The Cardinal

Shes asleep.

Samantha Hudock, Senior Contributor

Many seniors go head into the greater world with little direction of their future, deciding to follow whatever opportunities blow before them first. Sam Hudock, however, is the complete opposite.

“If music doesn’t work out, I don’t know what I’ll do,” she admits. “There’s no real backup’s just taken up so much of my life. If that was suddenly taken away from me, it would be taking away a part of myself.”

Sam is set to graduate in 2021, after which she hopes to study musical performance and education at the Cincinnati Conservatory. 

“I’ve been playing the oboe since 5th grade, so going on 9 years,” she said. And in those 9 years she has racked up an impressive number of prestigious performances, such as a three day trip with the Ohio All State Orchestra. 

“It’s one of my biggest achievements,” she explained. “It’s definitely… one of the most challenging ensembles to get into, and I was able to make it into the All State Orchestra, which is technically the harder one. I’m really proud of myself, and I got to play for 3 days with some of the most incredibly talented musicians I've ever met.”

When asked when and how she decided to broaden the scope of her oboe playing experience outside of the school band room, Sam responded, “for my it started in 7th and 8th grade, you start doing Solo and Ensemble...and from there, Mr. Volenik would throw out little opportunities to us, little one day or two day events, to do little honors bands in the valley...then, it started expanding outwards to other communities and orchestras.”

Taking advantage of these opportunities allowed her to get a feel for life as a musician, and to understand how well the path suited her. 

“I was able to explore colleges that way, meet the faculty and oboe professors and music professors. I was able to listen to people perform, whether it was undergrad or grad students, or the faculty, learn what it was like to perform on a campus,” she said. “I was getting experience on performing as a musician in the short term, but also seeing what life would be like, as a senior going into college this year.”

Of course, no path to mastery is lined with only sunshine and rainbows. Sam recounts some negative encounters as well, including her experiences with and eventual quitting of the Akron Symphony Youth Orchestra.

“I really enjoyed it, it was really fun,” she said, “but I did end up leaving because the conductor was just awful. It’s not that he couldn’t teach or do his job, he was just a jerk...his attitude towards my section and everything like that just kind of bogged the whole thing down for me.”

Additionally, all musicians sympathize with a common struggle: maintaining a consistent practice schedule.  

In order to be considered for a music college or conservatory, applicants must submit an audition (a recording of themselves playing a piece or several pieces of music, depending on the conservatory’s choice). Sam’s path to preparation hasn’t always been smooth.

“When I was doing my prescreening, I got really, really sick the week before they were due. There were days beforehand I didn’t practice when I should have, because I was procrastinating, so I didn’t have any time to make up those issues,” she admitted. “It happens to everybody. Practicing...I hate practicing. It’s like a love-hate relationship. It’s like - you gotta get up, and then you gotta set everything up. There’s so much self-discipline involved.” 

Indeed, very few musicians can regularly find the motivation to practice. For the oboe, a player needs to set up a cup of hot water to soak their reeds, put their oboe together, organize their music on their stand, and play a few warm ups before even beginning their practice. It is all, as Sam sayid, a matter of discipline. 

“You’re like - I don’t want to work on the hard parts, I just want to get to the good bits, you know?” she laughed. “You procrastinate. Have a little concert for yourself. But it’s important to remember that the point of practicing is to smooth over the hard parts so you can play them just as easily as the easy parts. It’s very rewarding, in that way.”

All that practice has definitely led to some beautiful sounding music. One of the final questions is, of course, what the favorite piece Sam has ever played is. 

“The Saint-Saens sonatas,” she said, a wistful expression on her face. “They’re just gorgeous...and the piano accompaniment is just like nothing else.”

It’s no secret that nearly everyone loves music. But sometimes, people forget just how much painstaking effort goes into its production. To achieve the greatest levels of musicianship requires decades of effort, and Sam is committed to seeing her passion through. 

All content by Samantha Hudock
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