But life has been eating my limbs off one at a time. Sort of.
Off today to pick up the alto sax I bought myself over Christmas break. Repair work took a long-ass time, so I’m excited to finally get it.
In other musical news, I’m going to be playing in a major concert the weekend of March 30th, and a recital on April 5th, so I’ve been spending a lot of time practicing.
I’ve also finally started on the second movement of my symphony, although I have still to finish the first movement.
Other than that, things aren’t too exciting. I’ve been confirmed for a friend-in-residency at Swarthmoor Hall again this summer, from mid-May through early July. Finally going to make it to the Ulverston International Music Festival.
I know I’ve been AWOL recently, mostly because of school and a bit of writers block. However, I have been working on stuff on and off, like this thing, which is a set of variations based on a theme I remembered from a documentary on high-altitude nuclear testing (weird, right?)
Anyway, I’m doing this for an independent study on thematic development in music. I have to write something new every week that uses whatever techniques I’ve observed from the score study I’ve been doing. So, here’s what I’ve got done so far. The challenge here was to create a 4-note idea, and expand upon it (like Beethoven 5, which is what I was studying while writing this). I’m fairly happy with the result, although I think I’m going to add more movements to this at some point.
I promise I’m not dead. And haven’t stopped writing music.
Life just decided to sit on my head this semester, and I’ve been SO BUSY.
But I am making progress with my symphony, and there’s a clarinet quartet in the works as well.
IT CAME! LOL, I haven’t even opened it yet!
my parents aren’t teaching me life lessons.
Some shit about life, from a bonafide adult:
- even if you get along great with your family you will get along even better with them after moving out
- generic is almost always just as good as name brand. But there are some things you never buy generic, including: peanut butter, ketchup, liquid NyQuil, Chips-Ahoy chewy chocolate chip cookies
- just imagine the person on the other end of the phone hates talking on the phone as much as you do. Even a receptionist. I worked as one and I hate talking on the phone
- at least once in your life you will go to Wal-mart to buy something under $20 like an ironing board or something and your debit card will get rejected. No one will judge. Everyone at some point in their lives has had $2.98 in their bank account.
- thrift stores
- everyone else is too busy panicking about everyone else noticing every tiny thing that could possibly be wrong about them to notice any tiny thing that could possibly be wrong about you
- you will screw up. a lot. you live and you learn. and when you start to think too hard about that embarrassing thing that happened and how you wish you could change it, just tell yourself that what’s done is done. There’s no changing it, so just forget it and move on. It’s the only way to stay sane.
- do the dishes before the sink grows its own ecosystem
- you can’t put Dawn dishsoap in the dishwasher.
- if you are the only one in the aisle at the grocery store, and you need to get from one end to the other without even looking at anything in that aisle, then you should totally cart-surf down the aisle. Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional. Hold on to the little things. They make all the difference.
- never try to make cake from scratch at 3am. You end up with a topographical map of Middle Earth.
- 15% tip.
- the best way to get money for food is to tell your grandparents about how you basically live on microwaved mac and cheese. Their horror may result in twenty bucks and orders to go out and get yourself “a real dinner”.
- sometimes life sucks, and knowing that it might get better doesn’t always make it suck any less, but you’ll never get to the non-sucky days without enduring the suckiness.
- no seriously, NEVER put Dawn in your dishwasher
I would add:
- Don’t buy generic parmesan cheese, either. It’s worth the pennies for Kraft.
- 20% tip. The people that serve you in a restaurant count on the generosity of others. Consider it a form of pay it forward, because there is inevitably a jerk making over $100K a year who leaves a 2-5% tip. I know, because I used to be married to one of them.
- If you get your clothes out of the dryer and lay them flat, they won’t look wrinkled, but you didn’t have to fold them or put them away. It’s amazing how long it’s possible to get dressed from a stack of clothes that moves from your bed to other flat surfaces repeatedly.
- Don’t be afraid to be kind and to give help when you can. Does the man holding the sign in the grocery store lot REALLY need food? I don’t know. Why not buy him some fresh muffins and fruit anyway?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Monetary or otherwise. The people that you love and that love you—whether your family or your chosen family—need to know what help you need. They can’t read minds.
