Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Break

You do not need to do a post this week. Wait until next week to work on the biography (we will talk about it in class). Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Sooo Late

I apologize. I know this is late.

I grew up as the daughter of artists. Ever since I was little I have been exposed to more of the arts than some people will see in their lifetime. As a toddler I spent my afternoons in the dressing rooms, lighting booths or studios of theatres. My mom is a dancer, my father is a techie, the arts were something I was just born for, or so I like to think.

I started taking dance class at the age of 4, which doesn’t seem to relate to the topic of being a musician, but I think it does. The early years of my exposure to any type of the arts began to form me as an individual. In elementary school I was always ridiculously excited to go to music class. I was the little dorky girl who sat in the front row in class and sang her heart out, even if it was out of tune. Through out elementary school I did a lot of stupid performances, Lullabies and Sing A Longs, musical theatre class and things with my mom’s classes. I played piano, but with the combination of me not wanting to practice and my teacher graduating I didn’t stay with it very long. It wasn’t until fourth grade that I actually began to learn music. I decided to play the cello. My teacher wanted me to play cello because she was a cellist and needed cellos in her orchestra, however, my mother wanted me to wait until fifth grade and play flute. I couldn’t wait.

In the rest of elementary school I played cello with the advanced orchestra and went to ISSMA and all the other fun stuff, but thinking back on the situation I realize that I was singing the whole time as well. The first time I went to ISSMA for voice was in sixth grade when the general music teacher was Mrs. Butler. She decided that it was time for me to take singing more seriously so I began to come in after school to work with her. I don’t even remember what I sang at ISSMA that year, but I do remember her having a group of girls perform “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from Annie for the talent show.

Then I moved and went to middle school where I knew no one. I especially didn’t know the music teachers, unlike if I had gone to Clay like I was supposed to. I signed up for orchestra and somehow I ran into the choir director and by eighth grade she had started a “swing choir” as a zero hour class so that I could sing with her. I hated it; it meant I had to get up at 6 a.m. just to go to school and sing with a group of people who didn’t want to be there either. I liked singing, but I didn’t like being around people who didn’t like singing. I informed my parents that I was serious about cello. That year my parents bought me my own cello and I started private lessons.

I loved cello. It was my passion for quite awhile, and somewhere it got turned around. I began to get exposed to musicals. In my seventh grade year I was in Saint Mary’s College’s production of Gypsy. I don’t know what my mother was thinking. I don’t know any other parents who would encourage their children to be part of a show about strippers, but I was. The one middle school kid amongst 20 college students and 2 high school students, it was interesting. As I was leaving middle school I was encouraged to audition for the “show choir” at Adams, but I didn’t. I am a shy person. I don’t often get stage fright because there is a huge gap between the audience and me, but just singing in front of people really makes me nervous. I figured I would be content with just sticking with the orchestra thing. And I was content, until auditions for the musical Mame came around. Mame was one of those musicals that I had seen ever since I was little. My family was weird, instead of Barney, my sister and I watched the Sound of Music. I grew up with Oklahoma, Gypsy, Mame, Sound of Music, Singing in the Rain, the list could go on forever. I had told my parents I was going to audition for the show and when I finally showed up for the audition I chickened out and left. I decided I would be content just playing in the pit. I wasn’t. I wanted desperately to be onstage. Well, again, somehow through the grapevine I got connected with the choir director and before I knew it I was singing with the “show choir” for ISSMA, something a freshmen never does, especially a freshmen that wasn’t even in choir. He also threw me into two other ensembles two weeks before contest and gave me a solo to learn. This man was insane, but I did it.

Sophomore year I was able to actually fit both choir and orchestra into my schedule. I loved choir, the stupid dresses and even stupider music. Orchestra began to slip to the side a little. I was still taking lessons and playing but I had stopped practicing, so I had stopped making progress. This year when musical auditions came around my friends who were seniors refused to let me not audition. So I went, signed up to audition for the chorus and came out with the lead, much to my senior friends disappointment. Well, I had the lead for a total of two weeks, I went on vacation and came back and one of the seniors had brought her mother in and my part was now double cast, which I didn’t really care about because I was still going to be on stage. I fell completely in love with performing this year. I don’t even know how to explain it to you. I was so surprised when on opening night things I had not even consciously been doing made the audience laugh. I loved the atmosphere of the theatre. As I said before, my part was double cast, so two of the night and most of the rehearsals I spent backstage or in the lighting booth. I loved it. You could put me anywhere in a theatre and I was content.

