A Day in the Life: Pandemic Pods & Pancakes with Yi-Mei Templeman ’22

Cellist Yi-Mei Templeman shares a 30-second peek into a day in her life at NEC, and shares her thoughts on studying on campus, pandemic pods, and pancakes.

Yi Mei videos herself in the mirror of her room, with snow falling through the window behind her. The text on the screen says "A day in my life at NEC: Snow Day Edition"

How has it been studying on campus this semester?

Studying on campus this semester has definitely been an adjustment. It’s challenging to spend so much of my education on Zoom, but having ensembles and lessons in person has been a saving grace. 

During this time where it’s so hard to feel connected to others, I feel so incredibly lucky to still be able to make music with my peers at NEC every day.

What are you working on in your lessons right now?

In person lessons this semester are a large reason why I decided to come back to school this semester. It’s been wonderful to get to work with my teacher, Lluis Claret, again in person after so many months of meeting online.

The solitude of quarantine has given me more time to reflect on the basic elements of my playing, so we’ve been working a lot on body awareness in my lessons.

Also, another silver lining about being at NEC during COVID is that, when we have in-person studio class, we have to be in big halls, so we’ve gotten to play in Jordan Hall, which is so much fun!

Trio Gaia at Whitehead - video thumbnail for performance by piano trio

What are you working on with your chamber ensemble, Trio Gaia?

Trio Gaia is the other main reason that I decided to come back to Boston this semester. We are currently working on a recording project, focusing on works by composers Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Gabriela Lena Frank.

We’ve also been keeping busy with lots of livestream performances and virtual concerts through CPP (NEC's Community Performances and Partnerships Program.) 

In our downtime, we’ve even managed to go on a couple short road trips together—we climbed a mountain in New Hampshire one weekend, and went to Cape Cod another weekend!

What's it like having a pandemic pod?

Maintaining a pandemic pod while at school is certainly a very new experience, but in many ways, it’s been really nice. My pod consists of my roommate (who is a jazz bassist at NEC) and my trio.

It’s a small group, but we want to be very careful in order to keep each other safe, and it’s begun to feel somewhat like a little family.

We do our Zoom classes together and make lots of music in our apartment. We’ve been cooking a lot of fun meals, and decorating our apartment with paintings that we make in our free time.

In these times of physical distancing, what's helping you feel connected?

In these times of physical distancing, it’s music that makes me feel connected to others.

Whether I’m in a socially distanced orchestra rehearsal or watching friends’ livestream concerts, I feel so grateful to still feel so connected to my community through music.

Any strong opinions on pancakes? Or dare we say: hotcake hot takes?

Grant (the violinist of Trio Gaia) and I tried to make extra fluffy pancakes, like the Japanese-style ones, and they turned out so yummy!

So I suppose my hotcake hot take is: the fluffier the pancake, the better! Also, the more chocolate chips, the better.

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