Student Artist of the Month: Nick Jin ’17

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photo by Annie Gao

How did you start playing cello?

I used to play piano. All my siblings played piano … And I was tired of, I don’t know, of everyone playing piano in the house all the time. So my dad was like, ‘Maybe you should try something different.’ So I looked around and I thought cello was cool. It wasn’t, like, a sissy instrument, and it wasn’t piano.

Do you play cello in any orchestras or programs outside of school?

I do orchestra and chamber music. For chamber music, I’m in a string quartet in Philadelphia. It’s the Gail W. Snitzer Quartet… coached by Sid Curtis. He’s a great coach. He’s a violist, pretty famous … [The quartet is] part of the Settlement Music School’s Advanced Study Program. And then every year I do Regionals and All-State Orchestra.

What’s your usual practice routine?

For string instruments, there are these things called open strings, which is to … just go with your bow and the open strings—no different pitches. And then I go into scales to warm up. So [I] go through all the major scales—three octaves—and then do different bowings for those. And then I do etudes, which are like exercises. There’s David Popper etudes and then Piatti etudes. And then I do Bach suites. There’s six solo unaccompanied Bach cello suites. Those are really famous and those are things I’ve been working on for many years. And then I get into the concerto or piece I’ve been working on.

What are you working on right now?

For the winter concert I’m going to be playing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. So I’m preparing for that. That’s my main thing right now. But I’m also working on Haydn Cello Concerto in D Major … It’s just something I have to learn. It’s pretty hard. It’s something I’ve been working on for a while now.

What do you most enjoy about playing cello?

At this point … I think cello has become a therapy to me. Just as a way to come home after school, and to just, I don’t know, play Bach and Haydn and Tchaikovsky or any of that. And just not have to worry, like while I’m playing … It’s really fun. People ask me, “Do you actually enjoy practicing?” It’s a question I get a lot. And yes, compared to coming to school everyday … cello is a lot of fun and it’s very enjoyable.

Yeah, I definitely want to keep it up. It wouldn’t be worth it to have committed so much time to it and to just drop something like that. And I think, if in college I could do it as a minor or even a double major, that would be awesome. And then later, even if it’s not something serious, I could just pick it up and play sometimes. I definitely want to keep going.

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