Last week I participated in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s rush week. Phi Mu Alpha is a national fraternity with its objective being to advancing music in America. Now, these rush events are a completely different experience now that I am a collegiate member than they seemed when I was thinking about joining. There was a great deal of planning involved in preparing the events and deciding who to take as a little brother. Each day of the past week was a different rush event, all of which turned out to be successful.
On Monday we served French Toast to students as they walked to class. This event is always popular because it is free for the students. It was nice being able to meet some of the prospective brothers.
Tuesday we played dodge ball in the gym which was a lot of fun. Many people came for this event so we had fairly large teams. Regardless, it was a lot of fun pegging my friends with the ball.
As the week continued to progress we had other exciting events such as capture the flag and a cookout. Friday morning was the most important day to me because the brothers had to give a recital outside so that students walking to class could hear us. Because I am the music director for the fraternity, I was privileged to direct the choir and run rehearsals. This was a great experience for me because this will benefit me as a music educator in the future.
All of these events led to Sunday night, that actual pinning ceremony. Now i cannot give you all the details, but this is the night that we select who will join the fraternity and we officially pin our little brothers. Each current member is assigned a little because we are to act as their mentors until they become full members. Last week was crazy but I enjoyed every moment of it.
It is finally the 1st of August! Its kind of weird to say this, but I can’t wait for classes to start. I am ready for these summer classes to end and for my normal, busy schedule to begin. My Medieval class ended last Tuesday which I was excited about. The class was interesting but having a four hour history class once a week got annoying. My third year writing class is ending this coming Thursday after I complete my ten page research paper on film music. Then my junior cornerstone will be complete the following Tuesday.
This summer overall, has been very productive. It was nice having a job, getting 9 credits out of the way, and
improving on my playing skills. Lucky, Dr. Kraus asked me a few weeks ago whether I would help out with Belmont’s first youth symphony by filling in on bass clarinet. This defenitely helped me improve my skills on the instrument and I also got to met some talented students. Working at camps like this simply confirm my chose of being a music education major.
So I guess I am going to be a junior soon. Well technically, I am a junior right now and am half way done with my undergradute degree. So plans for the future? I know for sure I want to go to graduate school as soon as I graduate from Belmont. I also know that I want to pursue an orchestral conducting masters, which they unfortunately do not offer here at Belmont. I have also been toying with the idea of getting a masters in classical voice as well because I have always wanted to refine my singing and maybe even become of professional singer some day. For now though, I still have time to think about my next stage in life…
Last Saturday I went to see Imogen Heap at the Ryman, here in Nashville TN. Now, I only knew one song from her
album but after that concert I was one of her biggest fans.
I recieved free tickets from one of my friends, Matt, to see her in concert. He actually got to perform a piece with her on stage. He is in a group called “We Are Nashville” and they performed an acappella version of her song Earth. The group had won a contest on youtube in which hundreds of people submitted their best acappella arrangement and recording of the piece. The group chosen by Imogen got to perform with her on stage. Matt’s group actually won the contest.
Part of the prize for winning was that they got to open for Imogen Heap. This was a great opportunity for the group to get there name out there. I know that the audience loved the group and i expect to hear of more opportunities for them to perform.
It is finally summer! Everything is starting to settle into place. I will be staying on campus this summer so that I can take classes. I am going to be taking Medivial History, Third-Year Writing, and my Junior Cornerstone: Intro to the New Testament. Overall summer is looking great. I recently moved from my dorm room in Kennedy to a really nice apartment in Hillside. I also get the apartment to myself this summer, which I have loved so far.
I am really happy that Belmont remains active during the summer. The music buildings are open so I can continue to use the practice rooms. Also many of my friends stayed for the summer so I actually have people to hang out with.
I have been searching for a job for quite a while and I finally got one yesterday. I will be working at Belmont in the Office of Development over the summer and hopefully in the fall as a student worker. There is a lot to do with this job and at times it is going to be challenging. I look forward to good challenge this summer.
Summer will be excellent. I have already created goals for myself this summer to prepare for the fall. For instance, I
plan on working out a lot and I am continuing to practice saxophone and clarinet this summer. I would really like to make the orchestra on clarinet this fall and be in the classical performers recital in the spring on sax.
