Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Music Poems

Beautiful, Sweet
Playing, Expressing, Feeling
"Music is the speech of Angels"*

Magical sounds filling the air
Unveiling the feelings of those behind it
Soothing the minds of people across the world
Imaginations at work
Creating a world of beauty

I made a crossword too because it sounded like fun, but it unfortunately I can't create a link to it.

*taken from a quote by Thomas Carlyle

Music Box

Music is life
When it is good
it is really good,
When it is bad,
it is really bad.
Music is love
But won't get you a date,
Music heals
but cannot save,
Music is food
But it can't fill you up,
Music is feeling,
We write music to express,
We play music so we don't have to be lonely
Music is a drug,
We become high, because music takes us away from life.
We come down, we become sad, because are back in the world.
Music is necessary,
It reminds us that there is something good on the inside.
Music reminds us that we are not lost,
We are the conductor's of our lives,
and how we interpret the notes dictates
the sound of our symphony

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This is how I write creatively on music...

It's a poem!

sing me

sing me lips to
warmer memory: sing
me breath ;for waking in,to light
sing me every broken (
oncewas goneby )sing
me tears too clear for
twice around again

sing me sweet above or sweeter
(majesties) beneath sing me
lust or anger .mourning life in frag
ments of the mirror;

sing me skies transcending
,blue sing me rain in tandem tremors -
joy unraveled) sing

me truth as final: when the
smiles die & rend the stars from

lip to lip to me in breath of
you. sing me only yes
of half a prayer falling
grace against the

silence ;sing me music i
am yours (


Didja like it?? (Seriously... I kind of really like poetry and if you like this I have more I'd love you to read.) Click here to read more of my stuff (yes, I'm abstractelysium). I like feedback. =)



Just to clear things up, yes, all grammar and punctuation "mistakes" are intentional - has no one read e. e. cummings? (If not, do so. He decided to reject conventional grammar and punctuation use and thereby gave his style new meaning and depth through its interpretation.) And by the way, I like your comments, but please tell me why you didn't get it - besides just the punctuation.

Thanks again!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

In an episode of the television version of “Madeline,” one of the characters takes up the violin. You’d think one of the Parisian friends of Madeline would be a natural at the instrument. She sucked. It was comparable to handing Garfield a violin. I remember flowers drooping in reaction to the squawks she produced. The girl continued to practice as her music began to draw crowds. I was attracted to this concept of improvement and wanted it for myself.This, combined with desires to show up the kid at school who played “Twinkle, Twinkle” at the talent show each year, sparked my interest in Violin. I began lessons.I slithered through the Suzuki books, admiring my development as a musician. But I felt physically uncomfortable with the instrument. I was terribly aware of the violin itself; each day became a battle to see how long I could stand the teeter-tottering of the instrument on my collarbone.Meanwhile, I became a fifth-grader. I joined band because I thought it was cool. We were sent home with instrument forms, and my mom granted me permission to try trumpet (my idea) and flute (her idea).Although I couldn’t get a sound out of it, I chose the flute because my mom spent a week telling mournful stories about her childhood wish to play the instrument. I became the proud owner of an instrument I couldn’t make a sound on.Three weeks into flute class I became the last person to make a sound, but from there the music came naturally. Regardless, the next few years were the dark ages of my musical history. My middle school mind was preoccupied with strawberry-coconut lip-gloss and whoever had first chair. Then, one month before high school I decided I wanted to be the best flute player in school. It’s a matter of opinion whether I accomplished that, but I won first chair in our top band (we had 7). A rash crawled up my arms and neck the moment I finished my first band solo ever (fortunately, the rash was a one time occurrence). I set up my first flute lessons after freshman year and joined my first honor bands and college bands sophomore year. I learned about the Minnesota Youth Symphonies, and earned a spot for my last two years of high school. I had always enjoyed playing flute, but when I corresponded with a symphony for the first time I was on the high of a lifetime. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was in love and realized it was the music. Playing was no longer about competition and improvement (though they make good motivators) I spent the next two years filling a resume of summer programs, competitions, conventions and other various performance opportunities to thrust myself toward the orchestra world.Unless I get bitten by snakes on a plane and need my arm amputated, I will one day be in a symphony orchestra. It will be a long road- but the whole point to a road trip is the drive along the way.