Junior year I was unable to take choir as a class so I worked on music on my own and occasionally with my director during our 17-minute homeroom class. I had auditioned and been accepted into All-State choir and was working on that music on my own as well. My junior year I felt empty when it came to music because I was no longer in orchestra either. Math and science had taken over my schedule. I decided to join the choir, bell choir, and praise band at my church. This had me singing every Sunday and Wednesday. I loved it. Singing with my church allowed me to be exposed to two different types of music, praise music, which I usually just got to have fun with, and choral music again. There was no musical that year, instead we did Macbeth and The Last Night Of Ballyhoo, I was pretty miserable. Well, not miserable, but I realized that year that it was not just the theatre I loved, it was the music. The next year I was not going to let anything stand in the way of doing what made me happy. I was going to make music happen, even if it meant having to take courses by correspondence or dropping one of my AP classes.

Senior year I joined choir again, I still didn’t have time for orchestra but I was able to take Cadet Teaching my second semester. Senior year was probably my happiest year of high school. I was allowed to sing with the Saint Mary’s Women’s Choir so I was finally being challenged. I also sang with All-State again and continued to sing with my church. I took cello lessons until around Christmas time and then stopped because the musical began to take up too much of my time. My second semester of senior year was when I was able to Cadet Teach, first semester I had to take Econ, and I asked if I could teach at Edison with my orchestra teacher. I was allowed to and spent an hour and a half everyday with kids who were in the same spot I had been four years before. It was great, but I also learned that I would probably be driven insane if I ever tried to be a teacher. I only had to teach class every other day because of block scheduling. It was an ideal situation. On the off days I would sit with my “advisor” and we would discuss any number of things from the purpose of life to our favorite desserts. He helped me discover that music was something to enjoy and be passionate about. He helped bring light to a sometimes very dark situation when it came to music and the arts in my school. We also did the musical Grease, which was probably the show that I had the most fun with in high school. I was able to step outside of myself and enjoy performing again. My favorite scene in the entire play was when I got to sit alone on a stool on the stage and belt my heart out. There is no greater feeling than being able to express yourself completely through music. During first semester I did take voice lessons for a short while in order to prepare myself for auditions, but other than that I was pretty much on my own. I had no classical training. My music was all about heart. Music is my passion and I feel like that’s why I’m here. I don’t think I ever really realized all the steps I took to get where I am today.

I know it's late

Tonight I was talking to two people in the PAC, and I realized that if I didn’t do music, I wouldn’t be able to talk to these to people I really respect and be able to make music with them in choir. Now that I have taken you to the very end; I’ll take you to the very beginning. 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, even this did not sweeten the deal.
I had a friend who played cello and around this time 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, I remember being so nervous that I thought I was going to vomit, although when I was on stage I was unusually comfortable. One thing I can say about me is that I have always felt a little awkward in my own skin, but on stage that went away, much like rinsing shampoo out of my hair. I left the audition humming the songs and was eager to find out the results. I am not quite sure what I expected to get, but all I know is that enough time had passed that I really wasn’t thinking about it anymore. In fact I remember my parents bringing me my tie because I forgot it for my youth symphony concert when they told me. I was so frustrated that I didn’t really think about it, but believe it or not 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, because the story isn’t over yet.
That was the sad part of the story, but the truth is music is just music. You can hate it, enjoy it, love it, want it, or whatever and what makes it special is that it can make you experience all those feelings, and no matter how much you try to deny it music keeps on playing. What helps me is to keep a sense of humor. You don’t need to make anyone else laugh, just yourself. Every time I think of that, the music plays a little louder and a little prettier.

Long and Winding Road

I had no early music training through my parents. I attended a pre-school where I sang songs about school buses and doughnuts, but otherwise my earliest musical interest was sparked by an animated television show.
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 in Summer 1998.
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 in 1999. 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.
I set up my first flute lessons after freshman year in 2003 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 performed 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.
Throughout my young adult life I hope to pursue various musical interests. (1) I hope to attend a couple summer orchestra festivals and participate in several masterclasses (2) I hope to study abroad in France (3) I would love to teach for a year in a third-world country (4) I would love to spend time studying in Europe (5) I want to eventually win a spot in a reputable orchestra.
All of these things will probably not happen, but they are on my list, and the purpose of these next four years is to try and make my list come true.
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.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Musician's new epiphany

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.


