Thursday, March 31, 2005

In my piano lesson today, I felt as if I had entirely and utterly butchered Bach's Preludium. My notes felt like a pile of mush, varied with oddly misplaced accents and staccatos. It began in one tempo, and by the end we had slowed to a crawl. Where it should be Allegro, it was Lento. Maybe. Playing four melodic lines at the same time with ties and slurs and detatched notes in different places felt like saying tongue twisters with my fingers and my brain. The translation between my eyes, musical knowledge, and fingers was not going smoothly. I could get only so far down the page before the mass of lines and notes equaled mass confusion, at which point M. Wittenburg would say, "Don't freak out, don't freak out!" Of course I'm freaking out!!! Breath and relax, breath and relax. It's a dance, not a NASCAR race. Take care of each beat before going on to the next. There is plenty of time and space between each set of notes. Forget the fact that I must think about playing detatched thirty-second notes, voicing another melody of eighth notes, holding down the bass quarter note, and relaxing my hands at the same time. It's all a beautiful dance.

By the end of my lesson, the page was covered in circles, slashes, and dots that only I will be able to decipher. After my perfectionist side had driven me to nearly banging a huge major chord just for the satisfaction of being able to play four correct notes at the same time, Wittenburg tells me, "You're really doing some good work with this. I'm pleased with the way it's coming along. All we have is some fine tuning to do, now. You're not that far away from where it should be."

Thank the Lord for encouraging teachers, even if they may be overly gracious sometimes. It makes struggling with Bach Preludiums worth it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

My birthday has become such an odd thing since I have moved away to school. Unlike all my lucky friends whose birthdays are in the summer, and therefore are with their families, mine falls right before the insanity of finals. I celebrate it in random moments and ways in between the non-stop flow of classes, practicing, and accompanying. Last night I called my sister to say 'Happy Birthday', and we bemoaned the fact that we were again away from each other on our birthdays. Since our birthdays are only one day apart, we have decided to just have 'our' birthday, instead of hers and mine. When we're not together it only feels like half a birthday, and we console ourselves with sister talk and planning how to make it up to each other in the summer. This morning before I left for school I sat on my bed and opened the presents she had sent me. The whimsical wrapping paper that held the random gifts made me miss her more. She knows that tons of loopy, colorful ribbons make me smile, and packages of face masks wrapped in ivory fabric will make finals bearable.

For the rest of the day I ran around campus in beautiful clothes that made me feel like a lady, accepted the compliments of my friends, and told everyone it was my birthday. I figured that since Lee Day is this week and I will have absolutely no time for partying until after the weekend, I might as well get wished as many Happy Birthday's as possible. I found enough change in my book bag to treat myself to an iced coffee, put a flower in my hair, and skipped Theory 4 in celebration. The only odd thing about the day was telling people that I am 22 now. For some reason I thought 22 would feel different than this. Stranger still was talking to my mom and being reminded that at my age she was married and had a baby. Scary thought. . .though five years ago I would have told you that I expected the same for myself. Somehow once you actually get there it doesn't seem so simple.
Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Unexpected joy. . .I had a paycheck waiting for me that I didn't know existed! Money can be a marvelous thing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Sam

I seem to have a rather odd thing with people named Sam. I realized this today as I was talking to a friend (whose name is Sam), about two other of my friends named Sam. Here at Lee I know four Sams. They are as different from each other as night and day, yet I seem to hit it off marvelously with all of them.

I laughed this afternoon while talking to Sam about Sam and Sam, remembering that even since I was little I had friends named Sam, and always liked them the best. While I was learning to read out of the Raceway books, my favorite ones were about the boy named Sam. I wanted to jump into the story and meet his shaggy dog and play with his toys. Some of my favorite middlel school book were the American Girl stories, especially the ones about the Victorian girl, Sam. I wanted to be Sam and wear the beautiful dresses, run around outside like a hooligan and have strange adventures through the crack in the hedge.

Kindgergarten brought my first real Sam, a little boy who thought my foldable action figure was the coolest thing he had ever seen. He definitely scored some brownie points. The next one came along when I was 10, and stayed around until I was about 17, annoying me and making me laugh with his uncombed brown hair and mischievousness. In some childish way when I was 10, I always wondered if we were going to marry each other. We were the same age, had brown hair, were second born, and he always saved me when we played Robin Hood in the woods. But the thought of him and marriage has definitely been and gone.

The Sams here at school are the people who keep me sane, make me laugh, help me study, keep me from getting too serious, and occasionally call my bluff. They make sure I eat, go home, sleep, and not study or practice myself to death. I'm not sure what I would be like without them here. I would probably be a music major recluse who studied herself to death and was found in a practice room the next morning (okay, so that was a rather strange and morbid thought).

What is it with these people named Sam? Do I have a fixation with them, or is it the other way around? Hmm. . .
Easter break begins after school is over tomorrow. That means that after break we only have five more weeks of running around like chickens with our heads cut off. I ran into two friends today that I had hung out with a lot last semester. They asked me where in the world I had been. My answer? The music building. During a theory study session the other night, we all agreed that we should have dorms dug out in the basement of the music building, just so we don't have to go all the way home at night. After all, we're only home for about eight hours before we're back again. Did I really sign up for this?

Yet I can't imagine being anything other than a music major. I think my desire to play music and be moved by it's passion and genius would drive me insane. I hear music in everything. . .the ding of the elevator that is mainly a D, but has a bunch of other notes mixed in somehow. I solfege the chime of the Student Union bell, and try to figure out which note the ATM machine makes when it beeps at me. I never tire of singing Mozart's Requiem, even though I rehearse it at least five days a week. After rehearsal today, my friend and I waltzed down the sidewalk singing the soprano part to the Lacrymosa movement, and everyone looked at us like we were crazy.

Somehow I can't help myself.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Is being paid to accompany people really worth it? Sometimes I wonder, especially when they throw twenty pages of music at me and want to perform it in competition the next day.

I want to look at them and laugh.

Instead, I sit in the practice room for hours.

Friday, March 04, 2005

I am leaving on Spring Break tour in 45 minutes as Ladies of Lee accompanist. . .Hooray!!! We're touring Boston, Philly, D.C., and NYC. Needless to say, I'm a little excited. Now if only the bus would show up. . .

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I wake up and look out the door to see. . .SNOW!!!????

Happy March 1st, everyone!