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A Day in the Life of a Student in the Music Conservatory

September 24, 2020
  • Ash McMillan Performing

Written by: Ash McMillan

I’m a senior in the Music Conservatory, double majoring in Studio Composition and Studio Production, and I’m going to talk about a typical day in my life. More specifically, this is my regular Tuesday schedule…


One of the best parts about being a Studio Production major at Purchase is the studios on campus, having the freedom to utilize them alongside the school’s equipment. However, to keep equipment safe, and properly distributed to students and studios, all Studio Production majors work for 2 semesters in the equipment room. My shift is Tuesday mornings; I take inventory of all the microphones, deliver equipment for upcoming recording sessions, and return equipment from the night before.


My first class of the day is Film Scoring taught by Alba Torremocha. She’s a new professor at Purchase this year, but has already made a great impression on everyone. She is so knowledgeable in her field, and offers us advice and anecdotes from her own life experiences. We are currently working on an assignment to score short clips from real movies. I’ve never worked on a project that has visuals before, so this class has been pushing me out of my comfort zone, but Alba is really good at walking us through all the new material.


Like a lot of the other students in the music conservatory, I teach music to children in the Purchase area. Of course all of my lessons have been moved to Zoom to keep us all safe, but we continue nevertheless. During my gaps between classes, I always schedule lessons with students.


After teaching, I go back to class. This time it’s Creative Production Techniques taught by Adam Pietrykowski, another awesome and very talented professor. We’ve been discussing computer generated drum loops, and how to make them sound unique for our own projects. All of my professors are working professionals in the music industry, so creative classes like this are a great time to ask specific questions, and hear how our professors would tackle challenging tasks.


Once classes are over, or if I have a break, I usually head to the music conservatory to practice or do some work. I take vocal lessons with Rebecca Haviland, who is a Studio Composition professor. She has been working with me to extend my range and to sing safely with the natural rasp I have in my voice. Rebecca has always been super helpful and supportive; she is one of my favorite people. If I’m not going to practice singing, I’m probably heading back to the studio for a recording session. Today I’m recording my classmate, Julia Klot, playing grand piano in our recital hall. I’ve been Julia’s producer since freshman year, and we are currently working on a new EP.


When recording is over, I finally make my way home to do some homework, and try to catch a bit of sleep. Most days are pretty fast-paced, with limited breaks, but I really enjoy it. I get to spend all day making, recording, and/or producing music. I’m really grateful to be at Purchase, with such amazing professors, talented classmates and opportunities for me to become a better producer, engineer and musician.