Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dispelling the Myth

There are times in life when people astound me. Sometimes because of their talent, courage, faith, kindness or ignorance. If you guessed which of those was recently demonstrated to me, you already know this is going to be one of those posts. Let me recount my tale...

It all began at my place of work, the library. Three of us were scheduled for that shift including myself, Nicky, and one non-music major trainee. We'll just call her "Jane Doe."

The shift began as usually with the reshelving of last night's books and scores, turning on computers, and chatting about nothing important. Somehow, our conversation drifted into our manager's well-known recount of her years as the sole music student of her class. The three of us musicians laughed and commented on our own experiences, the humorous and stressful alike. The topics ranged from theory to eartraining to ensembles. All the while, Miss Doe is following along, laughing, yet not totally comprehending.

Eventually, our manager returns to her desk, so Nicky and I continue the discussion. This was when Jane felt compelled to ask us a question, "So, ya'll actually got to work to be a music major?" Besides the lack of grammatical skills, the question was not one that we hadn't heard often. Therefore, we knew how to answer and patiently explained the massive amount of time, effort and skill it takes to be a professional musician. I illustrated the long hours Opera rehearsals entailed for the reward of one credit hour and the stress of juries, translations, diction and IPA. Nicky pointed out the difficulty of the educational instrument method classes, the Senior portfolio and student teaching.

Miss Doe, to her credit, listened quietly, analyzing all we had revealed in her head. I hoped we had converted one more "they do nothing of value" person over to our side. We awaited the next question.

Furrowing her brow, Jane simply replied, "So, ya'll got to actually play somethin' or sing to be a music major? I mean, 'cause I just thought you showed up and they taught you that."

Have you ever had that feeling of when you would love nothing more than to snatch the nearest encyclopedia and whack yourself into unconsciousness? I have.

Once Nicky and I had replaced our eyes into their sockets and disengaged from the stare we had been holding with each other, we attempted to expound upon our previous endeavor by describing the application process. I will not type out all the requirements for an audition. If you are that curious, google "music school" or "music conservatory," follow the links to a school and click on audition requirements. You'll quickly understand the talent and skill needed for this accomplishment.

By the end of two hours' traffic, Jane Doe, if not understood, appreciated the hard work and dedication involved in our chosen careers. One more person had been removed from the darkness of ignorance and walked into the light. Our job was completed. We buoyantly returned to shelving books and reiterating the proper usage of the copier.

Friday, September 23, 2005

A Time For Change

As of right now, I can say that this year will be different than all others preceding it. We're only a few weeks in - how can I make that assumption already. Let's just say I have my reasons. For example, I'm a principle in the Opera and actually have to think in rehearsals rather than mindlessly drone "oh" and "ah." Stage has been a concept that I have yet to master. Luckily, our director is kind enough to silently point me in the right direction when I get too caught up in singing and forget to move. She realizes that I'll get it, but in the meantime, she's finding this rather humorous. I'm glad I'm brightening someone's day.

I'm organized. Consistently. I've even managed to create free time for my self! Hot tea and reading have become my nighttime ritual and I get enough sleep for once. My homework is done about a week in advance (well, only if I know about it for that long) and the marathon catch-up nights have ceased to exist - until the Opera Hell Week, of course. I work part-time, go to church, and exercise on a regular basis.

My voice studies have increased in difficulty about tenfold. This is because I am at the end of my technique in a way. Once I master this free singing and lower laryngeal position on my high stuff, everything else such as dynamics are a matter of application. Honestly, I'll never stop learning new things, but this is the last HUGE technique I have to learn - and it kicking my butt. My arias were chosen with the expressed intent of teaching this technique. Basically, if I can't sing it, I'm doing it wrong and I won't be able to sing them until I get it right. Ah, yes, my butt is being severely kicked in this process. Its only a matter of when I get this concept, not if. My obsessive-compulsive, overachieving nature will ensure that.

I shall not be walked over or taken advantage of anymore. This is a recent wake-up call since I thought I had already done this. It involved a friend in a class who plagiarized my answers when I wasn't looking. When I realized this, the said person continued on the grating path, following me until all every bit of research I did was in their possession. This particular situation was a minor one, so I'm not concerned - just annoyed at myself. I am determined to say something next time.

In order to end in a cheerful disposition, here is my quote of the day: "But Karen, you would probably have some sort of weird reaction or something - your boob would fall off or something." Thank you, Rochelle. Some quotes are much funnier in a British accent.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Ophelia boycotts Schubert

First, let me apologize as its been obscenely too long since I've written. Here's a brief synopsis of my summer to this point:

~2 weddings and 1 more in the works for next summer. Family begins to talk about me as I am the next grandchild in line to wed - apparently?
~Read Half-Blood Prince in 3 days.
~Got my new driver's license after locking myself out of my apartment, driving 6 hours, and failing the first test.
~Broke up with my boyfriend and am blissfully single.
~Paid way too much for college textbooks.
~Rejoiced at my lack of classes filled with stupid people.
~Got sucked into I'm still a first year, but I assure you that will soon change.

I think that's it besides the general practicing, arguing and waiting for school to commence.

Anyway, this post is dedicated to Hurricane Ophelia and her distaste of Schubert. Yesterday afternoon, an alert raced through the college email system that informed all of us that Wednesday classes would be canceled. Much to my Diction professor's dismay, I received this message in the middle of his lecture and announced it during a lull. He didn't seem to mind much except that he wondered out loud whether or not I was playing internet tetris during class. As I clarified, "I do not play internet tetris during your class." I purposely left room for interpretation.

The next email came from Professor Izzo containing the heading, "Italiophiles rejoice! Ophelia boycotts Schubert discussion."

Throughout the general scramble of rescheduled classes, lessons and tests, the Walmarts have filled with those preparing for a Category 1 hurricane. It is interesting to note that the storm so feared has only brought rain and mild winds as of this entry. I shall not complain because a day-off every now and again is not a terrible problem - I already have plenty of things to do. Anyone up for a hurricane party?