Monday, April 7, 2014

Blog post #21

So for my 20 time talk, I am going to completely rearrange my talk. Before I was going to talk about music education and how it's important. That's great and all, and it is important, but this past year I've been really sick tachycardia and dysautonomia, and this project has really been a therapy for me. It is something where when I'm feeling really sick, I can sit down at a piano and pound out some Rachmaninov, or grab manuscript paper and write and it really helps take some of the pain off my shoulders. I also noticed musics healing powers last spring and summer, when my friend Alex Peabody, got a heart and lung transplant. When I visited him or after his music therapy sessions, he looked and sounded better. He always had more color on his face and looked a lot happier than without music therapy. 

I think that I want to talk about music therapy for my 20 time project. Music can take anyone's mind off things, and can make anyone feel better. However very few people use it and I want to talk about how anyone can use it, and how music therapy can really improve a situation. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Blog post #20

These past two weeks, I have been incredibly sick. Not in the sense of the flu or a cold, but because I have been having migraines left and right, my heart rate has been off the charts, and every time I stand up I go into a near-syncope state which really has made doing even the simplest of tasks miserable. However, whenever I have migraines or get really sick like this, I always, without fail, have a ton of random creative bursts. Such as yesterday when I was faint and lightheaded all day, I had the sudden urge to start writing a piano concerto, or the day before when I recovered from a migraine, I had a bunch of ideas on how to improve my piece I have been writing for this project. It got to the point where when I'd go to the hospital, I'd make sure to bring a bunch of manuscript paper, just in case. A lot of my best motifs and harmony has come out of a hospital bed. At any rate, the nurses always get a kick out of it. 

I have been trying to think about what I am going to talk about for my project, and I honestly have no idea. I feel like this year I have learned so much from this experience, that it is going to be really hard to narrow it down and pin point the most important thing that I have learned. I think that figuring out what I am to talk about and narrowing down my options is going to be my goal for next week, and I will leave the actual music out of these posts for a little bit, while I'm gathering my thoughts. 
I found this picture, which I really like, because the head is a light bulb, which symbolizes creativity, and the person is sick and lightheaded. Perfectly explains me right now:) 

*Edit*
This picture is an album cover from this website. 
http://dizzyrambunctious.bandcamp.com/album/lightheaded-4

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blog post #19

This week was really busy. I did a little bit of editing of the piece I have written but for the most part I started thinking about my presentation. 

I think that the biggest thing I learned through writing my piece was how much there is to be learned from criticism.

There are two types of criticism. 
Constructive criticism and the useless kind. 

When people tell me "oh I didn't like your piece. Try again next time." Or "hey...you know...I just really hated your interpretation of the Beethoven concerto..." and then they WALK AWAY without telling me what was so awful about it, it leaves me feeling terrible. Nothing good can ever come out of that. 


And then there is Constructive criticism. 
Constructive criticism is kinda like a gift from the heavens. When someone tells me, "hey, you just gave a great performance of that Beethoven concerto! There's only one thing that I would do differently." And then they go on to tell you what they would do, how to do it, and why. Then you go and try it, and if it doesn't work for you, don't sweat it! You still know you gave an awesome performance. But most of the time, I have at least, found that I really like people's ideas for me. A project always turns out better when you have more than one mind looking at it. Two brains are better than one! 

Throughout this project I received much criticism, most of it constructive, that really helped me form my own ideas for what I wanted to do with my piece. I showed my piece to a fellow student composer, and they told me that they really enjoyed my piece except for two things. The lack of a key change and the ending. The lack of a key change because it tends to get kinda slow and boring without anything fun and crazy in the middle, and the ending because it didn't fit the character of the piece. I had the same worries for the ending because to me it always felt like I was just rushing to get to the end, and wasn't very fitting. So I have begun work on a new ending which will hopefully be finished as soon as possible. What I have written this far I am far more happy with than the original. It is heading in a much clearer direction. 

I'm really happy that I came to the realization that the more I show people my work, the more constructive ideas I get, and the more criticism that is thrown at me, the better my project becomes. 

This has really held true for anything I, looking back, have ever tried to do. 

I suppose criticism can be very hard for anyone to accept, because it contradicts what they have done, but I've found it important to know that it broadens the mind further into the topic and helps you dive into what everyone else is thinking.

Criticism has really been invaluable to me throughout this year and I'm really thankful for all of the criticism I received. 


Monday, March 3, 2014

Blog post #18

This week we were asked to write about two things in our blogs. What we have liked about 20 Time thus far, and what we didn't like.

As for what I liked, I thought that how we were allowed to do something we wanted to do, in a way that we wanted to do it was fantastic. Usually in school the teacher will give you a set of in depth guidelines, and when you turn it it, everyone in your class will have done the same project, in the same way. In this project, we made our own guidelines, did our own research, and did our own project. 

One of the things I didn't like about the project really had nothing to do with the 20 Time project itself, but with myself and my own procrastination. I think that in September, June seemed distant and I figured I would easily have enough time to do the project *later.* Well each month rolled by and only in January did I realize how far behind I was and how much work I had to complete in such little time. I wish there was something like miniature presentations to the class throughout the year, to keep us working and on track. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Blog post #17

 This break I started working on the bass part to my piece, and it's going alright. Looking at my material, I think that a whole bunch of editing is in order, as the whole piece right now is basically all in g minor.....and that's boring. I also think it gets a little tedious to listen to in the development and I want to maybe cut a section. Or instead of completely cutting a section out, change the key so that it keeps listeners captivated. I need to pull out all of my composition notes from various classes and get some ideas as to what to do. 

I also continued to think about my presentation and I'm definitely going to talk about the importance of music education compared to the rest of the subjects studied in school. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Blog post 16

This past week I shared what I had on my project to my English class and that was frightening, but also very exciting. I'm happy that I have made enough progress to have shared that. 

In the upcoming week I need to call noteflight, the program I use to enter my work into the computer, and see if there is a way I can share my work with everyone, not just people who have an account. Then I can put the link on my blog and I can share it that way. 

I still need to write a bass part for this piece, and then I can do some final editing and hopefully get a good performance out of it.

Blog post #15

This week was pretty slow in regards to my 20 time project. One of the biggest challenges I'm having right now is finding time to work. I've had summer camp auditions and applications and so I've been practicing and editing other things I've written. I also started a chaconne for solo violin, which I should not have done because it's distracting me from writing this piece. I seem to have come to writers block on this project and have had random creative outbursts on just about everything else. 

To try and solve this problem of complete loss of creativity for writing orchestral music, I've been listening to a lot more of it. Usually I'm a big listener or smaller chamber works or solo. It's helped a little bit. Of course, as I'm writing this I'm listening to Beethoven's Kruetzer Sonata for violin and piano...chamber music is just so wonderful.....I think I need to live by the picture below for a little bit. 

"Listen to more Rachmaninoff" seems like a good plan to me. 

Also, for credit of the picture above, I have to thank the still unknown person who wrote that on the white board in a room I was practicing in this summer. Provided me with a good laugh. 

Hopefully my creativity for this project will return as soon as possible!