My musical history is far from ordinary. I didn't see any inspirational concerts, get forced into playing, had older sibling influence. None of that. When I was in seventh grade, all my friends were in some cool punk rock band, and of course, if you were in the cool punk band, you got all the ladies. And so ii wanted to start a cool punk rock band. I told everyone in school that I played drums and how awesome I was. But the truth was, I had never held a drum stick with the intent to make music. I went home and told my parent I needed a drum set so bad, and that I really wanted to play. I took some lessons, and my teacher said I had potential. Hearing from an expert sealed the deal for my parents, and I got a used Yamaha stage custom for Christmas 99'.
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Thats the earliest picture I have of me playing drums.

in January I started my first band. We called it "Jumbox," and it was so bad. I mean, we were terrible. But we were so cool at the same time, so it didn't matter. We would spend half the "practice time" dissing other bands and taking pictures, and listening to NOFX, rancid, link 80, T.S.O.L., and all sorts of other punk bands. In eighth grade I changed schools, and the band fell apart. But it only took me a couple months to join the next one.

2001 was probably the most explosive year for music, until recently. I started my classical training in percussion, did my first recording sessions as a drummer, and took kit lessons with dashboard connfessional's, and Miami native, mike marsh. This band was called "piece of mind." don't laugh too hard. Anyway, we were so good for 12 year olds. We played at a bar every Thursday night, for a bunch of drunk old people, who might I add, LOVED US! We played Jim Hendrix, and Jefferson airplane covers, with original tunes as well. We also acted as a studio band, and recorded for who ever wanted to record with us. The best gig was when we got paid to record at criteria recording studio. Artists who recorded there include the bee-gee's, R.E.M., Jennifer Lopez, etc. It was so awesome. I remember going to the bath room and thinking "j-lo was in this bathroom!!" anyway, that band was so much fun. We went through like five bass players, but me and Jessie(guitar/singer) always remained. The band lasted 2 1/2 years, and me and Jessie are still best friends. I have like 3 recordings so come to my room if you want to hear it.

in sophomore year I started two bands. "terry and the tourettes," and 'our last days as children." The first one was a blues band. We had mild success. Our biggest accomplishment as playing in the legendary "Tobacco Road" venue in downtown Miami. Are only song recorded an be heard here.
We broke up because Terry was a jerk.

my next band was "OLDAC." this band definitely got the most attention. We started playing in fall 2003. We actually met while I was recording with terry, so as soon as that door closed another opened. We had over three different recording sessions, and had planned on recording in New York, but our budget wasn't big enough. We played as far away as north Carolina, were in national indie music news papers, have been played on Miami radio, and were on an Oregon based radio/internet show. We were influenced by the likes of cursive, Owen, the agency, bright eyes, jimmy eat world, etc. Earlier this year, I left the band, because, here I am, writing about them, in college, a million miles away. All the recording they have are still me playing drums. That's Dennis fuller drum ideas, not the new guy. Just know that. But I do love this band and we till talk and hang out. They're looking to tour up north, so maybe they'll come to Indiana? Anyway, that's "our last days as children," by far, my most successful band endeavor. This is their current myspace page with music.
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Our first show =0
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promo pictures =/

And for my last independent band, "Highway." Highway was the most craziest hardcore band ever. With myself on drums, Joey, a University of Miami medical student on guitar, Mike who is a nurse on vocals, Romy, whose got everything you can possibly get pierced pierced, on bass, and the ever awkward peter Allen on guitar 2. This band was semi serious. we palyed a good amount of shows last year, but that was that. They still practice in Miami, but with they're songs constantly changing, and never staying solid, I doubt they'll ever play another show. Our recordings can be heard at myspace.com/highway.
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Peter and Romy of the old Highway.

In the midst of all this, I was also performing in musical theater. I did over 10 musicals in two years. my first was "Joseph and the amazing technicolor dream coat." I met many other students from music schools and expanded my musical network. I also learned how to improv on music, becaus e sometimes we had no time to rehearse.

I also attended cannon music camp in north Carolina for two consecutive summers. This was probably the best thing I have done to improve myself as a drummer, and as a person. I learned so much about my instrument, and it also prepared me for college, staying in a dorm for a month. Definite recommendation to any younger musicians looking to improve their skill in a focused environment.
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That is the 2005 Percussion Ensemble at Cannn Music Camp.

In case you're wondering, there is more to my musical life, but I won't go into detail about it. I did a lot of musical theater, for the Miami Children's theater Compny, and I played in the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. Two season ago we went to Carneagie hall, with some other orchestra from Hawaii. We played Bartok, Stravinsky, Wagner, and Bernstein.

