Posts Tagged ‘the social life’

I’m playing in a reed trio at the moment, and it has been a complete blast. Picture an ensemble where all reed complaints are immediately understood, where the instruments have similar technical concerns (although I win when it comes to the question of thumb dexterity), and, perhaps most importantly, where we all have a similar reedy sense of humor.

…Okay, maybe not the last part.

But anyway, I’m playing in a reed trio with the oboist from my quintet at Eastman (he lives about half an hour away), and one of our clarinetist friends who will be a freshman at Eastman in the fall (he lives only ten minutes away!). They’re amazing musicians and are sort of turning into my brothers. Which is always a good time, if I should ever need anyone beaten up once I get back to school.
Granted, musicians are never good as hired thugs. Just thought I should put that out there!

We’re working on the Francaix Divertissement, which is adorably French and a little jazzy and effervescent and fun. It’s a perfect piece to work on in the summer, because when you play and really get into the groove it feels so effortless.
It’s also super hard and which we’ve only had for two weeks, and which we’re performing for the first time tomorrow, but I have to say that I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished in such a short span of time.

And anyway, my recital is in August, so there’s plenty of time for practice to make perfect. 🙂


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I visited my high school today and it was a little surreal. It wasn’t terrible at all, though, mainly because I have some fantastic teachers who made sure I wouldn’t randomly get kicked out. (Also, someone misplaced my scale study sheet… But that’s okay, after doing scales an hour a day, I have them memorized. Sometimes it’s handy to enjoy scales.)

I talked so much about music school. It’s hard for me to explain how different and yet homelike Eastman is for me, but I tried. I used too many words, mostly. Sometimes I think I used too few words. The intention was the same. Music school isn’t for everyone, but it’s for me and I love it and if you think you love it, you should try it.

I’d originally thought I’d go and warn the kids I encountered (the ones who want to do music, the ones who look like me a year or two ago) about how hard it is. How busy it is. How discouraging it can get. But I heard that enough when I was them, a year or two ago, and what I wanted so much to hear was: it’s gorgeous, it’s wonderful, you might just keep on playing and playing until you’re madly in love. So that’s what I tried to say.

Because sometimes, when I’m not there, I can feel my heart start to break from missing music school. (That’s dorky, right?) But then I catch myself smiling — because you can’t be in love without a little heartbreak. You might forget about it.

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I had a lot of fun at Northwestern; I really love working with Lewis Kirk and highly recommend him and the school to anyone looking for a college.
(That said, I can’t wait to go back to school and take a lesson with Mr. Hunt. I think my mom was concerned when she called and I was so happy about my lesson. Mr. Hunt just knows me well enough that he can pick out all the things I tend to be bad at.)

I also had time to talk to one of my friends at Northwestern. She’s an art history major, and we talked about classical music. Apparently the people in her dorm like to blast it, and this launched us into a conversation about classical music in relation to the average person. She explained that she doesn’t understand classical music. But when you think about it, does anyone really understand classical music? We don’t even understand music, at its roots, that well in the first place. Why do notes an octave apart sound like the same note, exactly? Why does a fifth have that hollow sound? Why does a minor second sound as ominous as a stealthy shark attack? (Okay, as a bassoonist, I had to bring that up.)
So of course classical music, which has been steeped in years and years of this mysterious tradition, is going to be exponentially more difficult to break down. But you have to start somewhere, right?

I suggested two things:
1) To listen to music from the Impressionist period or the Late Romantic period. (Pines of Rome, Fountains of Rome, La Mer, The Planets, Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto, Stravinsky or Tchaikovsky ballets, for instance.) These pieces are usually intended to convey specific images that tend to be in the titles, or else they’re so gorgeously emotional that you can’t help but being swept up by them.
2) Avoid classical music snobs! As much as I know that there are better and worse recordings of pieces, better and worse orchestras, and better and worse interpretations, I can’t help but think that people who ram their opinions of these things in your face are not good advocates for classical music.

I’ll probably make her a classical mix CD, preferably with a clever title. My last such mix was called “in hell all the violins are out of tune”. It’s probably true, don’t you think?

