Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day one complete, along with a little fun

Day one is in the books. I'm still alive to tell about it, too. I must confess that, despite all the stress and anxiety and hard, hard classes, it is a pleasure to spend time with such amazing professors and colleagues and I'm thankful that there are moments of laughing (our way of coping perhaps?) and silliness. I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time as I did tonight. More on that later. 

The day began bright and early with ear training. Nothing quite as awesome as having Gábor first thing in the morning cramming chromaticism down your throat and calling you an idiot before 9AM. Brutal, absolutely brutal. We spent the next hour and a half singing, signing, taking dictation, and singing one by one. This guy has an ear that doesn't miss a thing. You can always smell the fear in the room when he's around, and dictation this morning was no different. "Let me see your hands! Hands up, hands up, hands up!" he commanded as we sat there with our hands up listening to the music we were supposed to notate when he gave word to do so. Whew! In all honesty though, I do very much respect him as a teacher and learn like mad in that class. Once he released us from this torture, it was off to orientation and snack break, then to Conversational Solfege II. This class began as John Feierabend's classes always do, with singing a canon, doing a dance, and doing a Move It. John was his usual flamboyant self and it's hard not to smile and laugh when in his class. The canon this morning was most certainly a level 3 canon with odd intervals and unexpected jumps. This was NOT a canon to take back and teach your kids, but rather one to challenge your own musicianship, and challenge it did. The dance this morning was the Grump Dance! Nothing like starting a class with a rousing high spirited dance. This is one of my favorites, so it was a good review. I LOVE to dance. I wish I could have gotten it all on video, but of course I was busy dancing. This dance is full of emotion and weight, and my favorite part is when the head couple grabs each others wrists and twirls their way down the longway set. I picked a partner who would go crazy and we twirled and danced and nearly lost our grip half way down the set. It's quite a dangerous dance but oh so much fun. From here we did our daily Move It and when we returned to our seats, everyone was wide awake. I love that about music. It gets you moving and breathing and the endorphins flowing. What a joy and blessing music is. Feierabend's class was great and we were up and down, taking notes and trying different activities. 

At this point, we got a break for lunch, so back to the dorms we went for a quick lunch, change of books, stop at the bookstore, and off we went to our afternoon, which was filling me with dread and terror. First we had choir which wasn't bad. Pretty typical Hartt summer choir rehearsal. Awesome to sing with so many fine musicians, but churned up the usual struggles within me and my brain was going a million miles an hour thinking of it all. 

Then, we had conducting and masterworks materials.  Two separate classes. Same teacher. I've had this guy for choir, but never for class, and I've been terrified of his classes since my first year here. Conducting was all the level 3s and also the conducting kids. I was pretty nervous and was glad I wasn't the only one. That class seemed to go on forever and made Gábor's class look like bliss. When class was done, my friend leaned over and whispered "I can see why so many people cried last year....". I couldn't agree more. Last year we saw so many Level 3s crying and we felt bad for them and terrified knowing that would be us next year. Well, now next year is this year and we are the Level 3s. Time will tell how much crying ensues. I mean, this man is brilliant, yes, but talk about intense. There were glimmers of gentleness when he would show a bit of empathy but then without warning there would be no patience and yelling. I think he is one of those people who is so brilliant that he doesn't really understand what it is like to be a regular person with a regular brain. I don't fault him or think ill of him because I really don't think he sees how hard he is or how hard it is for us to do what he asks. Masterworks Materials was interesting and helpful, but I didn't realize it was also going to be more ear training and dictation. I about died, and 5:45 never looked so good when he finally sprung us free. 

Our class then spent some time working on the skit, which comes with more pressure than I thought. From there, we went back to make dinner. (Without a kitchen it's slim pickings and a lot of cereal and microwaveable shelf-stable meals) and then to practice some more. We took a break around 10PM to wash dishes. We were a bit slap-happy and when I joked with Jessica that it would be fun to wheel the desk chair down the hall she decided this would be fun. So, I sat in the chair, took the huge bag of dishes, dishtowels, and soap in my lap, and she wheeled me very quickly down the super long hall. We were laughing so hard my stomach hurt. She pushed the chair right to the elevator where we rode down to the first floor (We're on the 5th) to the little kitchen that has a place to wash dishes, then rode all the way back up. Once we got control of ourselves, we spent several more hours on homework and then survived the shower experience again. 

Now it's time for bed, nearly 1:30 AM already. Not much sleep here, which is partially why we so easily get to slap happy. 

I did, by the way, get a video of the chair ride down the hall. I posted on facebook, but this wont' let me post it since the file is too big. If anyone has an idea for how to post, please let me know.

PS I should note that 9 times out of 10 when I say "we", I am referring to me, Jessica, and Sue.

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