Friday, September 10, 2010

Grad School: Week One

I am tired. I am asking myself questions about my life and my goals. I'm working very hard to fit in, yet be myself. I'm listening, playing, and conducting all day while teaching all night. I'm drinking coffee(and I don't like it). I am a graduate student, graduate teaching assistant, and adjunct faculty member at Wright State University. I'm earning my Master of Music Performance Degree in Wind Conducting.

Week one started on Tuesday with listening to Wind Symphony auditions. I also did some PDF scanning and organizing. In the afternoon I conducted the non-majors who are hoping for a spot in Symphonic Band while the director listened for who she would select. Then it was off to Centerville for a couple hours where I worked with the marching band. Then right back to school, Jes is singing in the Dayton Philharmonic Chorus and she had rehearsal at Wright State so I rode with her and got more work done.

Wednesday it was more listening to more groups. I'm glad that the band faculty here are seeing me as one of their own so quickly, every time they go to lunch or to get coffee and I'm in earshot I'm invited. I learned a lot sitting at Wendy's with them. Three very different personalities, teachers, and conductors. Even though I'm assigned to the Director of Bands since he is in charge of the graduate wind conducting program, all three of them have been open to me and I feel safe discussing a multitude of things with them. I will be in as many rehearsals as possible. I will try not to let a second of observation and dialogue go by in these two years. I think lunch with them was the only time I eat a meal this week...

The next day was my trumpet audition. I prepared to the best of my ability. I had been telling the professors not to expect much from me. They were shocked by my audition. When we figured it up I hadn't taken a lesson in 5 years or played in an college ensemble in 4. I wish I would've played like that at WIU, I might've had some more respect for myself...but hindsight is 20/20. I played with the trumpet ensemble in preparation for our upcoming performance for Doc Severinsen. I'm thankful Mr. Zehringer chose to include me in that group. I pulled two pieces to read with the non-majors again and both selections were well received by Dr. Jagow, the Associate Director of Bands, so I conducted those in the afternoon.

After the auditions were done, Dr. Booth found me and we headed to Starbucks(I think he practically lives there) to talk about my audition. I missed Wind Symphony by sliver. He knew I was disappointed, but understanding I mean how could I compete with the trumpet grad students and the studio players who were consistently taking lessons? I made the decision there to take lessons if the professor would have me. Who would've thought, me wanting to take trumpet again?

Dr. Booth and I talked for many hours about our stories and why we ended up in this job. He explained to me that we're friends now and we're going to work closely to highlight my strengths and my weaknesses strengths. I wish I had as much confidence in me as he does. He says we put up screens to protect ourselves, but they don't let us grow. He asked how he can get rid of my screen. I feel like he has quite the handle on my psyche already. The stories he shared blow my mind. He compared me to Gary Green, the director at the Frost School of Music. Ironically, one of my mentors, Doug Phillips, is studying with Dr. Green now. I thought I could never be anything great from the middle of nowhere IL...has that all been a lie I've told myself for 26 years? Do I have the ability to be great? Dr. Booth sure think so, I guess I picked the right mentor. It's great to have someone believe in me.

As for that audition, maybe I'll get back in shape...maybe I'll make, or not. I'm so thankful he made me try again.

Today I was tired. Dr. Booth says that all the faculty I work here will charge my batteries so that I go out and set the world on fire. He told me as a 5-12 director I gave a lot of myself and now it's time to refine and replenish. I was tired, but I'm motivated. I worked a few hours at the music table at "Fall Fest" recruiting for my pep band. God help the Pep Band here. We meet Monday night and I have no idea what kind of shape the group is in since I haven't heard a good thing about it yet. It's college teaching experience nonetheless!

After more auditions and a talk with the trumpet professor(by the way the reason I didn't make Wind Symphony? My tone is has too much sizzle, they pegged me a jazz lead player which made a whole lot of sense) The professor says he can easily help me and trumpet lessons start on Wednesday. Then I went to Centerville to get the band practiced up for the big Alter v. Centerville game tonight. The place was packed tonight! On a random note, Wayne Markworth friended me on FB. Look him up if you don't know that name!

I'm glad I had the night away from the game though. It's nice to sit in my shorts and blog. I see this blog evolving a bit into reflections on what I'm studying. I can always pull it up on my BB to remember talking points right? I guess I just don't know how to internalize and study the books he just gave me to read this weekend. Well I better get to reading "Conducting Technique for Beginners and Professionals"

My mind will stretch and tonight I sit here wondering what can I be? What will I be?

1 comment:

Music Teacher said...

Great! This post can serve as an eye-opener or a tool to help us realize what we are into and what are we heading to and for. This makes me ask myself if what I am doing is somehow associated with or close to what I want and love to accomplish and be at. Right now, I can say that teaching music has been a part of my system and though it may be quite monotonous at times, I still can enjoy the challenges and of course, the rewards I get every time I see my students smile and enjoy what they do and learn with me. Teaching is my passion and I love music; so, here I am... an inspired and fulfilled music teacher.

Please continue to post more and more creative and innovative music teaching resources that would all be useful and interesting to all parties. Thanks again and more power.