Friday, April 13, 2012

The List

Things that must happen (in no particular order) in the next 16 days of school:

1) Learn Tomasi trombone concerto
2) Finish learning Bourgeois trombone concerto
3) Finish composing my organ piece
4) Finish composing my art song set
5) Orchestrate a Debussy piano prelude.

Hey! The list looks humanly possible!

I know I can, I know I can, I know I can.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Concept of Defeat

The phrase "I can't do this." really does have a nice ring to it.

After the initial objections (moral or logical) to failure have been overcome, the phrase really does just roll off your tongue. I can't do this. It sounds awful to an overachiever, perfectionist, or pretty much anyone else who doesn't want to see someone fail miserably, but let's face it - when I say "I can't do this" there is a certain amount of relief implied.

"I can't do this." - It's the ultimate excuse for a slacker at heart. It implies:

1) I have given up: I can't do this, I recognize I can't do this, so I have an excuse to be lazy; I couldn't do it anyway, so why bother trying?
2) A substitution of "can't" for "won't": in other words, I've had enough! I refuse to enslave myself for something which cannot be attained!
3) Outside expectations are unrealistic: therefore, they are also unimportant and irrelevant; I did my best, now shut up and don't ask so much of me in the future. I hereby reject your unrealistic expectations and substitute something more reasonable.
4) Don't blame me: I tried, but it's not physically possible. It's not my fault. I'm sorry, but I have absolved myself of guilt and there's nothing you or your expectations can do about it.

That's what it implies. That's the approach that comes with the "I can't do this." statement. Not a good approach, yes? In my humble opinion, here's what should happen in terms of attitude...

1) "I can't do this."? Tough, darlin' - let's try anyway, 'cause it can't hurt.
2) What a cop-out. My dear, my dear, stop wallowing in self-pity. Yes, you may be mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted, but you can take steps to come much closer to achieving your goal. Odds are, the closer the better.
3) Everyone else IS irrelevant. Make your own expectations; you'll strive harder to reach them. If you expect failure, you will fail. So, get to work focusing on improvement. Nevermind perfection, nevermind complete success: improve. That, you can do.
4) Don't be an idiot - you're still culpable. If you didn't hit your goal, it may not be entirely your own fault, but you making excuses certainly hasn't helped. Responsibility is yours.

I refuse to admit defeat, but it's terribly tempting. It would be so easy to just walk up to a few professors tomorrow and say: "I can't do this."

I won't.

Because I CAN do this.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Almost there

23 days of class =
115 pages of music to learn.
+ 5 organ lessons.
+ 4 organ studio classes.
+ 4 recitals.
+ 1 orchestration project.
+ Holy Week.
+ Best friend's wedding

= Graduation.

Too bad life isn't a VHS tape - I like that fast forwarding feature.

On your mark. Get set.


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I hope burnout isn't contagious.

I doubt anyone reads this blog anymore; in fact, in a roundabout way, I think I hope that no one reads it. This is just me, spitting my thoughts out into space - sort of a journal, but it's out there on the web in the improbable scenario that someone else wants to know what I think or accidentally stumbles across this page because they share some of my issues and/or pursuits.

Now that that is said and out of the way, here's what's on my mind now.

I hate music. I have one semester left to go before I completely my bachelor's degree, and the thought of spending 16 more weeks killing myself to pass my lessons is unbearable. I've been living and breathing music for... well, probably the last five or six years, and the pace has always intensified rather than relaxed. At this point, I'm sick of looking at a keyboard; I can't stand my music; I don't want to hear another note to analyze; I don't care who influenced what how, nor do I care why I should know about them. It's beyond tiredness (though I'm definitely tired, too) - it's that my mental capacity for music has been sated, and then some.

In sum: I'm burned out.

At least I recognize this, and I can deal with it. I know that I need a break (a complete break) from music, for at least several months. After I finish my degree, that's exactly what I'll do. Hiking, biking, writing, reading, and as little practice as possible for... oh, maybe about six months. I know I'm still going to go to grad school, and I know I'm still going to continue my studies in music - but in order to do that, I have to give myself a little room to breathe and get out of this slump. Didn't Einstein work as a clerk in a patent office after he graduated with a degree in physics? I'm no Einstein, but I think I know roughly how he felt.

One more semester. 16 weeks. It isn't really that long a time span, objectively speaking. I'll get through it. I'm looking forward to getting it over with, and I'm sure there will be a few spots in the semester that are absolutely wonderful, but I know quite well it may also be rather hellish (pardon my language, if it offends you). I will have five recitals. Five. Three for which I'll accompany, my own solo recital, and a composition recital. As I think about the sheer amount of music that I will have to know inside-outside-backwards-forwards for these recitals, my initial reaction is 1) loathing, and 2) panic. I know I will learn the music, and all will be well. I also know I will detest the process of learning this music and will likely collapse (and/or have a nervous breakdown) when I finish.

One more semester. One. More. Semester.

I may hate this at the moment, but music is still what I love. Not going to give in just because I'm burned out right now. I can do this, and I will do this.

It's time to go practice. Bach makes a wonderful main course, with a side of Bourgeois. Reger to add flavor, with a touch of Hindemith for zest. Carpal tunnel, here I come.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Apologies to anyone who frequented this blog during my extended absence (I'm hoping no one did!). Things have been more than a little out of control lately; here's the scoop:

1) I'm now a freshman (well, technically, sophomore because of the number of credits I transferred in) at CSU, maintaining a 4.0. While I'm glad my GPA is that good, keeping it that good is killing me. I never run out of things to do/finish/work on.

