I’ve Been Busy…

Well it’s been almost three months since I’ve posted here and I’m feeling, in a word, ashamed about it. This was intended to become a blog to chronicle the goings-on of my life, and has turned into a dormant feed filled with old thoughts and outdated information. So while I try to figure out how to increase my posting frequency here (any/all suggestions on what topics you want me to write on are welcome!), here are a few updates on what I’ve been doing while I haven’t been posting here:

  1. New Website Design – As you may have noticed, my website has a new design! I chose this for a few reasons: first, I want this website to act as my virtual resume and portfolio, so I chose to showcase my “vitals” on the homepage as opposed to displaying outdated blog posts. Secondly, and on that note, I try to “market” myself as someone interested social media/blogging in music education. While I do have a regularly updated professional blog, I thought it was a poor representation of me to have my personal homepage display a very outdated blog. Finally, I wanted to add more social media integration into my site, which I have done through the Twitter integration on the homepage, and my new “Connect” page. If you have any other thoughts/suggestions about the new design, please feel free to let me know!
  2. Personal Life – This summer has been fairly low-key for me, as I’ve been working two jobs. The first is a 9-5 day job at the IT Service Desk for the UM School of Business Administration. This job lets me exercise my “techie” side, as I help professors and business students troubleshoot their technology issues. My other job is for the Frost School of Music, working in the concert halls as an usher/set-up-person/whatever-else-they-need. Outside of work, I celebrated one year with Liz in early June, and I’m already gearing up for next school year!
  3. Online Activities – I have been very busy online since my last post. On Twitter, I created #MusEdChat, an online twitter chat for Music Educators. The chat has gained a significant amount of popularity, and I had the opportunity to give a short presentation about it while I was in Washington, D.C. for MENC’s Music Education Week in June (I live-blogged the event with three other pre-service music teachers). Additionally, I have been continuing my posts at MusicEdMajor.net, with the help of my co-editor Andy Ritenour. Finally, I have been participating as a member of the launch team for the new MusicPLN, which launches tomorrow at noon. It has been an incredible project, and I would encourage any Music Educators (or Music Ed Majors) to join us!
  4. The Future… Scary isn’t it? I only have one year left of school before I’m out there on my own, doing who-knows-what! I’ve spent a lot of time this summer thinking about what I’m going to do come June, and I’m still not completely decided, but I know in my first few years out of my undergrad, I want to do two things: teach high school band (and music technology, if possible), and start a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology. Whether I pursue this degree full-time and if I start it right away remains to be seen, but as I’ve spent more time exploring technology for music education, it has become clear to me that this is the way I want to take my career. Stay tuned for a more detailed post about my future and a call for advice soon!

Holy cow! As I said, I’ve been busy. At any rate, that’s just a small sampling of what I’ve been up to over the past three months. I’ll try my best to keep this blog updated more frequently over the coming months, as well. If you would like me to blog about any specific topics, please leave a comment, and I would be happy to oblige!

P.S. – Only three days until I celebrate the first anniversary of my 21st birthday!

New Year’s Resolution

I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions; they never held the allure for me that they do for many. But this year, I do have one thing I want to accomplish on a more regular basis. It isn’t anything deep and meaningful like making someone smile each day; it isn’t something significant like losing 30 pounds. It is, however, something that I want to accomplish, which is the main definition of a resolution, is it not?

In July, I turned 21 years old, and received a wonderful gift from my parents; a new digital camera. The camera received some use on road trips that I took near the end of the summer, but has been more useful as a dust-collector as of late. I have taken some photos for my cooking experiment, and of a few other things, but I haven’t even gotten around to uploading them, either to my computer, or to the vast array of social networking sites I use. This brings me to my two-part resolution:

In 2010, I plan to take more pictures using my digital camera, and to share more of them online so my friends/connections can see my efforts.

It’s my hope that the resolution to share my photos will provide accountability, forcing me to follow through with the first portion of the resolution, to take the photos to begin with! I have so many different ways to share photos now, between Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, that I really have no excuse not to share the photos that I have already taken. As for taking photos to begin with, I hope to chronicle any trips I take (myself or with the band department), as well as use my camera to track my cooking experiments, and any other experiences I may have on campus.

Some members of my Twitter network have embarked on the 365-day photo challenge, in which they plan to take one photo for each day of the year, and post it to their Flickr account. I considered taking this challenge to force me to use my camera more often, but since I haven’t taken even one photo in weeks, I thought it might be too severe a change for me. I wanted to set an attainable goal, and I think I have done just that. To those of you who are trying the 365-day challenge, I wish you the best of luck!

To everyone else, stay tuned  both here on my website, as well as on my social networking sites (see the left sidebar) for updated photos, starting next week when I return to campus and dust off my camera! Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a slideshow from a Flickr set of photos I’ve taken on the University of Miami Campus. Enjoy!

Happy new year!

Finding the Balance

As many of you know, I recently launched a new website, MusicEdMajor.net, geared towards providing news, resources, and tips for music education majors. This has been an incredible experience for me, and I have been fortunate enough to have seen the website receive a very warm reception by the community. The new site, however, has also created an additional time commitment for the blogging component of my life, which brings me to my point.

