Juilliard-bound Natalie Clarke reflects on her 12 years at MYAC

Years in attendance at MYAC:
I was a student at MYAC for 12 years and started in Reading Orchestra as a 1st grader.

Programs a member of at MYAC:
Orchestra, Chamber Music, I’Solisti, Young Music Scholars Mentor, and Voices Rising


Hometown and age:
Vernon Hills, IL, age 18

Plans after high school: 
I’ll be attending Juilliard in the fall as a freshman Viola Performance major.

Goals for the near future:
I really want to continue chamber music, possibly as my profession. I’m looking forward to orchestra at Juilliard. I spent 12 years of my life in orchestra at MYAC, so one of my goals is someday getting a spot in orchestra. I also really enjoy teaching music. I’ve had some private students. I had about 4-5 students as a Student Mentor in MYAC’s Young Music Scholars program.

How has MYAC impacted your life? 
MYAC has made a huge impact in my life. I’ve not only grown in music, but I’ve grown as a person. The experience I’ve received: I’d say it’s more than just music. It gave me confidence, the ability to create new things. MYAC’s overall message is about working hard and trying your best, and if you don’t succeed, try again.

Do you remember your first day/first year at MYAC? What was that like?
My private teacher, Christine Due, suggested MYAC because her older students were all at MYAC. I remember distinctly that first day. I was really nervous, because I didn’t know what to expect. I was doubting myself, walking through the halls and hearing all this music coming from the rooms. But when I got to the Reading Orchestra rehearsal, Mr. Pearson was there. I don’t know if I even played a single note at that rehearsal, but he was so nice and helpful to all the students, he made it really fun. Eventually, It felt like a second home.

Who were some of the additional teachers and faculty who guided you during those early years at MYAC?
Rose Armbrust: She’s an MYAC alumna and was my former chamber coach. She’s a violist. At our first rehearsal, I remember I was really amazed at her playing. She helped me a lot.

Mr. Bassill: I’ve worked with him one on one since 8th grade when I was part of the Chamber music festival at MYAC. He coached my chamber quartet this past spring when we were semi-finalists at the Fischoff competition. He’s so supportive. He gives all of his time and really helps the chamber groups.

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