Name: Rachel Mills Main
Subject: Classical Cello Research
Supervisor: Stefan Petrovic
Title of Research: Intentional Listening
How does listening to recordings while learning a piece affect one’s artistic interpretation? Summary of
Since beginning my masters, I have been intrigued with the concept of finding personal interpretations for the pieces I play. However, I found that when confronted with a standard take on a piece, I would doubt the legitimacy and usefulness of my own ideas. As a result, my research aimed to discover ways for myself and other studying musicians to find individuality in their music. Because the ease of access to recordings is such an important influence for musicians, this research focuses on how students can refer to recordings without allowing them to override personal creativity. The resulting research emphasizes the importance of intention, both in consulting recordings and in creating takes that one believes in. I have identified five ways to use recordings to help one determine a reason for consulting them. In addition, I have discovered a process of recording myself and intentionally listening to these recordings with a focus on my interpretation’s effectiveness. It is my hope that these processes will also work as a suggestion for other advance music students working towards discovering their artistic identity.
Rachel Mills is pursuing a master degree at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague where she studies with Jan Ype Nota and Michel Strauss. A native of New York State, she received her bachelors from Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio under Amir Eldan. While at Oberlin, Mills performed both as a soloist and with her quartet on multiple honors recitals and collaborated on recording projects with the Contemporary Music Ensemble, Oberlin Orchestra, and Sinfoniette. She has frequently sat principle cellist in student ensembles, including the New York State All-State Orchestra and on the Oberlin Orchestra’s most recent tour to Chicago’s Symphony Center. Mills has also participated in advanced and fellowship chamber music programs across the United States. In addition to her studies, Mills is passionate about finding ways to inspire young people to engage with classical music. In doing so, she thrice traveled to Panama to teach and perform in connection with the National Music Association there.