Some of the best experiences I have had as a musician are playing live in small venues. When I was about eleven, I used to visit my sister in California and her husband played every week in an open-mic night. I thought it was so cool to see a vast array of such unique performers in one coffee house. Eventually, my brother-in-law, Ryan, convinced me to sing a few songs with him. When I was that young, I couldn’t accompany myself and sing at the same time, so he played guitar and I sang. We performed “On My Own” from Les Miserables and “Scarborough Fair.” It was so exhilarating to share music with complete strangers, and to have them appreciate it.
When my sister and her husband moved to Boston, I was sad because I thought the music was over. However, Ryan soon found a different open-mic night in Boston, and began to record his own music. When I visited them most recently, we recorded a few songs, and we both m=played guitar and sang. It was really fun. Later, I joined him at the open-mic bar and I sang “Jolene,” which is a Dolly Parton song, and I performed “Zombie” by the Cranberries. This venue was bigger and more daunting, but the fear left me after the first song and I realized that the love of live performing, not matter how good the person is, is appreciated by all artists.
It is really important for me to find small ways of performing, like open-mic nights, because it personalizes performing, and takes it down to a smaller scale. Sometimes, I feel like performing is an impossible lifestyle. However, every time I think of those nights, with all of the strangers, I realize performing isn’t a lifestyle, but a life choice. One can choose how thy want to perform, and sometimes it is important to accept and appreciate the intimate, non-paying, gigs that are all about the music, and not about the career.


I recently had an epiphany about my life as a musician. It isn’t very positive, but it cannot be described as negative, so here goes.
I have always been of the opinion that one’s confidence and ambition makes up for half of a musician’s success. Lately, I have had problems with just plain confidence in my singing. I find that I have improved greatly over the last couple of months, my voice is changing for the better, and I am learning songs very fast. However, when it comes to believing that I can indeed do everything I work on in lessons and on my own, I have no confidence.
When I was younger, I never had any doubt in my own talent. However, I have noticed that over the last year or so I have a lot of problems just learning, loving, and performing a piece. It is like I am swamped in critiques from teachers and myself, and it is to the point that I cannot cast quibbles aside and do it. Every time I get to a high note that is not even close to the edge of my range, I tense up or I just say in my mind, “here’s that note I always mess up,” and I hate that feeling.
Anyway, I feel like as a musician this is a huge obstacle I must overcome. When I decided on colleges I thought I would have technical difficulties and difficulties within music. However, now I find that my doubt is the biggest obstacle in front of me. This might be shocking to some of you because I do not think I show my lack of confidence when performing. If it does show, it comes out as a “technical problem” not as a “mental preparation problem.” The most frustrating thing about this is that I know I can do it deep down. I know I have the capability of kicking-butt on pieces, but I chose to not trust myself instead.
This is a problem I must fix soon, and I know that. I just think it is really interesting that, as a musician, I must find what it truly means to BE a musician again. I think I must find my passion and confidence in my singing again to become the musician I want to be.

Yay, number 4... this is definately n0t getting tires0m

Alright guys, if y0u read my last draft, I had 3 ideas in it t0 add t0 my aut0bi0graphy. I asked f0r imput 0n what i sh0uld and sh0uldn't use. I have decided t0 add 2 0f my ideas (paragraphs 0ne and ten) t0 my draft. The third idea y0u will find at the end. I w0uld like t0 use it and I w0uld like it t0 be my intr0ducti0n. S0 what I'm asking f0r is y0urall's 0pini0n 0n whether 0r n0t it w0uld s0und g00d there. Thanks!


When I was little I used to go sit in my grandma's living room and listen to one of her many music boxes. It was always the same one. It played the theme from the musical Cats. I don't know why I liked it so much, but I could sit and listen and watch those cats go round and round forever. Even from a young age I showed signs of becoming a lover of music.

