Summer for many high schoolers means a time to relax or work at a job. For Voorheesville High School student Rebecca Barron, it will mean more time to practice.
Barron, who is entering her senior year next fall, was accepted to study at the prestigious Boston University Tanglewood Institute in a summer music program for high school students. The application and audition process finds the best young musicians from across the world. This year, there are students from Europe, South America and Australia hoping to learn from distinguished professionals.
Barron said she heard about the program through the youth orchestra she plays in, so she researched it and thought it would be a good experience if she were accepted. She wasn’t certain she would get in, and was planning to do a little more work as a lifeguard this summer.
She won’t be blowing a whistle at any swimmers this year, focusing instead on her French horn.
“I was very excited,” Barron said, after finding out in April she would attend the program. “I wasn’t sure I was going to get in because it is a very competitive camp so I was very pleasantly surprised.”
Barron was accepted into the program’s French horn workshop, which had her studying before she even arrived in Lenox, Mass., last month.
Every student in the French horn workshop is instructed to spend “a considerable amount of time studying not only the individual parts, but also the complete orchestral scores” of Symphony No. 1 by Johannes Brahms, Symphony No. 4 by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Ein Heldenleben by Richard Strauss, Barron’s welcome letter states. Students also must prepare two solo works and “an etude or two.”
“I have been told there is a lot of really good staff there that will be nice to meet,” Barron said.
She has played the French horn ever since picking up the instrument in fifth grade for band because she thought it was a “really cool instrument,” which not only looked beautiful but also had a “lovely sound.”
It wasn’t the first instrument she ever played though, because she has been taking music lessons since the age of 3. In second grade, she started taking piano lessons and continues to play the keys today.
Music is ingrained in her family. She said her grandmother was “really good” on piano, and nearly went to college to study it. Her mother also plays the piano, and her brother plays the trombone.
“There has always been music in my life,” she said. “I love music and French horn was just a continuation of that.”
There is at least one advantage to playing the piano over the horn.
“Piano is a lot different from horn. You don’t have to warm up,” she said. “You can just sit down and play more than you can with horn.”
As her senior year nears, Barron isn’t sure if she is going to continue to study music or pursue a career as a musician. It is a possibility she’s exploring though.