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.


    Feeling a little accomplished. :)

    Today is a beautiful day. The sun is out, it’s 70 degrees and the breeze is nice so I have my windows open, enjoying the weather. On top of that, I got quite a few things accomplished today!

    Everyday, I eat breakfast. I have two basic choices I stick to – egg and bacon or yogurt with granola and honey. I drink either tea or coffee but only one cup. Today, was an egg and bacon with Earl Grey tea kinda day. Why bacon? Because it tastes good and it’s protein. I think you should start your day with protein and a food you enjoy. For lunch, I had a piece of white fish and salad with a large glass of water. My friend Monica sent me some dark chocolate covered coffee beans for Christmas so I had a few of those, too. Yummy!!

    Clipford has been cooped up way too much. When we were in Austin, I took him to Zilker Park and he got to run and fetch the ball and had a great time. There’s a dog park here in Huntsville and I hadn’t been able to find it (no one could give me the exact location – “it’s over in the Avenues, where one of the letter roads ends”, they’d say) so today, I was determined to find it to let Clipford go run a bit. And after about 20 minutes of being in the wrong part of the 23rd Street, I found it! It’s basically at the intersection of N 1/2 Street and 23rd Street. The address is 2335 23rd street but if you plug that into Google Maps or a GPS, it’s takes you for a bit of a wild goose chase. The park was empty so he fetched and explored for about 20 minutes and seemed okay to come home. Without other dogs there, he seemed kinda bored with fetching the ball after 20 minutes. Maybe that was just me. We’ll be going there regularly because it’s really nice there. There are trees so going on a hot day won’t be so bad. There are a few benches and a doggie water fountain. Not so bad for this little town.

    After we came home and had lunch, I took all my recycling to the recycling center. It filled my back seat! To get all that stuff out of my apartment and make room to walk was such a relief! It has been way too cluttered around here. Yesterday, my friend Rachel helped me take a bunch of stuff (including my bins of Christmas decorations) to storage so there is quite a bit more room in my apartment again. Mind you, I have a lot of stuff so it’s still cramped but it’s more cleared out than it was when I got back from break. Little steps.

    I paid bills and did some yoga practice. This summer was emotionally rough and I found a Groupon or something for a week of yoga practice at Round Rock Yoga Room. I LOVE IT THERE!! It’s not like a club or the gym classes – it’s a true yoga community. I went twice over the break and was greeted by name and with loving hugs. I wish there was a place like it. There is a yoga studio here but the website description doesn’t seem so inviting and it’s kind of expensive so I haven’t been yet. The Yoga Room has been posting videos on YouTube so I made a spot in my home office so I can practice for about 30 minutes. I made a playlist of several different things to work on and plan on going through those as I can. It felt good to stretch and to hear Zelinda’s voice. She’s very calming. I have some Gaiam videos from Sarah so I’ll work with those as well. I should probably look into getting a block and maybe a strap ’cause faking a strap and using a Harry Potter book as a block doesn’t work too well.

    Next up, score study again. I have a lot to catch up on with my study because I didn’t get to do any over the break like I’d intended. I’m going to be conducting Vaughan Williams’ English Folk Song Suite in February with the Symphonic Band. I’ll post the date when I find my notebook (I think it’s in my backpack) – it would be nice to have old school friendly faces in the audience as well as my new friends.

    Okay, gotta get back to work and ride the wave of feeling accomplished! 🙂

    Love you, mean it!

    Looooooooooong awaited update.

    It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I feel like I start every blog post thinking that. I guess because it has been. It’s been a busy semester but I couldn’t be happier to be in graduate school! My professors are wonderful as well as the other students. I’ve managed to get home about once a month for various reasons so I don’t totally feel stuck in East Texas. And even if I didn’t get that opportunity, it’s beautiful here with the pine trees and all the living creatures that live in or with them.

    I can’t believe this semester is almost over. I have a final on Monday evening and I’m done with my first semester of graduate school. 3 more to go for my Masters! Next spring is going to be really crazy busy as well with the Jazz Ensemble performing at TMEA and the Wind Ensemble at CBDNA. Organizing these trips have been a HUGE part of the adventure this semester as well. Who’d have thought that these “simple” trips could be such a complicating endeavor? Gotta love the trickle-down effect of everything that’s been so topsy-turvy in education recently. Combine that with a change in procedures (mostly a change because there are obviously different procedures from RRISD) and it creates for a unique adventure in trip planning. 🙂 Luckily, everyone I’ve worked with so far have been magnificently supportive and understanding of all the hitches along the way. We will get on the road this spring, by golly!!

    What else is coming up? I’m conducting the Symphonic Band in February. I’m not sure of the concert date off the top of my head and the paper that date is written on is in the other room. I’ll be conducting the Vaughan Williams English Folk Song Suite. I’m also going to continue working with the Jazz Lab Band and at some point later in the Spring, I’ll have a singing debut with one of the jazz ensembles. Fun, huh? Maybe I’ll take a page from my friend Mandy Lauderdale when I sing. No, not the red hair. That’s totally her thing and I couldn’t think to borrow that.

    I can’t wait to spend a few weeks in Austin with my friends and family! Hopefully, anything I do I can remember to keep it on the cheap since I’m still a college student living on a college student budget (in other words, there’s little money to budget…there is a very positive spin I can put on this) when I’m hanging out with my friends. Christmas Brunch will again be at the Four Seasons with my family, one of my favorite outings of the year!

    Clipford & I are very lucky to have the lives we have. I couldn’t ask for much more. Okay, back to the books. There’s a paper due and a final tomorrow!

    Love you, mean it!