To wrap it up, I just wanted to say that, those guys that I first started playing music with in seventh grade, no longer play music. I see them every now and then, at a party, wasted or something. And I think that its sad that the people that I was so fond of, and influenced me to play, no longer do. Like the inspirational speaker said on Friday night, "show me your friends, and I'll show you your future." I guess it is somewhat true. Because, as far as I know, Jessie and myself are the only ones pursuing music as a profession, and life style. We're all here for the same reason, because we love music. And sometimes you have look at your past and see the road you've taken to know where you want to go, or, in my case, where you don't want to end up.

A Violin Player Dressed Like a Wedding Cake

Well, it all happened on a dark and stormy night when I was about five years old. Actually, I don't truly remember what kind of day it was, or what day it was for that matter, but I was actually five. I saw Itzhak Perlman, dressed like a wedding cake, play a solo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and after that concert I was hooked. I asked my mom, "mother, dearest, will you buy me my very own violin? It would make me ever so happy." And she bowed down to my unbelievable charismatic powers as a five year old and said "of course, honey. Whatever makes you happy." Actually I'm pretty sure it didn't happen that way, but it was because of Perlman that I started playing the violin.

I got my first 1/4 violin two weeks after that and began taking lessons at DePaul University (funny how I ended up at a school for music with only ONE letter difference, huh?) and kept going. My mom was a very musical person back in the day. She played clarinet starting when she lived in Japan, then Arizona, then California, then Oklahoma, then Texas, then so on and so forth until she moved to Chicago. That's when science took over (blah). But anyway, she didn't really have to force me to play or anything. I loved the sound. But when we moved from Chicago to the *shudder* suburbs, I had to stop playing since there weren't any good teachers around (I was seven by then). This is the part of the title that said "then ended" and I bet all of you are anxious to hear how I got started up again, so I'll delve into this.

Hokay, so, here's how it all went down. When I was in elementary school I was forced to play a wind instrument, since the school wanted more floutists. I wasn't really given an opportunity to play the violin anymore, although I did have a choice to decline the band, but I wanted to fit in, so here came the shiny steel pipe that I quickly grew fond of. Within a month or so of starting it, my teacher was impressed or something because he wanted me to do a recital of this Pink Panther and patriotic stuff I didn't care for. But, like a good egg, I did it. This carried from second grade up until fifth grade, where I was again forced to make a decision that I didn't want to make. Middle school was queer like this. They allowed choir students to continue playing an instrument that was at a different period than choir, but wouldn't allow string players to play a wind instrument the period after. Those bastards pissed me off so much, because I had been continuing on the violin since I was five, so I was obviously in love with it, but my little affair with the flute brought up some turbulence in my upcoming choice, because I had grown very very fond of it. What was a little ten year-old boy to do? Well, I saw Itzahk Perlman on an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood one day when I was flipping through channels. I stopped to listen to what he played. I was enraptured, so my violin fire was rekindled (I don't mean that I lit my violin on fire. It's a play on words, come on) and thus was my choice. It was because of this little episode of Mr. Rogers' that middle school was what shaped me as a musician.

I am a somewhat shrewd musician. As picky about a note as a gardener is about what flowers and such are in their garden. I would just as quickly say "that A is a bit flat" over and over again as a gardener would say "those aren't gladiolas, those are gardenias! dammit, get it right!" It was in middle school that I began playing again. There was a little program at my school called select strings, and only a few people could get in there. I made up my mind that I was going to get in there. And as the old saying goes, which I do believe, you can do anything you put your mind to. So I practiced and got in. Woohoo. Then shortly after that, before my 8th grade graduation, in our final concert, I recieved the director's award: the highest award any middle school musician can earn. Boom. Then high school. This is where the real magic happened. It started with the Youth Symphony of DuPage, then that led to Interlochen for two summers, then two years with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, which, if any of you know, is the #3 youth symphony in America. This was what firmly made up my mind of what I wanted to do with my life, and retained my pickiness thusly. So, after all my preparation with that wonderful orchestra, I ended up here at DePauw (that's not to say that I'm regretful for not going to Oberlin or Northwestern, mind you) and I retain my critical musical ways, making sure that A isn't flat, or making sure that the articulation is just so.

Now, as you can see, this is significantly different than my original copy, so you can see this. But the point is one day I hope to be that violin player dressed like a wedding cake. Like a wedding cake in that it's all dressed up, not the whole frosting thing, cuz that's just wierd: having a violinist wearing all frosting. Yeah, that's not how I roll.

