18 Nov Florieke de Geus
Florieke de Geus is one of the new RASL Double Degree students of 2018. She studies Arts and Culture, IBACS at Erasmus and Jazz Vocals at Codarts. Our Content Editor Amy Pickles meets Florieke and they discuss friendship, skills for studying and the music venues in Rotterdam.
Florieke talks me through her recent experiences in jazz singing.
I did some pre-courses in my home town studying music. I was already curious, and I sang in big bands, and last year I was going to jam sessions in Bird and Dizzy, both Rotterdam, and met a lot of musicians there that are here now at Codarts, so I already knew some fellow students. I joined the Dutch student Jazz Orchestra, we went on tour, and we also took part in North Sea Jazz Festival, which was insane!
What made you feel like you want to combine this jazz life with theoretical studies?
I have always been interested in the theoretical as well as the musical. I want to take part in uni life alongside musical training, because when you are studying at the Conservatoire it can be like a bubble. There is the whole other world of academic universities and I wanted to experience that too. I thought it over so many times and now I really know I am ready for it.
So do you have two groups of friends?
Yes I do, I really do.
How do you manage that?
I try to connect them with each other. I really like to organise parties, I did it a lot last year you know, to invite them all together.
So how can you phrase that then, a Double Degree student would be a good party planner?!
Ha, yes! But that is really what I like. The other day, I was at a concert and we were given these cards and we had to get to know each other – the singer wanted the audience to become friends, so she handed out cards with questions on it, and we could get to know each other. We got the question, what are you most proud of? And then I thought of how I brought two groups of my friends together in the summer, and now the climax is that my friend in Rotterdam is now dating my friend from my home town!
Do you find it hard to navigate your social calendar with two degrees?
Well, at first people do find it strange that you don’t attend all classes, that you are gone sometimes – because you are at the other university – but then they learn that you are doing the Double Degree, and there are also two other students in my class doing the same combination as me. I will manage, because people at Erasmus understand because I can’t stop talking about jazz singing, you know they really know that this is my thing. They are really supporting me.
When you graduate, do you have dreams and ambitions for what you want to do?
Making my own music, so I first want to bring out an album. To let other people hear my music, and also learn about new ways to set my emotions into a song. When you play jazz you see so many opportunities, you think oh I could try this! You know, theoretically you learn a lot more and you see more possibilities in music here. That is really exciting.
Do you feel your studies at Erasmus help you unlock these ideas?
Well, I think it keeps me with two feet on the ground! It sounds really idealistic, but it does because here, at Codarts, you can get lost in music, but when I go to uni, I am with people who are all learning the same things and preparing for a job.
So you think it makes you more realistic?
Yes. Because you learn about how the creative and cultural industries are, and you also get to learn about how hard they are.
And if you want to release your own album then it’s good to learn these things!
Yes! It’s the famous gap, when you graduate from an art school and you go into the real world.
The Double Degree can be a bridge across the gap.
Florieke tells me this corridor is where she came to practice before her audition into the school.
I was so nervous, and looking for a place to practice my singing. A man at the cafeteria told me to come here, many people go to sing in this spot because it’s private and the acoustics are good in this small space. So this is where it began!
What advice would you really value before making the decision to participate in this programme?
To really think it over. Because you have to know what you are approaching, because it requires a lot of self management skills. And also to keep in mind that it can be lonely at some points.
Because everything you do is so individually focused to you?
Yes. Codarts and WdKA are both really social schools, but at some point in your schedule you have to go to one school and then the other. You have to do this on your own. And there will be friends from one place or the other who say; Oh why aren’t you coming to this party with me, and you have to be strong enough to say I have another study that I have to work for.
And you continue to study for longer than your friends doing one degree.
But the nice thing is that you will get to know the new students, so you get to know a lot of people.
We decide that the Double Degree can be a place of focused study and a busy time of your life to come into contact with a lot of new, inspiring people at the same time. As we are finishing our conversation, I ask for the name of the musician Florieke went to see, who wanted their audience to be friends.
Renske is a Course Coordinator practicing the role that you want to do.Thank you Florieke.