Around 13 years ago, I became interested in music. I had no heroes, no music idols; I just wanted to play. I asked Santa Clause for a piano. Apparently Santa did not have the money for a piano but did have the money for a very cheap violin. This did not faze me. I held the scroll under my chin and smiled at my mom and dad and said, "Look! Santa brought me a violin!" This was where it all began.

I began taking lessons the summer following that Christmas; it was the summer before I was to enter the second grade. By the time I had reached the third grade, the orchestra teacher at my elementary school had found that I was more advanced than many older students already in her class. Even though students were not allowed in the elementary orchestra until the fourth grade, I quickly became an exception. The teacher, however, lacked many, if not all, teaching skills. We played "Twinkle, Twinkle" until I graduated. If it had not been for my private lessons, I would not have progressed at all.

Upon entering junior high school I had no desire to play the violin any longer. The less than adequate teacher I had had previously made me believe that the violin was not for me. I did not sign up for orchestra. Fortunately my parents pushed me along. I played a couple of excerpts for the orchestra teacher and I remember him saying, “Dang, you can play. You’re in.” My parents assured me that orchestra would be different in junior high. To my great surprise, it was. There were more students and the teacher was an actual orchestra teacher. He knew what he was doing and for the first time in my orchestra career, I heard what an orchestra was supposed to sound like. The different sections had different parts; there were harmonies and melodies. It was only a junior high orchestra but it was beautiful.

As I progressed further in my playing, I realized that our Floyd Central Symphony Orchestra was not as great as I had always seen. Many of the students did not try their best and as I progressed, they stayed behind, making the music sound out of tune and displeasing. I did not sign up for orchestra at the beginning of eighth, ninth, or tenth grade but my teacher had gone to my parents on all three occasions and convinced them that I needed to stay in orchestra because I had a "natural talent." So I stayed.

At this point in time, the violin was becoming less and less appealing. The only thing that really kept me trying was the competition. There wasn’t much of it; in fact there was only one person to be competitive with. I fought with this small blond girl every year for the better chair. To tell the truth, if it hadn’t been for her, I would have had no reason to push myself and I wouldn’t be where I am today.

When I was in the tenth grade, I knew our orchestra was not at the level I would have preferred so I looked into community orchestras. I found one for my county, the Floyd County Youth Symphony. I joined and was temporarily satisfied. I progressed quickly up through the chairs of seconds to firsts until there was nothing left. Therefore my second year proved to be much less satisfying. They also joined the younger orchestra with the older orchestra due to a drop in participants. The younger children only brought the orchestra down. Within two weeks I dropped the orchestra. I found instead a larger and more advanced community orchestra, the Louisville Youth Orchestra's Symphony Orchestra. It was what I had been looking for all along. It was made up of an older crowd and the musicians were only there because they wanted to be. Since they wanted to be there, they tried their best and as a result, the orchestra sounded amazing.

I auditioned late for the LYO. My audition was okay and the conductor placed me in the back of the first violins. We rotated and kept auditioning for first stand. I never tried. To this day I don’t know why I didn’t try. The conductor couldn’t stand me. I sat in the back of the firsts and never pushed myself any further. I didn’t like him much either. I felt he judged me and in return I brought his judgments to life. I was a punk. The following year I was not going to audition for shear hatred of the man conducting the orchestra. To my surprise there was a new conductor that year, so I figured I would give it a try. I didn’t find this out until a week before auditions but I grabbed a random piece of music and ran with it. I somehow was placed as Assistant Concertmaster. I was so surprised and yet vastly pleased. It made me feel as if someone had faith in me; somebody liked my playing. I tried hard that year to make the new conductor happy with his decision. He was so nice and he helped us instead of humiliating us. I don’t think he regretted his decision.

A few years ago, I discovered music. Yes I have been playing music since the second grade, but I had never actually realized what feelings can be triggered by music. Certain events in my life created a special place within myself for music. Since then, nothing else can release those unique thoughts and feelings. Sometimes when I listen to music, I feel this physical feeling that is quite indescribable. It is a high; one of ecstacy and pure delight that makes every nerve in my body tingle and my stomach flutters with enjoyment. When these feelings came about, I realized that music had to be the most important thing in the world.

