Life Beyond 21 is Living

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So it’s been awhile. And a lot of things in my life have changed…

I turned 25 on my last birthday. I’m in a committed partnership. We just bought a building. not a house, a building. Enough space for his business and for us to live. We moved in together (this is a first for me – I have never lived with a boy and said that I would never do so until I was very very sure, I’m very independent). I have studio space in it as well, paintings on the walls and all the freedom to play and practice trumpet whenever I please. I journeyed to Iceland for New Years. I finally finished school this year and am qualified as a designer. I now have an extended family here in Moncton. My Sistema co-workers have become my family. I started taking trumpet lessons again with someone who continuously encourages me to play my best. I’m going back on a European tour with NBYO to Vienna, Prague and Leipzig. I’m exploring Rome with my love. I’m getting paid to paint, to design, and to play.

My heart has two loves. one sleeps beside me, the other is the ocean.

My heart has two loves. One sleeps beside me, the other is the ocean.

Sure there have been trying times and valleys to the mountain views, but with all the good, who could focus on the negative?

 

 

 

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Lesson of the Day

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Insight is gained when surrounded by the people who influence the most. Mentors, friends who went through university with me, and family. My family includes my uni friends; either continuing school or stepping into the real world or both. I travelled to central Canada and saw them this weekend and the discussions had on planes, trains and automobiles presented these conclusions in my head.

1. The world we live in is a beautiful one.

2. You have gifts to make it more beautiful.

3. We cannot change the world however we can create change in our world.

4. Love. Pure and simple. It is not complicated. If it is, it’s not right.

5. Forgiveness. Like love, unconditional; but hard.

6. Your friends will always be there. Even if they seem far away. If they love you, it doesn’t matter how much time or distance there is between you.

7. Foster the relationships that are important. Forget the ones that aren’t.

8. Anything and anyone can inspire your creativity.

9. You can inspire anyone’s creativity you just may not know you have at the time.

10. The simplest words mean the most. So say them.

11. There is always a better choice in hindsight.

12. A life of regret is a life looking backwards not forwards.

13. Age is a perception of time.

14. Age does not dictate greatness or when or if. Actions do.

So lessons acknowledged… But are they learnt? Hmmmm…. That’s the real question.

And we’re off

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I write from 30,000 feet above the ground. I’m on my way to British Columbia. And I feel like I’m on Cloud Nine. Punny I know, and my boyfriend would laugh and say that he’s rubbing off on me and that I secretly love puns which I will never admit to. But seriously… I’m on cloud nine right now. I haven’t flown anywhere since I came back from Europe almost 18 months ago.. (Wow.. Has it really been that long? Time flies.)

Opps.

I made another pun.

Back on track… My older sister moved in April last year and I haven’t been out. She came home once since she moved and I’m excited to visit her part of the world. and honestly… she’s one of my best friends and I miss her. We’re a lot a like she and I. So I’m seeing my sister 🙂

Also I had a great day at work yesterday. I only had one student and I forced her (the meany I am) to do a quick study and play it for the beginners. She’s having some trouble reading music so sight reading is good for her. It means she isn’t playing from memory but is instead forced to read the music that’s written on the page. She did really well. It’s hard to play under pressure and I want to boost her confidence in her playing. So two thumbs up! We had a great time and I really enjoy working with her. Progress!!

I also handed in an application to McKenzie College. It’s a private college that focuses on art and design. So portfolio is finished and away, application is finished, scholarship letters written. And I had a really good meeting with the president. He wants me to start the graphic design program in may. Except.. I haven’t told you the two best things yet… I wouldn’t have to complete the foundation visual arts year. They want me to start in the second year graphic design program right away. And I’m a top candidate for their most substantial scholarship.. WHHAAAAATTTTT????!!!!

That’s the craziest thing I’ve heard all day.

Update Alert!!

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Pencil Pals has been updated!  As it is acting as a page, updates do not get linked to the home page. (Unfortunately) It is a creative page where I will be posting shots of current projects, sketches and musings. I will post an update alert when I add content! Thanks for hanging in there with me!

My Break Through

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I teach children between the ages of 7-11, trumpet everyday after school. You might be thinking I’m crazy (which is partially true because a lot of days I think I am).

I work for the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra in the Sistema NB project as a teaching artist. I work with 100 kids on a daily basis from all over the city from 8 different schools. I teach in both French and English, though my French skills are not as high as they should be and the kids like to tease me and teach me as we go. The program runs 5 days a week for 3 hours a day. The kids are bussed in from their respective schools to the school we teach at. The best part?… It’s completely free for the participants!! They work with professionally trained classical musicians! Every day! For nothing!

Having worked with children this past year as the Youth Activity Coordinator with the Town of Wolfville, I knew I could work with children and provide programs. But in music, my experience was lacking and I was… Lets be honest…. Scarred.

