Juan Andrés Carmona


Official website of the violinist Juan Andres Carmona Valdivia

Take Five with Hilary Hahn, musician.

When we talk about music, we tend to place our experiences into one of two categories: making the music and listening to it. Delineating the two seems practical and obvious. In reality, though, there are a lot of opportunities for overlap, and it doesn't matter how you get into the music as long as you connect with it. Here are some approaches to try.


I love performing. The sounds coming at me are dynamic, colorful and multi-layered. The energy from the musicians around me and from the audience is a swirl of excitement. Sometimes, I can feel the stage vibrating under my feet.

You don't need to be a performer in order to dive into the sensory experience of music. Simply get as close as you can to the source of the music. Stick your head between the speakers. Sit in the front row of the balcony right above the stage. If you have friends who are musicians, ask them if you could stand next to them when they practice some time (in exchange for homemade cookies). Music feels different up close. Remember to bring earplugs if it is going to be loud.


Let your favorite piece play in your head: a song, a symphony, a jazz riff. Don't worry about accuracy; enjoy the fragments that are the most vivid. This is your rewrite.


Making music can mean playing an instrument, fitting noises together, or composing in a silent room. Music can inspire immediate emotional reactions, even if the only person who hears it is the person creating it. If you have a musical instrument at home, try finding a new chord or playing whatever note pops into your head. Grab a plastic bin and a spoon and invent a rhythm. Sing random notes out of tune, with syllables that don't mean anything. Build something through sound!


Go to a concert. It is amazing to watch instruments bring music to life. After a while, glance around at the audience. If you notice someone having a different experience from you, it's fun to conjecture what other concert that person might be attending. Once you have taken in the scenery, you can turn the music into your own movie soundtrack, inventing the movie as the musicians perform.


Close your eyes to tune in to every facet of the music; the details will take on new dimensions. Let the notes direct your mind. Music is closely related to language, so you might be surprised what trains of thought it will shape.


Acknowledgements, Agradecimientos....

My Masters Recital is done! I would like to say a big thank you to John Crawford for his invaluable advice during my time at Trinity Laban, to Irina Lyakhovskaya, for accompanying me so well and to everyone who has come to support me on this special date... Thanks!

Gracias a mi profesor John Crawford por su inestimable paciencia y sus magnificos consejos durante esta etapa, a mi pianista acompañante Irina, por su profesionalidad y delicioso gusto tocando conmigo, y a mis padres y amigos por acompañarme.


10 Rules for Students, Teachers, and Life by John Cage and Sister Corita Kent

RULE ONE: Find a place you trust, and then try trusting it for awhile.

RULE TWO: General duties of a student — pull everything out of your teacher; pull everything out of your fellow students.

RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher — pull everything out of your students.

RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.

RULE FIVE: Be self-disciplined — this means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.

RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all of the time who eventually catch on to things.

RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” (John Cage)

HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything — it might come in handy later.


Buried in various corners of the web is a beautiful and poignant list titled Some Rules for Students and Teachers, attributed to John Cage, who passed away twenty years ago this week. The list, however, originates from celebrated artist and educator Sister Corita Kent and was created as part of a project for a class she taught in 1967-1968. It was subsequently appropriated as the official art department rules at the college of LA’s Immaculate Heart Convent, her alma mater, but was commonly popularized by Cage, whom the tenth rule cites directly. Legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham, Cage’s longtime partner and the love of his life, kept a copy of it in the studio where his company rehearsed until his death. The list, which can be found in Sister Corita’s Learning by Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit (public library)