December 2008

2008: a year in review

December 17, 2008 20:24

In light of Mendy's recent blog entry re: her 2009 musical resolutions, I figure I'll reflect a bit on 2008. I actually wrote a blog about this in January and had a few things that I wanted to accomplish. I'll copy these below and reflect a little about how they went over the past 12 months.

-Learn some alternative styles on the violin! I'd love to be able to have a reasonably decent repertoire of fiddle tunes in my repertoire, and it would be so awesome to play some jazz, rock, and bluegrass. I also have students who are interested in playing some fiddle music, and while I'm happy to give teach them, I think it would be great if I had some really solid fiddlin' chops.

Actually, I did a little bit of alternative styles this year. I got the fiddler's fakebook and have read through it a few times, and I've also been practicing my pentatonic scales and working on improvising and playing by ear a little bit. I'm by no means good at improv and/or fiddling yet, but it's an enjoyable part of my practice now.

-Continue to teach, and possibly get some more students.

I have to chuckle a little bit at this one. I've been doing so much teaching in the past year that I almost feel like I should have done a music ed degree. I taught around 10 students privately in the spring and summer while I was working on my Master's, and over the summer I also taught at 2 music camps. Then I decided to be an impulsive male in his mid-20s and move out of the country to teach music all day long. I feel like I'm really coming into my own as a teacher - I'm working on my individual style and approach to students of different levels.

-Figure out what I want to play on my Master's recital (this isn't so much a resolution as it is a necessity!)

Interestingly, I have no idea what I want to play on my Master's recital, as I'm not doing it this year. I have a few ideas, but it's so premature (the earliest that I would be doing it is sometime in 2010) that it's not even worth speculating. Let's just say Bach, concerto, sonata, and another piece.

-Figure out what I want to do after i finish this degree (go for a DMA? an Artist Diploma? a chamber music certificate? try and freelance/teach to make a living? get certified to teach in public schools? or maybe just win a job with the NY Phil.... ha!)

I've thought about this a little bit lately. Because of my "sabbatical" in my education, the earliest I'll be finished with my Master's will put me at 25. I'm also not much in debt from my education at all, and I want to keep it that way. So, I think I'll try to audition for some DMA or Artist Diploma programs when I'm finally done my degree, but I'll also be applying to teaching jobs and to orchestras. I just don't want to pay for any more education. I didn't really have to during my BM, and I didn't like borrowing money (even though it was just in-state tuition) for my MM. So, I'll finish up my MM and if I don't go to school, I'll do some orchestra auditions, teach, and stuff like that.

-And finally, to make some headway in becoming the musician that I want to be.

I do think I have made some headway in this. Taking a year off of school to move away and teach was a great decision. I honestly think I was getting really burned out from school last year. I was going to school 5 days a week, playing with an orchestra, and teaching every day after school and every weekend. While I was getting lots of experience, I was running myself ragged. I was driving 3000 miles a month and not taking care of myself. I basically lived off of Red Bull and gas station food, and I never got enough sleep. Leaving all of that behind has really helped me to figure out my priorities in music and in life. I find myself really excited to practice and learn new music, and I'm taking better care of myself physically. I think the past few months have really helped me to focus and reconnect with myself as a musician and (more importantly) a person.


So it looks like 2008 was a pretty good year so far. I'll have to figure out some goals for 2009, but I still have a few weeks for that.

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