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.