2) My classes are fun, but hard. I'm taking an intro to biochem class which is really fascinating, but hard to study for--and no BSing allowed on assignments. The "no BS" rule isn't too hard to follow, but it does make it so that I can't whip out the writing as fast as I normally would. My intro to music history and lit is... well... boring. I'm not sure if I could devise a more pointless use of 50 minutes every MWF. I'm sure the teacher knows her stuff, but her presentation style simply doesn't work for me. As for math... I like math; I don't like the math that I'm doing right now, because it's all with a calculator. I hate not knowing how to solve a problem algebraically.

3) I feel awful for my organ teacher and accompanying teacher. I'm so swamped with everything that I don't get in half the practice time I should. I swear, I'm doing my level best, but I'm only getting the bare minimum of practice time in.

4) Choir is going very well--though I wish I could prepare for each practice just a bit more, the choir is progressing quickly. We're on to some polyphony that's about a moderate level of difficulty (Lotti's "Miserere Mei", at the moment) and working into the harder Gregorian chant.

5) The 2009 Colloquium was something else! It was incredible... music, music, more music. I learned so much so quickly. And hanging out with friends that I hadn't seen in forever was fantastic. I'm really hoping to go this year, but I don't think it's going to happen because of the price change. It's just too expensive, and I don't think I should be spending my money on something like that right now.

6) I'm still hiking, biking, running, etc. when I can, but not as often as I'd like. I'm trying to fix this, but... honestly, it takes time, and time isn't something that I have in plenty.

7) I'm still living at home, but I'd like to move out eventually. Not necessarily because of family friction--just because I'd really like to have my own place for a while. I don't know when or if it's going to happen, but it's been in the back of my mind (sometimes the front, depending on how my day is going) quite a bit lately.

8) I. Just. Can't. Wait. For. Summer. Break. I'm on spring break right now, and it's not bad, but... it's not really a break. I have too many assignments to finish, too much practicing to do, etc. It's a break from scheduled classes, but that's all--and, to top it off, Dad assumes that I have lots of time because I don't have class. So, I'm busy with chores on top of schoolwork.

9) I miss writing. I've done very little since school started because I've been too tired both mentally and physically. Writing is one of the best ways for me to relax, though, so I'm getting even more stressed out than usual because I don't have time to write.

10) I don't know where I'm going, and I hate not knowing. While I know that God's plan has something good in store no matter what I do, I can't help being a little frustrated that I'm so clueless. Everything sounds appealing, yet at the same time, nothing does. Should I get a second major? Minor? What should it be in? I like forestry, natural resources, biology, biochemistry, GIS, computer science, and... well, you get the idea. Should I work over the summer? Study abroad? Volunteer? Just take a break? Save up for a long vacation after I get out of school, or just have fun while I don't have to pay off my loans? Should I consider grad school, or should I finish my bachelor's and RUN? ... I don't know. I just don't know.

11) Odds are... I miss you. Friends from Indy, online friends with whom I've talked for hours and hours, family from CA... I miss you. College is so faceless--they try to create community in a huge campus, but it just results in lots of very specific groups. I don't need a lot of acquaintances that I share a few things in common with; I just miss having those two or three really close friends who are always there. Currently, I only have one friend like that, and that one may be leaving in the near future.

All right, so that's what's up with me. How are you?

P.S. I'm not sure how fitting the title of this blog is. College is sapping my fizziness bit by lethal bit...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Commandment #1: Thou shalt not stray off pitch...

For it be necessary in order to gain a pure blend of voices, ay! *mock gasp*

I'm completely obsessed with choir, I know, I know. But - HOW CAN I NOT BE?! I have a great group of people to work with (enthusiastic, willing to learn, understand the basic principles of reading music and are swiftly understanding more), a great group of people teaching me, and a supply of fantastic choral music to share... I love choir. We're working on the Vaet 'O Quam Gloriosum' and Des Prez "Ave Verum". The Vaet's mostly to help them learn to listen to each other (we started that one before the "Ave Verum"); the Des Prez, to help them learn to blend (with the "Ave Verum", it really stands out if some people are singing in a different tone than others, so it's almost perfect).


In other news - I'M GOING TO THE COLLOQUIUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *spins around in wild, crazy-happy circles* I can't wait. Can't wait. CAN'T WAIT! 33 days!! THIRTY-THREE DAYS!!! AAAAAIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!! MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC MUUUUUUUUSSSSIIIIICCCCC!!!!

And I'm only going to be hanging out with two of the most awesome people in the world for that week, too. I couldn't ask for more. HUR-RAH!

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I got into both the colleges I applied to...

Now here's the fun part. I got a full ride from one, but it's not the college of my choice. My college of choice is going to be really expensive, I'll have to work over summer breaks (which means no Colloquiums, workshops, vacations, etc.), I'll have to work while in school, I won't have a car, and I'll still come out of school very in debt. On the other hand, I could go to the school that gave me a full ride, get a car, live at home, and come out virtually debt-free - but the level of education I get won't be quite the same.


(no, I refuse to flip a coin for the answer)