Well, I haven’t really blogged since school started back. Mainly because I really don’t have time to blog. I am spending every single second of my free time reading for musicology (which is actually a good thing because at least I’m enjoying the class enough to read for it.) Or I’m practicing for my improvisation lessons. Because those are kicking my tail.
I’m not usually the type of person who stresses out easily or gets overwhelmed but this semester has really pushed me to the limit. I’m not really sure what has made such a drastic difference from last year. It might be the combination of graduate school full-time, working part-time, applying to other graduate programs, and doing the music intern job at Church Street. Regardless, it’s been a testing semester. I’m doing my best and that’s all I can do!
On the bright side, this is the first time in my life that I have felt like an educated musician. I can tell a huge difference in skill-level in different areas of my musical life. That is encouraging for me. On the other hand, I still don’t feel like I’m improving conducting-wise. So that’s discouraging. There’s always a balance, isn’t there? I got to conduct the Palestrina “Hodie Christus Natus Est” this week during Concert Choir rehearsal and for those of you who don’t know, it’s a double-choir piece. Which means eight parts. Eight entrances. Eight cut-offs. Eight parts to keep track of. And they were sight-reading it. Hopefully Dr Peterson is pleased with the progress we made on Wednesday.
I also had incredibly productive rehearsals with reVOLution this week which is always very satisfying. The girls of reVOLution work so hard and I can’t wait for our concert on November 15, 2012 at 6:30pm at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church with the guys of VOLume! It’s going to be so awesome. Check out our FACEBOOK PAGE and spread it around to all your friends. Plus, I’ll post previews of the songs we’re doing occasionally!
I guess I’ll address something I said earlier that I have yet to address in my blog posts — applying to new graduate programs. At the beginning of this school year, I realized “oh man…I’m almost done with my masters degree…now what?!” So I thought about it, and thought about it, and thought about it. And I realized, after thinking a little bit more, that I really want to go into music therapy. I think I realized it mainly after thinking back over the summer to singing in the nursing homes with the Church Street United Methodist Youth Choir. The following is taken from my Statement of Goals that I had to submit to each school I applied to.
This past summer, we went to Canada and sang in several different churches, nursing homes, and other venues. At one of the lower-income nursing homes, we held a morning concert. There was nothing particularly special about the performance of the singers; however, I remember looking out into the audience toward an elderly Asian woman. Before the concert started, she was wheeled down from her room. The lack of expression on her face was haunting as she was situated in the front row of the audience. As soon as the music began there was an immediate change in her demeanor; her face brightened, she sat up further in her wheelchair, and her arms started waving as if she were conducting the choir of youth performing in front of her. Normally, I wouldn’t pay much attention to an incident such as this but this one was different. As a choral conducting student, I noticed her gesture was precise; her arms would wave larger as we would crescendo and smaller as we would decrescendo and she was always in perfect sync with the tempo our conductor had set. But as soon as the music stopped, she stopped. Her face and her body sank and it was almost as if she was no longer present in the room with the rest of us. This continued throughout the concert and afterwards our director and I headed over to speak with her. He told her she was a wonderful conductor and asked if she was a musician in her earlier years. She didn’t speak and shook her head “no”. As she was being wheeled back to her room, her caretaker whispered to our director and me a hauntingly beautiful statement: “She was the principal violinist for the Toronto Symphony for 50 years.”
That experience really changed my mind about music therapy. I’ve always thought about music therapy when I come to the crossroads of “where should I go now?” and the only thing stopping me was one person telling me “if you really love music, don’t go into music therapy.” It took me a long time to realize that she was just unhappy and that her opinion was not the norm.
I’m really excited about starting the music therapy program! I’ve applied to Colorado State, University of Iowa, Radford University, and Illinois State. I’ll keep you updated as things progress!
Until next time, fellow BFs!