In the summer before my senior year in high school, I began to teach violin lessons privately for spending money. After several months with my students, I began to see improvement. It was not small and minimally noticeable improvement either; it was enormous and obvious. I was amazed at my own teaching abilities. I began to feel this great pride after each of my students' lessons. By Christmas of that year, I knew what I wanted to do for a living. I was going to be a teacher.

Now I am here at DePauw's School of Music. I'm here not only to improve upon my own violin performance abilities, but to learn how to teach others as well. Here I will learn to pass on my knowledge of music to younger generations.


Third idea:

I was talking to someone the other day about music and how it makes me feel. I told her about that wonderful sensation I get all over my body when I listen to Pink Floyd or Dvorak's New World Symphony. I asked her if she ever felt that way and she looked at me as if I was crazy and said, "I've never felt anything like that when I listen to music." I was stunned. I had nothing left to say to her and I left. How can anyone go through life happily and call their life complete without ever feeling music?

Number 4

Have you ever heared something so beautiful you were encouraged to recreate that sound? That happens to me all the time and I think it's the basis of my success as playing trumpet. When I was at the end of fourth grade I heard a beautiful saxophone sound echoing throughout the local mall. It was the first time I had ever heard a professional instrumentalist that caught my attention. Kenny G was my first inspiration to make music.

Later that week, I went through "instrument tryouts" for our 5th grade band. I knew as soon as I got there I was going to be bringing home the instrument that would lead me to Kenny G's success! But I was wrong! Turns out, I couldn't even get a noise out of the saxophone. That's when I decided to test out the trumpet.

My first years playing were at Mills Lawn Elementary School. It was a very small school. As beginning students, it was our decision to play in either the orchestra or the band. But, either way, you were guaranteed to be the only one in your grade, on your instrument.

Competition between instruments took place on a grade level. As a fifth grader, I couldn't wait to play with the 6th graders and show off my talent. My brother was a 6th grade trombonist and he kept me "updated" with the latest repitore. I remember practicing "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie" several hundred times with my brother in the freezing cold garage before a 6th grade rehersal and then showing up the 6th grade trumpet player. At Mills Lawn, you were pushed to learn your part inside out and always play at your personal best. The individual attention I received at Mills Lawn encouraged me to do just that!

A move in the family eventually caused for transferring schools. Attending Indian Valley Middle School posed a drastic change for me. There were 4 different 5th grade bands! Each with 10 or more playing trumpet. But, because of such advanced playing at Mills Lawn I was still able to outplay them all! In fact, I still remember a particular instance when my mom and I met the director before my first day there. My mom tried to explain to him that I was more advanced than what their band was. He took it as an insult and came back in her face with the explanation that all parents think their child is better than the rest. After my first day playing with the band my mother got a phone call from my director apologizing for not listening and being so rude.

I'm almost certain I didn't improve much as a musician at Indian Valley because I never had any one to compete with, or any beautiful sounds to imitate.Throughout my 3.5 years there, students expierenced three different changes in directors. Many students dropped out because the couldnt rely on the stablilty of the music department or because they just weren't inspired. My parents were the only reason I myself, made it to high school band.

Wow! My first day of high school band camp was so impressive! I arrived and chairs had been marked off as a result of the auditions earlier that week. I walked along the back looking for my chair. It wasn't anywhere around my freshman friends! I must have looked confused because my band director approached me and took me to my chair. I was sitting 2nd chair next to the junior section leader! I remember his words exactly as I sat next to him, "So you're the girl who sits here? We'll don't get your hopes up.... your first chance at section leader won't be until your senior year when all of the upperclassmen have filtered out!" Typical statement of a trumpet player. It didn't bring me down though, I had work to do... there was someone better than me. I had a challenge!

I worked very hard that year and it paid off. The audition results were posted at the beginning of the next year. I had outdone every trumpet player in every ensemble in high school. It seemed great... until I realized I no longer had challenge. For the majority of the rest of high school, I did the minimal work to keep my spot as a section leader.

My senior year was the only exception. I had to work harder, practice more, join ensembles outside of high school, take extra music classes... all because I wanted to "spice my application up," as my high school guidance counslor said. My college selection process wasn't hard at all. I applied and auditioned at one school, DePauw, and here I am today.

