Thursday, April 29, 2010

This is going to be a long one, I apologize. I've been keeping a blog for my Teaching Techniques class, and some of the things there I have posted on here, and some of them I have not. I'm going to consolidate the two right now.

That cellist today...
Oh my goodness. I don't know how I would deal with that kid.

I think it would be interesting to study the differences between the personality types of different instruments and voice parts.

Doctoral thesis?

I hate formal concert attire. I feel that it works to distance the performer from the audience, which is the opposite of the desired effect.
I'm writing an essay on the subject for my expository writing class. Maybe I'll even get a good grade on it...
I saw Taylor Concialdi's post about getting her nose pierced. I kind of want to get my eyebrow pierced (a la Jay Horn), and I also want to dye my hair a crazy color. And get a tattoo.
It really bothers me that doing these things are considered to be unprofessional. I think a professional should be able to wear whatever he or she wants to wear (so long as it doesn't interfere with their performance) without it detracting from their respectability.
I have a vision for my recital: I am barefoot. I've got corduroy pants on, and a button down shirt (the one I have from Jimmy'z) with the sleeves pushed up. The audience sits onstage with me, and I'm sitting at the piano as they come in, to greet them. I'm not sure if I want them to be sitting so they can see my hands, or surrounding me. I'll talk to them between each piece, so they can understand where I'm coming from. It'll be better than program notes!

I don't know if I can go three months in North Carolina without seeing my Oklahoma friends.
I mean, it's not that I don't like my North Carolina friends or my family, but I have become very attached to the people here, and I care very deeply about them.
Also, my high school friends make me feel like I'm in high school again.
I don't want to feel like I'm in high school again; I'm not in high school. I'm emotionally through with high school. I took everything that Davie County High School had to offer me, and I have no further business there.
However, I don't know if my parents will let me come back to Oklahoma over summer.
They're just going to have to deal with it when I have an apartment and a job out here.
Also, I have a student lined up (maybe) for next year.
So, here's the thing.
I hate rote songs. They irritate me. The very concept behind them irritates me:
rote songs? really?
Rote: the mechanical or habitual repetition of something to be learned.
Why would you ever want music to be learned by rote? Music is something that must be contemplated in order to be worthwhile. If you don't think about the sounds you're making, then they're not really... good. or worthwhile. or useful. or beautiful. or anything.
And then there's the fact that they're so irritatingly dull. I understand that the concepts we're learning with these rote songs can be applied to other things as well... but why can't we do that NOW? I sit there in class, and listen to my peers teach me these songs... and I want to beat my head against a wall.

Also, I've realized that I hate the national standards. I recognize that there needs to be some way to hold teachers accountable for their job, but national standards in a music classroom just strike me as silly.
I honestly don't want them in my classroom. I'd so much rather just teach my kids repertoire that they would enjoy, repertoire that would make them better musicians...

AAAAAH. Does this make me a bad teacher?
Can I be a bad teacher before I've even finished one semester of an ed degree?
Is the purpose of an ed degree to make you fall in love with the stupid national standards or something?


I hate my research papers. I can do one just fine, but the other one needs to leave me alone. I can't believe I got points taken off because I didn't explicitly state that a song was "slow." REALLY?