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I don’t usually get very bothered about society’s view on single people, as at nineteen I don’t plan on getting married very soon. But after spending a day as one of two single people in a group of ten, I can now assert that I am not a fan of society’s view on single people. Especially when those single people are freshmen in college — is it really such a bad thing that I am sans boyfriend at present? I was starting to feel like Bridget in Bridget Jones’ Diary when she has to eat dinner with the Smug Marrieds. Which, you have to admit, is quite a winning title to give people.
(Before anyone freaks out, it’s not like I was massively uncomfortable yesterday. I just wanted to point this out. Anyway, onward.)

One view that I don’t get is how, when you’re single, all of your friends of the opposite gender come under scrutiny. I’ll mention one of my best guy friends, and I can see the eyebrows going up. Oooh, so what’s going on with those two? is on the tip of a few too many tongues. Honestly, if one were to try and set me up with all of my guy friends, it would rapidly approach breaking the law. Or just a lot of painfully awkward situations, and I encounter more than enough of those.

Also, the whole single-people-are-secretly-defective is just plain untrue. Sometimes single people are picky. Sometimes they’re busy. Sometimes they just haven’t met the right person. Sometimes they’re not even in the mood to find the right person at the present moment in time. One of my favorite guy friends once told me, “Single is the way to be, Rachel!” Which may or may not be true, but we’re both single and having fun. At least, I am.

Besides, as I announced to my family, the likelihood of someone wanting to sweep me off my feet — a bassoon-playing, obsessively-reading, liberal Christian — seem statistically very slim. And there’s so much repertoire left to learn! I’m sure you can see where this is going.
I’ve always enjoyed being swept of my feet. It’s just, I don’t know, you don’t have to tell me that I should strive for that?

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I just got back from watching No Country For Old Men. Amazing.
That said, it’s keep-you-sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat stressful, but have you ever seen an artsy thriller with fantastic writing and acting? I think you almost need to see it because of just how many odds it defies. It definitely deserves everything it’s been nominated for, and let it be known that I don’t even like thrillers for the most part. It’s simply an excellent movie.

Only five more days until I leave for break!
Break is such a weird thing. On the one hand, I’m so excited to leave the cold (the perks of the family tradition of celebrating Christmas in Little Havana) and to see my family, but on the other hand, words can’t express how much I love it here. It’s like at home people rarely understood why music was so important to me — I’m not saying this to be emo, but it does kind of get discouraging when people are always trying to talk you out of practicing — and it’s so lovely how here that part of me is simply and wordlessly understood. Music school is a strange and wonderful place.

I’ve mentioned in this post that it helps to schedule yourself. For once I figured I should follow my own advice and bought this planner. I really love it; it’s just small enough to fit comfortably in any purse while being big enough to write down anything. If you’re looking for a planner you’ll actually enjoy using, I highly recommend it. (And yeah, I know there’s only one left, but ModCloth has lots of other planners, too, if you poke around.)

Oh! And before I forget, if you’ve ever thought that woodwind quintets are harbingers of boredom, then you need to listen to Silas Durocher’s wind quintet, Peanut Butter On Rye. I guarantee the bassoon riff will be stuck in your head (and happily so!) for the rest of the day. Even if you don’t play bassoon.

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I know I rely onFacebook as a social utility far more than is safe, but still — my pet peeve is when people don’t list their relationship status. I’ve talked to people who don’t list it because they think saying they’re single makes them look desperate, and while I can sort of follow that logic, I think that clarity is superior to not appearing desperate. Some of us just don’t like asking awkward questions.

Or else I’m just super socially awkward. This is probably the real answer. (Actually, this in general answers pretty much everything.)

Today was Double Reed Christmas in the main hall, which was amazing. The bassoon choir definitely featured some crazy antics… We are a pretty crazy studio, though, so this is to be expected. And apparently we sounded good. That’s always a plus.
And we’re super cute:
Double Reed Christmas!
(This is actually the oboe choir, but shh! They can be fantastic too, right?)

As of today I’m done with all the work that’s due Friday. Too bad I have a paper and counterpoint project due Monday… There’s no rest for the wicked — or for me, apparently.

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