Take Note: A Weekly Student-Led New Jersey Youth Symphony Newsletter with Katie Tan, Editor-In-Chief
Katie Tan (NJYS Youth Symphony Clarinet), is a long-time member of the NJYS family who exemplifies leadership. Quickly identifying the needs of the NJYS community during the COVID 19 pandemic, she has stepped up to serve as Editor-in-Chief of the weekly Take Note newsletter to bring our students closer together in this time of social distancing. The newsletter has music-related news, words of wisdom from the NJYS staff, and includes results from student questionnaires including polls, trivia, and music recommendations. We sat down with Katie to find out more about the project.
Q: How did the idea for Take Note come about?
A: NJYS is such a tight-knit community—the virtual Playathon proved how we could still all come together and share our love for music during this pandemic. There had to be a way for students like me to stay involved with the community besides having weekly virtual rehearsals. I am a member of my school’s Tri-M Music Honor Society Chapter, and during this time, we’ve been releasing weekly reports of what is going on in the music world and fun survey questions to keep our school music community’s spirits up. I thought that if there is one thing my peers and I can do to help bring everyone in NJYS closer during this time, having a similar publication geared towards NJYS would be a fun and engaging way to do it. It’s been a collaborative effort with the editorial board—we’re happy to share this weekly publication with you all and we hope you enjoy it!
Q: Do you have previous experience working on a newspaper or newsletter?
A: I am the Student News Editor of my school’s student-run newspaper called The Arrowhead. Right now The Arrowhead’s main platform is Instagram. Our biggest project so far has been sharing stories of our classmates’ contributions to combat this pandemic.
Q: How long have you been a member of NJYS?
A: I have been with NJYS for five years—I started in 8th grade in Clarinet Ensemble, 9th grade in Youth Orchestra, and 10-12th grade in Youth Symphony.
Q: What instrument do you play? With whom do you study?
A: I play the clarinet and I study with NJYS conductor Bryan Rudderow. Bryan doesn’t just teach me about clarinet playing—he’s given lifelong advice about how to prepare myself mentally for auditions and pretty much any stressful situation. He has definitely helped to push my playing boundaries and has taught me a lot about myself. He’s the best!
Q: Are you continuing your studies online during the pandemic? How is that going?
A: I am a senior at Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren. We have “distance learning.” It has been mostly Google Classroom assignments and self-paced work, so it just feels like twice the amount of homework! In the first two weeks, I had trouble with time management for all of the assignments, but I’ve realized sticking to a schedule actually works. When we get back from Spring Break on Monday, we will start Zoom sessions with our teachers.
Q: What has helped you stay sane during quarantine?
A: Spending more time with my family is definitely one thing that has come out of staying home all the time! Skyping friends and playing this game called skribble.io (it is essentially Pictionary) is always a good laugh. Browsing social media for quarantine memes, going for runs, baking, and watching movies certainly is helping, too.
Q: What are your plans for next year?
A: I will be studying at Duke University in the fall. I am currently undecided but am looking into majoring in economics with a music performance minor.
Q: Favorite composer?
A: I don’t have a favorite composer but right now I am listening to a lot of Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius. Oh, and I have recently learned how to glissando! Right now I can get it about 50% of the time… I’m working on consistency!
Q: A silly question now: Favorite dessert or ice cream?
A: I can’t go a day without dark chocolate (80% cacao is the best in my opinion).
Take Note Editorial Board
Katie Tan (Editor-In-Chief)