Things I’d like to add:
- Buy one good cookbook at the thrift store and learn it until you can do a few decent recipes in your sleep. It makes you look good, and soon you’ll realize you can make better mac & cheese from scratch, for cheaper.
- If you’ve got even the tiniest bit of apartment patio, grow something. Herbs, tomatoes, flowers - make something live.
- Do one Random Act a week, from paying for coffee for the person behind you to slipping love notes into books. The love you make, people.
Other things I would like to add:
- Please, PLEASE get insurance. You are too young to be lumped with debt if your toaster accidentally burns down your apartment or you drive your piece of crap car into the back of a Benz. It may seem like an additional expense but hey, it’s piece of mind or paying back a loan you had to get because you had no other choice.
- omfg pay your bills FIRST. Budget. Your. Shit. My own mother’s rule of thumb was this: pay your bills first, buy your food, fill your car, put 10-20% into savings and the rest is yours to play with.
- No one actually gives a shit if you rock up to the gas station in your sweatpants and a grotty hoodie.
- Make time for your family. I am 28 and I still have dinner with my parents every week. I write to my grandparents who live four hours away. They LOVE getting handwritten letters and I love getting them in return.
I would also add:
- Sometimes a kindness from a stranger makes all the difference in the world. Offer to pay the ten cents difference in someone’s bill if they’re short and you’re behind them. Buy a homeless person a hot coffee when it’s cold out. Buy your cashier a chocolate bar. Small things like that can make all the difference between a shitty week and a great one.
- Maintain your car or else it will blow up on you at the worst possible time. I have had a car drop a drive shaft, explode, and almost any other terrible thing a car can do, and it was all because I didn’t take the time to swap out the oil and change the spark plugs occasionally.
- Try not to judge other people so harshly. They’re having a hard time of it just like you are.
- Do not feel ashamed if you have to ask for help (be it from friends or family or by going to apply for welfare). No one can get through this alone.
- If a bill collector calls you and you owe $700 and you can only spare $300, make an offer. They bought your debt for pennies on the dollar and are usually glad to make anything off of it. It’ll get the debt of your credit score and stop the people from harassing you.
- Do not ever lie to a judge. Judges are human bullshit detectors. If you’ve done something bad, even if it’s just a speeding ticket, go before them, ‘fess up to being wrong, and ask for lenience cuz it’s your first time and you REALLY don’t wanna do that again.
- Ramen noodles can be modified in about fifty billion ways. You can add shit, take shit away, make a stir fry, whatever. Google “Ramen Recipes” because it will change your life.
- Additionally, rice is the cheapest and easiest food to make and you can do SO MUCH with it. Pennies per meal.
- Do not drink and drive. DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. Seriously. Don’t drink and drive, I don’t care how good to drive you think you are.
- Always keep a portable space heater or a kerosene heater around if you can help it. You never know when you’ll be stuck in your apartment freezing your balls off at 3 a.m. with the power out.
- Credit cards are a ripoff. Unless you absolutely have to (as in, emergency medical care or something), you really shouldn’t bother getting one. You’re better off saving up hard cold cash for anything you want. Seriously.
- Checks will get you into trouble. You should probably stay away from those too.
- Cheap conditioner is the best shaving cream. Don’t bother with anything else.
- If you have the money for a Costco (or similar bulk-buying place) membership, GO FOR IT. I save SO much money on eyeglasses and contact lenses, medicine, and coffee beans that the membership basically pays for itself. Plus Costco is actually a really good company and treats it’s employees well.
- Always stand up for your rights. If you don’t know what rights the law affords you, be an educated person and read up on them. It might screw you over occasionally, but there’s a reason they’re called rights.
- Sock monkey hats make everything better.
- Make time for things you enjoy.
- Breathe, nothing is the end of the world, trust me, shit works out.
- Be nice to your car, spoil it. That car is your baby.
- Don’t forget to be awesome
- Yo, forreal never put dish soap in the dish washer. Don’t do it.
Just want to add here:
- Pay attention in algebra. That shit is actually useful once you get out of school, if only because sometimes it shows up on employment applications.
