Saturday, December 5, 2009


So...I didn't write a single post during the entire month of November....whoops.
Anyway....I think I'm kinda done with the blogging thing in general because I made a decision....yay being decisive! After much consideration and thinking I realized that I will forever regret not trying to be a performer unless I go out there and try! After experiencing the conservatory environment and the school of music environment I have determined that for me to feel prepared out in the world as a performer I need to graduate from a conservatory. Given this, I will be going back to Lawrence next year. I will graduate in 2011 with a degree in trombone (bass trombone) performance. Then I will either go to grad school, take auditions or go live in New York and work at a diner to pay bills while practicing and gigging whenever possible. Overall I am very excited.
There are many-several reasons why the conservatory environment works better for me, the biggest one probably being the motivation of other students practice habits that I have found to be much more lax at CSU. I also really enjoy the constant activity and concert schedule at Lawrence - not to mention that they are almost all free! I am also looking forward to being in a studio where there are a whole lot of bass trombonists again, there are 4ish here which is not too shabby but compared to the 8ish at Lawrence? not nearly as good :)
There are things I will miss about CSU and things that I will not enjoy about Lawrence (like the cost) but things will even out :)
As always, would love to hear from you!!!
Happy Holiday Season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Education Classes

I wish I could make this is VERSES and do a comparison but I didn't really take any education classes at Lawrence. I think education classes are a very intersting sort of breed of some ways the teachers should be the cream of the crop so that the future educations are learning from the best educators, in other ways it's ok if they're not the best because then we learn from their mistakes. I'm taking four education courses this semester and they are: EDUC 275 - Schooling in the United States, High Brass Techniques, Flute/Double Reed Techniques and Vocal Techniques.

EDUC 275 is basically exploring the history of schooling in the United States. Different problems concerning stereotypes about race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic standing, etc. how they have been dealt with, how they are still a problem and a few ways to attempt to change the standards associated with them. The teacher, Dr. Aragon, does a good job of explaining how she is directing us when she has us do an activity so that we learn from our experiences. I have also enjoyed having discussions with the other people in the class. It is my personal opinion that future educators are some of the most interesting people to have conversations with. I have also come to appreciate my schooling history because I am in disbelief about a lot of the problems we are learning about because I have never experienced them: my high school teachers (and other teachers, high school is the most fresh) did an amazing job!!! Part of me wonders to what extent my education was impacted by IB, what part amazing teachers, what part my peers, what part my parents/sister and what part being in Fort Collins, oh and of course, what part of just plain old me? I don't anticipate ever being able to answer these questions...but I think about them. I have also noticed how much more hyper-sensitive and aware of how ALL my teachers are teaching me now. I notice things I never would have though about before - especially about gender bias and race. I have also begun to be critical of the stereotypes presented in the media and American culture in general....I have no other comparison from other cultures or I'm sure I'd be critical of them as well.

High Brass Techniques has been the most intersting for me to think about and observe in rather than learn how to play trumpet and french horn. Since I am a brass player I have found that picking up another brass instrument has been very simple and I barely have to think. I have found it interesting to se what the other people in my class, who are not brass players, are having trouble with. I try to think about what I would tell them if I were their private teacher or band director. There are a lot of similarites in how I would teach a beginning trombone student and a beginning trumpet student but there are also a few big differences. I have also found it very intesting to see how my ideas of how to solve learner's problems have varied from my teachers strategies. One of the big lessons I have learned is that teaching transposition is one of the most difficult concepts to grasp and to teach. I start on French Horn next week...wish me luck!

Flute/Double Reed Techniques has been a very in-depth learning experience. I would still not describe myself as adept at flute but I can make some pretty noises. My fingers have a very difficult time staying and moving as they should but the good news is that air support has been no problem! I have developed a much higher regard for my friends who play flute...really anyone who plays flute well, it's harder than I had originally thought. Dr. Moody does a really good job of bringing individuals up to the front of the class and then asking for suggestions instead of just giving us all the answers. Next week I start oboe....we'll see how much better my fingers do with a vertical position, and I'll see if I can learn to breath less :)

Vocal Techniques has had a few very intersting moments: I am apparently a soprano - I had always assumed I was an alto. Last week we looked at pictures and videos of inside the vocal tract when someone is singing and talked about all of the bad things that can happen if you don't take care of your voice. Dr. Heil has a lot of really good experience and knowledge that she is very willing to share with us.

