For many Eastman students, flipping the calendars from March to April is a move made with fear, nervousness and loathing. However, while the weeks leading up to juries are stressful, to say the least, students don’t have to fear jury week.

Sure, the jury itself is no fun but what a student chooses to do with his remaining free time during a week of no classes can make the strenuous 20 minute jury and months of preparation totally worthwhile.

For those who don’t know, the week of April 14th is one of the highlights of the Eastman School of Music school year. Classes and rehearsals are cancelled, and over the course of the week, every student plays 20 minutes of prepared music in front of members of the Eastman faculty, who then critique the performance. After a student performs their jury, they have the rest of the week to themselves.

In many cases, the performance consists of a combination of tudes, solos, technical studies and excerpts. Additionally, all students who take secondary lessons – including those at UR – must play a jury.

Many students use jury week as an opportunity for a second spring break, spending their week in one of several ways. There are the people who stick around the city, those that go home and those who travel.

Going home is an easy way to unwind from the pressures of jury week and to prepare for the stresses of finals. Sophomore Matt Abramo said, “Right after my jury, I’m going home.” Though he plans on relaxing one thing he knows for sure is that he’s “not practicing.”

The city of Rochester provides many opportunities for fun within walking distance. Rochester is home to many great museums including the Rochester Museum and Science Center, the Memorial Art Gallery and the New York Museum of Transportation.

If the weather is nice, students can walk to Manhattan Square Park and play on the swings or just take deep breaths of fresh air – assuming it is one of the 12 days a year that the sun comes out in Rochester.

For the less ambitious people that are remaining in the area, jury week is a fantastic opportunity to stay up until the early hours of the morning and sleep until the evening. “Rest is not a luxury afforded at Eastman,” sophomore Jeremiah Marks said. “I’m going to stay here in town. I’m going to rest and relax.”

A student that has his or her jury in the beginning of the week may choose to take a trip. Though this year the annual school trip to Toronto that takes place at the end of jury week was cancelled, the weak Canadian dollar makes traveling to Canada a cheap option for students that are waiting for their summer jobs to replenish their checking accounts.

Sophomore Julia Siciliano was planning on going to Toronto with the school. However, the trip’s cancellation didn’t severely alter her plans. “My parents are picking me up. We will drive to Toronto with a friend,” Siciliano said.

Freshman Erik Sloyka is also excited about his plans to visit Canada. “I’m visiting Niagara Falls sometime during the break.”

Greyhound offers many deals for students who are interested in traveling to relatively nearby cities, such a Boston, Cleveland and New York City.

Those who chose to travel find that to completely get away from the stresses of Eastman, they need to escape Rochester completely.

In addition to cheap bus discounts, airlines such as Air Tran offer inexpensive midweek travel for students to certain cities, such as Baltimore, Atlanta and West Palm Beach, Fla.

Not all Eastman students get the entire week off. Because classes are still going on at the River Campus, double degree students and those who are getting their humanities requirements filled at River Campus still have to attend class.

Sophomore Kylie McClain is a double degree student who plans on attending her UR classes during jury week. “I will be stuck in classes at River Campus and spending a lot of time in the library probably,” McClain said.

Though it is difficult to balance the pressures of a jury and normal course work, McClain does not attempt to elicit sympathy from any of her professors.

“I try to keep my River Campus classes separate from my Eastman classes. The professors at the River Campus tend to look down on Eastman students for whatever reason, so I really avoid telling them at all costs, unless there is a conflict.”

When life hands them lemons, Eastman students make lemonade. They agree that though juries are rough, jury week offers the option to relax, travel, and get caught up on sleep without having to deal with pressures of class.

Gorode can be reached at

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