There’s no such thing…

…as a free weekend when you’re in grad school! Here’s what’s due on Monday:

20th Century Music History:

  • 1964 Timeline – DONE!
  • 1965 Timeline – DONE!
  • Copland composer report – DONE!
  • Create 2 test questions – DONE!
  • Read pgs 50-137 – In progress.
  • Bibliography (so far) – DONE!
  • Paper Outline – DONE!

I also have to have ready:

  • Lesson plan for Mr. McInturf’s “How To Be A Band Director” class (I’m teaching them about Charms on Monday). – DONE!
  • Lesson plan for Wind Ensemble rehearsal, which includes more score study, of course. – DONE!(can score study ever actually be “done”?)

Personally, I need to do:

  • Laundry – DONE!
  • Vacuum (it’s getting too hairy on the floors, thanks Clipford)
  • Clean kitchen & grocery shop

And if the weather clears up a bit, I’d like to swim both Saturday & Sunday. Easy weekend, don’t ya think? Okay, gotta go!!

Love you, mean it!

Such an honor!

This summer has been my busiest summer in quite a while. Last month, I attended the University of North Texas Conducting Collegium for two weeks (4 sessions). It was such an amazing experience and I was fortunate to meet so many wonderful people (shout out to the Peanut Gallery!!!). There were 44 pieces and there was something enjoyable about almost every one of them.

The purpose of the Collegium is multi-fold. If you’re a conductor, you gain the experience of conducting the UNT Wind Symphony while getting feedback from the fantastic faculty, learn a great piece that you (hopefully) enjoy and if you’re planning on applying to UNT for an advanced degree, it’s a pre-audition of sorts. The pieces that are assigned for the Collegium are the pieces to appear in the next (9th this year) volume of Teaching Music through Performance in Band series, published by GIA. Directly after the Collegium, the Wind Symphony and staff worked an extra week to record all the pieces for the CDs that goes with Volume 9 and now, the staff is working on the CD edits. The participants in the Collegium are basically rehearsal conductors for the recording session. Pretty cool honor, huh? (But that’s not the big honor this entry’s title refers to.)

The piece I conducted was Celebration, by Joseph Turrin, and it is a great piece to open a concert with! It’s a Grade 3 piece but it doesn’t mean its easy. It’s available via C Alan Publications.

So, the big news – during the Collegium, they replaced a piece that was obviously too difficult to be considered a Grade 3 (this year’s music was all Grade 2 & Grade 3) once they ran through the piece. Every piece that is on the CDs has a Study Guide in the book written for it so one needed to be written for the replacement piece and Professor Corporon asked me to write the Study Guide. Yes folks, I’m about to be PUBLISHED!!! And it’s such an honor that of everyone that was there, he asked me.

I’m writing about Akatonbo by Joseph Spaniola. It’s published by Musica Propria. It is a beautiful piece and we read it several times with the Stony Point Concert Band but it never quite worked for their UIL program. I’ve also been excited that it’s a western interpretation of a Japanese folk song. Talk about fitting me to a T! 🙂 There are very strict guidelines from GIA on how it should be written but they include a template to work from which helps so much. I’m almost done with the writing part. I just have a few questions (which, of course, may lead to more questions) to get answered by Dr. Spaniola. Speaking of the composer, I’m so blessed that he’s been so kind and helpful in this process. They asked me to write the study guide in about 2 weeks (everyone else had about 3 months) and having access to him has been a Godsend!

Hardest part about writing for me is writing formally and not writing in circles. I’ve always had issues with that so editing takes a village. Thankfully, I have a few people who have offered to help. It’s about time to send them a draft. 🙂 Anywho, I just had to take a break from all my researching and writing I keep Tweeting about share this exciting news!

Love you, mean it!

Year One is Done!

I just got back from a week in Austin, seeing lots of friends and practically everyone has asked me how going back to school has been. Let me say right here and right now that it has been fantastic!! Not only have I spent the past year working with great people but I’ve learned so much already, both musically and personally.

When I started searching for a program to enter and someone to study with, the number one, most important thing I was looking for was a teacher who could recognize my strengths and push me to strengthen my weaknesses without pushing me so hard I’d crack. It’s been a long time since I was a student and I felt like I had quite a few shortcomings to overcome. Believe it or not, there were also quite a few self-confidence issues I had to overcome as well. In one year alone, I’ve successfully started major work on all of the above. Not only do I have a great a fantastic band staff to guide me with my podium skills, the other professors at SHSU are also wonderfully balanced between being able to push me in my weaknesses and recognizing my strengths. I couldn’t ask for more at this stage!

