28 September 2014

New School Year, New Teacher

It's now about a month into the school year and I think I'm starting to get the hang of everything.  I no longer feel like I have a thousand new questions each day to ask someone about and my classes have finally gotten into a good groove and routine which makes class planning so much easier.  The best part of it all is that my principal, apparently, thinks I'm doing a great job and is being super helpful and supportive.

Not everything has been smooth sailing.  I've already had something stolen by a student.  Luckily he went around bragging about it and they found him.  He wasn't one of my students which was great to find out, but still not the best experience a new teacher could have.  On second thought, maybe it was - call it a reality check.

By the way, it is extremely true that teachers hear some of the most amazing things from their students every day.  Here's just a sample:

ME: Okay, everyone at measure 69.  Ready, go . . . (silence)
STUDENT: Wait, were we supposed to be singing?

ME: What are we going to have on Wednesday?
ME: What are we having tomorrow?
ME: Get out a sheet of paper and get ready.
STUDENT: Wait, we're having a quiz?

Day of Parent-Teacher Conferences
STUDENT: (to a friend) I can't talk.  I have to be good so Mr. Davis says good things about me to my parents tonight.
ME: Yes, because one day is going to make such a big difference on your record.

STUDENT: (said as fast as humanly possible) I really love music and being in orchestra and choir it's so much fun and I don't know if you knew or figured it out or if someone told you or anything but I have ADHD so that's why I have so much energy all the time and have a hard time staying still but luckily I have you first period and so I don't have as much energy then but just in case you didn't already know.
ME: Trust me, I knew.

That's just a tidbit.  Anyways, I find that I already have had to plan out the Christmas concerts and so not only have I been busy listening to all the music I can to figure out a programme but I've also had to write a couple of arrangements myself.  When you get to a point that you just desperately want to perform this particular piece but can't find a decent arrangement anywhere you decide it would be easier just to write it yourself.  It's fortuitous, really, because then if anybody else is trying to plan a Christmas concert or programme then this post is pretty timely.  Let me know what you think.  It's a pretty simple arrangement but I didn't want to do too much to it.  It's meant for a beginning choir so that's why the harmonies repeat quite a bit.  Hopefully everyone else's year is starting out just as eventful as mine!

16 July 2014

One Sizzling Summer

This has been quite the summer so far.  First off, I have the best job in the world!  I get paid to dress like a pioneer every day and make music with some amazing people and sometimes even get paid to go to things like Fantasy Con and promote the park (hence the picture).  That was particularly interesting since I even got to add the make-up factor to my costuming.  And the people watching.  The people-watching at Fantasy Con was quite good and I was impressed with how open and comfortable everyone was.  Unfortunately some of the girls got particularly comfortable at the store located next to our booth that sold bustiers and corsets.  No comment.

Then, just to underscore how cool the people I work with are, we had a big murder mystery party, with costumes and all, and had a little too much fun figuring out why our co-worker was dead.  I love murder mystery parties!

Well, I suppose there is one thing, but it's just that sometimes I get so fatigued from being out in the sun all day that I have very little energy when I make it home.  That reflects itself in the fact that I haven't posted in a very long time, especially with music.  I try, but it just doesn't happen sometimes.  Because of that I sometimes feel like I've completely neglected this blog which is sad when the whole reason I started it was to force myself to step out of my comfort zone and compose things frequently.  Sigh.

But I've finally finished another piece!  Originally it was supposed to be a choral piece but I recorded it as a string piece and it's going to be for my musical I'm writing.  It's only about half of the song, but something is better than nothing right now and at least this time I fiddled and actually wrote my fiddlings down which means I'll be more likely to come back and finish it later.

Again, please let me know what you think and I hope everyone is having an absolutely awesome summer!  (Despite the heat.  Horrible, horrible heat lately in Utah.  Ugh.) :)

02 July 2014

Life Goes On

It's been a busy few months and I feel like I haven't accomplished a lot, even though I know that's not necessarily the case.  I guess I'll just start at the beginning and work up till now.

I finished school!  I am so excited to officially have my bachelor's!  There was an intense amount of drama associated with my graduation but it all worked out in the end.  It always puts such a downer on such a big accomplishment when a couple bad seeds in a department decide they simply don't want you to graduate but I've learned a lot through the process and it hasn't hindered my overwhelming love of Utah State one bit!

After that was all finalised I also landed my first "big-boy" job teaching choir at Sand Ridge Junior High.  Yep, junior high schoolers.  The final frontier that many only deign to survive in the education world.  I'm actually really excited.  Just this week I saw my new classroom for the first time and, though definitely a product of the 70's, it's a good space.  I have a long way to go until the room is ready and no longer feels like my predecessor's room but for right now I'm considering it a work in progress.

Although my new school is near Ogden I've actually just moved to a new house in Midvale, which to many seems crazy but I promise I know what I'm doing.  It's going to work out great.  Besides, I love this house so much that I really don't care about the commute sometimes!  Plus I have my own music room delineated from the rest of the house where I can work on school stuff, continue writing and arranging (which I promise I'll get back to soon), and start teaching private lessons.  It makes me happy. ;)

Speaking of lessons, if anyone knows of anyone looking for a private voice teacher in the south Salt Lake area send them my way.  There aren't a lot of music stores around for me to submit my name as a voice teacher and I don't know many locals so word of mouth will be important to me.

