Working Environment

Where music brings us to

Once upon a time, playing music and studying it were my main priorities. I was not stopped by the difficulty of admittance to the higher school of music and by the prospect of endless practicing. I chose the straight road to music — to enter the Conservatoire, where they prepared the future virtuosos.

I am a pioneer in my family; there have been no professional musicians in it. When I was eight, I went to an ordinary music school to learn to play the piano. When it became clear that I could be a professional, I was sent to an academic lyceum of music attached to the conservatoire. The next step was the conservatoire. In Uzbekistan, the system of higher education consists of two levels; the first level is studying for a bachelor’s degree (for four years), and the second level is a master’s degree (two years).

Break a leg

To be admitted to the State Conservatoire of Uzbekistan, the aspiring students take exams in music and in general subjects. For my family, the year before admittance became very difficult, both morally and financially, as I had to take private lessons from coaches in all the subjects I was supposed to be examined in, although that did not guarantee that I would be admitted.

Four paid tuition positions, the absence of free tuition (as these positions were automatically occupied by the winners of international contests), and 32 candidates in the list of aspiring students — the situation was tense. It was not easy to compete with the cream of musicians, who had already passed through the screening of two serious exams, at the music school and at the music college. In such a situation, the competition of two or three professionally trained people (in my case, there were eight of them) for one position is more difficult than the competition of 20-30 people from the street, simply the people who wish to try their luck. Yet, if you are responsible and well-trained, you have got the chances. After the nine hells of my entrance exams, I was finally admitted.

Live and learn

After admittance, the teacher of a student determines his or her destiny. It is very important for the distribution of students to be lucky for them, so that the student would really meet “the one”. The principles of musical activity, development of individual talents, skills and abilities, and “being pushed into concert activities”— 70% of a musician’s growth depends on the tutor. I was lucky to become a student of Ravshan Abdunazarov, a talented teacher, an outstanding musician, and a remarkable person.

As for the courses I took, the situation with them differed. They were exciting lectures, and there were courses the knowledge of which I never used. In some cases, I absorbed the knowledge which was interesting for me, almost neglecting the unnecessary information. Such a tactic was reflected on my record of scores, but, as my life experience shows, there is no correlation between a 100 point score and success in life outside the conservatoire. There is only connection between perseverance and the circumstances of our life.

My personal experience

What was missing during my studies? Conservatoire students need active scenic practice. Tours would be great, as well as more master classes from foreign musicians and regular concerts of students on the stages of other universities. It would be useful to communicate with practicing musicians, in order to understand the connection between music and business, how a young band should start and whether a musician needs a manager. However, these things are not taught, and that is a pity.

I graduated from the conservatoire with a diploma of higher education and exact orientations in my mind. A position of a musical editor was awaiting me. Why didn’t I take it? Life made its corrections, and I decided not to challenge its laws.

Briefly about the present

Now I am in Poland, writing a research paper in the field of journalism. The educational systems “here” and “there” еare strikingly different, complementing each other. In Uzbekistan, students receive comprehensive tuition. This is like making a trip, in which you gain various experience: you find different forms of interaction and keys to solution of complex tasks. The tertiary education in Poland takes three years: there are no general courses, and student exchange programs are in action. I cannot find any of these approaches to be 100% correct. I am extremely happy that I have been lucky to be part of both systems.

A year after the graduation, I realized the following: it does not matter in which school and in which country you are studying for your degree. The main thing is to choose your direction and not to stop on this road. No university studies can guarantee your professional success. Effective learning and self-fulfillment are possible, only if there is interest for studies and if you work continuously at self-improvement.
© Tamara Sinelnikova

Tamara Sinelnikova

Musician and journalist. She was born in Tashkent and graduated from the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan. She worked as an editor for the website Today she lives in Poland and is part of the scholarship program for young researcher and scholars.


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