also have to do a music theory test.

Ok, so that’s it for the theoretical part. Back to my story.
For years I had wanted singing lessons, but many people told us it’s better to start taking singing lessons when you’re at least 16. The voice is a delicate instrument and it keeps on growing up until past your twenties, so you have to be careful with it! In the meantime, we visited an open house of the pop music department of the conservatory of Amsterdam. That day was a big disappointment: it totally wasn’t what I had expected. The dream of going there faded a little to the background. Nevertheless, I wanted singing lessons, so when I finally turned 16, we went looking for a singing teacher! We had looked before a little, but without succes. But in my city we have a great music- and art school, so when they were having open house, my mom and I decided to go take a look.
Wow, was I disappointed again. We went to the teacher who was giving pop music singing lessons and it was so not what we had expected! He was teaching a woman who was singing a song completely unfit for her voice and abilities and he was just cheering and saying how great she did. I was really sad, because he seemed the only pop music singing teacher. My mom and I walked around a little dazed, not really knowing what to do, when we suddenly walked past a classrom that said ‘classical singing’. Except for a woman, the teacher, no one was inside, and my mom said to go inside for a moment. Now I know many singers have a classical base, but I felt a bit hesitant at first. Classical singing? Wasn’t that like… opera?

Going into that classroom changed my whole life. If you believe in destiny, this could prove you’re right. Hadn’t we gone inside, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

We went inside, where we started talking to the teacher and she asked if I wanted to do some singing exercises. I was so shy, but I did it anyway. After that, one of the teacher’s students came in and sang something for us and I… I was captivated. I realised this was what I had been looking for all this time. After the student had left, the teacher (her name is Els) told me she would love to teach me and I felt really honoured.
So when we returned home, we immediately registered for classical singing lessons.

My lessons began after summervacation and I quickly started taking piano lessons too, after recommendation from Els (which was really cool, because now we have a piano downstairs ‘cause of that). After a couple of months, I had my first performance. I remember the songs I sang: three Bergerettes, French songs, called ‘Par un matin’, ‘Que ne suis-je la fougère’ and ‘Menuet d’Exaudet’. I was really nervous: my first classical songs performing while a pianist accompanied me. This was all so new for me! But I sang very well and my grandfather was sooo moved and happy about my improvements! My grandma love dit too, especially the way I was dressed and the way I thanked the pianist after.
During that year, Els told me I had a really special talent. Maybe I would be good enough for the conservatory! Suddenly, the dream of going there was awakened again. Els wanted me to audition for the Talentclass, where a teacher of the conservatories of Amsterdam and The Hague would listen to me too. I got accepted into the Talentclass and the teacher was impressed by my talent. The Talentclass prepares you for conservatory auditions, so I got the opportunities to perform more and also have theorie lessons.
Once I graduated from high school, my life changed a lot. Because of big budget cuts by my country’s government, the art schools (and other culture-related things like theatres) got into trouble, resulting into various new rules for new students. One of them being that you cannot follow a different study somewhere else while auditioning. I can’t really explain why: maybe because they’re afraid you won’t finish your music study or something. Anyway, this resulted into the fact that after my graduation I couldn’t start a study. So I decided to focus on singing, piano and music theory (later also some acting). I also found a job, so I had a busy life. Initially, I wanted to learn some Italian too for pronunciation, but I quickly put that aside.

In the meantime, I went to Tokyo, which was a very wonderful experience. ^^
After that, I started to register for auditions on the four big conservatories. Oh dear, thinking back… I won’t bother you with the stories of how difficult it was to get through all the procedures. XD Let’s say, it was complicated and repetitive at times and a lot of work.
I visited some open houses and also sang for some teachers, so they would get to know me. Most of the time I felt like I made a good impression. ^^
Now this may sound like those auditions we’re going to be a piece of cake, but I can tell you: the opposite is true. The conservatories in my country are worldwide known for their qualities and people from all over the world try to get in, expecially at Amsterdam and The Hague (they are the biggest and most prestigious ones). The big problem with foreign students is that they are actually allowed to have finished a (musical) study already, unlike the natives here, which gives us a disadvantage. Secondly, the schools get money for their foreign students. So foreign students are wanted.
Another problem is that, because of the budget cuts, there are fewer spots for new students. So getting into a conservatory is really hard nowadays. Knowing this, I still wanted to try to get in.

