Skip to main content

Kevonna Shuford

Thumbnail

What was your first impression of NEC? How has that changed since you’ve been here?

I thought that because it was a conservatory, it would be competitive and that I’d have a hard time making friends. Now, I realize it’s a huge family and really supportive and very friendly.

Tell me about your musical backstory…what got you to where you are today?

When I was younger, my dad played a little bit of jazz and classical piano, so music was always in my house. I started piano when I was 3 and my sister played the violin. I thought that was cool so I started violin in 3rd grade. I started looking at the performing arts middle school in my area. I thought, a lot of people audition for the violin so if I really want a chance I should do something different. So, I switched to viola. I got lots of encouragement and opportunities in high school. My teachers were the ones who pushed me to go to college for music.

Who has been your favorite teacher? Why?

Martha Katz. She understands where I’m coming from and knows me best. She’s very loving and gives me a lot of encouragement. It’s crazy that I study with her; she’s had so much experience. It’s truly an honor.

What makes NEC unique? Why did you choose here over other schools?

It came down to the teachers. I could either study with a student of Martha Katz somewhere else or Martha Katz herself at NEC. It’s also a great location. The BSO is very close and there’s a lot that comes through Boston that you wouldn’t get in other places.

What is the biggest challenge you’re proud to have overcome here?

Gaining a sense of more independence. I leaned that if I want to do something, I have the power over my life to do it, which is a little bit scary. I’ve had to remind myself to focus on practicing and disciplining myself.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Try any and everything that you can. If someone asks you to be in an ensemble, even if it’s not your genre, try it out. Leave NEC, see what Boston’s like so you don’t get too into the little world in your head.

It came down to the teachers. I could either study with a student of Martha Katz somewhere else or Martha Katz herself at NEC.
Kevonna Shuford'20 BM Strings