So, you want to be a music performance major?

I’ve had a few students who have recently come to me, wanting to be music performance majors when they get to college. Students I’ve talked to about becoming a music major have all been interested in one day becoming a band director so this was a bit of a new thought process. The most recent student is mid-way through sophomore year so I feel like it’s critical to get everything on the right track now. So, here are some things I’ve come up with. If I’ve left anything out, please add in the comments.

  • Start private lessons with a college professor.
  • Skype lessons with as many professional musicians as I can connect with them.
  • Summer programs like Tanglewood or Interlochen.
  • Find as many performance gigs as possible.
  • Figure out where professional performers went to school and look into the current procedures of auditioning at those locations.

What else?

Thanks for any input in advance.


Movin’ right along

Well, I’m moving. Again.

In case you didn’t see the FB post, I’ve been hired as the Director of Bands at Tascosa HS, a 5A high school in Amarillo, TX. I’m really excited about the new job! We have a BAND-tastic creative team in place with Daniel Montoya, Jr., composer, Daniel Wiles, drill writer, and Nick Angelis writing the drum book. I have an amazing staff (minus one for the brief moment) and an incredibly supportive administration. What else could a girl want?

MOVERS. I hate packing and I have a lot of stuff! I have plenty of boxes and packing material and I’m very blessed to have Angela helping me pack this weekend. I’m also very blessed that my current landlord is letting me store my packed boxes in an empty unit in my building. That helps SO MUCH because it gives me room to keep building and packing boxes. I can do this.

I’m picking up the truck on Monday and the movers are coming Monday afternoon to load the truck and we leave on Tuesday morning for Amarillo via Austin. Clipford has been in Austin with my parents then with my sister and brother-in-law so I’m picking him up on my way to Amarillo on Tuesday.

Any suggestions on how to move plants? I have quite a few of various sizes that will need to be moved and because I need to leave room in my car for Clipford and his stuff, I don’t think I’ll be able to put them in my car. I’ve put a lot of work into potting and caring for them, I’d hate to leave them behind.

Okay, I’m grungy and tired so more packing will happen tomorrow. For now, shower then bed. G’night.

Love you, mean it!

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!

Here’s what you missed…

A lot has happened since I last posted a “real” blog entry.

I’ve applied to several graduate conducting programs (MM) and have decided to go to Sam Houston State University. I’ve gotten acceptance letters from the University as well as a Graduate Assistantship so I’m now officially a Bearkat (what’s a Bearkat? A naked Bobcat!! The last time I’ll probably be able to make that joke for a while 🙂 ). I’ll be moving to Huntsville, TX mid-July. If you want to help me move, I’ll take all the help I can get. I have a lot of stuff.

Speaking of a lot of stuff, I’m having a garage sale on Saturday, May 21. Yes, it’s the morning after my birthday but I think celebrations are going to happen on Saturday evening so I’m not too concerned. If you’d like to participate in the garage sale, let me know. The more the merrier! I’m selling mostly clothes but I’m sure there will be some furniture and such in the mix. It’s hard to know how much I need to downsize since I haven’t been to Huntsville to find a place to live or not yet. That’s happening sometime in early June.

It’s a good thing I got this spot and GA at Sam because my position at Stony Point has been cut (cue sad music here). I have a contract through the 2011-2012 school year but seeing as they’ve cut 5 or 6 band directors at least 50% with only 1 spot open to fill, I have a feeling they’d tap into my other certifications (I have quite a few) and I’d get stuck teaching general elementary education. As much as I enjoyed student teaching 5th grade social studies and language arts, it was a novelty and a means to an end and I couldn’t imagine myself doing that for real! Some can with no thought – juggling all those subjects and small people is NOT for me!

Brad got a job in Beaumont (YAY!) but because of the distance and lack of time, he decided that being in the relationship we were in was too hard, considering what a terrible year he’s had already. He just can’t put anymore stress on his emotions right now. He broke things off two weeks ago (cue more sad music here). I guess I really can’t blame him, knowing everything I know about what’s happened in the past year. It doesn’t stop it from sucking, though. I really miss him. But you know me – shed gallons of tears, put my head down and I’ll prevail yet again. Who knows what will happen when I move to Huntsville, either. You just have to keep on living.

What else…nothing much I can think of right now. I guess I could go back and re-read my last “real” blog post to find other things but that’s enough for now. Take care!
Love you, mean it!

A little poetry

I’m not much of a poet. In fact, I don’t GET most poetry. My boyfriend doesn’t understand how I can’t like or even get most poems but he doesn’t like jazz so I guess that balances us to some degree.

Several years ago, we were either at a dress rehearsal or performance of our school’s production of South Pacific and the phrase “open the Blue Shades” wouldn’t leave my brain. After pondering it a bit, I realized that Blue Shades is a title of a wind band piece composed by Frank Ticheli. The next day, I went online and looked up his other titles and realized a nice poem could come by combining the titles of the works he’d written up to that point. It doesn’t contain all his titles up to that point but most of them and I’m not sure that I actually ever finished it. I hope you enjoy my little poem. There’s no title to the poem itself since it contains so many in it. 😉

I have Gaian Visions
of the Proud Vesuvius
as it takes is Wild Nights
lit by Nitro.

Don’t live locked in your Fortress
like your Portrait of a Clown.
Open the Blue Shades
and let the Sundance.

When you are off
in your Sanctuary,
send me a Simple Gift.
Even if it’s just a Postcard.

From the Shenandoah
to the Pacific,
I sing a Fanfare,
my Second Symphony
as the Amazing Grace
of The American Elegy.

So, that’s it – my first “published” poem. Yes, some of it is a little forced but again, I’m not a student of poetry by any means. I hope you enjoyed it!

Dudamel on PBS

I’m putting this here because it’s a video I want to watch when I have time. He’s an amazing conductor and musician so it’s probably worth many people watching. If you watch it before I do, tell me what you think. 🙂