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Mona Sangesland

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

I viewed it as an unattainable place; people here had such high standards. Now I view NEC as a home, a place with all my friends. It’s very open and non-judgmental and there’s none of the cutthroat competition you’d expect at a place like this.

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

I’m from Seattle, WA and I did undergrad at my local university. I always knew I wanted to study music but my parents weren’t so keen on the idea. As a result, I practiced a lot, sometimes too much, to prove that I could work hard at it. I think this ultimately helped me get into NEC.

Who has been your favorite teacher? Why?

My studio teacher, Paula Robison. She really represents the essence of music, what we’re all here to attain. She is a great example of how you can use music to create good in the world.

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

Though it seems like a typical conservatory, there are lots of programs that encourage students to partake in community outreach and help musicians to be flexible and figure out what to do once they leave NEC. This, combined with the high standards and great faculty, has made me more confident about where I’m going once I leave.

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

Changing the way I think about music. I really began to understand the essence of music here. NEC has taught me that music is a process. If you’re in tune to the composer, the music, and yourself, your personality will shine through. You should have your own independent relationship with the music and grow from that.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Get away from your instruments and NEC sometimes. Some of my most profound realizations about music came while I was away from my instrument. Take opportunities to get away from it all.

NEC has taught me that music is a process. If you’re in tune to the composer, the music, and yourself, your personality will shine through.
Mona Sangesland'17 MM Woodwinds
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