Monday, December 12, 2016

12/12/16

FINALS WEEK

and I'm sick...

Had band banquet last night, I felt a little awkward in a long dress but it was pretty chill because I didn't have to shave my legs. I went with my best friend Erich. We went to his house probably two hours before the banquet started and his mom was kind enough to take pictures :). The roads turned to crap about the same time we left his house, so we took his dad's suburban.

Banquet was pretty cool, it was longer than i wanted but the video was really funny! Shout out to media staff for a great job! After banquet I went to steak 'n shake with Meredith, Brontë and Erin. This was my second dinner for the night and I stayed on track with my strict diet of carbs and cheese... lol Grilled cheese with cheesy fries! But the best part was on the way out. Keep in mind that on the way in we saw two workers preparing to shovel snow for a solid 10 minutes... as we walked out we realized that the snow is still there...unshoveled... so we followed meredith's footsteps in a duckling trail, which I got tired of after 10 feet and decided I've had enough of this and decided to jump off the curb, over a snow bank and into the parking lot. Which then resulted in a full blown disaster. I jumped, landed on my right foot, collapsed, and fall onto my knees, scraping them. I looked like a drunk but I was completely sober!

Finals are eh... I definitely got sick from going home this weekend and now I am taking these huge tests, deciding my future while I'm sniffling and coughing all over it. I took my first exam this morning at 10:15. I woke up at 9 made coffee and breakfast to go and set up shop in a really warm room in Dunbar to study for a few minutes and review so that maybe I won't fail as bad.

During the final I felt pretty good about the first 5-7 pages, because they're all review over things like ser and estar and past tense but when it came to Present perfect subjunctive vs. present perfect indicative.... AND I had to make up my own sentences to complete the idea... I was out. I semi gave up after that.

PS: I really haven't practiced a lot lately.. I have a lesson tomorrow

Emily

Friday, November 11, 2016

SHOOT!

I FORGOT TO UPDATE YOU ON INTERPLAY!!!!!

So I did end up having to resign my contract because there were too many conflicts with concert band concerts (for a grade) and large competitions like regionals. I was really sad about it so I called my third mom Halle Hoover because my other two were together doing painting things... and she really helped, plus I miss her like crazy! I used to see her 24/7 on tour and then poof its over.. double sad. But then my sadness turned into some anger because I was angry that I didn't figure this out before things went south. So I went with a friend, Noah to the Seeley center (the indoor turf field) and threw a lot of really high things on rifle.. I totally didn't catch them all :D but then I came up with this insane plan to get really good at it all and practice all the time then go big or go home and audition for world next year and spin with Halle and then we'll go to Phantom because we're both strong in dance and its super chill there and then Noah said no the guard caption heads left and took the whole Phantomette thing with them which is super sad.

Fast Forward a day and I borrowed a sabre from a friend on Bronco guard, Kendal. I had a nightmare that night that I was stupid and threw something high (mind you that this sabre has none of the plastic protective tips or hilt covers) and I under rotated this toss and it came down and through my foot into the turf and I started crying in front of Noah which is embarrassing because I'm only emotional around my family and he was like "what the heck is wrong with you" because his back was to me when I started breaking down and then he look and was like wtf.. so we called an ambulance and had to cut the sabre in half for some reason and then I called kendall crying because the night I got it she told me to take really good care of it and I had to tell her I was stupid enough to get it through my foot and that I had to cut it in half to get it out.

Obviously this whole thing really took a tole on me...

No I haven't practiced any more than the last blog I made tonight about 10 minutes ago...

Emily
I did a lot of adulting today!

I slept in a little which was amazing! I woke up around 8 and had coffee and plenty of time to be lazy with getting around and deciding what to wear, I even washed my face AND brushed my teeth! (usually the tooth brushing happens at dalton once I get there, approx 5 minutes before rehearsal begins lol). We didn't have rehearsal this morning and it was amazing, don't get me wrong; I love playing in this quintet and I love all of the young women it is made up of but it's really amazing not having to wake up at 6:55, catch the bus by 7:28 and get to rehearsal by 7:45 to brush my teeth.