I began this site almost two years ago, and have published nearly 300 posts here. This had been my only home online, and has been a source of great growth in my thinking, my voice, and my writing. In the past weeks, however, I have been concentrating almost all of my blogging efforts on MusicEdMajor.net. Part of this is understandable–this site has been around for two years, is personal, and already has a readership (albeit small), while the other site is brand new, is more professional in purpose, and is still developing a readership. Does that, however, give me the right to almost completely neglect this site?

I really should clarify that statement–I am not neglecting this site, at least intentionally. I have been reminded multiple times by multiple people that I should not shift my focus entirely away from here, and have even started writing posts here a few times since the launch of MusicEdMajor.net. I don’t want to stop posting here. However, my philosophy towards blogging/writing has been that it must be something that comes from the heart, something that I’m motivated to do. Recently, that motivation has come on the professional side, and been channeled to my new site. The reason none of the posts I began were finished here over the past few weeks was that they all felt forced, they didn’t feel as though they were being written from the heart, as I feel each blog post deserves.

So how do I find the balance? I don’t want to stop writing here, by any means, but I really do enjoy my work at MusicEdMajor.net as well, and want to continue to see it grow. Will my motivation to write here increase as the school year begins in just over a month, or will the beginning of my Music Ed methods classes in the fall motivate me to write more on my new site? I don’t know the answers to these questions, and would invite your suggestions, if you have them, on what I could do about this. For now, I will make it my effort to share any exciting goings-on from my life with you here on as consistent a basis as I can.

Thank you to those of you who have been with me from the beginning for your continued readership, and thank you to those of you newcomers for taking an interest in what I have to say. Until next time…

Where I’ve Been

As you’ve probably noticed, it has been a while since I’ve posted here. Before I go any further, allow me to apologize for this. I’m attributing it to a lack of motivation, and a focus on other endeavors. However, I thought I would share some song lyrics that have been meaningful to me lately, in lieu of a long-winded post. Again, my apologies for being missing for so long; I am hoping the inspiration comes back soon… for now, take these as an inspiration to always love in life, even if it’s the only thing you do.

And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It’s you, it’s you, you make me sing.
You’re every line, you’re every word, you’re everything.

A foggy day in London Town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The British Museum had lost its charm
How long, I wondered, could this thing last?
But the age of miracles hadn’t passed,
For, suddenly, I saw you there
And through foggy London Town
The sun was shining everywhere.

Another winter day has come
And gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Let me go home

And I’m surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
Oh, let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Preparing My “Mosaic”

Those of you who check this blog with any regularity or subscribe to my feed have probably noticed it’s been a while (roughly two weeks) since I’ve posted here. For my personal expectations and desires for this blog, it’s been too long. However, I have struggled for inspiration before, and have no doubt I will again. At first, it concerned me, but composer Loren DiGiorgi (@DarkPiano on Twitter) made a great point about his composing, and I feel it applies directly to blogging, especially for me:

Ok if I try too hard to write a song, it just doesn’t work. I guess for me, songs just “happen” and are tied to life moments.

I began to think, what “life moments” have happened to me lately, and are worth writing about? There have been a lot of events that have happened for me, lately, including (but not limited to): the end of classes, saying goodbye to the graduating seniors, more work helping out a band director-friend in her band classroom, and a trip to St. Louis. However, one moment that I am soon to have sticks out as being worth mentioning and exploring: an trip to New Jersey that I will be taking, along with my mother, and my sister. I’ll be visiting Poppy Arnie.

Back in December, I wrote a post entitled “My Mosaic” that has turned out to be the most popular one (traffic wise) that I have written so far. The post was about my grandfather, known better as “Poppy Arnie,” and the book that was published as a compilation of his years as a journalist with the Times of Trenton. He wrote about all sorts of joys and tragedies, of subjects ranging from war to family, fishing to politics. In the end, the book’s title: Mosaic: Warmth, Wit, and Wisdom, was chosen because, as Poppy says in the closing comments:

We are all the same really. We are all a mosaic, a portrait of the bits and pieces of our lives.

I drew the parellel in my last post that this blog is my version of the “mosaic,” including all the bits and pieces of my life as it unfolds. As I prepare to see my grandfather for the first time since writing this post, I thought about what the encounter would be like. I’ve spoken to him on the phone a few times since, and my mother sent his wife a copy of my last post to read. I called him and had a great chat about writing; all four eyes involved in the conversation were wet by the end. I have since received my own copy of Mosaic, inscribed by my grandmother (Poppy can not write any more) with a personal message to me.

As I think about it, I want to be able to bring something to him, to show that I’m still adding to my “mosaic.” I’ve decided that I’m going to compile some of the best posts on this blog, printed in a small binder, so that just as I have a copy of his Mosaic, he can have a copy of mine. Obviously, the phrase “best posts” is extremely subjective, so I am interested in your opinion on this one: what are some of your favorite posts from my blog? Subject matter is irrelevent, in fact I would prefer to include a diverse range of subjects (updates on life, music education related posts, general musings). Please leave your thoughts in the comments-I am extremely interested in your opinions. I will, of course, let you know which articles I end up including.

My own “mosaic” hopefully has many more pages to be added to it in the future, but it’s always a good idea to stop and appreciate what has already been accomplished. As the school year winds to a close, and what will likely be a very emotional trip to New Jersey awaits, I think this is the perfect time to compile my “mosaic” for the first time. Please help me share the joys that this blog has brought me (and hopefully you) with a man who has been a huge inspiration along the way.