The Never-Ending Tale

My beginnings started humble enough. I had no great desire to be a musician, and back then if you had asked me what was meant by being a musician, I probably could not have told you. My dad was the General Manager of the South Bend Symphony, so music was nothing new. Fourth grade had rolled around; this meant that the students of John Marshall elementary school could join orchestra. I do not remember being forced to join, but I believe there was an understanding that I would join orchestra. The teacher brought all the shiny new instruments and we ooed and awed at them. The teacher played the theme from Jaws on the double bass and I was hooked. This was to be my faithful steed into the world of music.
I quickly became immersed in music, but the shine was beginning to come off the apple. Needless to say music school was not looking anywhere near in my future. I was bored. The trivial bass lines made music drab and uninteresting. Keep in mind I was in fifth grade or sixth grade at the time. The solution became for me to take private lessons. This made no sense to me. Why should I do something for an hour in my house that I did not want to do for thirty minutes while getting out of class? The big reason to do orchestra was that you got out of class a few times a week.
I had a friend who played cello and we would play for our church. Now this made a lot more sense to me. The music was much more challenging due to the fact that we played a duet; we both had to pull our own weight. This was no problem for my friend, but as for me, my technique and familiarity with my instrument had become quite foreign to me. My skills were greatly below my friend's.
I asked my dad repeatedly if I could quit. The answer was a resounding no. So I did what any kid would have done, I faced the facts. In middle school and high school I became interested in theatre. I wanted to be in all the plays in high school, so I was. The summer before however I played in a summer production of The King and I. The pit was a lot more fun than I thought, but the real treat was getting to see the rehearsals. I decided next year I would be in the production.
The next spring I was set to audition and to my surprise I got a lead. I was so nervous to audition, and now I had a lead. The rehearsals started and I felt right at home. I did not even go out at night so I could go to bed and the next day would come. I was in love. Not only that, but I could sing. So much so that people who had studied for years were asking me how long I had studied to which my answer was never.
A friend of mine encouraged me to take lessons to develop my talent. I listened and the rest is history. I was developing at a staggering pace. I, of course, had to be told this by my teacher, because I had no way to tell, I was still very new. I went from simple musical theatre pieces to Il lacerato sprito and Madamina, il catalogo e questo.
Music however was not always my friend. Even though music is very fun, as soon as you let on you are enjoying it, someone will inevidably ask you to perform so much that your love becomes a chore and not your passion. My junior year had come and I was hot off of summer shows and getting right back into more plays and intense study of music. I was always good at balancing what I wanted to do and what others asked me to do. I would not be fortunate for very long though. The perfect storm was upon me. One day in class I had a thought that would not leave my head. A thought so miniscule that I shouldn’t have given it the time of day, but for how ridiculous it was, it would not leave me. Day after day, month after month, pounding in my head, back and forth trying to put logic to a thought that had no logic. (You will have to excuse my being vague, but I WILL NOT TELL YOU WHAT IT WAS! So please don’t ask.) But I digress. To make a long story short, I became depressed. I didn’t want to do anything anymore. Music did not bring me joy anymore. Music was a reflection of what I thought I used to be. I could not enjoy anything like that anymore. Even though, that time has passed I feel it every now and again. Much like the family member no one likes, but still shows up at Thanksgiving. In these times in my life is when I realized that music has a life too. It will be there in the good times and maybe not in the bad. I thought music was my I thought I did not care for music much anymore, it turns out I was just to upset and mad to realize that my love will always be there. I sincerely hope that none of you lose hope in music like I did once. Happiness with music from happiness from your own life, you must want to do it. I wish I had a happy ending to this tale but I don’t, all I can say is the story is not over yet.
Notes on Notes

Many More Dreams to Come

For as long as I can remember, I had wanted to play violin. As soon as I could talk, I asked my parents to let me play. For years I asked, over and over again. Finally, when I was six, my parents decided it was time to let me try.

Unlike many beginners, at my first lesson, a real instrument was placed in my hands. I stared at it lovingly before carefully placing it under my chin. I learned to play "See Saw" that day, and practiced it over and over that week in anticipation of my next lesson.

Around the time I was in third grade, and had been playing for about two years, my teacher decided to put together a string quartet. She had a cello student, and three violin students at about the same level. I was the youngest of the group, so I got to learn and play viola. We were called KEEP the Quartet, Kathryn, Emily, Emily, and Paula. We played together for years to come, sometimes we were payed to play weddings, other times we went to music camps as a group to improve our playing.

In sixth grade I joined a violin group at Wheaton College called Vivaldi Strings. I was the youngest member of the group at the time. It was coprised of mostly high schoolers and we performed at weddings, nursing homes, and many other events. In addition to performing at events around the area, we would go on tour each year. We went to Disneyland, Michigan, even Canada. On tour we played for the groups in that area and did performances for money. I was in this group until I graduated this summer. By this time the group was mostly middle school kids and the level of playing had dropped significantly.