I walked to class today and it was quite refreshing, at the time I was walking it didn't seem so.. I was hot and in a rush.. for no reason. I got there early early so I went to the library to print off my spanish paper (which I'm hoping for an A on because I put in a lot of work) I also was extra productive and printed off drill for the evening marching band rehearsal.

I had rehearsal in the recital hall at 10 with my accompanist. I felt really cool because I had to check out a key and then for an hour I had a key to the largest most beautiful room in Dalton and it really did feel like I had all the power in the world. Rehearsal went well, we're waiting for Dr. Rose in our next rehearsal to judge how balance is out in the audience, but things sounded well and they were expressive, the best part is that it took roughly 15 minutes. That was awesome.

Then I met up with my friend Erich, like I do every Monday Wednesday Friday before spanish to go over the homework and make sure it's not entirely wrong. Spanish went well, I now understand subjunctive vs imperfect bot preterite and present.

Then I met up with a really good friend of mine named Brontë, yes named after the famous author. We had lunch at the burnhams with some other flutes and then we went to her physical therapy appointment because right after... WE WENT TO DONATE BLOOD!

It was super chill and I'm really happy I did it. It was my first time and tbh I was really afraid about the finger prick, because ya know... I play bassoon and I need my finger tips. But it wasn't bad!

But then we went straight to marching band rehearsal... we were kind of worried about that but that also went well. I mean minus a really sore arm...

Then I went to dinner with Brontë and after went to play some broomball with Erich and the college of Aviation... which I am definitely not a part of.

That's all folks!

I didn't practice today (at least my bassoon...)

Emily

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I attended an audition for Interplay A, a winterguard based out of Grand Rapids. I ended up getting a contract, spoke with my parents and accepted the contract. I can't tell you how amazing it was to be spinning that style again. I even got the courage to spin sabre, something I haven't done in two years! I loved being able to be expressive and feel like crying at the same time because it was so difficult. I am extremely excited to be spinning in a winterguard but with that is a HUGE time commitment. I'm talkin' every weekend all weekend. And I was prepared to do that. Until marching band came... this weekend I'll go to interplay friday night, come home friday night and be in a parade for Bronco marching band saturday morning. Then Mena and I will go back to interplay saturday right after the parade (literally end parade and jump in her car and change) spend the night at interplay and rehearse all day sunday. Next weekend; Dress rehearsal for concert band friday night from 8-10p and a game saturday for Bronco marching band. I also have Interplay rehearsal starting friday 8pm going to sunday at 4... how am I going to do this?!


Total practice hours today: 1 so far...

Don't practice too hard,

Emily

Friday, October 21, 2016

I'm fighting with my reeds. Almost physically throwing punches at this point. I didn't play for two and a half months over the summer because of drum corps (actually probably more because of my laziness) so I don't really have the chops of steel that I had before summer during my senior recital time.

I'm playing on the bassoon professors reeds at my university, and that is a totally normal thing to do... but they're SUPER hard! I can't practice for more than 30 minutes without getting tired. I get it tho, part of it is my fault... oops. But I still have some blanks from last spring, precisely two that are still usable. So I am using one, its perfectly in tune, I can play for two to three hours at a time (if I actually practice) but it's super long and sounds windy. It sounds a bit muffled but airy as well as if the tone isn't quite exactly clear.

Back to my real life; I'm sorry I haven't blogged in awhile, I've been a good student studying for midterms, which I took today! I feel like it went well, or this means I totally bombed it and failed the class... Fingers crossed for the first option.

I sat down in my lesson on Tuesday and wrote out a practice schedule with my instructor, OH MY GOSH!!! THIS IS THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD! I found times in the day that I didn't know existed, granted my social life is pretty much gone, but I don't care if I get to play bassoon for the rest of my life and make a living off of it.

So I've obviously been practicing a lot more this week. And as I started my practice session this afternoon I got to thinking how the practice room is like a small cage. It has a small window at the top so you can tell if it is daylight or not but you can't really see anything out of it other than the ceiling. You can hear all of the extremely loud people in the lobby of the practice room, which isn't too cool peeps. Sidenote; If you go to music college please be quiet when you are near the practice rooms, sometimes people aren't having a good time in there. And sometimes you just want to get out of the practice room and escape but your time isn't up yet so you can't. Fortunately you can leave when you are done but I still say it's like a cage...

