Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Crazy things I find myself doing at the end of the semester:

Having conversations about the techniques of making grilled cheese sandwiches with
co-workers. And not just a short conversation, it moved into the techniques of other sandwich making. Sad.

Going to McD's at 11 p.m. to get a Happy Meal so I can get the little kitten inside. The sad part is, I was really excited about it.

Eating hamburgers for breakfast, and breakfast sandwiches for dinner.

Waking up at 5 a.m. with Music History facts running through my head. One phrase comes to mind: cruel and unusual punishment. Like a friend of mine said, "That's just not fair."

Living out of my locker. . .clothes, make-up, food, books, you name it. . .it's in there.

Only one week. . .only one week. . .only one week. . .

Friday, April 22, 2005

Congratulations to me. . .I competed in a regional vocal competition this afternoon and have advanced to the state level! As Mr. Deaton said, "Now we get to go on a field trip." Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Grace come over me. . .

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I've officially begun the countdown. . .

7 days until juries
10 days until finals
20 days until I am home (sigh)
I spotted them as I rode through town on my way home the other night. They were wrapped in each others arms, tenderly kissing in the closed coffee shop. It was just a snapshot I saw - a brief glance through the window as I rode by, but as I turned the corner I smiled to myself and almost envied them in a way. There was really nothing about them very extraordinary. Neither of them were movie stars or model material to an outsiders view. They were just two people who thought they were completely alone and took advantage of the opportunity to share the moment.

Someday I am going to take advantage of an alone moment in a deserted coffee shop. It seems like the perfect place to take such an opportunity.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Conversation between a friend and I after playing our music for each other. . .

"It just needs an end now."
"I know, but I always have a hard time ending songs."
"Really? I can always write the end and never the beginning."
Laughing
"We should get together and put our songs together. That way we might actually have a whole song."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In retrospect, I realize how vulnerable I feel when I sing my own music for someone. Not that I have written that much. Because of a less than positive experience in the past, I often feel that music I write isn't good enough for even me, let alone an audience. I'm especially critical of myself because I don't want anything I write to sound like something that has been written before. If I'm going to write, it has to at least sound original! Yet, I can't let that keep me from writing what I feel or experience. When I let someone else hear it, though, I feel as if my soul is laid bare, as if all of me is out on the keys and in the air. . .open. . .vulnerable. . .

Saturday, April 16, 2005

We stood around the music library counter and discussed Brie, es cargo, calamari, Sante Fe, the secret lives of great American composers, tux vests with snow flakes on them, ensemble outfits, and the need to have at least one non-music major friend.

It was a Saturday afternoon as a music major.
Last week my mom sent me a care package full of healthy things to get me through until the end of the semester. Most of it came from the huge health food store at home called 'Sunny Farms'. She sent vitamins, granola bars, energy bars, Emergen-C, figs, trail mix --- all the wonderful munchy healthy stuff you can put in your book bag and not feel bad about eating in the middle of the day.

Since I've started bringing it to school, there seems to be a general fascination among my classmates with each new item they see me eating. It began with the Emergen-C, a vitamin/electrolite powder that you mix in with water, kind of like a super Gatorade drink. The first time I started shaking it up in my water bottle I had a small group of skeptics staring at me. No, they really aren't hormones or steroids, I promise. It's vitamins.

The next day I brought some figs with me and was eating a few before choir rehearsal began. The tenor section next to me started giving my bag strange looks. "What are those? Figs? Like, in the Bible figs?" My chef friend in the bass section asked if he could have one (knowing what figs actually were), and as soon as I gave him one, a tenor asked if he could have one too. And then the tenor next to him asked for one, and soon I was handing out figs to the majority of the tenor section. And yes, you can eat the whole thing, just not the stem.

Yesterday morning I brought a 'Bumble Bar' with me, a kind of energy/candy bar that is sesame seeds, honey, flax seeds, etc. all compressed into a flat bar. Almost every person I talked to began looking questioningly at my bar about half way through our conversation, and finally interrupted me to ask what in the world I was eating. It's like a healthy candy bar you can eat for breakfast. It makes you feel like a bird because there are so many seeds. Just kidding.

When I come back next semester I'll have to bring some more 'strange' food from Sunny Farms for my skeptical friends. There really is healthy food that is interesting and tastes good. . .but maybe that's just a Northwest thing. Sunny Farms should start a satellite store with me here in Cleveland - there seems to be a pretty good market.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Holding

my heart betrays me
plays chess with my thoughts
not a harsh game
but slow and mischievous
making me think without knowing
dream without hoping

i try to ignore it
my eyes tightly closed
but the music
sweet music i loved
plays over and over in my mind
like a dripping faucet
like the buzzing fly
hitting the window again and again

music that reminds
music that cries
about dreams that find me
in rainy afternoons
and my cup of steaming black coffee

dreams of dancing
tripping on my feet
and feeling a smile in the sliver twilight
dreams of gentle holding
silent resting
and listening to secrets

choice is my only ally
choice and the Divine
holding these dreams in my open hand

holding softly
like the little brown bird i rescued
shaking, trembling, reassured
flying away in a moment
leaving a feather in my hands
singing softly from the rose bush
released and delighted.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Pope John Paul II's funeral-mass was held today in St. Peter's Square, Rome.