On april 11th I had my first audition, at the conservatory of Amsterdam. I knew both Amsterdam and The Hague were the hardest to get in, so I braced myself. I was nervous, but after practising a little with the pianist and talking to some other people (including a really nice guy with coloured hair, who waited until I had had my audition) I felt better. I sang an Italian aria and a German song and the commission didn’t debate for long.
I got rejected.
I was devastated. I knew the chances were small, but rejection is terrible nonetheless. Looking back at it now, I know I didn’t sing so great. I was really nervous and now I see it as my final rehearsal for the other auditions.

On may 23rd I had my second audition, at the conservatory of Rotterdam. Rotterdam was important to me, because I really wanted to study there with one of the teachers I really liked. This audition day was different: in Amsterdam I only had to sing, here I had to do a music theory test in the morning. The singing was in the afternoon.
Although I was prepared, something terrible happened. The theory test was only ear training and I thought there would be a written test too. Somehow this caused me to panic so much (I am insecure when it comes to ear training) that I got a major black out – pun not intended. I screwed up big time! My mom tried to convinde that it was not so bad though, which was very sweet. ♥
After the test, my mom and I went to have lunch and we walked around the city for a while. When we got back and arrived in the hallway where the classroom for the audition was, all the singers we had talked to were still sitting there, waiting for their audition (it was supposed to start at 1 pm, it was 2:30 pm). I was the very last one, so I had to wait for quite a while.
While some got accepted, some rejected, I waited. I was nervous, but I think my mom was even more nervous than me! It helped a little, haha! Then it was finally my turn! First I had to choose a song I wanted to start with (‘Voi che sapete’ from Mozart from Le nozze di Figaro, my favourite aria) and then they chose one.
I don’t know what happened inside, but I can tell you: it was magic! As my mom said, I got wings. I sang so great and I normally don’t say something like that about myself! I also had to recite a poem, which went really great as well!
While I waited in the hallway, they debated about me. Waiting took forever, but I was finally allowed to go in again. There they told me they wanted me for my singing! But unfortunately, my music theory wasn’t good enough so they doubted. I immediately told them about my blackout, which made them think and they said they would talk about it with the management and they would inform me next week.
Even though my singing was good enough, I was so sad! I knew I had sung wonderfully and now my music theory, which has always been a bit of a hill to climb, ruined everything. I was so angry with myself for screwing up like that. So instead of celebrating in the train back, I could only cry.

We waited and waited, but the telephone didn’t ring. No emails either. It was like torture and I was so nervous during all those days…
Then, on may 31st I had my third audition, at the conservatory of Utrecht. Before I knew of Rotterdam, this was my favourite conservatory. It has a great atmosphere and it’s located in the middle of the city, which is so awesome!
Here too I had to do a theory test first and then I had to sing, but I was glad this theory test was in two parts: on paper and ear training. Because I had indicated I wanted to audition for the pre-year, the written test was really easy and I had no mistakes. Then the ear training: I had prepared so much for this test, even more than before! I didn’t want tos crew up again. But I did so well! I tried to keep down the nerves and the examinator told me when we were done he fully agreed on the theoretical field if I got accepted into the pre-year.
Then, after a while it was my turn to sing. They made me sing four songs: one I chose to start with (‘Voi che sapete’ again), two vocalises and one German song. Unfortunately not the song in my own language (which was really interesting to prepare). They thanked me and told me I would hear the result that night. So no party in the train again, but also no crying (haha). We walked around the city for a bit and returned home.