Total practice time today: 1hr 30min

Oh and I'm going to see book of mormon tonight after my swim!

Don't practice too hard,

Emily

Friday, October 7, 2016

Being a young stupid kid

Last night I planned on going to a Miller movie and watching Finding Dory but then I found the schedule for open swim and got the stupid idea to wake up at 5am for morning open swim.

I went with my friend Jen and we had a blast! We ended up swimming about 500 meters before 8:00. It really kicked my but, but it was worth it and I was happy that I was able to go back to bed after my workout and sleep another two hours before my first class.

Yay to no freshman 15! aka this means I can eat two desserts at dinner without feeling guilty ;)

But on the other side I wasn't able to practice today. I have cold sores on my face that are extremely painful. I think these are from stress because I haven't been kissing anyone, only playing bassoon... I promise that I have a semi normal life...

I received an A on my spanish quiz, which is a very good thing because I received a 60% on the first quiz.

I received a BA on my rough draft of a spanish composition, which by the way I can turn back in for even MORE points!!!

I received an A on all of my recent assignments in my digital media in music class and finished the entire class for the semester yesterday.

So I'm not quite sure how I have a ton of pimples and cold sores from stress because I've accomplished a lot and I haven't really felt stressed.

This weekend is homecoming weekend and it's going to be one heck of a show. But I'm ready for it to be over, it's very stressful attempting to fit the homecoming court and extra things needed for a traditional homecoming with the band.

Ta ta for now, I'm off to watch hocus pocus for the night :)

Practice time for today: 0 :(

Don't practice too hard....
Emily

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Many people won't understand why I have a huge dilemma on what I want to be when I grow up.  I have narrowed it down to two options, the first is risking a stable salary and my sanity to become a professional musician. This would mean moving away from my family and probably living on little to no money for a while until I find a stable job and that could take at least two years just to apply to.

But why would you go through that? Why would you go through the possibility of not having a job or even the possibility of not being able to eat or have a nice home?

I'll pretend that I am cool and answer these questions with a question, have you ever found something you loved so much that made you happy and made you all sappy and emotional when you think about it? To me that's music. There are certain classical songs I can't listen to without breaking down into tears because I remember the people I played those songs with and I remember why I did it I remember how amazing these people are and now I remember that they're half way across the country and I will probably never see them again. But it's not only the people it's being able to feel each other and communicate without saying or touching each other, it's about sharing something together that we created. It is something very difficult to explain to outside population who don't play an instrument.

The second option is safe. Its music marketing or performing arts administration. Here I would help organize and manage symphonies, ballets, and operas. It's a safe stable well paying job and I would still get to be around music but I don't know If i'll be able to perform along side them. I don't know if I would teach bassoon on the side to curb the craving of performance or not. I just don't know where I'll be in 10 years, and yes that's scary but I've kind of already accepted it and made a decision...


This is something that came up today when I had to fill out a goals sheet for bassoon studio, I had to write it down and try to explain it to the general population.

Don't practice too hard:

PS: my lesson was awesome today, I got an A and I also received an A on my spanish quiz!

Emily

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursdays are my favorite day. They are always the day I look forward to throughout the week. This is because they are my Riley days. Every thursday we go out for coffee and study/complete the homework we forgot to do the night before. This thursday we talked about going to Feed the People Cafe. It's a very cute and homey cafe that is a little expensive, about seven dollars for a cup of coffee but the extra money you're being charged goes to feed homeless people in Kalamazoo. To me that's really cool! I can help people by drinking coffee, who wouldn't want to do that?! (I'm sure they have tea as well for my tea freaks).

We decided not to go because Riley is saving for winter tuition due soon, so we talked about going to the Biggby on campus but it ended up raining today and Riley not living on campus doesn't walk everywhere nor has an umbrella permanently stored in her backpack. We decided not to walk and ended up going to the one on West Main right next to Coldstone.