Its a hard thing to admit… I have never had any issues with kids. Children love me and I in turn honestly enjoy working and learning with them. Children have the most amazing ability to learn and adapt; and unlike adults, are able to see when they are wrong without egos getting in the way. The relationship between student and teacher grows and they see you as an authority on whatever subject you are teaching them. Of course they will question you and push all of your buttons. However, my experience teaching music let alone trumpet…was lacking to say the least. Yes I have a piece of paper hanging on my wall saying that I know things. But up until September, all of my teaching experience had been with older students, and never in a group setting.

I spent the first couple weeks feeling like I was drowning. I followed the lead of the teachers around me. All of them had taught for Sistema the previous year, but because the program is so new, it means there is no actual curriculum that the organization is following. So teachers are planning based on their experience. I was grasping at straws. I don’t have experience I thought… I really don’t feel like there’s much that I can give these kids…

I was wrong.

Slowly and surely my little trumpet players have been growing and developing. But so have I.. as an educator. For those of you out there who are musical will understand the story I’m about to tell. For those of you who aren’t hopefully you will when I’m done.

My group of beginners have only had their trumpets since November. The music that we were working on had an F# or Fa diese in it which kids had never seen before. So far its only been Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Si.. So what’s the Fa Diese doing in there? How do you explain the rest of the notes that are possible in music to kids who are under the impression that they know all the notes already. And then it came to me…

Here’s how the story goes… Re and Mi are neighbours. They live on a street with all the other solfege notes. In between some of the houses are trees. There is a tree between Re and Mi and because they are such good friends, they decided to build a tree house in the tree and share it. When they’re in the tree house, they put on costumes and pretend they’re super heroes. Because Re has to go up the Street to get to the tree house, his super hero name is Re Diese (Re Sharp). Mi has to go down the street though so he becomes Mi Bemol (Mi Flat). So one gets higher and one gets lower. Sharps and flats.. The cool thing we discover though, is when Re# and Mib are in the tree house, they sound exactly the same! (Enharmonic notes, sound the same but are written differently.) Now if we look at the whole street some of the houses have trees between them and some do not. The ones who do not are too close together to have a tree between them and therefore are only one step away. A semi-tone. Instead of the notes like Re and Mi who are two steps away. A tone. There’s a pattern that these notes are in on the street. If we were to start at Sol’s house instead of Do but keep the same pattern of steps… then there has to be a Fa Diese!!

The Street that Solfege Lives

All of a sudden, I had just explained a couple of different concepts that in the beginning sounded confusing but every single one of them got it. The first time around. It was amazing. Simultaneously my kids and I had reached a pinnacle moment. The moment where they trusted me completely that what I was teaching was true. And I finally felt like I knew what I was doing. I’m learning as I go. But it’s these little break through’s that make it all worth the pain and frustration. There are tiny victories in life that are usually unappreciated for what they really are. Personally growth. Evidence of perseverance. So my challenge for today? See them for what they really are. Awesome.

Life Happens

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I haven’t written a post in a while and it’s usually because life happens. Changes come all the time and adjusting to them sometimes takes a while. So things that aren’t as critical take a backseat. For me, this is writing.

I’m moving.

And over the last two weeks I’ve been packing my life away in boxes getting ready for the big day. It’s one of those things that everyone dreads; but I think it’s good.

Life needs a restart button sometimes. Packing makes you purge things from your life you don’t need; whether its physical or emotional. The emotional baggage we hold on to is tragic. It adds so much unneeded stress to our lives. Past relationships, friendships, jobs, bills, our measure of success…. Society puts emphasis on belongings and the things we own. But often there is too much in our life and it bogs us down. If you were to make a list of 10 items that were the most important and were the only things you could keep, what would they be?

I answered this myself.

1. Bible
2. Trumpet
3. Music Device
4. Sketchbook
5. Pencils/Pens
6. Camera
7. Phone
8. Guitar
9. A photograph of my family
10. The pack I travelled through Europe with

I discovered when pondering it myself and while going through my life… That there really isn’t that much that I’m extremely attached to. The obvious ones yes like music and art and my outlets for them. But that there aren’t a ton of things that my attachment is overwhelming towards. It makes it easy in a way. And makes pushing that restart button almost enjoyable. Purging is healthy. So I say, be not afraid of new beginnings and of letting things go. It may be what you need…

Cre-ate-art

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Again riding the bus, so therapeutic, and for those who don’t take the bus…I feel sorry for you.

But this bus ride, I’m listening to Zemlinsky. Die Seejungfrau. A wonderful piece written at the turn of the twentieth century by a composer who seems to be often forgotten and overshadowed by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern. Which when I think about, is sad. His music is beautiful and so full of colour. Atonality was such an important movement in the twentieth century music world and has vastly influenced musical composition of today. But sometimes I feel like composers and audiences were uninterested to write and listen to music that didn’t or doesn’t push boundaries. The idea of music for music’s sake? Does music always have to have an inner purpose? Does art in general? I believe in intent, but what if a piece is written in an urge to be creative? Is it any less important?

I love being creative. But a lot of the time, I am creative for creative sake. For my own sanity. Does this mean that my work is any less of art because there is no pain staking, tragic story behind it?