Friday, September 24, 2004

Creativity in the Performer

I now understand why this seminar is mandatory for all School of Music students at DePauw. Our current rotation with Professor Foy provides us with the necessary skills required to further on our musical career. Thinking about our goals as a performer is a crucial aspect in order to pursue our goals in our years at DePauw. Creativity is also a vital characteristic of every performance. Without creativity a performance is not unique. This week we have been discussing our goals and experimenting with the creativity inside of each one of us. This creativity will hopefully emerge as we give performances next week. Starting a résumé now is also a good idea and I'm glad that we are getting a start on one now.

Instruments!!!

Today we had to bring in our own made up instruments to first year seminar. It was fun because we had to use our instruments to create an event that happens on campus. We broke off into 2 groups and used our instruments and created music to an event on campus. My group was Jessi, Stacey, and Joshua. We decided to emulate the dinosaur stampede that the mentor groups did during orientation. It was the most fun I've had in this seminar so far!! We all pretended to be dinosaurs and we used our instruments to help us sound like dinos. We just charged into the room like maniacs!! It was a great time! I can't wait until next week when we get to perform for everyone!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

My personal fridge time...

No, I'm not referring to eating, nor cooling myself down on a hot day. The Depauw practice rooms oddly remind me of big refrigerators; they have lights, and the temperature is controllable.
Today in our new rotation of first year seminar, we talked about practicing. Well, here at Depauw, I've had a difficult time getting into the grove of practicing. Talking with Professor Foy made me seriously consider my efforts in the practice room. I realized that I don't only need to practice the music I must practice, but also practice the music I want to practice. So today, before I even started my serious work, I played around on the piano. I played through some pieces I had composed. I sang pop songs. I closed my eyes and loved the music. After my little "warmup" I had one of the best serious practice sessions that I've had here.
Dr. Irwin said something else to me in my lesson today that got me to think. He told me that I "have all three; the voice, the brain, and the heart." Well, it's great that I posses all of those skills, however if I don't cultivate all three, simultaneously, then I'll never fully grow as a musician.
So from now on when I enter into a "fridge," I must remember not only to sing well, but to actively learn, and love the music I am making. Practice rooms are like refrigerators in another way; they keep musicians from spoiling.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Creating a Storm...

Well today in new section of FYS, we created a rain storm. We were divided into two groups and were given about 5 minutes to make a storm, using only our bodies in a creative way. In my opinion, both groups did an awesome job. While the other group was performing I closed my eyes and was really able to picture a storm going on. Some of us slapped our legs, or snapped our fingers, or made a yelling noise(joshua), but they all represented different sounds of a storm. We are learning all of the different ways to becoming a better performer. Dr. Foy made a great point today, that he was able to get into our five minute prepared storm just as much as he was at a concert that he paid to see. It was also cool to see that both of our groups created sounds like a storm, but were both very different from eachother. Both groups followed the same pattern of a storm beginning, getting very big, and then very light again, however we presented this in different ways. The first group performed in a circle and had kind of a A,B,A form. The second group (3 of us) performed in a line, and showed a kind of cannon form. Both musically, showed a storm! It is very easy to take some sounds for granted, but when you actually listen, they are all very unique in their own way.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

WEEK 2

Well, week 2 continued on quite the same as week 1. We had more reading to do to expose us to the Indian culture and much more raga singing! That was so fun! By the end of the week (exam time!!) I could sing straight through all 14 ragas on third kala, relatively accurately and I felt really accomplished. My favorite part was when we would be practicing upstairs in the PAC and the upperclassmen would walk by and just smile and nod and even sing along for a bit. Then the other freshman would walk up and just start laughing hysterically and we would just say "OH! you haven't had Prof. Johnsson (sp?) yet." I definitely enjoyed that experience. Some things would be really weird, like being so under the control of your parents to where they pretty much determind your future and your career and what type of person you are. That also happens in some European countries (I know it does in Ireland) and that would really bother me. I like being able to chose what I'm going to do in my life, I know for a fact that my parents wouldn't have chosen music or piano to be my career and my future. It's just so different and I think all of us are really fortunate to have been able to just get that little glimse of what life there would be like.

Indian Music: Week 2

Rishi, one of my best friends from back in Minnesota is originally from Southern India. Although he is very much a part of the American society, it seems to me that there was about 10 percent of his life that none of us, although we were his friends, could really relate to. Some customs in his home were very foreign to us, such as his request that if we studied over at his house, he preferred it that we did not put our papers on the floor. He explained that papers and other academic resources were given almost holy status in India and that it would have made his parents nervous to have the books and papers on the floor where they could possibly be stepped on. I assure you that they had the most elaborate shelving and closets ever. Dr. Johnson talked about the newspaper, the Hindu, being at a whole different level in terms of reading difficulty and based on what I have seen, it really seems to be true that the Indian culture values education more than any other culture that I can think of. In music, we saw the same dedication to learning in their culture. The student will meet with their guru everyday and occasionally also live with them as a member of their family. This family connection also seems to be very important in the Indian culture. Rishi’s grandmother lived with them during the week and then went to live with his uncle for the weekends. That usually doesn’t happen in our society. Although he says it wasn’t a factor, I think that part of the reason that Rishi decided to attend MIT was due to the fact that his brother was attending MIT also and it was important to his parents that they be in the same area. There are many differences between the two cultures it seems and for me, it was really interesting to get to learn about the Indian culture in the form of music. We so often concentrate on just our music that we don’t always take enough time to see what we can learn from other cultures. The United States has been separated from the East by two large oceans for a long time, but as more people come here to from other countries, it is important to understand a bit of where they are coming from. Dr. Johnson – I don’t know if you read these blogs or not, but thank you for teaching this course and for making it very accessible to us.

Journey.......

Wow, these past two weeks have been quite the journey. I can't beleive that this week is already over and we will start a new adventure this monday. These past two weeks have tought me a lot about the indiand culture and its music. From Baliwood to Ragas, and Tala to Tablas, I feel I have a greater appreciation for Indian music. Their music is so intricate, it takes years just to learn the parent ragas. In America we focus on many disiplines, but Indian's have one major focus. Their parents decide who they will marry and their future career. To me I think that is such a crazy idea, but Indians would say the same thing about some aspects of our culture. Being is this class was so overwhelming, learning about another culture is such a mind warp. When I read depauwdiva's blog it helped me to realize that these past two weeks have begun a journey in that will last a life time, a journey of continual learning and applying. So for one more time
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SA.............RI......GA....MA....PA....DA....NI........SA.....