I was deciding if I'd like to have just a peppermint mocha (MY FAVORITE) or add food to that. We were walking in and a very large delicious scent of food breezed by us and it was then I decided I NEEDED food. So I bought a havarti everything bagel because who doesn't want everything on a bagel and a small peppermint mocha... It only cost me $8.88 LARGE dollars....

But I temporarily lost my Biggby card in my wallet, it was right next to the debit card which I used to pay for my meal/thing. So I got riley a new Biggby card with an extra point already on it, happy early birthday!

Next topic:
Last week I was contacted by a composition major asking if I would play a bassoon solo piece he wrote for me. Of course I said yes! It's so cool that someone would of recommended me to play a piece for this kid. It's like being a little bit famous. So we met last week and spoke about the difficult things and easy things on the bassoon, i.e. what to watch out for, or what is difficult to play.

I said to him it really doesn't matter what you give me to play, most composers didn't know anything about bassoons so they wrote whatever they'd like to hear, possibly complementing a woodwind line or a trombone line.

But he continued to ask if the bassoon had any cool features such as the clarinet and saxophone have altissimo register.... okay obviously this kid didn't do any researching on the bassoon but who can blame him, I wouldn't either. I also explained how we were created in the butcrack of the 1200's or sometime way back when and we really haven't changed or evolved since then.

And today I get to see the piece and talk about it! I'm so excited! I didn't really understand why but then I realized that this is exactly what I want to be doing with my life, except hopefully getting paid for it. Its really cool to be a music major, trust me :)

Don't practice too hard but two hours a day is recommended;

Emily

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hump day

Last night I was going to try to attend a movie night event for Sigma Alpha Iota but it was cold and windy so I decided to go home and finish homework instead. I ended up going to bed at 9:30 and I can't tell you how excited I was about that. I got a full 9 hours of sleep before I woke up at 6:45 for quintet rehearsal.

We had a great rehearsal this morning we're playing a piece by Reicha which has a large bassoon solo in the beginning :) Usually we struggle with not getting through a lot of music or in my opinion; it feels like a non productive rehearsal. It feels slow, even though I know you don't have to rehearse half of the piece for it to be productive, we could rehearse smaller chunks.

I practiced for half an hour after quintet. It's getting more and more difficult to practice, not just finding time where I could sit for and hour or two and not worry about being late to a class but my chops are failing me. This morning I could only sit and practice for about twenty minutes productively and another ten pushing my face limits, and probably not sounding the best.

Its deeply frustrating because last year at this time I could sit for an hour before school started, an hour in school and sometimes an hour or two outside of school if I really needed the extra wood shedding.

If you have any ideas of how to make this easier for me, please let me know; any extra help is always welcomed.

Practice log so far today: 30 minutes

Don't practice too hard,
Emily

Monday, September 26, 2016

Mondarns

Monday's or Mondarns as I enjoy calling them are usually the worst day of the week for most people. Sometimes it's really hard to get up and go back to the work week, especially if you've been relaxing throughout the weekend. But for me Mondays are pretty special.

Mondays for me start at 11, atleast that's when my first class is. But usually I wake up around 8:30 and begin my day slowly, and head to the practice rooms to get some woodshedding done on my own around 9 or 10am.

This morning I did do a lot of wood shedding. I am finally playing on a very in tune and easy speaking reed, the best of both worlds! I'm working on Milde No. 2, and the Mozart bassoon concerto third movement, rondo. I also have to prepare two scales, one minor and one major in nine or ten different rhythmic variations for Dr. Rose every week. It sounds like a lot of work and it probably is but it's not work when it is something you deeply enjoy doing.

When people find out that I once double majored in Engineering and Music they ask why I dropped Engineering, after all I could live a very comfortable life with an engineering degree. I always try to explain to them that being successful is not about the money but doing what you love to do. To me that is so much more important than making money.

I know I say this now and I am still relying on my parents but I couldn't stand to sit in a cubicle all day and order people around. That is not who I am nor what I want to do, I would hate it, and I don't think I would be too happy.

I'd much rather be super stressed about how I'm going to pay my next bill because I don't have a gig right now. But consistently being able to enjoy playing music, even if it's only practicing alone.

