Semester 2 Update

So I know I’m bad… and I thoroughly admit that 3 posts per week was a bit ambitious. But at least I tried. I’m going to try to keep this updated with maybe around one post a week from now on, as I don’t have as much time as I thought I would.

Anyway, on to the important stuff. I figured I’d use this post to serve as an update for the way the semester has gone so far. Classes are going very well, all in all. I’m taking 12 Classes for 14 credits. Before you freak out and wonder what the hell I’m doing, note that I have only three classes for more than 1 credit, and actually 2 classes for zero credits (discussion forums for brass/music ed).

Classes are for the most part very enjoyable. I’m taking Woodwind Techniques (like the brass course I took last semester), and am currently learning the flute. It’s harder than I thought it would be! I’m also in Percussion Techniques, so I’m learning how to be a crazy-good drummer (kind of…). Other courses include music theory, ear training, piano, and a computer science elective.

I’m also in three ensembles: the Symphonic Winds (the same group as last semester–this is “concert band”), the XJB (jazz band), and the University Band, which is a concert band made for non-music majors who want to keep playing their instruments. It’s also open to music majors who want to try other instruments, so I’m playing Euphonium (its a mini-tuba for those of you non-music nerds =D). The Symph Winds just had a great concert a few weeks ago, and now have turned our sights on a concert in April, which is looking to be fantastic.

Trumpeting has also been going very well this semester. I’ve taken on a new-found desire to really improve my playing, and I have definitely seen results even over the past two months. My tone has gotten a lot better, and I’m looking at doing an upgrade to a slightly bigger mouthpiece to allow that change to continue to happen. My lip flexibility, which was a very weak point in my playing, is still weak but very much less so than before, and I feel a lot more comfortable with my playing.

That’s about it for now, more to come later, hopefully! I’ve had a few requests from people to see some video footage of me playing trumpet or performing, so I’ll try to get some of that up soon.

Symphonic Winds/Wind Ensemble Concert

Tonight the Frost Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Gary Green and Shawn Vondran, and the Frost Symphonic Winds, under the direction of Phil Clements and Jamie Nyx, will perform a concert in Gusman Hall at the Frost School of Music. The concert is scheduled to start at 8 pm EST.

Works from the Symphonic Winds (the ensemble I’m in):

If you can’t make the concert (or aren’t in the same state/country/continent), you can listen to a live stream from the UMiami website. The link is here, and the stream will begin a half hour before the concert, at 7:30 pm EST.

I have yet to find out which ensemble will perform first, so you’ll have to listen and see for yourself! Enjoy!

The Midwest Clinic

Before we get to the point, just a slight disclaimer-I know the video quality is sub-par, and I’m trying to find a way as we speak to get it working so that my voice and my mouth actually move at the same time! Updates hopefully coming soon on this.

Anyway, enough with the randomness, on to the important stuff. The important stuff, today, is my visit to the Midwest Clinic, an international Music Education conference, which includes performances by high-quality ensembles ranging from junior high to professional levels, as well as thousands of exhibitors and many very interesting sessions over the course of the week.

The clinic lasted from Tuesday to Saturday, and was located at the Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue. I attended Wednesday and Thursday. Some highlights:

  • “The Journey Begins: Career Planning for the Young Music Educators” – Clinic by Scott Laird. Mr. Laird had great suggestions for older college students or those just out of college who were looking for jobs. He had good suggestions for networking and getting your name out there. I found the clinic didn’t as much apply to me as some others would, as I am not quite in the career stage yet.
  • “Organizing Your Band/Orchestra Program to Fit Your School and Your Life” – Clinic by Bill Laughlin. Mr. Laughlin made a fantastic presentation on staying organized as a band director, as well as some helpful tips and tricks for keeping the program running smoothly. I learned a lot about how I would keep my progam organized in the years to come as a band director.
  • “Beyond the Bag of Tricks: Helpful Strategies for Beginning Instrumental Music Teachers” – Clinic by Scott Bersaglia, Teresa Elliot, Brian Silvey. Interesting session that inculded tips and tricks for new music teachers for how to start a program and improve the overall sound of the band through rehearsal techniques.
  • Nequa Valley High School Chamber Symphony featuring John Hagstrom. Works included Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto, performed by Hagstrom, 4th trumpet player for the Chicago Symphony and Trumpet Professor at DePaul University.
  • New Trier Jazz Ensemble I featuring Wayne Bergeron and Jeff Coffin. Bergeron is the lead trumpet player for Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, and Coffin plays with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. the NT Jazz Ensemble has some of my good friends from my days with the Midwest Young Artists Big Band, so it was nice seeing them, as well.

I also had the pleasure of enjoying an evening downtown with some friends from UMiami, who were up for the conference as well. It was an enjoyable night, walking around the city looking for a place to eat, and then taking the “El” back to the Hilton (or in my case, home by way of Union Station).

I also bought my first ever baton! I hear most of you whispering in the back of your heads “whoopdy doo Andy…” but it was exciting for me. Many minutes have been spent conducting in front of a mirror since then.

All in all, Midwest was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to going again next year!