My sixth grade year, I auditioned for the DuPage Youth Symphony on violin and viola, I ended up sitting principal viola in the less advanced orchestra, ahead of my older students. The next year I played violin in the advanced orchestra, and french horn in the lower one, needless to say, it was a long Monday night. Then, my eigth grade year, I only played violin in the top orchestra because playing in both orchestras was taking up too much of my time. I stopped playing in the Youth Symphony at the end of that year so I could play in my high school one.

High school orchestra ended up being a mistake. Most of the members had only been playing for a few years and had never had private instruction, and the director had no string experience whatsoever. I only played with them for that year.

My freshman year I also joined the DuPage Symphony, of which I was the youngest player. We played full Symphonies, not arrangements, at monthly concerts. I loved the director and the orchestra. Unfortunately, I had to quit after that year due to some psycological problems.

Throughout high school I continued to take private violin lessons and teach them. The summer between my junior and senior year, I went to a music camp in Kansas called Sound Encounters. Brian Lewis, Michael McLean, and many other professional musicians taught at the camp. I was placed in a violin quartet under the instruction the viola professor at a college in Utah. Through her instruction and playing, I realized how much I love the sound of the viola. I immediately told my violin teacher, who was at the camp, and we discussed the pros and cons of switching.

My parents were not at all pleased by my decision, but they decided to let me try to get into a music school on viola. I worked very hard my senior year to keep my grades up and get my viola playing as advanced as possible. I auditioned at three schools and knew I wanted to go to DePauw. When I heard I had gotten in to the school of music I was very excited. All I needed now was a scholarship. When I got that letter from the financial aid office, I knew my dreams had come true.

I am at DePauw studying viola performance. My dream would be to one day become a member of the performing group Barrage. I would also love to teach private lessons and be a member of a professional symphony. Although many of my dreams have come true, I still have many more to come.

1st blog

Forced Into Music - 2

I know as much as some of us might not want to admit it, we were all forced into starting off, whether it was taking Suzuki violin, private lessons, or just starting off through the school - not many kids wanted to be the "band geek". I grew up in a very non-musical family. My father was the jock/prep in high school/college, and my mom was the farm girl that didn’t go to college. They both were very regretful that they never had learned an instrument, and more or less forced piano lessons on all three of their sons.
I always hated practicing, and would always argue with my mom about it. All I wanted to do was go outside and play with Scott and Kyle, because it was always such a great day out. My mom kept me going though - a half hour per day before I could do anything else. Eventually, I got into fifth grade and had to choose a band instrument. I chose to play the bass line on the keyboard, because I didn’t want to pick up another instrument, and that would just mean I would have to practice more. I was a pretty decent piano play for that age, and when my parents saw the first school concert it sickened them that I was wasting years of practice playing simple bass lines with one hand on a keyboard.
One day, when I was 12, I came home and there was an upright bass in the middle of the floor. My mom said that it was my new band instrument. This thing was so big! And it looked so cool! Who wouldn’t want to play it? I started going through books and got a private teacher eventually. After a year or two, my mom finally allowed me to buy an electric bass, which in her mind was the “devil's instrument”. I started getting into a few rock bands and that, but still definitely did not give up the upright. I finally quit piano lessons sophomore year. I took a few years of symphony, and then junior year joined a college jazz band, which I enjoyed much more than orchestra.
I have been in six or seven different jazz groups and have played gigs anywhere from farmer Joe’s market to riverboats and business meetings on Michigan Ave. I have been to All-State both for Orchestra and Jazz. I have won the Illinois State Fair Talent Competition and the "Best Teen Performer in Springfield" this past year. I played tuba in my high school marching band, and play acoustic guitar and sing for church services now and then.
When I say I was forced into music, it may seem somewhat silly and unbelievable, but until that bass showed up in my living room, I really had no passion for music. Don’t misinterpret me though, I do really enjoy playing music now, and am always up for learning new instruments, ideas, and anything music.
My mom always said I would thank her someday. I hate to say she’s right.

