Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year: 2014 Edition

2013 was quite a year for me. I'd characterize it most by one word: change.

These past 12 months have been spent getting to know myself from an outside perspective. I've focused a lot on how I'm perceived by people around me, and making sure that the person and attitude I project is really something that I want to be put out there. A lot of this is done by stopping and thinking about the other people in my life. Thinking about how they feel, and about what's going on in their lives, and how I and the way I act might affect them.

This year meant a lot of putting myself second, and that was great for me as a person. I've developed an almost habit of putting the people in my life before me, and it feels good to care about other people more than myself. In the end, I've really become a person that I almost respect. I can accept that there are plenty of things about myself that I don't like, but I'm here to continue to improve, and continue to change. If I couldn't see those shortcomings, they'd never change.

Because of all this, I've made some incredible friends in the last year, and existing relationships in my life have grown even stronger. I could never have made it this far without so many supportive friends, and I love you all so much.

All that said, I can't say that 2013 was perfect in any way. I made my fair share of mistakes. I hurt a lot of feelings by not thinking about other people, and I'm not proud of that. I'm continuing to focus on putting others first, and keeping the good habits I made in the last year.

My decided I wouldn't make resultions this year, but would make goals, and have a good way to attain them all. 

I. Have no regrets. This doesn't mean "#YOLO." This means that I don't want to look back at this year and have any regrets in my life. I don't want to regret how I treated my friends. I don't want to regret what I did in any way. I want to look back at my choices and know that what I did was best for myself, and everyone else in my life. 
     a. Continue to think of others first. This means thikning about how my actions affect the other people in my life. It means thinking about what I feel and think, and phrasing it in a pleasent way.
     b. Give more than I expect to get back. This applies to my friendships, professional life, and my relationship. It means that I give more to everyone than I expect back. Sometimes the people around you have a lot to deal with. And sometimes they need you to be understanding. 
     c. Get healthy. This doesn't mean doing a juice cleanse and saying "DONE!" This doesn't mean going to the gym a few times and calling it good enough. This is a long-term lifestyle change that starts with trying new foods and eating a healthy diet, on top of making it to the gym a few times a week. I have a health buddy to keep me honest about my goals, and it's all starting small, but it's long since time that this happens.
    d. Keep my life organized. Not just making my bed. Not just throwing my clothes in the basket. This is having a place for everything, and putting it there when I'm done with it. This is actively picking up when there's a mess of any kind. When something needs done, it gets done.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Attitude: Don't...Pet the Sweaty Things

Most of you who know me know that I can be a little cynical. Sometimes, it's a huge challenge to look past the negatives and see the plus side of a situation.

For most of the majority of this year, I've tried pretty hard to let the little things go. I've tried to accept that (to be blunt), shit happens. By no means has this been an easy task, but i feel as if for the most part, I've done a decent job. At the very least, I told myself I would put on a neutral front that didn't project a negative opinion; if I'm going to be a cynical, negative jerk, I'm gonna keep most of it to myself. Sure there, are people to share those feelings to--people to vent to, activities to reduce stress, but in public is the place to keep my mouth shut and do my job.

On a whole, I feel like I've done a much better job of this in my personal life than my professional life, and recently I've made it a point to be a little more positive in both.

A few people in my life have talked about attitude recently, particularly in a professional sense. Not so much that there are just things you have to do and may hate, but it's important to project a positive attitude about everything relating to your career field. Maybe you don't particularly enjoy long meetings that seem irrelevant. Maybe lectures about things you think you already know are boring and you'd rather do something else. But this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and there's no sense in wasting a single bit of it.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Guitalele

So, my sister bought a guitalele over Christmas (basically, sounds like a ukulele  but with 6 strings. Tuned like a guitar, capo'ed at the 5th fret). So, I re-recorded "What Can I Do?" on it, as they were in similar keys. Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Music!

Brandy and I did a cover of "Put Your Records On," by Corinne Bailey Rae! Check it out!

Music is a Gift

There was a long time during this semester that I forgot what I was aiming for in life. Sure, I went through the motions and learned everything I needed to, but I didn't feel passionate about any of it. The whole choral vs instrumental debate sort of helped to busy my life up and make things a little more difficult, but it ended up being a long haul.

Towards the end of the semester, I started to realize that I really have a gift for music, and I'd been overlooking that. I'd underestimated all the compliments and, "Great job last night at that concert," comments and forgotten that I was actually a pretty great musician. I went through Surround Sound's first real paid show, an awesome jazz combo concert, great gigs with Brandy, choral concerts, and even Madrigals, and still didn't realize that I was really good at (and getting paid for...) a lot of musical things.