Well I must be going for now, but I will keep you all updated on my activities during the summer.
This past week has been amazing. Most likely the best week I have this semester. I was elected president of Belmont’s MENC which is the National Association for Music Educators. I really look forward to leading the music education program. One of the biggest difficulties we have had in the past is relating the instrumental and vocal sides of music education in our program because it is hard to do workshops and lectures that apply to both. Being a instrumental and vocal music ed. person, I really want to combine these two together and bring in speakers that all of the students at Belmont can relate to.
I had to teach a 6th grade general music class on tuesday morning. I had to do two 30 minute lessons in front of real 6th graders, which I was a bit nervous about. But I really enjoyed it and it proved that this is the right major for me. I ended up teaching the blues scale and had the students improvise over the blues scale on the Orff instruments. They really enjoyed this lesson, and I had a blast teaching it.
Then on Friday I had to give a speech in my Fundamentals of Communication class. My speech was on gang
violence in Nashville. My speech went really well, I ended up getting a 100% on it. The only mistake I made on my speech the last phrase where I was trying to say “It is up to us to stop gang violence” but I actually said “It is us to up to stop gang violence”. I said this about four times until I gave up I completely changed my phrase.
To end the week, the weather was perfect. I went to the park on Saturday with a group of friends to hike and to fly a kite. This was just a great week. It amazes me to see how my life unfolds and the opportunities that arise throughout my time here at Belmont.
This past weekend was amazing because I got to go on the annual Chorale trip. This year we went to Atlanta, GA for our tour. This is an opportunity for one of Belmont’s premiere choirs to travel to churches, schools, and other venues to sing to others and to represent Belmont along with the great things that are happening here. This trip was a blast and will be truly unforgetable!
The trip started off on Saturday at 8 in the morning as we loaded the buses to depart for Atlanta. It was about a
four and a half hour drive, but it was a lot of fun watching movies on the bus and hanging out with people I don’t see very frequently outside of chorale. I strengthed many friendships on this trip and started new ones. For instance, I didn’t realize until the trip that one of the tenor’s lives right around the corner from me back in St. Louis. It is such a small world!
Anyway, we stopped at the mall in Atlanta. Many of the girls went shopping while the guys in the choir tended to tag along with them. Later Saturday night, we went to Medival Times, which is a dinner and show that takes place in a castle. Now I have been to Medival Times three times before with my high school band, but it is always fun getting to eat food with your hands and cheering on your knight as they try to win the competition.
Saturday was our free day because the rest of the trip was spent singing in various locations. We went to several churches where we would sing for the service and for their youth choirs. We also went to several high schools and sang for them. It was amazing seeing the reaction on their faces as when sang, they were truly inspired and it was a blessing to sing for them.
But the highlight of the trip was that we helped premiere a brand new hymnal. This event was amazing because
they had been working on this hymnal for more than twenty years, so the event had people from all across the country. Although we were only one of many choirs at the event, it was amazing being in the church, hearing the hundreds of people sing sing the selected hymns.
This trip was truly amazing! Next year, chorale gets to travel internationally. I am really excited about this.
Last week I went to an incredible concert in which a guest group, Luna Nova performed. Luna Nova is modern ensemble the was made up with a flautist, celliest, and pianist. All of the musicians in this ensemble are experienced musicians and have truly mastered their instruments. They played a wide variety of works, but the one the caught my attention was a George Crumb piece called Vox Balaenae (Voice of the Whale). If you don’t know who George Crumb is, he is a historical famous composer, being one of the first to use recordings in live performance. Although there was no particular recording used in the performance, the cello was amplified so that the harmonics of the notes he played could be heard.
Many advanced techniques were used during this song. The song used a prepared piano, which is when the strings of a piano have been labeled and objects have been placed on them so the pianist can pluck the strings witht their hands. The flute player had to sing and play the flute at the same time, which would require months of practice to accomplish. In addition to this both flute player and the cellist had to whistle at times. My favorite part of this piece was when the cello played smooth legato notes as highest string. This effect sounded like a whale call, it was amazing.