my first blog -

Still a Self-Proclaimed Musician

According to legend, I started my musical life in first grade. The director of the “young strings” program came to class one day and described her orchestra program for students in elementary school. Well, I was pretty excited. Both of my older sisters played violin, and I always wanted to play like them. I went home that day and asked my parents if I could join the program. My parents finally decided I was too young to begin such an expensive undertaking, especially if I would just get sick of it and give it up in a few days.
However, I have never been one to listen whole-heartedly to my parents, and in this case the benefit was immeasurable. I singed myself up for the class at age six. I remember my teacher, Mrs. Farlow, handing me a small, hideous sounding school instrument every other day, and she always asked, “Emily why don’t you have an instrument of your own yet?” I usually made up some lie because I didn’t want her to know that my parents were unaware of my activities.
Eventually, she called home. I remember my parents’ shock at my determination to play the violin. They agreed if I wanted to play that badly, they would buy me an instrument. I was ecstatic. I have continued playing violin ever since, and I still do. I even brought it to college with me.
My foray into orchestra led me to want to be involved in music forever. In fifth grade I entered the ISSMA contest for singers. I had never sung solo before and I was terrified, but despite my doubts I learned the piece, “Getting to Know You” and won a first place ribbon. It was then that I discovered how much I truly loved to perform. I loved to portray a character through song, and I placed first in the contest the following year as well.
Once again, I took matters into my own hands. I decided that along with violin lessons, I wanted to have private voice lessons. I had to sign myself up for lessons again. This time, my parents trusted my judgment. I began lessons with Barbara Horine, at my school, in seventh grade. I tried really hard. However, I never felt like I was enjoying my singing. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. My improvement was inconsistent and I knew I had not found my niche. Then, I tried out for the junior high school musical, Oliver!. I received the part of Nancy, and it was a huge scandal. A seventh grader getting the lead in the musical! The student body was really mad.
When I performed that role I realized what I had missed in my singing. When I was onstage, the music came to life. The music and I became one in the same. I loved the expressiveness of the theatre. I loved entertaining the whole auditorium. The musical was a huge success, and I managed to make a name for myself before entering high school. Since then, I have performed in many musicals at school and in the Indianapolis community.
The theatre made me relate and embrace the passion found in music. Suddenly, I wanted to do everything. I started to play the guitar, and later the piano. I couldn’t, and still can’t, get enough music in my life. Whether it is just sitting in my room listening to rock, or attending an opera, I love the concept of performance. I love being part of a room full of people who are all swept away by the beauty of music. To me, music is truly a way for souls to connect.
It was very hard for me to find the “right” school for myself. I had a great difficulty with many college's programs because the university or conservatory predetermined the kind of performing done. During my senior year, I auditioned at ten different schools, which meant I missed a lot of school. In retrospect, it is very funny that I auditioned at DePauw first and ended up doing a complete three-sixty and coming here in the end.
I was convinced at age seventeen that I belonged in a conservatory. I wanted the best vocal training, in the classical technique, and I wanted to really zone in on my music and perfect it in everyway possible. I was admitted to all of the conservatories where I auditioned. But, I came to find out that conservatories only give you, at best, an incredible teacher with amazing connections. In general, productions were for graduate students, their facilities were pretty run down, and they had this strange claustrophobia hanging over everyone.
I then decided to look into the universities with conservatories and see if they could offer more. I ended up narrowing my decision to SUNY at Purchase, NYU, and DePauw. Honestly, for a while I didn’t even consider DePauw an option because it was so close to home, but I kept it at bay for my parents. It was not until I visited all three schools again that I realized why I was going into college in the first place. I was eighteen, and I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I thought that since I knew I wanted to perform that I had a leg up on everyone else. I might have had a toe. When it came down to it, I was going to school to figure out how to channel my passions. I could not go to the SUNY College because it was strictly opera, and what if I decided after four years that I wanted to do musical theatre? I would be out of luck. I could not go to NYU because their classical voice program was lodged between theatre and opera so really neither was experienced. DePauw, however, was not a conservatory or a university with a renowned theatre program and an obscure music program. Instead, it was just a place with opportunities. It did not promise connections or immediate results, but it did promise that I would be sure of my place in the music world.
Admittedly, I received a lot of grief from my high school about picking DePauw. They thought I had wasted an entire year. However, I came to realize that my place as a musician was blurry. I was not mature enough to dedicate my life to one for of the musical arts. All I knew then, and what I know now, is I am improving, immersed, and eventually my place will come.

