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