Ten things I wish I knew before I went to college

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If college is on the horizon for you, then these valuable words of wisdom from recent college harp graduates should be required reading.

—by Megan Caulkett

As a recent graduate with a Master’s degree from Rice University and a Bachelor’s from Boston University in harp performance, I’ve thought a lot about things I wish I would have known when I started my college search eight years ago. I loved my schools and I like where I am now, but coming from a small town and a non-musical family, I had no idea what I was doing when applying to colleges.

What do I wish I would have known? What do other recent music grads wish they had known? I talked to harpists, instrumentalists, and singers; people who went to conservatories, large universities, and small colleges; people who have orchestra jobs and those who are no longer pursuing music. It isn’t a time machine or a crystal ball, but if you are gearing up for your college search, learning from the experiences of those who just crossed the finish line of the race you are about to run is the next best thing.

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About Author

Houston harpist MEGHAN CAULKETT received her masters degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, where she studied with Paula Page. Under the tutelage of Ann Hobson Pilot, Meghan received her Bachelor of Music Degree Summa Cum Laude from Boston University. Meghan was a Young Artist with Da Camera of Houston in 2011, and a Young Artist Fellow in 2013. Originally from Tahoe City, California, Meghan Caulkett received her Bachelor of Music Degree Summa Cum Laude from Boston University under Ann Hobson Pilots and her Master’s Degree from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University with mentor Paula Page. An active performer and recitalist all over the southeastern United States, she is currently in her fourth season as principal harpist of both the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and Symphony of Southeast Texas. She is regularly a substitute musician with the Houston Symphony, and has also performed with the San Antonio Symphony, Opera Tampa, as well as the modern group Musiqa. Meghan was a Young Artist with Da Camera of Houston in 2011, and a Young Artist Fellow in 2013. She will also be joining the Dallas Opera for their performance of Iolanta in April 2015. In 2012, Meghan founded 47 Strings, an innovative music performance organization dedicated to music education that reaches out to underserved audiences with engaging and accessible harp music concerts. 47 Strings is the recipient of grants from the American Harp Society, Constellation Community Champions program, and Richter Fund for Music Outreach. The program has partnered with Houston homeless shelters to initiate the "Learning Through Music" Residency, and is a presenter with Young Audiences of Houston and the Arts in Medicine program at the Texas Children’s Cancer Center. 47 Strings has been featured in Harp Column and Modern Luxury Magazines, as well as on the Boston University Citizen Artist Series. In 2014, Meghan was be a guest lecturer on arts entrepreneurship at Rice University. As a young trailblazer on the Houston arts scene, Meghan’s passion for music and performing is only rivaled by an extraordinary spirit for bringing people together and celebrating the joy and vibrancy of her community.

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