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Sep 18, 2009

Studying On The Road With André Rieu


JSO Members Are Studying With the "Open University" (OU)

When the Rieu buses race through the wide landscapes of the USA to the next concert hall, Els Mercken (32), Kalki Schrijvers (32), Lara Meuleman (30) and Linda Custers (35) don't lay lazily around watching a movie or taking a nap. No, they are engrossed in their study books.

Before they started on their courses with the OU, their bus was full of chatter and laughter. "We were the party bus. Now we are the study bus". A few months out of the year, they travel with André Rieu and approximately 55 other musicians around all the continents to conduct concerts in large venues or mega open air concerts. We do not have a nine-to-five job. The lack of regularity is just the spice in our lives. Since Linda got the spirit, an intellectual wind is blowing through the orchestra. More JSO members, primarily the ladies, have plans to follow courses with the OU, which is an institution that offers courses at a distance.

The JSO members travel several months a year around the world. They perform in big halls or in open air concerts. "We don't have a 9 to 5 job."

It was hard to find a date for the interview and the photo shooting. Since the JSO is often abroad. "30% of our time we are on tour. That's our job", laughs Kalki Schrijvers (singer). "We talk about a Germany tour, an Austria tour, a France tour. We have even been in the USA three times this year. Australia and New Zealand are in the agenda for the fall. But the end of August we are in Holland again, in Heerenveen.

In June the orchestra was at home in Maastricht. They had to rehearse for the Vrijthof Square concerts. In the morning they rehearse, in the afternoon they have time enough for the interview. If there would not have been an interview, Linda Custers (viola) knew what else to do, study! In October last year she started as a pastime; the course, Culture Science, which became a real passion. Her enthusiasm was catching. Kalki joined her, also in Culture Science. Lara Meuleman (violin) ordered a free orientation course and in the meantime had already obtained the basis module of Psychology. Els Mercken (violin) started with Management Science and she successfully passed the first exam.

They are not studying to improve their positions in the job market. "No, not at all. As long as André Rieu continues we'll join the orchestra. We wanted to do something useful while touring. We spend many hours in the bus and also in the mornings there is time to study". Linda was always interested in Culture. Together with Kalki they attended lots of museums abroad. "Now we walk through a museum with more knowledge". Linda preferred education without required colleges and work placement. After searching the internet, she discovered the Open University, and that was exactly what she wanted.

OU also offers Els the freedom she was looking for. Els already received her LAW degree whilst studying in the Music Academy, so she only needs 7 more modules in the Management course to be able to get the master degree. Also Lara combined vocational training to become a nurse, with the Music Academy. When she got the chance to play in André Rieu's orchestra, she definitely chose the music. Of the nursing training she
liked the psychological side best, that's why she now chose Psychology.

"In the beginning I had problems concentrating" Lara says. "I had to read a chapter twice. Now it goes better". They are used to discipline. As children they had to practice their musical instruments. Pusueing a professional musical education, also requires discipline. In the Music Academy you receive lessons for one hour a week in your main subject. A week later you have to show what you have learned to play on your instrument. There is no one to continuously stimulate you to practice during that week. So you have to discipline yourself.
Thanks to John and Ineke for Translating this together for us ...

1 comment:

Alice said...

Whow! These girls are amazing. They're pretty, talented and got brains!

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