If you are interested in hearing more music by Luna Nova or learing more about modern music, visit their website at: lunanova.org
The past week has been one of the most memorable most of my semester this far. On Monday I played in the band for the commercial showcase, which was amazing. My weekend was consumed by rehearsals in preparation for the showcase. I have also been busy studying for test and practicing for my applied lessons though. The highlight of this weekend was the snowfall or what people in Nashville called a “blizzard,” which took place on Friday.
Now, it very rarely snows in Nashville and when it does, the snow doesn’t stick to the ground. Last Friday it did,
several inches cumulated on the ground. Many of my teachers started cancelling classes not only for Friday, but also on Monday and Tuesday. This was truly a blessing!
It snowed consistently on friday and gradually slowed down as Saturday approached. Students were outside throwing snowballs at each other, sledding down giant hills in makeshift cardboard sleighs, and building snowmen. We also had a giant snowball fight at midnight on friday where over 60 students launched snowballs at each other.
Such an amazing weekend sadly came to an end when the snow began to melt and everything turned into sludge. Fortunately it is suppose to snow again this next weekend.
So here I am, three weeks into the spring semester. College seems to be more and more demanding, but I continue
to love every moment of it. A typical day for me starts at 7 in the morning getting ready for the day. It is one of the few moments during the day that I get to myself. Classes start at 8 am and throughout the day I will attend several classes including Percussion Methods, Harmony IV, and College Algebra to name a few. Also this semester I began taking voice lessons with Mrs. George to satisfy my vocal add-on to my degree. Mrs. George is an amazing teacher who really cares about her students and she knows how to transform students into beautiful singers. It has been a pleasure taking lessons with her. But because of all the lessons, classes, and rehersals I have to rush from class to class, therefore I spend less time with my friends and relaxation.
If any of you are considering being a music education major, make sure you truly love to teach and play music. This degree shouldn’t be a fall back career, like many students tend to do. You will be doing homework and playing and instrument in a practice room while many of your friends will be having fun. For me though, this is entirely worth it. I love the classes that I am taking and the opportunities I have had. I have grown tremendously over the past two years because of the degree and the relationships I have formed because of them.
Now many of you may be thinking that I have no life outside of the school of music, but this is defenitely not true. I have learned to appreciate the time I spend with my friends and the moments of relaxation. Last friday I went to see Krzysztof Penderecki (a world-renown composer) conduct the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, which was an amazing concert. Also my friends and I have a weekly game night, where we meet up and play a board game.
I wouldn’t be anything other than a music education major. If any of you want to discuss music education with me feel free to look me up on facebook. I would be happy to talk to you.
Random thought: So after several attempts of finding the perfect pet for my dorm room, I finally come to a
conclusion. African Dwarf Frogs are the best, they are fun to watch, easy to mantain, and are very hardy. (I tried betta’s but each one died in a matter of days).
I am so thankful to have God in my life, He has blessed me in countless ways…
He has allowed me to attend an amazing school where I have met so many inspiring people who have truly
changed me. The opportunities that I have had at this school are one of a kind, I am glad He has guided me here.
I am thankful for all of the friendships that I have made this year, all of the people who have challenged, inspired, and have simply been a good friend to me. You all know who you are! Thank You.
I am thankful for my family; they are my support and comfort. If it weren’t for them who knows where I would be
right now. Thank You for providing a place of peace, where I am always welcome with open arms. Thank You for supporting me in all of my decisions, for your continous love and affection and the constant friends.
Because of all of this I am truly blessed…
This past weekend I drove home for the Thanskgiving weekend. It was nice getting away from all of the school work and to have a time of peace. We had around 17 family members drive in from the east coast for the weekend. It was nice being in their company, hearing their stories, and reconnecting with family members I haven’t seen in a while. My weekend consisted of competive games of scrabble, watching television, and sharing memories with each other. The thanksgiving dinner was amazing. Sweet potatoes, Collard greens, Ham, and of course Turkey
were just a few items I got indulge in over the break. It was sad to see my family leave yesterday, but I look forward to finishing up these last couple of weeks of school and coming home for Winter Break.