Well....that was a little longer than I anticipated.

So yesterday I hugged my friend Andrew good bye because he went home this weekend and another of my friends remarked that he must really like me because he closed his eyes when we hugged...this made me ponder when I close my eyes when I hug people...I'm pretty sure I close my eyes every time
Do you close your eyes when you hug someone? does it matter who it is?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So...I've been a little negligent in my postings

You may have noticed that it's been a while since my last post....there's a good reason I promise.

1) I have kind of run out of things to write about. I know that there are still things, I have a lot to say, but it's not objective comparisons or positive things and I would hate for one of my teachers to read this and get the wrong impression

2) I am SO sick of thinking about how CSU is not Lawence, when it's a constant voice in my head it's really hard to get up the motivation to spend 23ish minutes writing about such differences

3) If you haven't heard Romanovsky and Phillips' Emotional Rollercoaster then you won't really understand my AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I tried to find it on youtube but I couldn't. or I would have posted a link. You can find a short clip on Amazon if you're really curious.
Anyway...that's what my life has been like and for the past few weeks I have been moving in a mostly downward motion. When Renee is upset with things she doesn't want to talk about them, write about them, think about them or really have anything to do with them. Now, when I'm upset with school I still have to problem. It took everything I had to be able to go to school, do my homework and appear to be mostly normal. The biggest thing that continued to make actually happy were (and are) my amazing friends...but I already wrote a post about them...hence lack of posting.

Here are the most important friends in my life at the moment:

Andrew Deem - he plays trombone and is majoring in Music Education...he is responsible for introducing me to these other wonderful people and is from Colorado Springs

Tiki (Tiffany Key) - she plays flute and is also majoring in Music Education, she went to Rocky Mt. High School here in Fort Collins so we think we've met before but aren't entirely sure

Batman! (Cory Bissell) - he plays bass clarinet in band and trombone in marching band, he is also majoring in Music Education and is from Virginia

Tess Stoops - I actually met through my friend Celeste, she is not in band, majoring in something and we have a Friday date (either breakfast or lunch) that always makes my week more wonderful

In answer to your questions yes, I'm feeling much better, "Things are looking up, it's a great little world we live in..." (extra special bonus points if you know where this is from) and I wil be updating much more regularly now.
Smiles :) :D

Friday, September 25, 2009


I was re-surprised to find what a large impact one or two or three people can have on my life, mood and general thought processes. I didn't realize just how much not having a constant availability of friends to hang-out with was effecting me. I realized that there was a lack of that and that I was not quite as entirely happy but until I woke up euphorically happy this morning I didn't realize the full extent of impact that my friends and people connections have on my life.
Last night I had three friends over for dinner and tea and then homework and more tea. I was so extremely pleased when I went to sleep simply because I had been surrounded with friends for most of the day. I woke up with the knowledge that I would have people to see at school today and friends. It was great, and I am still extremely happy - such to the extent that I have not been in a really long time.
This is, of course, not to say that I didn't have any friends earlier but now I have friends that I see every day that I also hang-out with on occasion (hopefully with increasing frequency). I have very much enjoyed seeing my friends from high school, both that I have stayed in contact with and those I haven't whom I see randomly on campus, I would not have been able to make it into week 4 without them. Nor would I have been able to make it without random calls/txts/wall posts/etc. from my friends who are elsewhere (namely Lawrence).
After going through these few weeks and now being re-aquainted with having "hang-out friends" I appreciate my friends (all of you/them) even more, in whatever capicity they fill for me - whether it be random hellos (friendly acquaintences), coffee dates, phone calls, letters, facebook comments/posts, posts on this, drinking tea with me, doing homework with me, playing in an ensemble with me and making faces during rehearsal, giving me much needed hugs (random or asked for), or just plain old chillin'.
Summary (as I am "learning" in CO150): I LOVE MY FRIENDS!!!!!
I miss you all, even if I see you daily, I miss you :P
Oh, and thank you for being my friend, my life would be less full and wonderful without you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Sorry it's been a while....I'm not gonna keep myself to a schedule with this :)

