Semester Rundown

It is December 14, and I am home for winter break! I just completed my first semester away at college last Thursday, so I thought that it might be interesting to summarize what this past semester was like.DORM LIFE I am a junior in college, and since this was my first semester away from home, I thought it would be a good idea to live on campus and to have that experience. I am in a single room in a dorm complex that is for non-freshmen. That means upperclassmen, transfer students (like me), international students, and graduate students live in my complex. I moved in a couple of days early so that I would be able to attend band camp (insert cheesy “one time at band camp…” joke here). Band camp is (supposedly) required for everyone in marching band, but there were quite a few people who either were not enrolled in marching band at the time of band camp or maybe they were not able to get into town early enough. I am super pleased with my single room. It is so nice not having to worry about anyone else’s schedule. I can wake up when I want, go to bed when I want, play music when I want… I live on an all-single-room floor, which is nice. My floor is in the oldest building in the complex, and there are only two floors with livable rooms. I don’t have to worry about people being loud above me, because I live on the second floor. I am very lucky to have met some good friends in my dorm. There are a couple of other people who are my age and are new to the university, so it seems like it was meant to be. I have also befriended people who have been here since they were freshmen.
DORM FOOD At my college, there is the dining hall, a coffee shop, and a small food court on campus. I can use my meal plan at all three of these places, but the only one I really like is the food court. I am a picky person, and when I find something I like, I stick to it (as well as other favorites). The main dining hall has quite a bit of variety, but I am not always able to find something that I find appealing.
CLASSES I am a music major, and I am currently in the normal classes that you would take as a sophomore, because I was not able to take these classes at my community college last year; they were not offered. I had music theory 3 and ear training 3, which should be taken together, but I think there are ways around it. I also had music history 1 which covered everything music from Ancient Greece to the end of the Baroque (1750). I also had to take a general education course. I should be done, if I am lucky, because I might be able to substitute music history for the history requirement. If I cannot do that, I plan on taking it in the summer. My one gen ed this semester was earth science. I took it, because I needed a physical science class with lab, and I figured that it would be the easiest. It was not bad. I got by, and now I am done.
APPLIED CLASSES/ENSEMBLES As a music major, I have to take private lessons on my main instrument, flute, and I plan on adding piano in the spring. More to come on the spring later. I just had flute lessons this semester. I had hour lessons, or two credits. My lesson time was not the best, it was at 8 in the morning, but I survived. I actually have figured out that I like practicing in the morning more than the afternoon, because it is more quiet. Everyone is either sleeping or in class. Part of applied lessons was required attendance and performance at a weekly studio class. If you want to know more about what studio class is like, check out my last blog post. As an upperclassman performance major, I performed more than some of my flute peers, but it was great experience. I do not get nervous for a performance anymore. I also performed in a couple of master classes and got feedback from other non-flute students and one where I got feedback from a professional flutist visiting my university. I was in three ensembles this semester. I was in marching band for the first time ever. It was okay; I learned that I prefer marching piccolo to flute. I got to meet a lot of people, and I believe that marching band is more social than concert band. Game days were long and tiring, but it was an excuse for my parents to come visit and take me to dinner after games. They were also a good way for me to spend my weekends on campus. If I was not in marching band, I probably would have gone home more often. I was also in wind ensemble. It was a different experience than the band at my community college. First off, it was bigger, and there were reduced ensemble pieces, which I did not really like. I felt cheated out of rehearsal and performance opportunities by being excluded from a few pieces. The last ensemble was flute choir. I am required to participate in a chamber ensemble for at least two semesters, but I plan to continue after that. In flute choir, I was able to play alto and bass flute as well as my regular concert flute. I ended up not really liking the bass flute. It is a little too big and heavy for me. I love the alto flute. It has a really cool sound.

Overall, my first semester at a college away from home was pretty good. I had a few challenges to overcome, such as my first season in a marching band and getting back into the swing of ear training, a music skill that is very difficult for me. I am super happy with my choice of a university. I love the campus environment, and the professors manage to be encouraging yet realistic.
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What is Studio Class?

If you are a music major, you probably have to attend a weekly studio class. But what does that term really refer to? What happens in studio class?
Well, in studio class, you meet with your applied professor as well as the other students who play your instrument, and you play for each other. It is a great way to get performance experience. The flute studio at my school is small; there are only nine of us. Still, not everyone plays every week. Usually, about three or four of us will play something individually and the other students will give comments. This is nice, because we get to hear feedback from more than just our applied professor. At first, I was unsure of what I thought about studio class, but now I love it. I look forward to playing for my fellow flute players, and I enjoy hearing them play as well. Plus, as a performance major, it is a great experience.

What I’m Thankful For

My family-and their support of my goals in life
My friends
My musical talents and inclinations
My pets
Access to food and water
A place to call home
A roof over my head and a place to sleep each night
My work ethic
Many other things…

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments or tweet me at (@)itsmixedarts!
Thanks for reading!

Papers in College

In my experience, you have to write quite a few papers in college. They might be short, or they might be long. Here, I am going to explain how I approach writing a paper in college.

First, I need to have a topic. Sometimes, I am assigned a topic, but lately I have had my choice with topics as long as they fit the class. Once I know my topic, I start researching and figuring out what to include in my paper. I also keep a record of the sources that I have come across by logging them in a note in OneNote. After I have a good idea of the content I want to include in my paper, I write an outline. I don’t always follow it exactly, but it serves as a guide and a way to organize the subject. Then I write the first draft. I don’t write for too long at a time, because there comes a point with anything where I will not be productive. I come back to my paper later, occasionally giving it a couple days. I skim through what is already written, and add what feels right. Sometimes I do some more research while I am writing to clear up anything that I am unsure of and to find sources that back up claims that I find myself making.
Once I am done, I have a friend or family member look at it, make any changes they recommend, and then I am done.
That’s how I write a paper in college.
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Happy Veterans Day plus Where I’ve Been

First, I would like to wish everyone vets and non-vets alike a happy Veterans Day! This day is probably one of the under appreciated holidays of the year. My college town has strong ties to Veterans Day, so the whole town basically shut down today to celebrate. Classes were canceled for college and K-12 schools, I’m sure that most public services were closed, with the exception if emergency services. As part of the university marching band, I marched in the parade, and we played the songs for each of the branches of the military as we marched down the town’s main street. It was a cool experience, and the parade drew a HUGE crowd on the sidelines.
Now onto why, if you’ve read my blog before, you are probably reading this post. I took a break from blogging to focus on school, and I am not ready to go back to two posts a week. That goal works when I am not in classes and rehearsal five to six days a week. I have quite a bit of stuff going on in my life, but I want to make blogging part of that life again. I will not be able to give myself a schedule, because school still comes first, but when an idea strikes, I will put it into works and post it here. I hope you understand.
If you want to keep up with me daily, I do have a twitter account where I post more, and I would like to post daily on there soon. Check me out at @itsmixedarts