Evan’s Walden Story, YMP Student
Evan sums up Walden as “a small paradise that opens you up to a whole world.” Turning 15 in his first summer at Walden, he already loved music. At Walden, however, he learned more music, more ways to understand music, and more musicianship skills in 5 weeks than he learned in entire semesters elsewhere. Evan was surprised at the depth and intensity of the curriculum, finding it challenging and intense. A prevalent attitude in the classroom was the idea that he should explore what it is about music and composing that drove him to succeed as an artist. Walden faculty and peers helped him realize how important it is to develop an individual voice by putting your own humor, passions, and personality on display. He was thrilled to discover a love for Bach at Walden, as well as a love of nature through music that was completely new to him. His abilities as a pianist grew exponentially throughout the summer, so
much so that his mother immediately heard him playing songs he had never played before when he returned home. As for composing, Evan has gone from barely writing music at all to winning an award for a piece he wrote at Walden. Now, he can’t imagine a future in music without composing. After attending Walden, Evan also feels like he has lifelong friendships in the Walden community and a network of friends and professionals in the music world.
Juli Anna, Evan’s mom, believes Walden was life-changing for Evan. As a musician, the difference between Evan before and after Walden was like night and day. He seemed a year ahead after 5 weeks at Walden. She thinks it is important that students have the opportunity to disconnect from the outside world (specifically no phones or computers) and focus on their talents. With Walden’s 4 to 1 faculty to student ratio, kids have individual attention nearly every day. For her, that was a major advantage over programs she once considered comparable. The students feel safe and important because they’re encouraged by each other and their leaders. She loves the community activities and the extra interaction at meals and social events kids have with the faculty and artists. Juli Anna knows that all this and more had an extremely positive effect on Evan. He matured by leaps and bounds as a musician, but she is also thrilled with how calming and eye-opening it was for Evan personally.
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