The Old "Self-Proclaimed Musician"

autobiography part deux

Okay, you have to know that I'm the only musical one in my family. Seriously. My dad played clarinet for a while and my older sister played it in middle school, but neither one of them took it really seriously. My mom did some shows in high school and danced, but she never took it seriously either. We're a big sports family. However, I can thank my dad for bringing me up on jazz-I lived off Bette Midler, Louis Armstrong, and Frank Sinatra through preschool. I even sang Bette Midler for my preschool talent show. Kind of ironic since she's an alto and I'm a soprano...
Anyway,my acting debut came in 2nd grade with a class play at Thanksgiving about some kids and a magical scarecrow; I was the scarecrow. But those ended with the progression to 3rd grade, so I started singing for my school's "church" choir. Okay it wasn't a choir; we had liturgical music class, and people had to volunteer to sing at Mass. That was as far as my singing career went for a few years. I learned the extreme basics of music in music class and actively sang in that and loved the class. I picked up handbell choir in 5th grade and really started to learn how to read music through that. Even though I had to give up my recess time nearly everyday to practice, I didn't care; I loved playing and learning the music. Finally the music department started an actual choir and I did that in 6th grade.Sadly, not everyone was interested in bettering their musical skills.
Thank the lord my mom found auditions for the St. Louis Symphony Children's Choir and talked me into trying out. I made it directly to the second level, Chorale. Pretty good for someone who never took singing seriously.I dropped chorus at school and dedicated my time to SLSCC. I LOVED it! My director was awesome and I was thrilled beyond belief to find so many other kids who actually WANTED to sing. Plus, I found people to compete with, and being a very, VERY, competitive person, that was pretty sweet. Back at school, the sixth grad play rolled around: Little Red Riding Hood. Being one of the only ones in my class who could actually sing, (that and being the shortest one) I got the title role. Even though the show itself was awful, I thrived being on the stage. Not so much with the acting, but the singing. I knew I wanted to perform.
My life pretty much changed in seventh grade. At the end of my first year with SLSCC, my director kept me behind after rehearsal one day and asked me to sight read a piece. So I did. Even though I had never done it before by myself like that, I somehow just knew how far up or down to go by looking at how far apart the notes were. He told me if I was willing to take a music reading class, I could move up to the next level choir since my voice was already there. (side note:SLSCC is REALLY big into being able to sight read music-even more than vocal ability alone) So my mom agreed to let me take the class and I got to progress. One of the best decisions of my life. Not only did I love learning how to sight read music on solfege and all that jazz, but it has helped me SO much I can't even begin to tell you. Then, the greatest thing ever happened: my choir and the level above me were chosen to participate in the National Children's Choir Festival that April. Okay, here's what that meant-SLSCC-NEW YORK CITY-CARNEGIE HALL. Carnegie Hall!!! In seventh grade! I couldn't believe it-my parents said I could go if I paid for half the trip. So I did everything I could to raise my half of the money. So in April 2001, under the direction of Henry Leck and Malcolm Daglish, I performed in Carnegie Hall. Words can't even describe what it felt like. Sure I had been performing in Powell Hall in St. Louis several times a year, but it has nothing on Carnegie. Sure the 11 1/2 hours of rehearsal in 2 days kinda sucked at the time, but looking back, it was all worth it. I loved rehearsing with choirs from all over the country. There's something about a huge group of people coming together with the same purpose-to make music.
When high school came around, I auditioned and made it to the highest level of SLSCC, but I couldn't do it because of softball. I loved singing, but sports have always been a huge part of my life and I'd dreamt of playing varsity softball, so I chose that. But I did have freshman chorus and music class where I learned the recorder and basic piano. Christmas time came around and I got a solo! I was the only one not taking voice lessons that landed one. I also managed to get one in the spring concert as well. That summer I was going to take violin lessons because I didn't have time for them in grade school with soccer and softball and basketball. And my music teacher told me I was really good with my hands and should consider playing an instrument like flute or violin. But I knew I wanted to audition for my school's chamber group that fall so I asked my teacher what a good song to prepare would be. He asked why I wasn't taking voice lessons. I said it was because I wanted to take violin. He talked me out of violin and into voice-I owe that man so much.
I made it into the St. Joseph Academy Frontenac Voices as a sophomore-a big deal at my school because the vocal program was such a big deal. We met an hour before school every day to practice and I loved every minute of it. The waking up at 5:45am to get there didn't bug me after a while. I was happy to get up and start my day with singing. I had found my place among the upperclassmen. I auditioned for All District choir and made that as well. It was my favorite thing to do-mostly because I got to sing with boys, which is a nice switch from all SSA pieces. I competed in Solo/Ensemble and got an Excellent II rating. But I wasn't happy with it. I wanted to be better. So I continued with Frontenacs and district choir and voice lessons. I was robbed of my Superior I rating Junior year, but I finally got it senior year. By that point, I was the Soprano section leader in both chorus and Frontenacs, one of the top singers in my school, and in the state of Missouri-I had made All State and received a Superior I rating at State Solo/Ensemble.
I realized singing is my passion. Whether it's cantoring at my church or singing in the shower, I can't live without it. So here I am, at DePauw University majoring in vocal performance. Quite a stretch for my family-my dad thought I'd be playing college softball at a school like UCLA. Every now and then I still feel out of place since sports have ruled the majority of my life and I really didn't get into the arts until a few years ago, but that just pushes me even farther to become a better singer and musician. After all, I like being different.

