Wow, is it Thursday already? How did we get to the end of March so quickly?
It seems like I’m always counting down to something. Days until my next visit to Canada (more on that later). Days until my next day off. Days until the gloriously long days of summer. But for the first time in my life, I don’t have seemingly endless hours of school to fill that time. I’m currently counting down the days until my mom’s spring break because she and I are off on an adventure to Boston! (Follow me on Instagram for updates). We leave on Tuesday. And I’m so excited.
These days, I have work to keep me busy. It’s funny to think that just last week, I was looking for a third job because I didn’t think I was getting enough hours. Well today is Thursday and so far, I’ve worked at the track out camp three times (twice as a sub and one normal shift) and I’ve worked at my retail job every other day. And needless to say, I’m exhausted. I think the last time I was this tired was in October when I had two senior recitals (in one month!) and I was still working 10-15 hours and taking a full class load. But it’s okay. Because Spring break is coming!
So I have been teaching rhythm and percussion to elementary and middle school aged kids. So far, I’m loving it. I’m having so much fun! And I feel like I’m learning a lot about myself and my own passion for music. Next week, I am planning a lesson in body percussion. A couple of years ago, we did a piece with body percussion in choir and I fell in love with it. It’s fun, it’s active, and it’s musical! The piece we did was called Bring Me Little Water, Silvy and it was so much fun. Plus, that was when I learned that I could hit a low, (sexy) E. So I will be introducing the kids to body percussion. Not Silvy, because I think it’s a bit too advance at this stage. But using the methods I found from Michelle Wirth‘s website, I will be introducing my students to the joy and wonder of body percussion!
In other news, my birthday is this weekend. I’m turning 26. 26! How did that happen? Somehow, without my noticing it, I became a full-fledged bill-paying aches-and-pains adult with two jobs and responsibilities and such. I think I’ll drink some coffee and think about what I’ve become.
I’m still trying to post once a week. Some weeks, that’s harder than others.
So here’s what’s going on in my life right now.
- New job.
- I just started working at a track out camp in my area, teaching percussion. Right now it is only about three hours a week. But as an introvert, pouring my energy into elementary and middle school aged kids is exhausting for me. I have thus far only worked one day and I came home and slept for the rest of it. It will take me some time to get the balance right. But I will get there.
- Old job(s)
- I still have my retail job, which I work at about 15 hours a week. It is a routine and after three years, I’m pretty darn good at it. But it is exhausting and draining.
- I have also been giving piano lessons to one, sweet student, whom I adore. (She practices!) These things have not changed. But I have to adjust for the new job .
- I never realized how much I relied on deadlines until I didn’t have them anymore. When I was still in school, I was presenting new music to my composition teacher every week for our lessons. Which means I was writing a lot more than I am now. That being said, I’m still writing. But rather than finishing a piece a month (man, could I focus) I’m finishing a piece every few months. It’s okay, though. As long as I keep writing, I think I’ll be okay. I am currently adding the finishing touches to “The Duchess’s Lullaby” for SSAA and percussion and “Dreamland” for SATB. It’s the tedious part of adding dynamics and editing the score for aesthetic purposes.
I also just posted a video to my Facebook page, which you can watch here.
To a Stranger is another piece that is close to my heart. This is the first art song I wrote. I stumbled upon the text by Walt Whitman many years ago in a John Green novel. (Paper Towns). But I forgot about it. Fast forward to just a few months ago when I was about to try my hand at art songs. My friend Jessica suggested I look at poetry in the public domain and I once again fell in love with this poem. I knew I wanted to write for a bass singer because I absolutely love the range of the bass. I coupled this text with a haunting melody passed among the piano, cello, and voice.
The piece opens with a chillingly beautiful motif in the cello, which is then emulated in the right hand of the piano, and finally in the voice. I wanted the music to represent the sort of nostalgic feeling of the text. I also wanted to give the feeling of time slowly passing. By using repeated octaves in the left hand of the piano, I created a sort of tolling bell. I used changes in rhythm to create a feeling of movement. In the second stanza, I used text painting, by using quickly moving notes on phrases like “flit by each other” and long notes on phrases like “fluid, affectionate…”
Finally, after a section of intense tension and movement, the piano and cello fade and the voice rings out on the word “alone.” The end of the piece is reminiscent of the beginning with the hollow open octaves in the piano. This signifies that the remembering of the dream has ended and real life has begun again.
With its constant changing tempi, To a Stranger gives the listener a sense of longing and a bittersweet sort of feeling.