My third semester as a college student, particularly in music school, has drawn to a close. These past months have brought successes, learning experiences, failures, growth, and even quite a bit of fun into my life. This semester was challenging, but I developed a considerable amount as a musician, making all my struggles seem unimportant.
I had the privilege of performing a solo recital in November, which was probably my favorite part of my whole year. I prefer playing solos to large ensemble work, so preparing for the recital was my jam. I spent countless nights practicing while falling asleep, and banged my head on the brick wall in the hallway out of frustration on more than one occasion, but overall I am happy with the whole experience. I also had fun playing solos on other performances or gigs over the course of the semester, and I enjoyed the time I spent working on my own arrangements of some of my favorite songs, especially John Denver.
Of course, I participated in a few different large ensembles here at MSU, with my favorite performance being music from the Nutcracker Ballet, in which my favorite freshman also harped with me! The part gave us its share of challenges, but it ended up coming together. The harp I played on for the performance had slowly slipped out of tune by the time I had to play the Waltz of the Flowers cadenza, but such is life. I’m not going to lie, this semester has actually started to warm me up to ensemble playing, which I haven’t been overly fond of the past couple of years.
A fun project that I’ve participated in this semester is a super cool clarinet-harp duet, commissioned by one of my friends I knew back from our days in the Flint Youth Symphony Orchestra. She and I performed the first two movements of the piece on the composer’s senior recital in November, and will spend next semester polishing our parts and performing the piece in its entirety on her senior recital in the spring, as well as recording the finished product. It’s been really great being a part of something like this, and Josh and Michelle are awesome people to be working with! I’m really looking forward to continue playing with them, as well as starting a couple other duos with some of my other contemporaries in music school over the next couple of months.
Looking back, there were a lot of fun and beneficial experiences in these past few months, a few of my favorites highlighted. As mentioned in a previous post, I also gave the worst performance of my life this semester. It was embarrassing and discouraging, but I came away learning from it, as well as developing a new outlook as a performer. It really caused me to step back and think (probably overthink) the way I approach music and performing. The end result caused me to become more comfortable in my mistakes, both big and small, and to always remember why I do music. It’s not so I have a long list of successful performances. At the end of the day, I know music is important to both myself and others, so creating it with the most passion and to the best of my ability in order to feed my soul and the souls of others is what it’s all about. I have already applied this improved state of mind to my performing, practicing, and even musical planning, and it really has been marvelous. Overall, this semester has been rockin, and I can’t wait to get started on the next one!