When I first said I wanted to get my masters, a friend asked me, “What for?”. She wasn’t being snide or cheeky. She wanted to know what were my goals and what would be the end goal of getting an advanced degree. At that point, I knew that I had more to learn and I was hungry for something but I’d never thought beyond that. I honestly didn’t know much about what getting my Masters would entail. After some thought, I decided I wanted to be a collegiate wind band conductor. After a year of graduate school, I think not only do I want to be a collegiate conductor but also I’d like to work at a university that has a strong music education program. I think that would be the ultimate way to give back to something that has given me so much through my life.

So, I have one more year until I’m done with my Masters degree. If the academic calendar lines up like it did this year, I’ll have it before my 40th birthday (one week of, but who’s counting) and then I’ll start work on my Doctorates in the Fall of 2013. I have about 8-10 schools I’ll be applying to this fall. Keep sending the good vibes – I can’t do any of this without the wonderful support of my friends and family!

Spring BREAK!!

Yes, “break” is the operative word in that phrase and very much needed. It’s been a very productive (and because of it) busy year so far. I can’t believe I’m just over a month away from being done with my first year of Graduate School!! But this post isn’t about grad school, only what I’m going to do on my BREAK. Most is relaxing and fun, some is work/school related.

  • Saturday – clean the apartment and pack for a week in Austin.
  • Sunday – *Spring Forward with the time* Pack up the car and head to Austin!! (I might leave on Saturday if I can get it all done early enough). Crawfish time at Sam’s Boat (let me know if you’d like to join us).
  • Monday – Do a little clean up at my parent’s house and do a little research on permits for our builders. No, they haven’t started yet. 😦
  • Tuesday – Go chill out and rest with Cathy T at an undisclosed location. Hopefully, the sun will be out and I can do a little basking in it.
  • Wednesday – Trish’s birthday. Not sure what’s on the docket for that day so I’m leaving it all opened up for family.
  • Thursday – If something happens to our plans on Tuesday, we’ll go today. If not, I need to spend a little time at the UT library for my Research Techniques class. They have at least one thing I need that only exists in about 9 libraries around the world. In the evening, I’ll be getting together with “the girls”. It’s gotta happen! 😀
  • Friday – I can’t remember what I’m thinking about for Friday. Maybe nothing at all yet.
  • Saturday – St. Patrick’s day will be spent at the same bat time at the same bat place. If you know what I’m talking about (or call/text me or Cathy T, we’ll tell you) and want to join us, COME ON!! Be ready to start early, though. 🙂
  • Sunday – pack it all up and head back to Huntsville. Wow, that went by fast and furious but it was a really great week! (yes, that’s what I’m predicting I’ll say.)
  • Yes, it looks like a full week but for the most part, all this stuff only occupies a few hours of each day so don’t think my dance card is all full without you. There are SO many people I want to see and visit with that have a less flexible schedule due to work or kids. Please call me and tell me when you’re free and I’ll make sure we can visit during that time, even on days that seem like Tuesday or Wednesday.

    I really want this Break to be kind of epic. But not with activities so much – more time with friends. Lord knows, I can’t afford a whole bunch of activities and I have NO desire to spend a whole lot of time in the SXSW scene. I guess it’s because I’m not sure when I’ll be back in Austin and I want to make the most of every moment I can with all my friends. The next time may not be until late June or even July!

    Love you, mean it!

    Researching and rambling

    I’m a rambler. I can talk in circles and absolutely know that I am, and still not be able to stop myself. I think it’s because I have a lot of random thing always swimming through my head and when I converse, they all seem to come to the surface.

    I’m in Research Techniques this semester and in this class, I have the semester to research a topic with a question and write about it in a higher level than I would have as an undergraduate. The higher level writing is not easy for someone that rambles. I’m going to take advantage of this medium to do some of my rambling and refining so it doesn’t show up in the assignments as much I have to turn in. Please excuse the construction.

    My topic is about English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. He wrote a lot of music based on the English folk songs he collected. He also lectured regularly and wrote quite a few articles on the subject of English nationalism and compositions. In his lectures and writings, he talks quite a bit about how England was a nation without its own music for many years because English composers would go to France and Germany to study the art of composition and bring back those French & German styles and try to write English music with those styles. He criticized English composers for not being true to their heritage and not writing music based on English styles yet still calling their music English.

    What I’m trying to find is a composer RVW referred to in his criticisms and compare one of his (or hers, I guess, although the number of women composers in England during that time is small) pieces to a piece by Vaughan Williams.

    Here’s the hard part – RVW was very critical but he was still an Englishman during the early 1900s. They didn’t name names back then, they were true gentlemen. Lots and LOTS of reading to determine who some of these composers may be. Bonus if I find one that incorporated folk songs into the European style.