This is long post about a lot of boring things, but I'm feeling lucky and on-the-ball that I've even thought to post at all lately.  I'm also totally willing to work on any arrangements for church or other things that people would like me to do so please hit me up.  Thanks for reading!

06 April 2014

I'm Not Dead . . . Yet

For some reason I had this idea in my head that I would get more time to work on music and such during my student teaching and yet such has not been the case.  Shocker, I know, but I figured I may as well post something so that I don't accidentally forget and neglect my blog altogether.

I have to admit, though, that student teaching has been awesome so far.  I'm almost done and by the end of April it will all be behind me.  I was a little nervous for a little while since I had talked to some friends who said that, following their student teaching, they weren't sure they wanted to go into education after all.  I don't know what else I would be doing if it weren't teaching and, thankfully, I look forward to going to the junior high every single day.  That's a good sign.

Now I'm not saying that every moment is pure gold.  Surely it is not.  There are some days where I feel like the end of the school day can't come soon enough.  But there are those moments when a student says or does something that leaves you feeling you're a huge success and then suddenly you can keep going for another two or three weeks without wanting to kill the children!

Needless to say I don't have much to talk about today, but I'm hoping that come May I'll have some more time to do some writing and get to blogging more frequently again.  Thanks to all those who keep reading!  It helps when you know others are seeing what you're putting out there into cyberspace.  If you have your own blog, you know!

22 November 2013


I don't know what happened this week but it was crazy.  Somehow after consecutive late rehearsals with the choirs and orchestras I was able to complete a 4 page paper, read two novella for class, compiled a resume, had an interview, represented the college in two recruiting trips, and may still have time for pie tonight.  Thank heavens next week is Thanksgiving.

Late rehearsals for what you ask?  I have to admit, as time consuming it has been, I've been lucky to have the great opportunity to perform with the USU Symphony Orchestra Holst's Hymn of Jesus and Scriabin's Prometheus.  Some people may have no idea what that means.  Here's the nitty gritty.

Scriabin was a legitimately crazy Russian composer.  I say crazy because he thought he was God.  He thought this so much that his final piece, Mysterium, was meant to bring about Armageddon.  Clearly it didn't and Scriabin is long dead.  The coolest part is that he liked to experiment with other senses in combination with music, so in our case he intended Prometheus to be performed with a light show but due to the lack of technology in the early 20th century that never happened.  However many universities are trying to bring this to life lately and Utah State is the next to do so!

All these pictures are from a rehearsal last night so you can see the sort of things they're doing with these lights.  The music is beautiful though highly neo-tonal and the lights are notated in the score with each colour and effect correlating to a particular note or key.  Sure, this performance runs the risk of giving people headaches, but those without those intolerances are in for a spectacular evening!  It may not be the most exciting thing I've been a part of, but I have to admit this is pretty cool!

30 October 2013

Almost Halloween!

Here it is, the day before Halloween, and I'm sitting at a computer in a lab on campus finishing yet another project.  I don't know about anyone else, but it always seems that about this point of the semester is the time when you feel like you do nothing but homework in the vain hope that one day you will be free.  Let me know if that day ever comes for any of you.

I mentioned in an earlier post how I'm not the biggest fan of Halloween, though I will admit that I agreed to go to a friend's party tomorrow and I am a little excited to go.  I wish I wasn't expected to dress up (I have this mentality on costumes: if you can't do it well, why bother?) but it should still be way fun.  Maybe I'll post a picture or two of it later, should I actually think to take any, that is.

This song has nothing to do with Halloween, however, so hopefully that's not too much of a downer for those listening to it.  It's my first attempt at orchestrating for near full orchestra (no percussion yet) and it took me ages to complete this project for my class.  It's a rendition of Debussy's Sunken Cathedral which I feel sounds amazing on piano already which made this project tricky.  Hopefully it sounds good.

There were some who were wondering about getting copies of some of my pieces, particularly the last one, so if you want any either email me or, if I already know you, message me on Facebook and I'm more than willing to give you the pdf of anything.  Thanks!

24 October 2013

Stress Relief for the Holidays

Yet again it seems as though the holiday season is upon us.  Although I'm not the biggest fan of Halloween at least I can appreciate the time of year it rings in.  Yay, Christmas! :)

Not that everything is always so joyous and wonderful.  Just this week I failed to pass on my recital preview at university which is a major disappointment.  That doesn't mean I won't graduate because I do get to try again though I don't know when at this point, but it also doesn't change the fact that it hurt a bit.  Mostly I've been trying not to think about it.

However, I will mention one thing that I've blogged about before: how great my friends are!  As soon as I got the news my friends became the biggest support to me and it meant so much that they were there when I needed them!

With all that going on I haven't been much in the mood to practice voice quite yet so I've filled my time fulfilling an obligation I committed to a couple of months ago.  I have a friend who was recently assigned as her church choir director and she asked if I could do an arrangement of Joy to the World and O Come All Ye Faithful together and, until now, I haven't had much time to do it.  Guess what I did this week instead of practice? ;) It's been a good stress relief and I hope that I did what she was hoping for.  If not I suppose it will be back to the drawing board.  The parts are mainly derived from the LDS Hymn book and it's not anything amazing, just simple and intended for a congregational choir.  As with most pieces I post here, I'm sure this will sound much better in real life.

Joy to the World / O Come All Ye Faithful - Arr.