I've noticed that I am most likely to post a blog when I am stressed about things. Why is that?
I hate writing essays.
I hate writing essays with a time limit even more.
Stupid internet. Before you were invented I could have stayed up all night, and submitting work by midnight didn't matter.
I hate citing sources.
I hate April. Everything always happens in April.
I hate the Turabian citation system. Turabian should never have been invented. I want it to go away. Why should I have to cite my sources anyway? Why can't people just trust that I present information factually? Or that wikipedia is a generally reliable source?
It occurred to me the other day in class that the system we're learning in Teaching Techniques is actually quite brilliant. The only reason I was skeptical about it was because I didn't know all that it involved, and we were learning it with rote songs. Now that we have learned more about all five levels of the process, it seems so much more legitimate and brilliant.
I got my letters for Phi Mu Alpha today! I am so very glad to be a part of this fraternity. It's been difficult at times being so far away from home, and one of the main things that has gotten me through is the love and support of my brothers, and having them there to listen to me when I'm feeling insecure about something, or when I change my mind about my major YET again...
I know they probably won't see this, but I love you guys.
I have gone back and forth about what I want my major to be so many times this semester, it's not even funny. I love the piano, and I'm really glad that it's my primary instrument, but the fact that it doesn't fit very neatly into either choral or instrumental education is a bit frustrating. I started out wanting to do choral because my choir director in high school was like a second mother to me: she was always looking out for my best interests, and making sure that I had opportunities for leadership and development. I really appreciated that she did all of those things for me, and it made me want to be a teacher very much like her.
However, as the semester went on, I discovered that I didn't like taking voice lessons. I love to sing, and I always have. I just began to realize more and more that I liked to sing for my own personal enjoyment. The same way that some people love music but would never dream of being a music major, I felt about voice.
Which is why I have ultimately made the decision to switch to instrumental music education. I still want to be involved in choir throughout my college career (they're doing Carmina Burana next year, for God's sake... why would I not want to do that?), but ultimately I think I will be more comfortable with instrumental education than with vocal education. And whenever there's a really cool choir piece I want to do... I'll just transcribe it.
I love to read. But as much as I love to read, the actual amount of reading I do has diminished dramatically since I have come to college. This makes sense, since I have a lot of work that I need to do, and the amount of time I can read things that I want to read is smaller... but it occurred to me today that I will be able to spend a lot more time reading this summer.
It's SOOOOOOOO frustrating.
I'm a little bit concerned about my future employment. I am an openly gay man in one of the reddest states in the union... and while I think that our country is heading more and more in the direction of not caring about a persons sexual orientation, there are still a lot of people out there who think that I am worse as human being because of the fact that I am gay. These people are certainly entitled to their beliefs, to be sure, and I don't begrudge them that. I simply disagree with them.
However, I intend to become a teacher. At my high school, the job retention of homosexual teachers was not terribly high. While the reasons stated for their terminated employment had nothing to do with their sexuality, I have no doubt that it played into the decision of the administration at my school, at least subconsciously.
There is an unfortunate misconception in many people's minds that being gay means a predilection towards other sexual preferences... like pedophilia. It is my concern that people will be more likely to pin such a label upon me because of my sexuality.
This association can be seen in the recent scandal plaguing the Catholic Church: Vatican Secretary of State Tarciso Bertone recently made remarks calling homosexuality a pathology, and linking that pathology to pedophilia. Additionally, when I first came out to my parents, one of my father's initial reactions was that he would lose custody of my little brother, because having a gay person in the house would put him in danger (I was 13 at the time, mind you).
I don't want to get fired because of my sexual orientation. Some people might suggest that I simply not make my sexual orientation known, however, there is flawed thinking in that argument. Certainly my purpose as a teacher is not to make my sexuality known to my students, however, if the issue comes up, then I'm not going to lie to them, because that means that I am ashamed of my sexuality (which I'm not) and I'm not going to avoid the question, because that also means that I'm ashamed, and it also pretty much tells them that there's something that I don't want them to know anyway, so I might as well just come out and say that I prefer the sexual and romantic company of men to that of women. If the matter does come up, I'll try to be as truthful as possible, as appropriately as possible, in such a way as to move the class' focus back to the lesson at hand.
BUT STILL. I don't want to get fired. And I'm probably being paranoid, and worrying too much about a situation that will probably never present itself.
But at the same time, I can't ignore the fact that most states do not include sexuality in their non-discrimination employment policies.
I really want to win the concerto competition while here at OU. I have several concertos picked out that I am going to investigate learning, but I don't want to do something that's too close to the standard repertoire.
Scriabin wrote a piano concerto, and I like the Scriabin left-hand piece I learned last semester.
Daugherty wrote a piano concerto for piano and wind ensemble, and it's based thematically around trains, which would be AWESOME because I was absolutely obsessed with trains when I was little. Also, playing with a wind ensemble would just be cool. Daugherty also wrote the Metropolis Symphony, which I thoroughly enjoy.
Saint-Säens wrote several pieces for piano and orchestra that I thoroughly enjoy.
Ginastera wrote a piano concerto, but I don't know how hard it is. I've never heard it.

What to do?
Choir is doing Carmina Burana next year, and we'll be doing it in collaboration with the School of Dance. I'm so excited. I also heard that we'd be doing the Beethoven Choral Fantasy, which is a really cool piece because it combines all of the things I love most about music: playing the piano, singing, and working in a large ensemble. Also, it's Beethoven. (Read: Also, it's ABSOLUTELY AWESOME.)
I'm applying for an officer position in CMENC for next year. I feel a bit strange about that because I wasn't officially in CMENC this year, and I only went to one meeting... and going from like zero involvement to officer position is going to be a bit strange. But I think it would be cool. Let's see how that plays out.
Stuff I'm going to try to achieve in the upcoming year, including this summer:
  • Piano trio- learn at least two works for trio, establish the way we work as an ensemble so we can figure how we're going to work out in upcoming years. We need to come up with a name for our trio.
  • Play for Stephen Collins' voice lessons.
  • Pass my sophomore barriers.
  • Be involved in CMENC (maybe an officer?)
  • Be involved in Phi Mu Alpha
  • Enter in concerto competition
  • Learn a new instrument to play in pride (this summer, preferably trombone, but mellophone would be cool, too)
  • Arrange a song into a soloistic piano transcription of that song
  • Learn Nathan Daughtrey's piece for next year's American Music Recital
  • Give my own recital, possibly include Nathan Daughtrey's piece and one of the pieces from the piano trio
  • Start giving lessons, maybe?
  • Become a tour guide for the school of music
  • Perhaps take organ lessons?
  • Make nothing less than a B in any of my classes
  • :)
  • ___

    Sorry about the MASSIVE nature of that. I applaud you for getting to the end.

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