May he rest in peace.
He likened the Agnus Dei to eating an incredibly fine rich dessert. There isn't much of it, but it is so intense that you know any more would be too much. We're not singing like we would eat four scoops of bannana pudding. We're singing it like we're savouring the smallest sliver of cheesecake.

I never thought I would relate choral singing to eating, but it works. Maybe that's because we're all hungry college students.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

I feel redundant posting about my latest lessons with M. Wittenburg, but the time I sit in his office once a week always proves to be the most interesting or surprising half hour of my week. I brought Debussy's Des pas sur la neige to him this week, full of delayed and deliberate emotion. It is pensive, vague, haunting, always searching but never lost. As always, he stops me about halfway down the first page to comment, though he says that he's really just being picky because the first part sounds so good. I continue with the rest of the piece, and he stops me again at the last section. The music p, but always building and purposeful. I linger through the last four measures, falling down the notes which are like points of light that end with a deep and complex chord. When I finish, his hands are raised above his head, paused at the end of his directing. He guides me through the last lingering sound as I slowly lifted the pedal. We sat for a moment of silence.

He then sat back in his chair and told me that he wants me to consider taking a jury this semester. Though juries are not required for secondary lessons, he said that he thinks that the comments from the faculty would be helpful. He also wants me to take one just so the rest of the piano faculty can hear me play. According to him, I play better than most of the piano majors here. If that wasn't surprising enough, he then asked me to consider taking an opera assistantship with him next year. Though there is virtually no money in it, he is confidant enough in my ability to have me learn the score so he can spend less time behind the piano and more time directing and coaching the opera. He also believes that I should think about taking an hour lesson next year instead of a half hour. Next thing I know, he's going to be asking me to be a piano major as well. As it turns out, it seems that I spend too much time and make too much money playing the piano as a non-major. How is that for irony.
It's officially that point in the semester where everything in me wants to stop, slack off, sleep in, not care, skip class, etc, etc. . . I don't normally complain and rant on this web site about my personal everyday stresses, but I can't help myself. Besides, when I write it out it helps me laugh at myself. I'm almost done, but still have mountains of stuff to finish. I don't want to think about studying for one more exam, even though there are still three exams left before finals. Yes, I still love music, but after three months of the same music, I'm ready to hear something different. But learning new music at this point seems completely overwhelming. Better stick with the old stuff. Is it worth it to get up an hour early and practice? Or is faking it with a longer night's sleep better? Surely taking 10 minutes to stare out the window and think about nothing won't hurt too much, even though 20 pages of Music History need to be read. Perhaps sleeping at the Music building is a worthy idea. The benches in the lobby are looking very tempting. What? Help you learn your music? Of course! Oh, an accompanist is needed for middle school competitions? It's me to the rescue! Having an office seems a great idea. . .my lockers are jammed with music and more is coming in. Is 17 full credits too much, plus 2 audited credits? Am I crazy? What was that? Oh, another trumpet sonata in multiple time signatures and keys that might as well be ignored because of all the accidentals? Pass it here. Rehearse with you? Is 9 p.m. okay? Laundry definately needs to be done, otherwise I'll be wearing p.j's to class. Breakfast? What is that? I think it's a cereal bar, an apple, and water. Can I stop now? Are they all gone? Is it over? No? Okay, I'll just eat another Jelly Belly and feel better.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

sleep
settles softly on curves
of my pensive body.
sleep
slowly, vaguely
deeply woos.
sleep
conquers wayward thought
captures lost emotion.
sleep
whispers midnight blue secrets
forgotten in the morning.
sleep
settles softly on curves
of my pensive body.

Friday, April 01, 2005

I ride past him most week day mornings on my way to school. He has just gotten to the car maintenence shop, sitting in the rusty metal chair that is outside the door. He waits for the first customer to drive up in their slightly dusty sedan, asking for a wash or detailing job.

I glance as I ride past, and he gives me a nod from underneath his greasy baseball cap. Maybe he wonders what I study. Maybe he wonders why I always ride a bike and never drive a car, even in heels and suits.

I wonder why he is a car detailer. I wonder what he wanted to do when he was my age. I wonder what he thinks about when he sits and stares at the street. But we just glance and nod, forgetting about each other until the next morning. Maybe if I ever get a car I'll take it to him to wash, and when I leave I'll smile and tell him to have a beautiful day.
I walked into Music History this morning and was greeted by Dr. Thomas telling us to take out a sheet of paper and write an essay on specifics of Igor Stravinsky's life and works. We began freaking out, madly scratching out everything we could think of, which wasn't much. Suddenly he chuckled. April Fools! We actually just have to write our names on the top of our paper and hand it in. Free 100 point quiz grade.

Can it be April Fools every Monday, Wednesday and Friday?