When we got there, my dad opened the door and said: ‘There’s an evelope from Codarts waiting for you on the table.’ Which meant Rotterdam’s decision had finally come! It was a big envelope. I was so afraid to open it! Eventually I managed to rip it open and started to read, when I suddenly saw it: I got accepted into the pre-year! I screamed, but I think my mom screamed even harder! I started to cry so hard, I couldn’t help it and my mom, dad and me hugged each other at the same time. My brother came downstairs because of all the noise we made, so I could hug him too. After I calmed down again, I started to call my family and friends to tell the good news. Of course everyone was really excited, because they knew how hard I had worked for this!
Suddenly, my mom said I had to check my email, because of my audition earlier that day. I opened my inbox and there it was: my email. I opened it, started to read and couldn’t help but scream again: I got accepted into Utrecht too! So again, I called family and friends and finally my singing teacher too, who didn’t know the good news at that moment.
I was so happy!!! Now I had the privilege to choose!

You may think the story has ended now, but it hasn’t. ^^

Even though I had been accepted into two conservatories, I still had my audition in The Hague. I could have canceled it, but since I learned so much from my previous auditions I wanted to do this one too. I never expected them to accept me, so I kept telling myself that so I wouldn’t be disappointed.
On June 5th, I had my fourth and last audition in The Hague. I had a music theory test in the morning, but this one was quite different. I had to do it with two other people: a boy who could sing really high and another girl. The test was really interesting: we had to learn a short melody, sing it in minor, sing it in canon, etc. After that we had a written test, which was quite doable. Then I had to wait for a while before I could sing.
After I had practised with the pianst we went downstairs to the hall where the room was for audition. The room itself was nice and fancy, but the hall was in the basement where all the percussionists were practising. Eventually is was my turn and I told myself: ‘No matter what they say, I got accepted already. I am good enough.’ and I entered.
I sang my songs (‘Voi che sapete’, again XD, and two others) and recited my poem. I also had to sing a prima vista (‘at first sight’, so singing something you have never seen and sung before). I’m not very good at that yet, but I tried my best. There were so many people at this audition! Six or seven I believe.
They went to debate and meanwhile I filled in a form about the school. Then I could come back.
The first thing they said was they didn’t accept me into the school. I expected that and kept on smiling. They gave me some compliments and they thought my poem was fantastic, but my voice seemed too young for someone of 21 years old. There, I realised they said something weird, but I waited for a moment. They also said they thougt 21 was a bit too old for the pre-year, after which I asked: ‘I’m sorry, but… Do you think I am 21?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I am 19.’ After which they quickly flipped trough their forms and realised they had calculated wrong. Which changed everything! Now they did accept me, if the pre-year had enough finances! I was really speechless, I just… wow! The Hague, the most prestigious and hard-to-get-in conservatory, had accepted me into their school! I walked out of the room and I could barely tell my mom what had happened. I was so happily surprised! Now we finally had our party on the train! Now I had three choices, unbelievable!
Now, I still can’t believe it…

So, this is my story of how I tried to follow my dreams and succeeded, although it actually just started. Music is my biggest passion. My body, my soul, my heart. And now I get the chance to go further. I wonder where this road will take me and I can’t wait to begin walking this new path. It’s scary to leave behind everything I kow and step into a new, musical world where everything will be different. It’s like I’m starting all over again. I’ll continue to live with my parents for a while: the pre-year lessons are only once or twice a week. But it will be strange nonetheless. I am nervous, but excited as well!

Wish me luck!


  1. What a great story, I can't wait to hear what will happen next :)
    I wish you all the best and hope your dreams will come true :)

    1. I'm glad you liked it! I was afraid it would be too long. ^^'
      Thank you so much for your support! <3 I'm nervous, but also really excited~!

  2. That is a really really lovely story, and I am very happy for you! ^_^ Last time you wrote about this you had two choices, which I thought was awesome, and now you have a third one! Congratulations - both on succeeding as well as daring to try out that third time!