You know how the mystical "they" always says that you shouldn't talk about the weather and that it's a cop-out for not having anything to say? well I think that's stupid, I really like talking about the weather, especially when it's abnormally cold for the current month and it's rainy ad wonderful. I don't think people, as a whole, really appreciate weather as much. Mostly people complain that it's too hot, too cold, too rainy, to snowy, too early for it to be snowy/rainy, too windy, too unpredictable, etc. I love it for that very reason, it's one of the few things that has not been taken over by technology or other human invention. I mean, yes, global warming has had an effect on the weather but the weather has been doing crazy things even before the humans created their crazy machines that put accelerators into the air and cause changes to happen faster.
I rode my bike to school today for the first time this week because it has been rather chilly (like 50 degrees-ish) and threatening rain. It just rained, but it's ok because I'm not riding my bike home. I am just really enjoying that the weather has been pleasantly cold - it's been allowing me to drink a LOT more tea and wear clothes that I haven't worn in a really long time - like hooded sweatshirts :) and ugly suit coats that I bought for a costume party, and cloaks...we're not quite cold enough for the ponchos but it's getting there. It's snowed a little bit in Colorado already and I think that's wonderful, not too early or anything silly like that.
I'm still not wearing shoes and people keep noticing and asking me, in flabergasted voices, if I am cold. I respond with a pelasent "Surprisingly no!" What I don't mention is that I survived two years of Wisconsin winters - without a real winter coat - and that I'm a Colorado native who LOVES COLD!!!!!
Needless to say, I'm excited for the weather change, I tend to throughly enjoy whatever season it happens to be at the moment and I really like the seasons of change, eventhough I'm likely to get stuck somewhere unprepared.

A semi-random suggestion of music to listen to if you are bored: Ingrid Michaelson, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Guster, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Streetlight Manifesto
More on music later

Not so random question: What is your favorite season (if any) and why?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

VERSES: Common Area/Lounge

If you're reading my blog, chances are you know that I am a people person, maybe even a SUPER PEOPLE PERSON - this means that the place in the music building/con where people hang out and chill is really important to me. When CSU started I feared that their common areas (the biggest being near the concert hall) would remain scarcely populated as they were for the first few days of school. What I have come to realize is that it is heavily populated during some parts of the day and empty during others, pretty consistent for times as well. There are two circles of plushy chairs around little round tables (that are perfect feet height) and then there are four tall tables, each with two chairs, near the windows, against the wall to the west. The room area is probably about 25ft by 15ft. I also really like the large quantity of natural light that comes in through the windows.
Lawrence lounge area is HUGE, basically the central part of the basement - in it's entirety. There's a lot more seating areas (two u-shaped areas) with couches, chairs and then in the middle are benches. People pretty much always chill there, as long as it's not a weekend before 11am :) or after 2am...on any day. There is zero natural light source because it is a basement. It seems like a much more used area but that could just be that it is a hallway of sorts and so people go through it all the time. The two different couch sections are also socially separated into jazz instruments/people and everyone else. The positive aspects of this arrangement is that there is intelligent conversation always going on and there is somewhere that is socially similar for everyone to be. Downsides are that there is not a complete integration which disallows some potentially interesting conversations and insights. Another awesome thing about the Lawrence lounge is its location. Since it is near to the practice rooms and the lockers (see practice room post about that) people congregate there ALWAYS and it is a great place to take a 5 min practice break.
CSU doesn't have a segregation based on side of the lounge...but sitting there today for an hour or so I watched the area go from a few instrumentalists to all singers (except me) and then they all left at pretty much the same time, it was crazy. So I would say that it is segregated based on time. The CSU lounge is sort of close to the lockers but it is away from the practice rooms. There are also several different other mini-lounges scattered around the building - this is nice but it doesn't create one central area like Lawrence has. It's hard to say that I like one better than the other because a lot of what I appreciated about the lounge at LU (Lawrence) was the people there. I'm making friends at CSU but I've only been here for 3 weeks (and two days) verses two years. I do find that it is easier to get homework done in the lounge at CSU, due mostly to the fact that there are less people that I am likely to become distracted by on a regular basis. I rarely find people sleeping at CSU, but we're not yet a month in and the building isn't open that late. It's an interesting comparison that I hadn't expected and am now very intrigued by.

