Sunday, August 29, 2004

A gig, a very palpable gig!

I am so excited! I just got signed on to be the choral conductor for the AMC's Mountains and Music weekend this October! From Friday through Saturday, about a hundred singers and instrumentalists stay at Pinkham's Notch, go on hikes, and go to rehearsals, and on Saturday evening there's a concert, where the orchestra sight-reads a symphony (in this case Beethoven's 8th) and the chorus performs a piece they've been working on with the orchestra. Meaning that not only do I get about 8 hours of rehearsal time with the chorus, I get to conduct an orchestra for the very first time! In performance! Aaaaah!

No pay, but free room and board, and the most valuable thing of all, experience. Eep! This is so exciting! And I have only 6 weeks to prepare! You can bet I'll be running whooping to my advisor first thing after Convocation tomorrow, and begging for help choosing repertoire!

A more complete description is here, at the AMC site!


Friday, August 27, 2004


Today was registration, and I have my schedule! It is insanely full. Of course.

I am taking:

Choral Conducting I (M, W from 2:45-4:15)
Choral Literature I (M, W, F from 9:10-10:10)
Graduate Composition (T, R, F from 2:10-3:10)
Symphonic Choir (M, T, W, F, from 11:30 -12:30)
Jubilee Singers (gospel) (M, from 6:30-8:30)
hopefully the Williamson Voices (it's auditioned) (M, W, F, from 4:30-6:00)
Voice Lessons, time and teacher to be determined, for 1/2 hour a week
and I'm auditing:
English and Italian Diction (T, R from 4:30-6:00)
Opera Lit. Seminar: Mozart's Operas (M, W, 1-2:30)

There's also conducting lab, which you don't actually sign up for, on Tuesday afternoons from 3:20 - 4:20.
There will be some required master classes on Saturdays, when important conductors come to visit.
And there may be informal conducting student dinners on Friday nights.

I am now having to repeat to myself:
"No, don't get a job. You already have a graduate assistantship in Theory. That's enough. No, you cannot go down to the Sacred Music office and see if they have any open positions in the area. No, you can't. You will be insanely busy as it is. No, you can't get a job! Stop it!"

So, no job for me. I'll probably go off my head as it is. The thing is, much of it is rehearsal, which doesn't really have tons of outside work, and it sounds like the two choral conducting classes will not have insane amounts of outside work either, which just leaves composition. Which will doubtless be a time suck, and I worried it was self-indulgent to take it when I'm not here for composition, but my advisor assured me that this was the semester to be self-indulgent in. Besides, I'll meet all the composers!

I'm disappointed that the history class on modes was at the same time as the diction class I have to audit, b/c that looked really interesting. Oh, well.

Everything starts on Monday. I'll be off and running!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Testing complete

Hello, world.

Coming to you live, from her newly-assembled IKEA computer desk! The first hurdle in the life of the novice graduate student at Westminster is done - I've finished all the assessment examinations. Results as followed:

Graduate musicianship: Passed. Has inspired me to study counterpoint, however, if not while I'm here, then sometime.
20th Century Analysis: Passed (easily.) Nailed the George Crumb which many missed. Knew it was him b/c of the font of the score, but was able to come up with more substantial arguments than that to justify my response. Even threw in some numerology. Go, me!
Music History: Passed. Aced. No idea how. I can only conclude I got bonus points for amusing the grader. Or else on every musical sample that I guessed at, I was right. I guess that really was the Emperor Concerto! And I discovered that I'm very grateful that Jeffrey Rink, my conducting teacher for the past year, led me through a major-works review for the past several months. That was a huge help for re-acquainting myself with some major composers, styles and works, and since the music history essays was very open-ended, I could concentrate on what I did know and ignore what I didn't.
Piano Proficiency: Passed. Was told to work on open choral score-reading, and to practice my string quartet score-reading as well. Intend to do so.
The Other Piano Proficiency, called something slightly different: Passed.
Sight-reading: Passed.
Diction: Failed. But I've never studied the IPA, so I need to learn it. Am also incapable of pronouncing Italian (not surprising) and English (humiliating.) Am adequately capable of pronouncing German (not surprising) and French (odd.) So I'll be auditing English and Italian Diction, which also teaches IPA. Perfect, huh?

Tomorrow is meeting with our major concentration fellow faculty and students, and then meeting in our major performance area (it has some sort of academic name, but I forget.) Mine is voice. I'm quite looking forward to taking voice lessons, I must say! And even though I'm paying out the [censored] for this education, it still somehow feels like I'm getting voice lessons for free.

Am quite liking the fellow students I've had conversations with so far. I hung out with one of my fellow conducting students for a while this evening, talking about mostly music-related things. (I'm unsure of what balance I want to aim for between work, school, and social life (should I work at all? How important is it, really, to date?) but that's a topic for another entry.)