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Global Studies... What does that actually mean?

Today I submitted an application for a gig over the summer, assuming the pandemic is over by then. ("Gig" is musicians' slang for an opportunity to perform)

Looking at my application, it occurred to me that the committee might wonder: Why was I balancing music, a highly competitive field, with Global Studies? And then: What exactly is Global Studies, and what do you get out of it?

I’ve addressed the first question in What about orchestra? and Frequently Asked Questions, so here's a look at the following two:

Global Studies is an undergraduate program in the History department at Carnegie Mellon. After 4 years, here are my takeaways:

  • A deeper awareness of & sensitivity towards diverse perspectives 

  • The opportunity to learn languages & to study abroad

  • Growth in my reading/writing/research skills

  • A sense that the world is more complex than I’ll ever understand — and, as a result, an attitude of wonder & humility

  • A belief in the urgency of creating art

Over the next few months, I’ll dive into each of these points, as well as interviewing my fellow Global Studies seniors to share their insights with you. 

From 2018, Santiago de Chile. From studying abroad over the summer, which means winter in South America.

And now a tangent....

I've been entertaining the idea of space itself as an instrument that musicians play.

I experienced this today, after recording myself and confronting the poor acoustics of my apartment.

Even after writing a post about inspiring myself to practice, my reluctance to practice here has persisted.

Much of my excitement to play flute comes from being able to fill certain spaces with my sound. I draw inspiration from spaces like an empty recital hall, or any space with exciting acoustics, even a practice room where I know, in the back of my head, that countless musicians before me have dedicated hours to their craft.

My apartment is not one of these spaces. It resists the production of musical sound, as if it wants nothing to do with musicians. (No worries, I know this has more to do with physics than the feelings of a room.)

I'll continue to practice here regardless, but for fun, here's a video of 3 different practice sessions to illustrate how space transforms my sound and my approach to playing:

1) Last summer, I was the closest to quitting music that I've ever been. After a shift at the writing center, I found Alumni Concert Hall empty, so I started practicing for fun, unearthing a piece I hadn’t played in two years (Karg-Elert’s Chaconne). In filling the hall with my sound and musical ideas, I rediscovered a joy that convinced me, independently of career choice, that I couldn't quit music.

2) A couple months ago, I found Kresge Theatre empty and spontaneously recorded what became my promotional video for Poems in Practice Rooms. (Yes, it is a goal to re-record this on a day when I’m not exhausted from a long shift at the bakery.)

3) Today, practicing the same music as the previous video (Katherine Hoover’s Winter Spirits), but less inspired by the space's feedback on my sound. (Feel free to laugh at what appears in the bottom right corner an apartment often means cramped quarters!)

How does space shape your approach to creating music, if it does? As ever, feel free to comment, direct message me, or share your thoughts on another platform.


Hello there! Thank you for taking the time to read and/or listen!

If you find the content on my blog meaningful, please consider supporting my work on Patreon.

That way, I can continue to create all of this for free, while balancing part-time jobs to pay rent & student loans :)

Thank you for considering! Take care. ~ Theresa

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