Archive for June 19th, 2014


Another Student’s Story: Sarah Tuttle

June 19, 2014

Sarah is studying music 

This post is one of a series on graduates from Maine high schools who are sharing their stories. Sarah Tuttle is a 2009 graduate of Medomak Valley High School. Sarah went on to Gettysburg College where she studied Music and Art History graduating with honors in 2013.  In high school Sarah’s courses included Jazz Ensemble, Studio Art, and several AP classes. She is presently working towards her Masters degree in Voice Performance at the Bard Vocal Arts Program, under the direction of soprano Dawn Upshaw and pianist Kayo Iwama.

ST1What do you value most from your arts education?

It was a source of comfort and inspiration during a rough middle school and high school experience. I felt like I could be my complete self, and say whatever I wanted in my art/music. It was extremely satisfying to engage in something creative—and was a great source of fun!

I also learned to create a great deal of my own opportunities, and to be an independent, self-directed person: a large amount of my arts education took place outside of school: I was a member/soloist of choral groups in the community, active in the local theater, and took additional art classes locally/at Haystack.

Name three skills, ideas, or life-long tools that you have learned in your art/music/dance/theatre classes/courses?

  1. Patience, tolerance: with myself, and with others. Once you acknowledge the amount of time it takes to learn something/to become good at something, you appreciate the journey JUST as much, if not MORE than the destination. You accept that you can’t please everyone, and that you never really stop learning/growing, and that frees you to play and embrace your curiosity.
  2. Curiosity: relating to patience—if you can teach yourself to be patient with yourself, and with others, you can gain great insight and new perspectives from the people around you. Asking questions can lead you so many great places!
  3. CARE: It’s important. CARE about what you do, and give your work the attention and love it deserves! Treat your work with compassion and patience, and don’t be afraid to let it evolve.

I am a different person due to my involvement in the arts because…

I am a curious person, unafraid to ask questions of myself and of others…I am a motivated and energetic person, never satisfied (in the best sense) with my work. I am a generous person—I think it takes a tremendous amount of generosity to share your work with others, in the hopes that they will be consoled, refreshed, or inspired. There’s a special vulnerability that comes with making and sharing art, and I think it’s something that people are, at times, afraid to explore and expose.

If you could change any part of your arts education, what would it be?

I would like to have felt more support in my school environment in my art work, and would love to have found more kinship with my fellow students. I would love for there to have been MORE…just MORE arts ed, more opportunities, and more enthusiasm for its importance and necessity in our world, and in our schools. There were a few very key players (Julie Sanborn, Argy Nestor, Krisanne Baker, Aaron Clark, Chuck Boothby) that were sources of motivation and inspiration, and I am especially grateful for their presence in my schooling. Their open-mindedness and compassion were deeply appreciated.

What’s the most creatively inspiring experience you remember?

I was given the opportunity to study music/musicology in Vienna for a semester, and my time there filled me with courage, energy, and curiosity about music, and what I could contribute to such an important discipline. Living in a city to which art is SO ingrained showed me its importance, and its necessity, and how IN NEED of it my generation is. Everyone showed this remarkable appreciation and respect for creative work, and seemed to derive a great deal of energy and comfort from it—just think if those opportunities were available to everyone, how tolerant and inspired people would be!

Why is making art or music and/or performing so important to you? Why can’t you live without it?

Singing/making music feels GOOD—It’s a mutually beneficial activity. I appreciate it’s interdisciplinary nature—musicians are poets, and physicists, and historians, and mathematicians, and teachers, and artists! Lots of left- and right-brain activity and crossover—I feel emotionally and spiritually fed.

 In addition…

Over the past five years, I’ve been able to travel to France, Switzerland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Austria, and Nicaragua with various musical groups, as well as doing some touring here in the states. I think that travel and music go hand in hand with promoting tolerance and respect–both domestically and internationally! Musicians/artists have an important job: art, in many ways, transcends language and religion, and in other ways, enhances our understanding of them. Artists are ambassadors to other people, and serve as interpreters/translators of culture and the human experience. I think the understanding of art, or at least the appreciation of art, is the key to promoting tolerance and love within our own society, and between cultures. The reason I mention my travel is because my view of the world and their various musics was deeply enhanced by my spending time with others, often strangers. It’s such a special feeling to bring joy and comfort/inspiration or intrigue to complete strangers, because you realize they’re NOT complete strangers–all people feel, and think, and respond.




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