Random questions (because I like them): what is your favorite way to eat peanut butter?

Friday, September 11, 2009


OK, so I'll start with the staggaring statistic:
Lawrence is about $40,000 a year and going up
CSU (in-state, with room and board) is about $14,000 (also going up)
CSU (in-state, without room and board and with the Colorado opportunity fund) is about $6000
This means that I can finish my degree at CSU (where it will take me three years) for LESS than ONE YEAR at Lawrence, if the math is correct. This, of course, does not take scholarships into account...but unless Lawrence gives me a lot more than they are, CSU will remain the cheaper.
Given that, CSU happily charges you for every little thing they possibly can. I had to pay an extra fee for a mandatory orientation, for my ID, to check out an instrument for tech classes, for EVERY LARGE ENSEMBLE CONCERT I GO TO I will have to pay $5, to register my bike, a practice room key and a locker. Maybe (probably) I'm just bitter and angry (regardless of all of these extra costs it's still cheaper than Lawrence) but it threw me for a loop. I'm used to getting into all concerts for free unless they are guest artists.
Since one of the biggest (only) reasons I decided to take a year off was lack of $$ this means that this is important....unfortunatly.
Winner of cost: CSU, hands down, no contest
Does that mean I'm fo' shiz transferring until I graduate? no, I'm still in decision mode

In other, happier, news: I have new friends! and they are wonderful! and I'm excited to get to know them better as I am here longer.
Also, today, I ran into TWO people(friends) from high school whom I haven't talked to in a long time. It was wonderful seeing them and doing a quick catch-up...honestly, it kind of made my day. Thanks for beign excited to see me!!!!

Question as sign off: If I were a breakfast cereal, what do you think I would be? and why? (I won't think less of you, regardless of what you write, I promise)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Google and A short and silly post

Reasons why Google is awesome:

Also, I love gmail. End my endorsement of Google.

Random silly post:
I really enjoyed the date today 09/09/09 and I was thinking to myself, "Hey, this is pretty cool, and it will only happen for 12 years every rather....still..." and then I realized that this is the NINTH month that this has happened for and I know I was aware of the other ones but I was surprised when I realized that this has been happening once a year for nine years...and that there are only three more to happen....and then I was thinking about how the first one happened during my first year of junior high school and I was blown away by thinking about how fast time flies.

The end.

P.S. I found a tea I don't like today and it was sad...then I ate a cookie.

What do you think of the new alignment?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Coffee Shops

I LOVE coffee shops. I love how each and everyone has a different personality and demographic of people. If I had enough money and time I would basically live in coffee shops. But then I would not have a home and I would not be able to have a day like yesterday where I stayed in my pajamas all day. I think there is something wonderful with the coffee shop mentality too. You get to go and kind of escape from everything for a while. If you go to the same one enough then people begin to know who you are and what you want - it's like having new friends! (sometimes actually new friends) I have two favorite coffee shops in Fort Collins: Mugs and Starry Night. Each serve different purposes and I go to them for different reasons and I love them both. I have recently been introduced to the Bean Cycle and Wild Boar - both are also quite wonderful.
Maybe it's just that I love people watching and feeling like I'm part of a "special" community but I love coffee shops because they allow me to do both of those things - and have coffee or tea, sometimes cake or other delicious food items and free Internet :)