Over my 8 years of playing, I don't feel as if I got the musical expierence every child deserves to have. My fellow students and I had five different band directors. I witnessed many students dropping music because of poor instruction and lack of dedication. It is now my desire to improve instruction in districts where music is a crumbling subject. The arts are an important part of elementary, middle and high school curriculum. Students at least a teacher who cares! And furthermore, as I attend my music classes first semester, I'm discovering just how unprepared I was academically. I now have another purpose besides giving dedication. I want to give every effort to help students learn, advance, and prepare themselves for college.

Attention, everyone. This is numbah foah.

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). Sometimes I dislike her for not continuing on music, because then I would have had more exposure to music growing up. 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 unraveled. Yes, my mighty ball of string, here we go. 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. I had often entertained the thought of bringing back my singing career. But I thought better of it and decided to keep the past where it was. Anyway, those people 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 indirectly 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. But in a way, isn't this all what we want?

bio # 4

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.

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This was taken during one of MCT's performances of Sondheim's "Into the Woods." That was my favorite musical to perform.

Lately, I've been getting more into contemporary composition, and getting more into styles other than classical. I would like tp pursue a carreer in jazz, or rock if possible. I wish there were classes that would disect othere genres of music, like rock, as much as classical. I'm looking for a way to study that, and don't know if DePauw is the answer.

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.

autobiography part 4...i think

I'm the only musical one in my family, which can sometimes be difficult. My parents each have a touch of music in their backgrounds, but nothing of any significance. We're a big sports family-ESPN and FSN are the T.V. favorites in our house. However, I can thank my dad for bringing me up on jazz-I lived off Bette Midler, Louis Armstrong, and Frank Sinatra in 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 at Mass, since I had to go to liturgical music as a class, I figured I better put my knowledge of the music to good use. I learned the extreme basics of music in music class and got to sing a little in that-I loved it. 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 grade 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 be a singer, but I didn't know how much.
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. 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!!! 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. 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. Christmas 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 sports-and I had secretly dreamt of being a musician. 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 and 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. When it came time to looking at colleges Junior year, I had learned about music therapy. I was like, sweet! something that combines my love of science and music. And it jsut so happens the Missouri has a college with a music therapy graduate program that is really good. So here I am, at DePauw University majoring in vocal performance and hoping to become a music therapist one day. 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.

I know as much as some of us might not want to admit it, most of us were forced into this wonderful world of music, whether it was taking Suzuki violin, private lessons, or just starting off through the school - not many kids wanted to be known as 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 had never picked up 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! My mom kept me going though - a half hour per day before I could have any "fun time". 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 pianist for my 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 picking my nose.
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 orchestra, 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 in The Windy City. 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, and played a solo electric bass rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance" at my high school graduation. 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 music, instruments, ideas, and anything music.



My mom always said I would thank her someday. I hate to say she’s right.

my first blog -
http://musicalbomb.blogspot.com/2006/08/forced-into-music-tommy_25.html


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 who start with a cardboard violin, 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. I was so excited to play new songs, from the beginning, I fiddled around with the notes and taught myself pieces I knew by ear.

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 together.

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. All of the pieces we played were arranged and they were too simple and did not challenge me to improve. 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 the 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. As many of you know, I may be transfering next semester so I can study something that has always intrigued me-special education with an emphasis on music. I would love to tach kids with special needs by using music as a way to learn math, English, and anyting else. Although many of my dreams have come true, I still have many more to come.