- There is a difference between things that you want and things that you need, and figuring out that difference is the biggest step toward managing your money well.
- Save money. Even if it’s only $20 a paycheck or something like that, put it in a separate account and pretend it doesn’t exist anymore. That way you have a little extra if something unexpected happens. “Something unexpected” is not the release of your favorite band’s collector’s edition boxed set. :P (You can save up for those things, too, but keep that separate from yoursavings.)
- Speaking of money, try to bank with a credit union. A lot of them will let you join as long as you live in a certain area, and it’s basically a co-op where everyone who is a member is part owner and it exists to serve its members rather than pay dividends to shareholders. They aren’t always as convenient as banks, especially in rural areas, but it’s worth it in the end. (My CU charges me $5 when I overdraft. I don’t do it often, but it’s a huge difference between my fiance’s bank, which charges $30.)
- Seconding Costco so hard. Thirty bucks for fifty pounds of rice that will last you three months easy. A hundred fifty there once a month plus another hundred fifty throughout the month at a regular store will feed four people no problem.
- If you can make it yourself, do so. Processed foods are hella expensive and never as good for you as unprocessed foods.
- Rice and beans are a complete protein, potatoes and butter are a complete protein. Cabbage is cheap and delicious and can be used as filler in most dishes.
- Don’t turn on your heat if you can help it. Collect blankets and sweaters instead, or use a space heater to warm the area you’re in.
- Christmas lights are your friend, especially white LED ones. They provide a significant amount of light while using hardly any electricity. They’re especially great at staving of seasonal depression resulting from low lighting.
- Thrift stores and dollar stores have great dishes for really cheap, especially glass wear. Dollar store glasses are hard core.
- Ross is a really great place to buy things new.
- Don’t bother with cable, unless you end up getting a really great deal combined with internet. Netflix and internet is really all you need.
- Get twice as many small spoons as anything else. They will disappear. You will not know how all your spoons disappear, but they will.
- Plastic sheets over windows, especially single pane windows, help keep heat in.
- White vinegar and baking soda will clean anything, without harmful chemicals.
- Dawn dish soap will remove grease stains from clothing.
- Don’t leave big ass messy piles of things places, especially clothes. You will end up with bugs.
- Take care of your health. Doctors are expensive as fuck, but go if you need to. Dentists are also expensive as fuck, but go when you’re supposed to go. Bad teeth is a sign of poverty for a reason, and preventative care goes a long way.
- Check your mail regularly.
- When you move into a new place, especially a cheap one, do a thorough check of all the cupboards and drawers. If there’s a stash of drugs/jelly beans/dead rodents/something else interesting hidden away that the last person to live there forgot about, you want to know as soon as possible.
- If you’re looking for an apartment, try to get an upstairs one near the middle of the building. You’ll stay warmer.
- Literally anything you buy as a boxed mix you can make from scratch way cheaper. Rice-a-roni is rice, noodles, and chicken stock.
- If you have the time and access to multiple food sources, don’t do all your shopping in one place. It’s worth it to spend a little more on meat and produce, but don’t buy dry goods for more than you have to.
- I’m not just talking “buy generic,” by the way. Buy generic at the bargain places. The warehouse-style grocery store’s store brand and the slightly more expensive place’s store brand are the exact same product made by the exact same company, just one has a classier packaging design. Don’t pay for classier packaging.
- Know where the cheap gas stations are. Know where the slightly less cheap but still affordable gas stations are in case the cheap gas stations go out of business.
- Get canvas grocery bags. Not only are they better for the environment, but they can be loaded heavier without ripping or losing their handles so you’ll have to make less trips too and from the car to bring in groceries.
- get a library card
- put money into savings because if the shit hits the fan you will need it
- baking soda and vinegar make less expensive cleaners
- baking soda is good for skin too if you need a skin cleanser
- use dollar stores i mean seriously
- no really always have baking soda on hand
- learn to bake and cook from scratch
My additions for musicians:
- Everything that was said above about money
- KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS - A lot of that shit is tax-deductable
- Keep a separate bank account and debit/credit card EXCLUSIVELY for music things. NEVER USE THIS ACCOUNT FOR ANYTHING ELSE EVER UNLESS YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.
