Student Focus: Lydia Lee

Name: Lydia Lee

Major: Music and English

Hometown: Inwood, IA

Planned Graduation Date: Spring 2024

What are you involved with here at ISU and beyond? Within the music department, I'm involved in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble I, and a clarinet trio. I'm also Treasurer of the Music Student Representative Council, a mentor for Esprit de Corps, and a member of the clarinet and piano studios. Outside of the department, I'm a member of my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and I lead a small group through Salt Company.

What pieces are you working on right now? Right now, I've been hard at work preparing for my continuation exam this semester on clarinet. I'm working on the first movement of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, the fourth movement of the Saint-Saëns Clarinet Sonata, Weber's Concertino for Clarinet, and Hommage a Richard Strauss by Béla Kovács. On piano, I'm working on Schubert's Impromptu in Eb Major Op. 90, No. 2 in preparation for our studio recital.

What are you doing/looking forward to this semester and future semesters? This semester, I'm looking forward to presenting the clarinet pieces I've been working on in my continuation exam. In the Spring and Summer of 2023, I'm really excited about having the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford as a Visiting Student. I'll be studying Music and English Literature at Lady Margaret Hall, one of Oxford's 45 colleges. Oxford is renowned for its highly individualized tutorial system, which entails  weekly one-on-one meetings with a professor and all independent study. I look forward to examining the impact of music in marginalized communities in my tutorials.

What is your favorite thing about your experiences at Iowa State? My favorite thing about studying at Iowa State is definitely the friendships I have made within the department. I love all of my friends that I've met in classes and ensembles, and I feel so lucky to get to learn and grow as a musician alongside such amazing people.

Why did you choose the Dept. of Music and Theatre at ISU? Dr. Oakes and Dr. Huang as my clarinet and piano professors were both a huge draw for me to Iowa State. I love this department because of its commitment to high-quality music, but I love it just as much for its supportive atmosphere. I could not ask for a more cooperative and warm learning environment, which was a huge part of my decision to study here.

What are your interests beyond music and theatre? I'm also an English major, so I love writing and reading (especially classic literature). I am a HUGE lover of coffee, and I'm a barista at my coffee shop back home. I also love spending time outdoors in nature, especially on my family farm in Inwood.

What are your plans after graduation? After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in Arts Administration. After that, I want to go into music nonprofit management and work to make music more accessible to all people.

Any words of wisdom for prospective students? The life of a music major is crazy, and being organized helps so much. Google Calendar is my lifeline! Also, taking care of yourself and your mental health is just as important as practicing and completing your schoolwork, if not more so.