Total practice log: 1hr 45 minutes (my goal is 2 hours of individual practice 5X a week)

Don't practice too hard,

Emily

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Bassoon Pictures and Art

Bassoon pictures and art!

Today I had bassoon studio pictures scheduled for noon. I had taken pictures with my bassoon plenty of times before but I was extremely excited to take pictures with other people who loved playing the bassoon just as much as I do. Plus I could take pictures with the contra bassoon!

We began with studio pictures. We took three poses all together, two were very formal in the shape of a V in front of the Miller fountain. The other one we took resembled a photo that would appear on the front of a music album. We looked pretty tough, scattered throughout the square with our bassoons over our shoulders and straight faces.

I took a few singular photos as well. I'd like to have some professional photos so that one day when someone hopefully hires me I have good pictures to show them or if I tour as a solo bassoonist.... (maybe).

After that I went with family out to Art Hop in Grand Rapids. It gets better every year. I don't know if it gets better because I get older and gain more appreciation for art, and the walking or the artists get better.

We had my niece and nephew with us which was fantastic because when they got whiney, tired and hungry I had already been feeling like that for the last two stops. Which also highly influenced our duration of walking and eating at three or four pm in this fantastic pizza place.

The pizza place sold pieces of pizza by the slice, obviously everyone raises their prices for Art Prize because so many more people come in to Grand Rapids. This being so one slice of pizza costs about five dollars, and yes Kevin and I both ate two. He had macaroni and cheese, and a taco pizza slice where I had the nacho pizza (with Jalapenos, I'm sorry I can't find the squiggle to go over the N) and a meatball pizza. Katie and mom were kind of lame and got normal pizza slices like mushroom and pepperoni.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday; commonly the Lord's day. Commonly to me a Riley day. I got to see one of my best friends and go out to breakfast with her. It was a whale of a time as one might say, we only go lost every 5-6 minutes on our way there and then to rehearsal (because she was kind enough to drop me off at rehearsal after breakfast)

All throughout high school Sunday to me has meant one consistent thing, KJSO. KJSO stands for the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony and Orchestra. It is a decent sized orchestra in my home town, of which I have had the honor of playing in for four years.

Within the KJSO I have made some of the greatest friends and memories. Commonly these memories start with That one time in China and continue onto when one of our friends in the orchestra, whom was fluent in Mandarin, argued with a police officer about the pedestrians right of way and might have gotten into a little bit of trouble than he asked for. Or back in the days that I was involved in stage crew, we used to arrive early to our early call time just so we could walk to the bagel beanery and get coffee and bagels before rehearsal.

With making some of the greatest friends here I have also grown apart from some of the best friends I have made through this program. Do you know how smelling a familiar scent will bring back a memory? Music does the same exact thing. For me it's difficult to listen to some pieces knowing that the amazing musicians and people I played these great pieces with will never be a part of my life ever again. And to me that is why I am so incredibly happy to have joined this organization. To have memories of such love that they bring on such sadness.

As you graduate from High School you are required to leave the orchestra, you may no longer be a member. But for me that changed today. Today I was able to go back and accept a second bassoon subbing position. Yes it's amazing that I can continue to play bassoon in an orchestral setting but it's more amazing that I am able to see my friends again and that hopefully I can one day make the KJSO as full of memories for the newest member as others have for me.

I am sorry this was a bittersweet post,

Practice log 9/18: 1hr 15min

Don't practice too hard because my chops surely can't take it,
Emily

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Today was a very very very very long day. Now you might think that the word very four repeated times is a bit excessive. Trust me it doesn't even begin to explain today.

Overall it was pretty great, today we; the western Michigan marching band, went down to Illinois, a very long 5 hour trip. At which we needed to report to miller circle at 7:30am. Not too bad unless the walk from your dorm takes about 30 minutes. But we made it, there were doughnuts from this amazing organization called kappa kappa psi, their goal is to serve the band (I know we're awesome right?!).

