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

Lights!

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.

11 October 2013

Mid-term Madness

You know, it's hard to find time to blog or do anything not stressful when you're in the middle of your last year of college.  Weird, right?

I am always left amused when I sit back and realise that each of my professors has the idea that, to "help" us feel less busy, they are lighter on the homework at the beginning and end of the semester and pile everything at mid-term.  As "good-hearted" as this may be, the problem is that when everyone is doing the same thing it doesn't really work as they intend.  Instead the students are left with two or three weeks in the semester in which their lives feel like they're about to unravel because EVERYTHING IS DUE AT ONCE!  The result?  One of my classes didn't happen for me on Tuesday and one assignment became ignored completely.  I am okay with this.

Even with all of this going on, Halloween is upon us.  I don't actually care for Halloween very much.  I appreciate the candy and sugar portion of the holiday, but I could live without everything else.  Especially the costumes.  There's a reason I've been a "model" and a "nudist on strike" the last couple of years.  I just don't care anymore.  Some people do and I'm so glad that they do.  They can care on my behalf.

Having said that, this song is my latest project from my Orchestration class I was talking about last month.  This time we were supposed to do a string and woodwind version of a piece from Bela Bartok's Mikrokosmos.  I thought it sounded kind of creepy in a cool way so I tried to stay true to that while orchestrating.  This is the closest I get to Halloween.  Enjoy!

Mikrokosmos No. 150 - Bela Bartok (Stgs & WW Arr. Segment)

17 September 2013

Back to School

So here we are, back to school and just a few weeks into the semester.  At least for most people.  This is my final year of school and I can openly admit that I already find myself saying each Monday morning "Three weeks down - twelve to go".  Is this a bad sign?  I'll assume not until further notice.

One thing great about school, though, is getting to see all my friends again.  I love the weirdos I get to associate with!  It doesn't make me feel normal, per se, but I do feel less conspicuous around them.  Just last night we got together just to share cheesecake and ended up laughing hysterically on the floor for hours.  It was epic!

Contrary to what has been my norm for the last few years, I actually do not have very many music classes this semester.  I don't know what to make of that.  One of my few music courses is Orchestration, something I find fascinating.  I've really been getting excited for our assignments in this class so I can play around a bit with writing for specific instruments besides piano and voice.  We're not allowed tons of creativity (i.e. this is not an arrangement class, purely orchestration) but that's okay with me since I'm still learning a lot.

This is my "final" draft of our first assignment.  It's the opening segment of Edvard Grieg's Elfin Dance for string ensemble.  I didn't do anything over the top, but I didn't really want to.  I kind of like the lightness this has.  Anyways, let me know what you think.

Elfin Dance - Edvard Grieg (String Arr.)

Also, in regards to my last post, I still would really love some stories or other such ideas from other people to help me write the libretto for my increasingly pipe dream-esque musical.  Don't want to seem pushy, just want to make a pleasant reminder.  That is all. :)

28 July 2013

Book & Blog

It's hard to believe sometimes that summers are never quite so long as you would like them to be.  In some ways I'm excited because the closer the school year comes the closer I am to finally being a college graduate.  But in others I wish it could continue indefinitely.

At least I can't really say I haven't done anything interesting this summer.  It's not often that you have a group of friends willing to do highly unusual activities in public, such as going to movies in your work clothes (it doesn't sound weird, but when you consider I work at a pioneer park it raises the peculiar factor of it all a few degrees).  The only thing I wish I could do more of is write music, but with a computer completely down and an overarching laziness that makes me unlikely to notate the good old-fashioned way, it doesn't really happen.

And so instead I guess I should probably start trying to actually write the book/libretto (music training in me begs that use the formal word) of my musical.  Not that I'm so far advanced in writing the music, but that I should at least get an idea of the sequence of events so that I can figure out where musical numbers should be placed.  Mostly the show, PRIDE, is going to be loosely inspired off events in my life since I'm only ever good at retelling and satirising true stories.

Speaking of stories, does anyone have a story in their life when you didn't feel as though you were being true to yourself or had lost all confidence in you or your abilities?  I would love some input and other ideas to possibly incorporate into the book.  Granted I don't actually know how many people actually read my blog.  I feel a little like Amy Adams in Julie & Julia when she wonders what her audience really is on her blog.  Am I currently watching that show?  Yes.  Does it make me want to cook and blog?  Very much so.  Anyway, comment or email or what have you if you want to help at all.  Maybe here in the future I can even post rough drafts of the script! ;)