An Interview With A Cellist
Today, as the Allthego.net team, we had a pleasant conversation with Sinem Özgür Özmen. We thank her for spending time for us. Good reading.
Can you introduce yourself to us?
I was born on July 2, 1986. As a kid, I never had a mind to be interested in music. I actually wanted to be a fashion designer. At school, I always drew drawings, clothes and models in my notebooks. In the year 97; I was studying block flute at home for our music homework. My uncle playing the double bass in the symphony was our guest. He listened and liked me very much. He told my family that I also had a talent for music. He suggested me to take the conservatory exam. Actually I liked the word “conservatory” and it excited me.
So what kind of path did you draw afterwards?
Music has always been in my life since that day. We visited and researched the conservatory. I was very impressed when I first entered the door. Music sounds were coming from every room. The students were very comfortable, and that day I thought “I must be a student here, too.” As a trainee student at the conservatory, I was attending classes on weekends. I took harmony and solfege lessons. On the other hand, I was attending my school and even still drawing.
When did you take the exam? How was it?
There were conservatory exams in the summer. I always get very excited before exams. We had 2-stages of musical ear-training exam. I was able to sound up to 6 sound ranges in the exam, and it was a great success. I was so happy. In the third stage, there was a physics elimination exam. Before the exam, my mother had said “don’t sulk, smile at your teachers”. I will never forget that I was smiling during the whole test. I was not suitable for woodwind instruments because of the my lip construction. My fingers and height were suitable for string instruments.
Well, did you want to play a string instrument?
I wanted to play cello very much. I told the teacher who came to examine me. But they said that my age was suitable for the double bass. I compulsorily accepted. I’ve never seen a double bass before in my life. I was very surprised when I entered the room with my mother on the first day of school. I was disappointed at that moment. The double bass was bigger than my torso, it looked huge. When I got home I told my family that I didn’t want to play. But I tried not to make my own teacher feel at all. We started the lessons, I had progressed a little, but I was playing reluctantly. I kept playing for 6 months and quit.
How did you get started with cello?
During this time, my family knew that I wanted to play the cello. Finally, they bought me one. I was working every day. Since I left the conservatory, I was working privately at home and the teacher came home from the conservatory. I would come home from school every day and start working immediately. I was getting ready for the exams again. It wasn’t as difficult as playing the double bass. Its only difficulty was tuning for me because it was something that took power.
How was your exam adventure?
The quota in the exam was limited. 4 people would be accepted. I was an 8-month cello player. Other students had been playing for 2 years. On the exam day came, I won the musical ear-training exam with first place. I took the instrument exam. The exam exit was like I was out of the war. I remember even now that I felt physically mushy. My uncle was with me at these stages and he learned the exam result from his friend before the lists were announced. I had won. But my joy was short-lived; because there was news from the rectorate at the last minute and they had reduced the quota to 3. My “unsuccessful” post in the lists is still in my sight.
You failed but didn’t give up then?
Then, without a break, I prepared for the Faculty of Fine Arts and I won. I did not know what to do for the first few years after graduation. For years I thought, why did I graduated from it? But now I am very happy with this decision.
Where is music in your life?
I have never regretted dealing with music. I always felt that I am a better person with music. There were times when I felt privileged and superior. Yes, music is life itself. We are always in our lives even if we don’t want to. But when you really get into it and become one with it, everything is different in your eyes. You get a different perspective. Music is my life itself. I can even say it is right in the centre. I count up the notes even as I climb the stairs. I always have different melodies in my head when I am sad or happy.
How does it feel to teach music?
I’m trying to make a living with music; Even if I didn’t make any money from this job, I would continue to do this business. Because it’s not like a toy to be thrown away. Something that tells the human universe. I can say that it is a source of happiness for me because I love children very much. Like eating chocolate … I was scared when I first taught. I was wondering if I couldn’t tell if I couldn’t. Later, one of my students said, “You tell very well, my teacher, I’ve never had fun like this before in music lessons.” At that moment all my doubts disappeared. As time passed, my fears subsided while lecturing. But excitement is always waiting somewhere.