A Day in the Life: Simon Dunson '21 Jazz Studies

In this series, we're taking you through the daily lives of students at NEC. Follow along in this day in the life of Jazz student and mandolin player Simon Dunson, and then take a look at how violinist Abigail Hong spends her time at NEC.

Male student playing mandolin in front of yellow wall


My name is Simon Dunson. I’m from North Carolina and I’m in my 2nd year studying in NEC’s Jazz Department. I play mandolin and it's great that NEC is open to non traditional styles of music, which is how I am able to study mandolin in the Jazz Department.


Student playing in a practice room


My morning starts with solitary practice in the Gainsborough practice rooms.


Jazz class taught by Bert Seager


At 10am, I rehearse with an ensemble coached by jazz pianist and composer Bert Seager.


Vocalist Naledi Masilo and mandolin player Simon Dunson


Here I am practicing with Naledi Masilo, a vocalist in the ensemble.


Simon Dunson and a friend having lunch in the SLPC dining room


After ensemble there’s time to grab a quick lunch in the Dining Commons and catch up with my friend Heather Milberger, who is also a vocalist in the Jazz department.


Class taught by Hankus Netsky


Afternoon is time for classes: this one is Jazz History with Hankus Netsky and it's followed by Theory with Bert Van Herck


Student practicing in his dorm room


When I can, I grab some more practice time alone in my room in the residence hall in the new SLPC. 


Students sitting in a classroom


Jazz Repertoire class in the late afternoon is led by the great and always funny John McNeil. 


Students in a keyboard instruction room


My day of classes at NEC ends with Keyboard Skills class, taught by Bert Seager.


Students playing at Wally's jazz club on mass ave


After class, there’s time to grab some dinner and head around the corner to Wally’s Café Jazz Club on Mass Ave to jam with whoever shows up from NEC and Berklee. This is a great place to unwind and just play some tunes, before I head back to the Gainsborough practice rooms to end the day as it started.


Special thanks to Simon Dunson for taking us along with him in his jam-packed day.

Photos by Andrew Hurlbut / New England Conservatory


A Day in the Life of Abigail Hong

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