In other news, I had an amazing almost 2 hour lesson today, after I missed my lesson this morning...thanks to those who missed their lessons and let me have their times - whether or not this was on purpose remains to be seen.
In the middle of my lesson(ish) it started raining and has yet to really stop...I love Colorado weather, it is fantastic how it can be warm and pleasant but also the moment I am enjoying watching people simply not care and continue about their business (or run through it in an attempt to get less wet) from the front window seat at Mugs where I enjoyed a bagel pizza and a latte (free because I bought enough this summer), using their wireless Internet and feeling just simply awesome.

I hope you are having an amazingly wonderful day!!! :D (I certainly am!)

Friday, September 4, 2009

VERSES: Practice Room Edition efforts to explore the differences and such between Lawrence and CSU, I'm going to do a series (randomly) of "verses" where I compare the same thing at each university. Today's edition is practice rooms.
Things I like about CSU practice rooms:
1) They are sound proof - or close to at least, I can practice without worring about other people judging me or distracting me with their practice
2) They are acoustically happy - I sound good because the room lets me sound so with ease
3) They have wood floors - this seems like a stupid point but it makes me happy and aids the above
4) They are big! I can play in any direction AND there's a piano in it AND if I had people (and time) to play duets it would be super easy to find space

Things I like about Lawrence practice rooms:
1) Someone is ALWAYS practicing
2) They are set up so that there is an easy place to take a break - namely the con lounge
3) They are close to the instrument lockers - instead of ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE BUILDING
4) They are not locked
5) The "windows" are kinda more like 2-way mirrors so there is some anonimity even though people can hear you through the walls (and doors)
6) They have character because they are old

Things I don't like about CSU practice rooms:
1) They are ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE BUILDING - and it's a 2 min walk from the lockers in the basement to the practice rooms on the first floor
2) They are locked and I'm paranoid about leaving my key either in my locker or in the room when I step out to get a drink
3) They have no character - this is probably because the building is new so this is a questionable point against CSU

Things I don't like about Lawrence practice rooms:
1) They are not sound all
2) They have very little ventilation....and sometimes people make them stinky
3) They are not especially acoustically happy - they're made of cinderblocks....and particle board
4) They are small

I'm pretty sure I'll find other things that I notice as I'm in CSU's more and in Lawrence's less...though I did spend a lot of time in them so my opinion is pretty well formed :)

I attached some pictures of one of the CSU practice rooms.....I don't have one of Lawrence's, it never seemed important.

In other news...I just got an HpMini netbook and it is my new best friend...I love it!!!!!!!!!! I was using it while I was walking across campus today and was pleasently surprised to find out that there is wireless almost all the way to the music building (the UCA in further posts). Oh what is becoming of the world?

Here is a silly quote I thought of yesterday (and I couldn't find it online so, clearly, no one else has ever thought it) "Real Friends Read BETWEEN the Lines of my Blog (or Twitter)" I think it's funny...and not especially true, but funny. More on my opinion of twitter later.

Random question if you feel like answering: What is/was the most exciting letter you have ever recieved in the mail?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Education People

It's the crazy people (like those in my Education class) that make me REALLY want to teach. I cannot imagine a more accepting and fun group of people! So far I have had this class (Schooling in the United States, henceforth refered to as EDUC 275 or my ED class) twice. We meet on Wednesdays from 4-6:50pm...and I have class from 10-2 and then again at 3. Regardless of my lack of sufficient time to eat and chill and practice and feel like a real person on Wednesdays this class pleases me greatly! Part of our time is spent in small group discussion and since we are all (mostly) future educators we are all willing and excited to play silly little games, have real discussions and meet eachother. I made TWO new friends today and they are both from this class. I also really like my teacher, she's super fun and excitable and I can totally tell that she wants to teach us how to be good teachers who care about things and their (our) students.
Wednesdays and Mondays are both really long for me, each start at 10am (not bad), I have an hour break at 2 and then class from 3-5:40pm on Mondays (followed by DND!!!!) and 6:50 on Wednesdays...long days but totally worth it!

