Friday, July 3, 2009

Music Part 1

Today I am going to write about music. This is the first part and deals with my experience as a musician. Tomorrow I shall write about some other thoughts I have on music.

Music has been a big part of my life since I was little. I still remember my dad's side of the family getting together and everyone singing while my dad and my uncles played their guitars and my mom played piano. I was starting to fall in love with music at a young age.

I started my endeavor in the world of music at the age of 8 1/2 when I was in the 4th grade. My mom enrolled me in piano lessons. It was a struggle for both of us - she had to constantly fight with me to get me to practice. She ended up taking me out of my lessons three months later - just as I was learning bass clef (which is why to this day I still say great big dogs fight animals and all cows eat grass whenever I read bass clef). I didn't let my experience on the piano stop me though. Through the challenges I faced from my perceptual motor difficulties I had growing up
and overhearing my mom talking with my coordination teacher Mrs. Davies about what else they could do - Mrs. Davies mentioned the drums and that she thought it might help with improving my eye hand coordination. So part of my reason for going to the band meeting in the 5th grade in the cafeteria with Mr. Khulman was in part due to the suggestion of Mrs. Davies and in part because I hadn't given up on learning to play an instrument. I still remember the night I announced to my parents my decision to play the drums. The looks on their faces was priceless. I do not think they envisioned their little girl who was now in the 5th grade ever wanting to play the drums. I mean girls aren't supposed to play drums. Plus I was the oldest child - if I was going to do this what prey tell could they expect from my sister and my brother? I also knew that I didn't want to be like all the other girls who were playing the clarinet or the flute. I mean why be like everyone else right? My mom thought it was a fad and that I would drop out, but what she did not realize was that every time I want to the cafeteria to learn some more and to drum away on the
backs of the cafeteria tables, I was finding my niche and I was falling even more in love with music. I also was a bit of a performer and being able to perform in front of others and to bring joy and happiness to them was awesome.

I remember as I was progressing in my musicianship, I would have fun playing drums in the air to songs. That was fun (and it drove my sister nuts lol). I still do that to this day although I do not play set. I had an opportunity in the 8th grade. I should have followed through - Mr. Khulman saw something in me and was trying to steer me in that direction. My parents also adjusted and my dad would tell me when he watched Austin City Limits - look they have drums in country music.

When I started high school I tried out for the Awesome Monache Maurauder Marching Band (yep we called ourselves awesome - see the California influence? lol). I could have made it in as a freshman, but Mr. Anderson said I'd be on cymbals all four years, so I chose to take the percussion class and make improvements to my rudiments and then re-try out in February. I did and I made it. That was an awesome day. I still remember my first spring concert. Mr. Khulman came backstage to tell me how proud he was of me - I was in the Monache Band! I did end up doing cymbals for the entire three years I was in the Monache Band. My first two years I had been wanting to end up on snare, but I didn't. So I said fine I will do cymbals. Even though I didn't really want to, I did and I gave it my all. I made sure that I would at least be the one in the cymbal line to have my music memorized (the other ones didn't and they would defer to me in parades). I also played all cymbal parts in the spring concert. I remember after one concert my mom said the lady sitting next to her said the cymbal player gave her chills. Sweet! I was doing my job! I also started to get into DCI and would watch DCI shows to pick up cymbal visual ideas. Fun stuff! My senior year Eddie my drumline instructor wanted me to switch to bass drum. Stupid me refused - I was hooked on cymbals. Of course no one told me there would be embarrassing moments with my cymbals. One time we played a PDQ Bach number in the concert and I had to drop my cymbals for this crasho grosso part. Could I do that? Noooooo. I didn't want to hurt my cymbals. What happens 3 days later when we are talking about possible field show music for the fall? My cymbal handle comes off and my cymbal goes crashing to the floor.

When it came time for me to start college I actually picked my community college because it had a band. Mind you it was not in the same town as where I lived, it was 30 miles away, I had no car and I had no driver's license. My dad had to take me to catch the bus at Strathmore High School every morning for two years. Thankfully there were other people in my hometown who had also chosen to go to COS based on the fact that it had a band (plus ewww who wanted to go to Porterville College - a lot of people in my hometown apparently). I was able to get rides to the games and other things that we had going on. My parents did come to a few things. I also remember that I once again wanted to switch to a different instrument in the drumline, but noooo Kevin Stiffler (who is a pastor now - I should have known that is what he would end up doing lol) gave me the sermon on how we all can't be the hand or we all can't be the eye - basically you're stuck with the cymbals so deal with it. That was okay - I had fun despite a few embarassing moments with my cymbals (still won't forget the priceless look on Mike Cameron's face when one of my cymbal handles accidentally fell off in the middle of a parade we were marching in - that was awesome!). I also became Mr. Weston's Monache Flash so that was cool. He liked me to do snazzy visuals with my cymbals which I did.

I also decided to major in music when I started college. Why did I pick music as my major? Mr. Anderson! Yep that's right I be a band geek - I picked my major because of my band director lol. My dream of being a band director was quickly killed due to music theory. Yep I got D's in theory 1. How all you music majors out there got past theory 1 is beyond me. I know it got harder - I remember all my music major friends at Fresno State and how stressed they were. I also don't know how you could write music. I had music elements my senior year of high school and had enough issues trying to write a song for clarinet, sax and tuba. Then I had to come up with a title. "A Simple Song" and boy was it simple lol. I also stepped out of the box while at COS and decided to see if I could play an instrument that required me to breathe to get noise out of it. I chose the clarinet - I had wanted to switch when I was in junior high. I am glad I waited until I was at COS - my mother used to actually shut the door on me while I was practicing. Thanks mom! Good thing I didn't do it any sooner - might have quit music altogether.

I wanted to transfer to Point Loma Nazarene University for my last two years of college, but due to the fact that it was a private college and my family was not made of money, I once again picked my next college based on the fact that they had a band. Yep I started what would be a five year stint in the Pride of the Valley the Fresno State Bulldog Marching Band. I also got to be in the Symphonic Band one semester (aka Lizard Band - people in there play what is their 2nd 3rd and sometimes 4th instruments) and basketball band. I got brave and decided to play clarinet in the basketball band after one semester doing percussion. I ended up doing cymbals all five years in the marching band and got to be the music librarian my last two years (extra perk - getting paid from the people who waited til the last minute to find some music for their marching band techniques project they had to do). I also further solidified what was now clearly band geekiness - I joined Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority. That was fun and I enjoyed being like the only sister who was a percussionist. Although I did discover that I had an inner colorguard person in me and I did almost switch to colorguard one semester. I learned a few basics on flag twirling. I think the inner colorguard person in me came from all the dancing I did in the band at COS.

Post college I have found ways to continue performing. I have been in community bands where I got to play my clarinet (I finally got one at a pawn shop for $98 - woo hoo! Not woo hoo is I discovered when I had to have something fixed on it that it had no serial numbers - yep I bought a hot clarinet oooops) and I have been in the orchestra at church (although I had to quit last year due to the fact that they made Awana and orchestra at the exact same time - Awana won out because they needed the help more). I still would love to have a drum set. When I have a bigger place someday I will get one. I have a guitar that I am going to pick back up and take formal lessons. I was trying to teach myself but got stuck in Mel Bay's Children's Guitar Method Book 1 - sad I know lol. I also bought a keyboard. that has full size keys (although one day when I have a bigger place I shall get a piano). I think after I take guitar lessons I would like to pick back up with the piano lessons. I had started back up in 2004, but my piano teacher had to up and move back to Louisiana. That's okay though - George is now married and has a 1 year old little boy.

Okay that is all for now. Cool pic below.

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