When Brandy and I played a gig at East West Brewhouse earlier this semester, a lady came up during our break and complimented a song she knew well (More Than Words - Extreme), and introduced herself as working for a record label and a radio station. She took our information, and started passing us up through the line to see if it would go anywhere. How. Freakin'. Cool? And yeah, it was kind of just another day. Play some songs well, get paid some money, go home. I really hardly thought anything of it, but it's sort of a big deal. 

 It really didn't hit me until I read a paper that Dr. Guenther shared with me by one of his students who attended the Honors Recital. She had to attend a concert on campus for the class and went there. She talked about clarinets, pianos, and trumpets but said her favorite performer was me. "Every high note sang and note seemed perfect." It was an inspiring performance to at least one person in the audience, and I never would have known had Dr. G not said something. Turns out she had played flute in high school and didn't have time for band in college, but felt inspired to play again.

The point is...what I do is moving. It's emotional: it's inspiring. It's a beautiful art that I took for granted for a long time and turned into a simple exercise of "practice this passage, practice this technique, breathe this, louder here, more vibrato, speed up, slow down." It's a beautiful thing. It's a gift that I have to share with the world. Whether I end up teaching and trying to inspire other people to share their gift with the world, or if I end up finding some random break and playing guitar the rest of my life, I'm going to share music with the world.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hope for the World

I know it's been a long time since I posted, but now that I'm back at school, life is as busy as ever. Since school started up, I've had a lot of things I wanted to write about, but just never got around to. For starters, here's one:

Brandy, Andrew, and I performed at the acoustic cafe last night on campus. For those of you who don't know, it's set up on a small stage in an intimate sort of venue with a small sound system and you can get up and sing basically whatever you want. Most everyone brings a guitar and sings along with it. Being that we all sing and guitar is still a huge part of my life, we've all meant to do something together forever.

I had really missed performing with Andrew. As I write this, it's been almost a year since we last practiced with Blue Silence. We performed "Flying Away," that I wrote and we always played with that band, and it reminded me how much I missed making music with that group.

I think, though, that the most striking part of the evening was that there were so many people who were incredibly talented at singing and playing guitar, but there were plenty of people who just did it for fun and got up there to have a good time.

At the same time, it was a great way for people to get songs they've written out to the world and express their feelings, whatever they may be.

All in all, it gives me hope for the world that we can all get up in front of a crowd of our peers, prepared or not, or as a great performer or not, and we can express ourselves without being worried or afraid to.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

College: Year 2

Tomorrow, I move back to Ashland and start my second year of college. I had a great experience last year and I'm really excited to get back to school, but it's ultimately become bittersweet, because I realized just how many people I'm going to miss this year.

This summer has been such a great growing experience for me. All the time I've spent with Tim and Emily in community band and the Annie Pit have reminded me how much I love to perform. How much instrumental music means to me. Randomly discussing composers and theory, learning the beginning stages of conducting and talking about history has kept my fire burning and kept me learning, while still recharging my batteries and getting me ready for school. I'm going to miss hanging out in Applebee's, judging people we went to high school with, nerding out over music, and having a great time. If you'd asked me four years ago if Tim Wolf and Emily DeVincent would be two of the closest people to me, I wouldn't have known what to say. I wouldn't have been able to see myself growing up enough to appreciate how I live my life now. You two are probably some of the best influences and friends I've met, and I love you to death. This summer--even my life and appreciation of music and performance would't be the same without you.

Growing apart from some people and closer to others has begun to show me how much I've grown since I left for school. I've begun to develop more logical processes to study and absorb material, I've begun to analyze and understand things at a higher level. But I've grown up a lot and understand the important parts of life. I know that I can put myself through anything and I'll make it out alright.

Honestly, I've begun to understand that leading a truly rich life means being open-minded. That means listening to new music. Trying new instruments, styles, techniques. For example, who would have thought I would love singing as much as I do now? If it weren't for Andrew suggesting I give choir a shot, I wouldn't have joined Surround Sound, I wouldn't be considering a choral major, and I wouldn't have had half the experiences I did this year. I wouldn't have met Brandy Kay, I wouldn't be writing and arranging choral music, I wouldn't have visited Canada, or met half the people I did. Whether I ultimately decide to switch to vocal music or stay with instrumental, it's opened my eyes to an entire world that I never understood before. I've barely scraped the surface, and it's incredible how much there is that I have to learn.

All of this change, understanding, and learning happens with an open mind. I have to remind myself to be open to new things all the time, because it's not always easy. But it's so worth it. I've learned so much, and I'm so excited to be back. I know there are lots of people I'll miss, but I can' wait to learn all that I possibly can this year. I'm ready for the challenge--drumline, Chamber Singers, Surround Sound...it's gonna be a great year.