As 2019 wraps up, I've been thinking about the end of the decade - the 2010's! So much has happened for me throughout this decade, and I thought I'd briefly write about this decade as a whole for me as a musician, and where things are going in the future. Feel free to check out my other New Year's reflections posts I've done in previous years for more detailed thoughts on those years. I don't really have a ton to say about 2019 specifically - I had my first proper film score premiere with my Senior Inquiry, which was very exciting, even if not entirely the way I had hoped it would go, and kept up a journal on the composing process for the score. The transition to graduate school showed the difficulties in balancing between composing, class, and teaching, even with violin and practicing out of the picture - but I think I managed alright. I was able to figure something out, but there were still disappointments for me to overcome in the process. It's something new, and I think after this break, I'll come back into it with a refreshed outlook and love of music, and it will be even better.
But overall, this decade has been incredibly impactful in my life. Finding music, the violin, composing, and this blog as my big passion in 2011 (scoring for homemade films and games) and 2012 (when I started this blog and my violin as an obsession) has been such a happy place for me. I have of course been frustrated with music, and sometimes not wanted anything to do with it; but for the most part, music has been a place of comfort, and playing the violin has always been fun and a wonderful break from studying. I still love composing, even if this last semester has been a little bit discouraging for me, and I feel I have plenty of pieces and a compositional style that I can be proud of. I'm no longer stressed about being the best at the violin - it's just a fun instrument to play, as well as a way to premiere some of my works on it and piano. Gaming has also arisen as a greater passion for me than even cinema, as much as I love both mediums, and who knows, game music may be a career path for me in the future. Despite some of these music distractions or negative feelings, I am truly grateful for what music has done for me, and how it is always a constant presence in my life, even when I am just watching a YouTube video on various video games. This decade, I just noticed music a lot more, and I know this will continue to impact the way I view the world for the next several decades to come.
For now, if I had to pick some musical highlights throughout the decade, well, here's what some of them would be. Definitely finding this website in 2012 - of course that has to be the first one that comes to mind! I have plenty of violin videos I've posted on YouTube that are my favorites: my Animal Crossing GameCube medley in 2015; and my cover of "Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland" for Christmas 2014 have to be my two biggest productions, in addition to my 2015 Symphony. I did play my violin for the title theme in my 2016 game Superhero Adventure, and composed the majority of that soundtrack as well with Apple's GarageBand (so excited for my new Apple Magic Mouse I got for Christmas and am using as I type this - and when engraving earlier today!). Of course, all my trips to Europe have all been very inspiring and have involved concerts and composing in some way. My composing style has changed quite a bit, almost as much as my violin playing style has, from a film-inspired cinematic sound to Ravel and French Impressionists - well, multiple facets of Ravel, like my "jazz phase" in 2017, but you get the idea. I still take a little bit from that "jazz phase" in my music now - and have been inspired by various video game scores that came out this decade too. I have loved all the pieces I have performed as well, from string orchestra to a full orchestra, and even piano recitals and chamber works for my friends' compositions, too. Performing is not something I want to give up on, as much as I started thinking that during this last semester (I even wrote a post on this topic in November, I believe). That tune has definitely shifted, and I really want to play more violin than ever before now, just as I had done in 2012! This makes me so happy, and really changes my outlook on just about everything else in my life.
Well, may as well start looking into the following decade, which really seems like it will be a turning point for my life, truly and finally back to my musical excitement I started this decade. In terms of the violin, I've mentioned putting together various cover videos - this is something I'd love to do more of in 2020, start up again, even if they are simple videos of me in front of a camera playing the melody from something I like, whether it be a film or game score or a piece by Ravel. In some way, I hope I'll be able to play both my own and some of my colleagues' works while I'm in school, and potentially join a community orchestra sometime down the line as I start to settle down into my life. (It's a bit scary to think I'll be starting to do that towards the end of the 2020's!) I hope I can improve on the violin in some way, even if it's not my focus and I'm not taking lessons or playing very much - this will be easier after college as well, but I'm sure my renewed passion for the violin will take me further.
I already have two pieces I've started sketching for to write in the beginning of 2020, in addition to finishing up engraving my woodwind Octet and my Duo for Violin and Guitar. I can't wait for a March performance of my string orchestra piece as well, and hopefully will enter more contests and take my own compositions in a bigger direction than ever before. It's been a sleepy last few years for me in terms of really committing myself to my music, and I'm excited to really, truly, get back into it - gathering more scores from the library as I'd done in 2016; perhaps even start posting on this blog more about my thoughts on various pieces, composing updates, or violin updates. I really hope to ramp up all my musical activities again, especially as I start to truly think about my career and life as a whole!
So yeah - I know this is another personal post for me to look back on - it is selfish, I know! - but I also know it will be an important one for me to be happy to read in the future and see if I made any of my 2020 goals. I'll definitely try and post some of my New Year's Resolutions on New Year's Day and have some time that morning or afternoon thinking about some for the year and the decade from what I have been musing about here, if that makes sense. (I'm writing this post now since I may be busy on the 31st partying. Lol.) However, for everyone happening to read this - stay excited about music! It's so important to everything in the world now, and it's so exciting to me to think about the state of music in the 21st century alone as an isolated case study - games, movies, shows, musicals, PLUS concerts! - and where it will continue to go in the future. Music is really everything, and I'm so thankful and happy to have it be such a huge part of my life.
So here's to the new decade, the Roaring '20s a century later, I guess, and some more fantastic music-making! (And the occasional gaming breaks - I'm still very much looking forward to Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch coming out, alongside other games, like the Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel! ... See below.) Just a musician, violinist, pianist, and composer - who's also a gamer. :) Musician first!
--RANDOM FINAL THINGS:--
I am listening to Yoko Shimomura's latest score: January 2019's Kingdom Hearts III from Square Enix - as I type this. She's such a great composer, and this soundtrack is definitely worth a listen!
As I've been getting back into several violinist VGM composers on YouTube who I'm excited to follow in 2020 and enjoy their covers of their music, thinking back to those moments in the games or films the tracks take place, it lets me think of the violin as this powerful vessel for these 21st century mediums, just as it has been for countless concert pieces for generations. Makes me really happy to think about! :) (Check out Patti Rudisill, StringPlayerGamer, and TeraCMusic, amongst many others - musicians who are gamers at heart, just like me - my renewed outlook on my life! Can't wait to see more collaborations with the VGM YouTuber musician community!)
On that note, I thought I'd share my own recent video I did. I've mentioned The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at various points since the day it came out in March 2017, and I got a couple books on Zelda (and Nintendo's official 2018 book on the artwork and developer notes on this game) for Christmas. It's a really special game to me, and before I left for break, I recorded this video of various town and village themes from it on the violin. Not my first Zelda cover, but already one of my favorites. Enjoy!Tweet
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