Monday, November 12, 2012

Oh, more school? Maybe? This just seems like TREBLE.

Now that I got your attention with an awful music pun, there has been a major change in my life.

Well, it's not emotional, it's more career.

I went to Eugene with Jonathan on Thursday, last week. I was checking out the graduate program, meeting the clarinet instructor, and checking out the school itself. In case you're still confused, it is University of Oregon. There's a picture in case you're still confused.

Now, I came from a mediocre music program at best, with no private training (I didn't know it existed), with a plastic Bb Bundy clarinet. I played on 4 reeds, had a beginner mouthpiece, didn't know what solo contests were, didn't know All State existed, didn't know anything, really.

George Fox University turned my life completely around. I found out that I didn't even tongue. I had awful reeds, my clarinet was worthless, my embouchure was wrong, completely (I played with an oboe embouchure), my hands were stiff, my tone was edgy, and I was clueless entirely. Until I was whipped into shape. My instructor, despite our strained relationship, turned me from a weak, non-existant player, to what I am now. She broke all (that I know of) of my bad habits, taught me how to play and caught me up to the level I needed to be for advanced undergraduate. I bought a professional clarinet, mouthpiece, and improved my reeds, while expanding my repertoire. At first, I was thoroughly discouraged. Why would I be a performer? It's what I originally wanted. But I felt like there was no way to catch up. But I still loved music, so I inherited Music Education into my major, creating a double major.

Last spring, Pat decided to send Alyssa (a bassoon player) and I to the CBDNA conference. We were to play with the intercollegiate honor band. I felt excited. This was the first collective band I had played in (keep in mind, I didn't know All State existed until college). Let me tell you, I was HUMBLED. These players were GOOD. I was fifteenth chair out of twenty(secretly amused I beat Linfield), and the first chair was spectacular. In fact, his intensity scared me a little. I wanted to be like him, but I felt like all hope was lost.

On the last day, the director asked us to raise our hands to which major we were. I realized I was the only third that was performance, and I was even further discouraged from performing itself. Until he said what I didn't expect. This was what changed me forever.

"If you want to perform, perform! Don't just sit around and watch other people do it. Some people start at different levels. Some will take more work, some will take less, but if you work hard enough, you will eventually get there. Don't sell yourself short."

I sat there stunned. I had convinced myself in three years that I wasn't worth it. I loved teaching, but I LOVED performing. The high, the love, the fact I could influence, and the way I understood the music. I felt my eyes tear up, and I felt like, in a way, he was speaking directly to me. I wanted to perform. Why did I tell myself I couldn't?

So, after that weekend, I focused on performing. And I realized that I wanted to go to grad school. University of Oregon wasn't even on my list of options until a professor mentioned graduating from there and the good program it had.

Again, I was stunned when I arrived. There were 15 clarinet majors. Only 2 here at Fox. And these were amazing players. But I only felt driven at that point.

I told the instructor that I would do anything to be the best and I noticed that I was echoing the same words I had spoken to Pat Vandehey when I auditioned for the George Fox band. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to perform. I still want to be the best and perform, and I felt myself tearing up while talking to the clarinet instructor at U of O last week. I was conveying my heart, much like I had during my GFU audition. It was all I wanted. To perform and be the best. It was strange how, even though I myself have changed immensely, that the love and drive has not changed. It may have been widened due to teaching, but it has stayed with me for four years.

After all this time, since I have started this blog, I can honestly say that that will never change.

In a sense, not changing is also a strange thing, too.

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