Now that the rant is over, I CANT TELL YOU HOW AWESOME IT WAS TO MEET THE ILLANI MARCHING BAND! They were wonderful and kind, accepting and caring! My friend Nina is on the cymbal line there and let me tell you we called out to each other ten million times, just simple encouraging things but it was nice to know that a semi old friend is always there for you. Did I forget to mention how good they sound?! Their tone is incredible, full, and full of energy (no pun intended).

It took a little bit for the fans to understand that we were allies and not enemies. We were called some names and one very loud man told us to shut up during many of our stand tunes. But when marching Ilani played (this would be the first time we had heard them as a full ensemble) we were shocked and estatic at how amazing they sounded so of course we hooted and hollared for them. The normal people began to understand.

Over all it turned out to be a good day full of food, friends, funnies, and some failures, because its of a full day until you fail at something.

Btw I apologize for any of the typos, I'm writing on my phone and the words are teeny tiny.

Total practice log 9/17; 0 hours 👍🏻😁

Guess I didn't practice too hard,
Emily

Friday, September 16, 2016

I almost burnt my dorm down today... It was a swell experience. I put the macaroni in the microwave for two minutes as suggested, and left to check on some business at the front desk. To my demise I came back and my room was filled with smoke! Turns out I had put it in for twelve minutes rather than the requested two and i'm almost certain that the actual macaroni noodles caught fire. Hence that episode a lot of people on the floor are complaining about a burnt smell. Lets just say that came from Rm 430 (the one next to ours that no one lives in) :)

I had quintet rehearsal today which again reminded me to keep lot looking into this whole Performing arts management thing because I did not sound good for tonight. 

I feel that many performance majors are perfect and spend 90% of their day in a practice room. Unfortunately I can't do that. I want to be out and about socializing with my friends. I know that sounds similarly to I don't want to work hard for what I want. But in all honesty I do work hard, and my favorite time of day just happens to be right before concert band; I get the chance to say hello and see all of my friends before we sit down and have a professional rehearsal.

In other news I accepted the offer to fill a position in the KJSO as a second bassoonist for this concert cycle. They contacted me in July with the request but at that time I wasn't comfortable with my schedule and didn't know how taking 18 credits would go over with my sleeping and mental health schedule. Since then I have dropped down to one major and 13 credit hours. But I can't say how excited I am to be going back to an orchestral setting this Sunday, even if I will be sight reading the piece! 

Practice log for 9/15: 2 hours 15 minutes 
Don't practice too hard,

Emily 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

This is my first blog September 14, 2016. It's my Freshman year in collage and I'm studying bassoon performance and looking into Performing Arts Administration.

The title of the blog 'Bassooner or later' is a pun on playing bassoon, because that's what I do! But it also has a deeper meaning other than a silly play on words. Meaning sooner or late I will have to choose a career that is not performance. And that really scares me.

Many people don't understand what it's like to perform, many people also don't understand that the average musician (even though the ones with jobs are among the best players) doesn't make barley any money. Sometimes not even enough to support themselves. If you want to be a performing musician full time (side note; these are specific to playing the bassoon), the suggested jobs are as follows; play in a well known orchestra (but you have to practice your butt off to even think about auditioning).

Not only will you perform with the quintet but you will advertise the quintet, and performances, need to purchase music, rehearsal and performance space, sometimes even a filler musician if someone can't make it THAT CONCERT CYCLE. Because yes you won't just do one concert and quit because you will be back to that 'poor musician' title.

But the best option of all, in my opinion, is giving lessons. It really is the best job you could have as a performing musician, you can schedule or take on as many students as you'd like. You may also charge whatever you like, knowing that an average lesson for beginners costs $15 for a half an hour and for advanced students it can go up to $100 for an hour depending on the instructor. But teaching lessons is not only about the money and great hours that you can choose but the kids.

Now listen, many performing arts majors didn't go into music education for a reason. Most of the kids lesson instructors get, specifically bassoonists, (because who wants to play the bassoon right?) are serious about playing. Sure they'll have their ups and downs on when they feel as if the instrument is fighting them and they don't want to practice, you just have to ride these times out (shout out to my main girl Annmarie for doing this for me).

That is all for tonight, I hope you all are having a great time getting back into the swing of school.

Don't practice too hard,
Emily