A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to learn that my latest piece “Internal Combustion” was going to premiere in Nashville with the Nashville Composer Collective. Not only did this mean a performance (something we composers are always looking for), but it was also an excuse to go back to my old stomping ground for a few days.
However, my excitement was soon outweighed by apprehension. Would spending time in Nashville and remembering the life I once had make me regret the whole decision to move to Chicago? Or would Nashville just seem like a boring, quant town after three months of life in the big city?
As the flat, corn-lined highway stretched in front of me for as far as I could see, months of anticipation and preparation shifted into reality. After uprooting myself from my beloved Music City eight months ago, I was now trading my Virginia Appalachians for Chicago skyscrapers.
Seven months ago, the hardest and best chapter of my life so far came to a close: I graduated from Belmont University with a BM in Composition and a BS in Audio Engineering Technology. Even now, it’s still hard to believe it’s done!
I must confess I felt equal amounts of relief and panic the day I walked across the stage: relief, because four and-a-half years of blood, sweat, and tears were finished; and panic, because I realized I had two degrees but no firm plan for what would follow.
With my senior year behind me, I can say it’s been a pretty unbelievable couple of semesters, for so many reasons. So much has happened since I posted in August that I figured it was time for an update…
This year, I had nine performances of several of my pieces. One of the highlights was having the Belmont Orchestra perform Out of Ashes twice this spring: once at the annual Classical Performers Concert, as the winner of the Composition Competition, and once at the Tennessee Music Education Association Conference. I’ve learned so much from my peers over the last four years, so it was wonderful to hear them play my work—not to mention that they gave it such incredible performances!
Since I last posted on here, so much has happened that I can’t possibly put it one post, so I’ll just keep it short.
To start out, my first serious orchestral piece, “Out of Ashes” had a fantastic premiere by the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra in May. Huge thanks to all of the musicians for their hard work in making it a success! There are no words to describe that night, so I’m just going to post the recording here for you:
I’ve just finished my second year of Music School in college! This year, I’ve worked harder than I ever knew I could, and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunities that have allowed me to do so.
I know, I know—I haven’t posted in two months. So maybe you’ve been wondering where I’ve been. Or maybe you didn’t notice. The truth is, I’ve been a lot of places, so I’ll tell you about some of them…
For the most part, I’ve been… At school, in the practice rooms.
Three hours a-day, seven days a week (in theory, anyway). Music school is extremely demanding and exhausting, but in all of that time at the piano, I’ve come up with some amazing pieces that I’m looking forward to sharing on the next album. I’m going to dare to say that my second album will be better than the first. (I’ll tell you more about this album in next week’s post.) Continue reading “Where I’ve Been”→
In the last few months, much has happened that has made clear to me that I need to focus on being a composer. I can’t only do engineering. I’m certainly still recording, producing, and spending plenty of time in the studio (and plan to keep doing so because I still love it and need to record my compositions), but I’ve realized that, first and foremost, I’m a composer.
In the wake of an exhausting freshman year, unfortunately, until a few weeks ago, I had been struggling tremendously to compose anything at all. It wasn’t that I didn’t try—I tried harder than I knew I could. But the music wouldn’t come. I hated almost everything I did manage to write. On some level, I even began to hate composing itself because it took so much effort to even write things I didn’t like.
“Music students: as the semester grinds on you may feel intensely burnt-out. You may even consider dropping out of music altogether. If that happens, go back and listen to your favorite recordings, make music with your friends, do anything you can to remind yourself why you loved music before you started studying it. An education in music can be a very good thing, but it can also squeeze the life out of any love you ever had for it. Don’t let it.”
Recently, I came across this quote by Eric Whitacre from his blog, via Facebook. The timing couldn’t have been better.