So...funny thing about blogs: I have no idea who is reading them. I'm not sure that most people really understand this and they have the potential to fail at realizing that if they say something bad about someone, there is a distinct possibility that word will reach that person and then bad things happen. Dear Renee, don't write bad things about anyone, Love Self. Not that I would have anything bad to say ever...anyway....
What do I put at the end of a blog post? a send off? some cheesy signoff? a random question for people to answer?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

EPIC UPDATE!!! (it's been 10 months....)

Ok ,so it's been....much longer than it should have been since the last update (10 months?); I apologize in advance for the condensed form of this one...feel free to e-mail me with any desired elaborations :)

So..the trip to New Zealand that happened over winter break was FANTASTIC!!! I really enjoyed spending time with my family, extended family and it's super pretty there!!!

I ended up finish up the year at Lawrence and definitely "got my money's worth". I participated in 6 different ensembles and very much enjoyed them all. I was in symphonic band, jazz band, bass trombone quartet, bass trombone dectet (I organized this one), trombone choir and Conchordance (Lawrence's all-women's acappella group:, playlist of our concert at the end of the year).

I kept myself busy with my classes, I discovered that I really enjoy music history, though I think this is much due to my amazing teacher (and advisor) Julie McQuinn. I really enjoyed waking up to her bouncy excitement and interesting insights to the music we were studying.

I also took a course that required me to observe in a classroom for 20 hours. I chose to observe in a middle school band program because I felt like I hadn't given middle school band a real chance. Through the 20 hours I really came to appreciate the teaching of my beginning band teacher. I found that I was very critical of the teacher I was observing, often believing that I could do a much better job with certain aspects. Overall it was a really good experience and I am still willing to give middle school band a shot, though at this point I would still much prefer high school.

At the end of the year (in June) I bought a bass trombone, all by myself!, and I am so happy with it. As many of you know, I name all of my trombones because I think they each have a different personality. My first trombone is named Raoul (mostly after Phantom of the Opera), my second trombone is named Beast (because he was a beast to play when I first got him and one of my fondest memories, that helped him get his name, is playing as loud as I possibly could in band with him), this third trombone has yet to be named but I think that it is a girl – very exciting because I usually find that instruments have the opposite gender of their owner and I would LOVE to have a girl trombone, especially since it’s a bass :)

I spent the summer teaching Lego robotics, just like I usually do, and it was very fun, also as per the usual. I also spent the summer building a retaining wall with my mother in my backyard. While this was not the funest job, there were moments of pride as I can look down and see just how many 72lb bricks we moved and placed…and it was pretty fun working with my mom :)

I intended to take a year off and work since Lawrence is VERY expensive, I looked for jobs this summer, applied and was not hired. Three weeks before Colorado State University started my parents offered to hire me as a “research assistant” to determine the differences between CSU and Lawrence’s respective music departments and pay for a semester at CSU. I agreed with very little hesitation as this would be fun, interesting and would not have me anti-earning money (aka spending money).

I officially transferred, though I am, as of yet, uncertain as to how long I will stay – at the very least it will be one semester; at most it will be until I graduate – maybe with a Masters, who knows. I have found that the red tape surrounding late applications, transfer credits, etc. is thick, confusing and not the most fun to deal with. On the other hand, the faculty/staff has been very helpful and welcoming. It is a week into classes and I’m already compiling a whole lot of differences, similarities, opinions and all sorts of interesting information. I’m really enjoying living in Colorado (Fort Collins) again, it’s beautiful and there are Mountains!!!!!!!!!

I am starting a blog to relate some of my frustrations, elations and other insights about transferring and other fun stuff in my life…I hope to update it somewhat daily.

As always I would LOVE to hear from you!! (especially if you are in Fort Collins and we haven’t talked in a while)

Have a FANTASTIC day!!!!!!!!!!!!!