    /Emili (umekyuuri)

    1. Haha, and it became three choices! I really feel like I have a first world problem. XD 'Oh dear, what school to choose?'
      Thank you so muuuuuch! <3

  3. I loved hearing about this! I didn't even know you could sing! I would love to hear you sing. This was a beautiful writing and full of so much information and full of your personality as well. I just really enjoyed learning more about you. :D

    1. Haha, maybe I'll post a video one day. Very maybe. XD
      I'm really happy you liked my post! ^^ I was afraid it would be too much, but I got so many wonderful responses, so I'm glad I posted it! <3

  4. you are amazing sweetie! ^^ I am so happy that you are so talented and wonderful, being able to follow your dream like this ! :D

    1. Thank you so much, Frilly~! <3 Thank you for always supporting me! I always feel like we could be good friends in real life (and not just on the internet. <3)

  5. It is so exciting following dreams! Never do something someone else wants you to do!
    Because of your hard work and the tears, everything will be more worth it! <3
    I am proud and happy for you!! Which school will you choose?? So many! hehe!

    PS: when I was a little baby, I hummed and sang myself to sleep. haha! music is something special to humans. You are blessed to help provide the world with your voice! <3

    1. Thank you so much for always supporting me Sydney! <3 I don't know much more to say... T_T

  6. Oh, I wish you all the luck in the world!
    Your story is such a lovely one, and I nearly cried when I read about your joy of being accepted every time.
    I'm really, really looking forward to your sequel!
    Bronwen ♥

    1. Thank you so muuuuch! <3
      Awww, you did? That's so sweet! <3
      Haha, me too!

  7. Wow, congrats! I'm really happy for you!
    So a pre-year is something that prepares you for the real thing? Will you still have to go to auditions after that?
    I would love to be able to hear you sing, but I know that's probably asking too much, putting a video of yourself out there singing... Still, if you want to do that one day, it would make me happy :) I love hearing talented people sing (especially in German, my native language. Which song did you sing in German?)

    1. Thank you! :D
      Yes, the pre-year is like you said, kind of a year that prepares you for the first year. It doesn't sound like much, but it's still hard to get in. To me, it's the same as getting accepted into the first year, haha.
      I believe you do a performance every year (like an audition) to get to the next year.
      Haha, maybe I'll put up a video some day! The thing with classical music is is that there are even more critics on the internet that have an opinion about you. XD They're often even harsher. So I'm a bit scared of posting something classical. But who knows..?
      I love to sing in German! For my auditions I sang either Waldeinsamkeit from Max Reger (not very wellknown) or Seit ich ihn gesehen from Robert Schumann. I've sung German songs before, I really love the language! ^^

  8. Wow, I really loved reading this. I am so very happy for you, and you are such an inspiration!<3 I used to go to a music high school, but I only did one year. There I had to take singing lessons too, and even though I was sceptic in the beginning too, I learned to love classical music. Although I loved singing, I don't have the talent, so I quit. But I hope that you will have fun and learn lots of new things at the conservatory! Btw, which one are you going too? Rotterdam? I wish you all the luck in the world, and maybe you could post a video of you singing one day ? I would love to hear that ;P

    1. You did? Oh I'm so glad!
      Haha, classical music can really enlighten people. ^^
      I'm still comparing all the pros and cons and there are many. -_- Haha!
      Thank you so much for your support~! And maybe one day..! ^^

  9. Congratulations! I am classically trained too, Voi Che Sapete is my favorite aria to sing!

    1. Thank you! ^^
      Oh that's so cool! I'd love to hear you sing it!
      I really hope I can sing it in an actual opera some day! Although I'm supposed to be soprano, not mezzo. But who knows..? ^^

  10. I'm so happy for you that you got accepted in three of the best conservatories~! Have you already decided which one you'll take?
    I love classical music as well, I sing in a choir. I do miss singing solo though, and I'm actually considering trying to audition for the part-time program of the conservatory of The Hague next year...
    So if you're going there, perhaps we'll meet ^^

    I wish you all luck and joy in the world!

    1. Thank you~! <3 I'm still comparing all the pros and cons, which is quite hard. ^^'
      Oh that would be awesome! Good luck!

      Thank you so much!!!

  11. Oh wow, congratulations! It sounds like you deserve all the great things coming your way! :D I hope that whichever school you choose will be an amazing time for you! :D I'd love to hear you sing one time too! ^_^ <3

    1. Thank you so much! ^^ I really worked hard and I'm glad it paid off!
      Thank you for your support! <3 Maybe one day..?