An Ordinary Life Take 4/5

When I was young, I did all the normal kid things. I starting dancing at age three, and I started playing softball and soccer when I was five. I played with barbies and I loved to watch cartoons. But there was one thing missing.
The oldest story I can think of involving music took place when I was about two. Every time the McDonald's commercial came on the TV I would run in the room and start dancing. From the time I was about three or four I would insist on going to choir practice with my mom. I know it would seem boring to most people, but I loved sitting in the room for over an hour listening to the choir sing. And by the time I was eight or nine, I knew every word to every Oldies song ever made, and had attended my fair share of Oldies concerts, including Jan and Dean and the Monkees. I was in love with music.
Finally, in third grade I started taking piano lessons from a lady from my church. It was great for awhile, but eventually I wanted more. I went to a private school, so we didn't have band or orchestra, but my mom had a clarinet, and in fifth grade, after a while of me scaring the animals with my squeeks and squawks, she asked her friend's daughter to teach me. I loved it from day one!
Elementary school came to an end and my parents sat me down and told me I had three choices- I could continue with sports, dance, or music. The choice came easily, I had to go on with music. So I enrolled in public middle school and joined band and choir for the first time in my life. Half way through the year my friend convinced me to start cello, and after the first playing test I seated first chair, ahead of people who had been playing for years, but all obviously hated it. I did my thing for awhile, joined jazz band to play piano in 7th grade, and continued on with that and all three ensembles until I was done with middle school. When it came time to try out for marching band, it just kind of seemed like it was already set in stone. I had been planning on it, along with my parents, so I tried out and got in. It was probably the best choice of my life. I had a whole new group of friends before highschool even started. We bonded quickly and it was like we had always been friends.
Freshman year started and I joined orchestra, chamber orchestra, jazz band, and pep band. Marching season ended and I was one of a few freshman placed into our highest band. During Christmas break, although it was two months after marching season, we travelled to Florida and got to march down Main Street at Disney World. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life, seeing the castle in front of you and knowing all these people are watching you. At the end of freshman year I was selected for pit orchestra, which meant I was now in all the ensembles I could possibly be in. I was THE band geek. But it didn't bother me. People would call me one, and I would say "Yeah, so?". I had found my passion.
I continued on with all my music through highschool. I went through some private teachers in the area, eventually quit taking piano lessons, taught myself saxophone and bass, and then it was time to select a college.
I knew I wanted to continue with music, but I had no clue where. Luckily, I did know that I did not want to be more than 4 hours from home and that I wanted to study music business. I did some research and found there was really only five or six colleges that fit that criteria. I had three in mind-University of Evansville, Elmhurst College, and Millikin University. I visited all three and was set on Evansville. I was going there, no doubt about it. Then one day my mom asked why I never looked at DePauw University, since they sent me mail about five days a week and they offered Music Business as a major. I said I didn't know and so she decided we should just go look at it and I could just use it for a practice audition if nothing else. I got here and something just clicked. It seemed to be so much more welcoming than anywhere else. Almost everything here looked well kept and up to date, whereas even the buildings Evansville claimed were newly renovated looked like they were still in the 1970s. Plus there was a pond! Then I found out the pond was going to become a moat as soon as the highly expensive addition to the music building was done. On my way home I knew it. I informed my mom that DePauw was my new number one. Of course I could not fully decide until the financial aid information came in, but when DePauw blew everyone else out of the water, I knew it was meant to be, and here I am.
I have led a pretty ordinary life. I haven't studied with any famous concertmasters or recorded with anyone from an amazing band. But all the same I am here for the same reason as everyone else. Music is my life, and I can't imagine doing anything other than continue with it.

Autobiography: Week... um, I've lost count

Part of Your World: Week… um, I’ve lost count

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.

It may not be a huge, symbolic whatsit that I sang “Part of Your World” a bazillion times when I was two, but in any case, music is my life. I can't imagine I'd be half as talented a musician without creative drive. More importantly, without creativity I would not understand my passion for music. I know that if it weren't for music, I'd probably have no clue what to do with my life. The joy of creativity and the self-fulfillment of good performance are the best aspects of music - the proverbial chemicals that make me high, if ‘music is a drug’. And even though we are a society of addicts, no other "drug" I know of has the same overwhelming effect, not to mention no negative side effects. How did I get addicted to music?

Well, The Little Mermaid 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, directing a choir, or perhaps writing music? A whole realm of possibility lay open to me.

What will I do with music? To quote Matthew Fox from his blog, "Creativity is both humanity’s greatest gift and its most powerful weapon." So if I am a creative musician, how will I use this gift and weapon? How will my creativity change my world? When asked what we see our talents doing for others, many of us admitted that music was mostly a selfish pastime, and I would be guilty of that too. But after giving this some thought, I can see that music is not just a private indulgence. As a singer, especially as a singer with a future full of potentiality, I will have so many opportunities to turn my selfish passion into an enlightening gift. Whether by interpreting others' works, educating the next musical generation or producing music of my own, my world will profit. In a more spiritual analogy, the Bible states that God blesses us with gifts, and we, to show our gratitude, must use them to brighten our world. Indeed, it would be wrong for me to keep my talents to myself.

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.