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Breakfast Makes You Fast!

First-year MM French Horn



Spring is approaching, and on March 8th we had to spring ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time. That means one fewer of hour practice, studying, or sleep, and that doesn’t bode well for musicians who have recitals, auditions, and final projects coming up.

With tons of work to do, we all wish for more time in a day. Our professors give us strategies to maximize our productivity in a practice session or to help us be more mindful while studying, but at times we still feel tired and behind. So what’s going on?

Pondering this for some time, I started focusing on my daily energy levels, looking closely at which points of the day I feel my energy high or low. Our energy fluctuates throughout the day . Imagine your energy being like three waves moving to shore. Doing more work in the times where our energy peaks helps us to stay focused longer leading to more productivity. However, shortly after we may feel a nap coming on in history class and no one wants to disrespect the professor. So what if we could extend our high energy to be like the size of waves off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal? (YouTube Nazaré Portugal coast to see incredible waves). Yes it is possible!

My big discovery last semester brought me many specific benefits, including more intense and prolonged focus while I practiced or studied. It also gave me an overall feeling of high energy that made me feel good throughout the whole day. This discovery is something we have all heard of. It is no secret that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Reflect on how much you each during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Which meal is the biggest? The majority of people would say that dinner is their biggest meal, then lunch, and then breakfast. With this, your calorie intake throughout the day looks like an upside down pyramid. Unless your are going to do some nighttime rowing races in the Charles River why do you need 700+ calories at 8pm at night? To obtain high energy throughout the day and sustain it right as you get out of bed, that pyramid needs to be flipped. The majority of your daily calories should be eaten in the morning to give your brain and body the fuel it needs after 8+ hours of slumber.


“Okay then, so if I eat 1000 calories of Boston Cream Donuts in the morning then I’m good right?” I SO wish that was the truth but unfortunately, no. You must intake lots of calories from substantial food sources. Sugar is only going to give you energy for short amount of time. What you need is a nutritious breakfast that includes eating lots of protein, fiber, and whole grains. Foods such as eggs, milk, plain Greek-yogurt and peanut butter have a lot of protein while foods like oatmeal, toast, fruits and vegetables provide grains, fiber and other vitamins. There are a lot of great breakfast ideas found online for all different types of diets but I personally eat 2 fried eggs, oatmeal with mixed in banana, Greek-yogurt and almond butter and drink several glasses of water. After that, I feel a high amount of energy that last for about 9 or 10 hours.

Even if you have to get up earlier to cook or grab some food from a breakfast place, another benefit of eating breakfast is that you are creating time for yourself to get in the right state of mind. There will be no rushing out the door to get a practice room or frantically trying to find your keys before you leave. The sheer act of taking time to eat breakfast is a routine that will get you in the right mindset to start the day on the right foot.

Not feeling hungry in the morning? Maybe you are eating too much before you go to bed, leaving you with a full stomach when you wake up. Since digestion slows down when you sleep you are not going to be hungry in the morning. Start slowly by eating less every night before you go to sleep. This will eventually leave you with a big appetite when you wake up.

Follow these guidelines, and breakfast will become your springboard into having a spectacular day!

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NEC Special Announcement

Third-year BM Oboe



Attention students, faculty, and staff of our beloved New England Conservatory,

Due to inclement weather, we have decided to cancel the season of spring for this year. This was a very difficult decision to make, but we at The Penguin are here to help inform you of the coming changes in the schedule.

The administration has decided that classes will be dismissed for summer at the point when all the snow has melted, which we estimate to be sometime in what used to be called “May.” On your transcript, this semester will appear as “Winter and Post-Winter 2015.” Spring break will now be referred to as, “Pre-Summer Recess,” and will occur as planned during the week of March 15th. The Student Activities Center has scrapped their “Spring Fling” event and NEC will now plan its first ever “After the Winter Fling.” The SAC is welcoming alternative suggestions for a name. In addition, banned repertoire for the rest of this semester includes: Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, the first of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and Schumann’s Symphony No. 1. Thank you for your cooperation, and best wishes for continued success this Winter Semester.


The Penguin

We can

We can’t wait for this!

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the door opens

Third-year BM Viola



hallway, whitewashed clean;
lightbulbs flicker, hang from wires,
buzz like softest bees

walking heavy, dry
ashy steps in chalky dust
past framed blank portraits

paint peels off doorposts
slivers of brown cut my eyes;
every door is locked

my skin bleeds out red
my clothes bleed out blue, until
everything is white

black square hole looms small
down the infinite straight line:
a way out, or in?

fourteen thousand clouds
of grey-white hall dust later,
the ebon portal.

gilded letters read:
my head touches them

and suddenly, noise:

my head snaps back up
into the white noise hallway…
no longer peaceful

hissing light bulbs over
white portrait maws yawning wide
chalky ash whirlwinds

I look back again
at a golden gleaming knob,
it turns, and I run

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Third-year BM Voice



I know for a fact that when I say the beginning, middle, and end of a second semester at NEC is always crazy busy, I’m not just speaking for myself! I can honestly say that when I have days of back to back classes paired with early morning and late night rehearsals, food becomes a very low priority for me. This semester, I barely have time for breakfast, lunch doesn’t exist so I’m forced to eat small finger foods in class, and dinner needs to be something quick and easy because of how exhausted I am! Because of this crazy food schedule (or lack thereof), I have turned to preparing my meals ahead of time and then freezing them so that when I come home, I can pour my prepared ingredients into a pan, pop them into the oven for a short amount of time, and then dig in! Here are two of my go-to make ahead recipes, both provided by

Herb Roasted Chicken Breast


1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons dried onion
4 cloves of garlic crushed
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoon season salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
8 bone-in chicken breasts or thighs, with or without skin


Crush garlic.
In a medium size bowl, prepare the basting sauce by combining olive oil, broth, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, salt, pepper & parsley.
Be sure to label bags first then divide mixture into the 2 bags. Then add chicken to bags with basting sauce, massage basting sauce around chicken then freeze.
Thaw chicken and cook in shallow baking dish. Cover with tinfoil.
Roast at 425 degrees F, if desired baste occasionally with pan drippings, cook for about 45-60 minutes. (Use a meat thermometer to be safe!)  Once cooked, plate on a warm platter and spoon pan juices over top.
Tip: Roast potatoes at the same time. Toss potatoes in olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley.Roast uncovered on baking sheet.

Prep time: 5-7 minutes, Cook time: 35-45 minutes, Servings: 8

Easy Tomato Parmesan Chicken


1 24oz jar tomato/spaghetti sauce (such as Ragu)
2 15oz cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella, shredded (optional)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
1/3 cup fresh parsley
3-4 lbs skinless, boneless chicken


Press or mince garlic and chop parsley.
Combine tomato sauce, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, seasoning, parsley and garlic.
OPTIONAL: If making ahead and freezing, remember to label your 2 gallon size freezer bags then divide chicken into 2 bags.
Pour sauce over chicken.
Thaw if frozen.  Pour contents of bag into casserole dish, then sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese (optional) and bake, covered, at 425 degrees for approx for 35-45 minutes (time may vary based on size of chicken–be sure to check before eating!) Alternatively, you can cook in crock-pot for 4-6 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high (but we HIGHLY recommend using the oven–it gives it a much better flavor and texture!)

Prep time: 5 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes in oven or in crock pot for 4-6 hours on low, Servings: 8

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