link to my old bloglink to first draft

Part of Your World: Week (gosh, really?) Four

One thing I suppose you all will find out about me, sooner or later, is that I am a huge Disney fan. This started before I can even remember, with a movie you all should know: The Little Mermaid. According to my parents, I was so in love with this movie, I would ask my parents to let me watch it over and over and OVER again ad nauseum. As a result, I learned the song "Part of Your World" by heart. As they tell it, they remember me coming down the stairs of our old house many a time and singing the entire song to them, in my cute (and not terribly out of tune) two-year-old voice.

That was just the beginning of my long music history. In third grade, along with most everyone in my class, I was asked to pick out an instrument I wanted to play. I chose the flute. With this choice came private lessons and band, as well as a small discovery that, in retrospect, was an epiphany. There were times when everyone was playing together, and I could feel the music - more than the richness of the low brass, the sweetness of the woodwinds, and the pulse of the percussion. To hear all of us making music as an ensemble, working together to communicate in a universal language - that's when something clicked, and somewhere I thought, "This is it." I was moved.

Halfway through fifth grade, my dad's job took us overseas to Windsor, England, and then, halfway through sixth, to Copenhagen, Denmark. As wonderful as my experiences there were, it was hard for me to find and keep a steady private flute teacher, what with the stress of moving, settling in, switching schools, and finding friends. But these weren't musically dead years at all. In seventh grade in Denmark, two things changed me as a musician. The first was my discovery of the musical Les Misérables by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, based on the novel by Victor Hugo. I had recently become involved in the Drama Club at school, and at the request of a friend, saw a medley from Les Mis performed at their concert. I became obsessed with the haunting and inspiring music, bought the CD, and promptly memorized the entire show. The marriage of the deep, tragic story and the appropriately heartbreaking music thrilled me. At about the same time, I took a music class in school where we got to dabble in various instruments, composed little melodies, and performed songs for each other. It was because of this class, along with my newfound love of theatrical vocal music, which convinced me to start choir in 8th grade, after moving back to our house in Illinois the summer before.

It was tricky to juggle choir and band at my school, not to mention the stresses of another move. But as the year went on, I became more and more frustrated in band, and looked forward to choir more and more. I hated practicing for flute lessons, but sang my choir music all the time. By the end of the year, I decided to drop the flute and devote myself solely to choir in high school. My mom agreed, on the condition that I would take voice lessons. Little did I know then how lucky I was to study with Linda Ogden Hagen, a vocal professor at a local liberal arts college. Because of four years of her wonderful training, singing became more than just a favorite pastime – it became my passion.

Also because of my teacher, I was able to spend the summer of 2005 at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan, in the Advanced Choral program. Those six amazing weeks would not only reaffirm music as my focus, but expand my musical interests. The air at Interlochen is alive with creative enthusiasm; you can practically taste it. Mix the charming rustic setting with the best and the brightest of all the arts from all over the country and the world, and you have a haven of inspiration, talent and learning. Through my classes and interactions, my musical experience spread beyond performing to include conducting, teaching and composing. Besides theory, vocal technique, and choral and solo literature, I learned the basics of conducting, which led to an interest in the subtleties of ensemble direction. I also heard the works of composers at camp, and my brain began buzzing with ideas about my own compositions. I would later set a poem I wrote at camp for a SSA choir and piano. These experiences made me think about my future as a musician – would I end up teaching music? Or directing a choir? Perhaps writing music? A whole realm of possibility lay open to me.

Now I’m standing on the brink of the rest of my life, an ocean of musical possibilities crashing in waves at my feet. Getting into DePauw was such a relief, because it meant that someone else believed in me, my talent and my passion, and was willing to welcome me into a community of people with the same passion. And now, although I’m a lot older, I can sing Part of Your World just as I did at two years old, with a new meaning for myself and my future:

“Ready to know what the people know,
Ask 'em my questions
And get some answers...”

I’m finally a Part of Your World. It’s good to be here.


To my first draft...