- Make friends with the people at your local music store. You will never regret it.
- Get repairs made as soon as possible. Even minor ones. You never want to have something break down on you when you’re working for money.
- BE FRIENDLY TO EVERYONE YOU WORK WITH, EVEN IF THEY’RE ASSHOLES - You might need their help some day, and you want them to remember how competent and easy to work with you are.
- Ask yourself: “Do I really need a (insert obscure, rarely-used instrument here)?” Before you spend a lot of money on something you’ll never use. (I am the worst at this).
- Church gigs are your friends. Even if you’re not christian. They tend to call you back, and they pay reasonably well. Keep your schedule open around religious holidays, so you can say ‘yes’ if they call you.
- Fucking PRACTICE!
- If you live in close proximity to other people, make sure you ASK them when it’s okay for you to practice. Set up consistent practice times, and stick to them.
- Take students. Help your students get gigs if you can. Try giving them simple ones that you can’t make.
- Always offer your full skill-set to any job you get. Giving a little more for less once will get you more call-backs.
- Get your instrument insured for enough to replace it if something happens.
- Never check any instrument if you can help it. Buy your Cello or Tuba another seat on airlines.
- A lot of airlines will let you carry on an instrument as a third carry-on item, especially if it’s small.
- Get the best case you can for your instrument. Put your information somewhere on or in the case. Make sure it can find its way back to you.
- If you have to mail an instrument, PAY THE EXTRA MONEY TO SEND IT VIA UPS OR FEDEX.
- Know all your instrument’s serial numbers. Memorize distinguishing markings, know years of manufacture and any other details you can.
- Teach yourself basic instrument repair. Being able to re-glue a pad or re-cork a joint yourself will save you money (but DO get your instrument professionally overhauled at least once a year).
- Never refuse to play an instrument you can play.
- Know union rates, even if you’re not a member of one.
- Have FUN playing. Enjoy it. Never let it become just a job. It’ll show, and people will appreciate it.
Still working on this. I’ve now got the basic structure finished, and I’m thinking that I might add some more development to each section unless people tell me they like it the way it is.
I AM NOT DEAD YET!
Just RP-ing. Because no school and the internet is full of distractions.
But I did this. Because the internet isn’t distracting enough.
In case any of you were wondering what I sound like when I really play something I’m familiar with, here’s our performance of the William Tell Overture by Rossini.
Tom Webb - English Horn
Emily McGrew - Flute
We’re the bit in the middle.
So, after agitating for three years, this finally gets to see the light of day. Recording quality isn’t stellar on this one, but it’s still the music I (with the help of Edvard Grieg) created.
Once I get all the parts back, and I’ve examined them AGAIN for mistakes, I’ll be putting this into print, and hopefully getting some really good performances recorded.
Finished the first tonal episode, now starting on the second one (in F minor).
Last night, Lenore Edwards, who was the assistant concertmaster of the Earlham Symphony Orchestra and a close personal friend of mine, passed away in Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. She was severely injured in the train accident on November 9th, and managed to hang on for just over two weeks before she finally succumbed.
For the second time this month, the Earlham community (myself included) are reeling from the loss of such a vibrant participant in campus life.
My last memory of Lenore, probably less than eight hours before the horrible accident that would eventually claim her life, was of her stopping me on my way back from orchestra to tell me how much she loved my arrangement of ‘To The Spring,’ and how well she thought I’d played in rehearsal that day. It’s a good memory, coming after a lot of other good memories. Lenore loved to share the things she loved with other people, and so I got to know a lot about her life in a very short time.
Now I worry about Graham, because he’s the only survivor now. He was out of the hospital ten days ago, should be returning to classes today. I worry about the guilt he might feel to be the only one spared. I hope he’ll be all right.
Please, if you can, take a moment out of your days to hold Lenore in the Light. She was so loved; she deserves our thoughts.
This is the official ‘i care’ symbol. This is how it works:
Basically you reblog this, and your followers know that you care and that they can message you about anything anon or not and you will reply back or at least look at their message. If you care about your followers please reblog.
(Source: s-u-r-f-e-r, via smiledesu)