Friday, 11 April 2014

Applying for Masters at Hanns Eisler in Berlin

Friday the 11th of April. Yesterday night it crossed mind that if I want to apply to Hanns Eisler for masters, and the application has to be in Berlin by Tuesday the 15th of April, it means I have to send it of by express post TODAY! So I called my mother last night and asked if she had already translated my CV into German, which she said she hadn’t yet but promised to do it before today.

I had quickly just looked at the application before and just seen that you need a CV, copies of your degree and high school graduate certificate. But it made me a bit suspicious that they didn’t ask for any compositions, so I called the Hanns Eisler student information, and found out that I not only have to send in several scores, but also a recording of the pieces on CD and a commentary of every work in German!

So off to school I was for collecting a new transcript of records from our school secretary Outi Oksanen (a wonderful woman who can help you with almost anything concerning your studies in music at TAMK!) and to start writing analyses on my pieces in German. For getting the package on time to Berlin I should hand it in to the post before 17 o’clock. My mother had university 10-16 o’clock, so that meant I couldn’t let her read through my texts before sending them off. I am a bit nervous about that, but luckily my German is quite good, so I’m not too concerned.

When I was going to start printing out everything at about 16 o’clock I noticed I didn’t have any money left on my printing card! I ran to the office, hoping that there would be some one still at work so that I would be able to charg my printing card but nope, alone I was. All worried and depressed I happened to meet my friend, guitar student Sauli Palmujoki in the stairs and he was so nice that he said I could print all the documents and sheet music with his printing card! So I printed out my German CV, all my German commentaries, my pieces Loco, Expressionen, Die Berge and Dagbok and a CD cover.

Next issue: burning a CD with these pieces of music. My computer has at the moment a really stupid problem; it won’t play a single sound. (I once opened the scoring programme Sibelius at the same time as the recording programme GarageBand was open, and somehow they managed together to get my output completely mixed up, so now my computer makes no sounds, except when I am talking to someone on Skype! So weird! And I know only one way of fixing the problem;  re-booting the computer, but I haven’t got time for that at the moment!) Anyway, because the output doesn’t work, ITunes won’t open on my computer! And I usually burn my CDs on ITunes. So I tried burning it with Apples own software, but it didn’t work. (It made it into a computer cd, not into a audio cd.) Then I tried transferring all songs with a memory stick to our school PC and burning a cd on it, but same problem, it turned out to be a computer disc, and moreover the PC didn’t play mp4 files! I had already given up and was almost leaving the school without a CD, when I remembered that we also have Macs in an other computer room, and there ITunes worked perfectly well and I could finally burn a CD with my music!

Well, at this point, when all my material was ready and I finally made it to the post, it was already almost 18 o’clock. I asked the woman in the post if there was any possibility to get my package to Berlin so that it for sure would arrive on Tuesday the 15th of April. She said that by express it would take 2-3 work days, so she couldn’t promise it would arrive on time. I asked if there wasn’t ANY way of getting it there on time and she said “well, we have this extra-quick-express package, and it will arrive within two days, but it costs 40 euros. Moreover, because the post of today has gone off already about an hour ago, you have to bring it your self to the post centre in Multisilta before 20 o’clock. But first you have to pay everything here.” Left with no other option, I had to accept this offer. So I paid altogether 41 euros for the package. Then I asked her if she could show me where the post centre is (on a map), because my “smartphone” is all messed up (as well) and the internet doesn’t work. So she fetched the telephone directory and showed me where to go, about 10km from Tampere city centre, in the middle of no where.

When I came out from the post office I called my mum for getting to know which buses go there. (I don’t even have a driving license and I’m a terrible biker… After five minor accidents by bike (once a car drove into me, but nothing serious happened, thank God!) I prefer to walk or take buses!) So my mum was nice and told me to take bus 26, and I asked the bus driver to tell me when to get of. The bus of course only went every 30 mins, so I waited for about 15 minutes in the rain for the next bus.

So, I got of the bus, in the middle of no where and started walking along this long road, where there were no people in sight, and only big lorries drove past me, every time  squirting water about two meters in all directions, threatening to soak me.  I hadn’t had time to eat anything else than breakfast the whole day (a banana and an apple) so I was absolutely starving and it was raining and I had no umbrella. For a moment I almost felt like crying, knowing I still had to walk for about 1 km in the rain, and because I knew I was missing the biggest concert of Tampere Biennale, which started at 19 o’clock with Tampere Philharmonic at the Tampere Hall… But then I just thought of how absurd the situation was, me all hungry in the rain in the middle of nowhere on a Friday evening looking for a post office without having a clue where to go, so I started laughing instead.

I finally reached the end of the road, where there was an absolutely enormous building. There was something that looked like an entrance, so I went to the door, but it was locked. And no doorbell in sight. Then I spotted a small sign glued on to a post box near by saying “Urgent mail this way” and a arrow into a yard with a small parking place. In that yard I only saw a really small door, which looked like if it was only meant for staff, because there was a small ladder leading to it. So I didn’t dare climb the small ladder for testing the door. So I started walking around the corner of the house, thinking there might be an other door further on. But after having checked the several hundred meter long wall around a corner, which only contained two small doors with a sign “no entrance” I decided to head back.

So then I was left with only one option: climbing the small ladder and testing the small door with the red light, which looked like a staff door. And it was open! And there was a man inside, who looked very surprised at the sight of me. So I asked if this the place to leave urgent mail, and yes, it was finally the right place! So I handed in my package at 19.30, just in time, 30 min before the place closed!

Now I chose to take a shortcut back through the forest to the bus stop. And once again I had to wait for 20 minutes for the bus in the pouring rain. But I was proud I had made it and at least you can’t say I didn’t make an effort! I decided to try to make it to the second half of the Philharmonic concert as well, and I did make it! But I will write a separate blog post about the rest of the evening. This was the story of how I applied to Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin.

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