Conducting the Band

I had an interesting experience today in band. Our director was out sick, and had asked a student conductor to conduct in her substitute plans. Minutes after walking into band, the band president asked me if I wished to conduct. And of course, I accepted.

By no means am I a great conductor, but I love conducting and would take any chance to do it. After all, how would I learn without these experiences?

The Class of Beauty

Today during band, our band director said something that struck me as profound. To put it in context, here was the situation:

We were playing Steven Byant’s Dusk, and we came across the block chords that were supposed to be the climax of the piece (around measure 42, if I remember correctly). Being a high school band in its second full week of rehearsal, we weren’t doing so well. But this piece was, or rather, is all about the consonant beauty and the dissonant tension. It is the perfectly meshed cohesion of the two that make this piece truly fantastic.

Wanting to convey that to the band, our band director proceeded to emphasize the beauty that this piece can be. And I mean emphasize. Of course, the newer members found it comical and there was a round of laughter around the room. Then she said: “In all your other classes, you lean mechanics. This is the one class where we can make beauty. Can we do it without laughing about it?”

Of course, her intention was not to distinguish band from all the other classes. But I feel as if she did it more clearly than anyone possibly could have. Perhaps that’s why I find band to be the relief of my day. Perhaps that’s why I always seem to end up in the band room in my free time (Well, that’s probably because I’m a band geek). And perhaps that’s why music is truly an escape from school and the work of life, because I know that whether I’m playing, writing, or listening to music, I know that I am a part of something truly beautiful. 

Universities, Colleges, Conservatories…

As a Junior in high school it’s high time for me to be thinking about where I want to continue my higher education. As I’m sure you’ve guessed already, I want to pursue a major in music composition. I’ve struggled with this decision for quite a while now (about two years, in fact), and I’ve realized that as much as I love engineering and science, music composition is my passion. I felt as if I was simply afraid to admit a decision I had already made, due to the various discouragements from parents and the difficulties associated with the career in general. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me; I love music too much.

I realize that difficulties are common in a career of music. Even if I do get a job, I probably won’t be able to support a family by composition alone. But with the ever-increasing options in the modern world (thanks to the exponential growth of media), I do believe hard work can land me in a position that I will not only be able to enjoy, but also be able to earn a living from.

In order to get to those places, I must first practice my skills in school. Ideally, I would be accepted to a conservatory of music or a music college where I can receive the top-of-the nation music education. However, financial, academic and parental issues prevent that from happening. Long story short, I’m currently looking to (hopefully) receive a scholarship to a university that not only has a good music program but also has other academic options, so that if I ever wish to switch majors, I can do so.

It’s hard to believe the future is rushing towards me so quickly… Perhaps I’ll look back upon this post in two years and smile, knowing that I’m headed towards a career of passion and success.

I sure hope so.

The Score of An American Elegy

I’m sure you noticed how fascinated I was with this song when I posted it a while back, and I have been listening to it almost daily ever since. Today, when I talked to my band director about it, she said she had the music to it. Of course, I proceeded to ask if I could borrow the score, and fortunately there were two copies.

I love scores, and I love this piece. What a great match.

Colors of the Wind

Some may think Disney is only for small children. While I can understand why that would be reasonable for their movies, but their music is not only ageless, but also timeless. It reaches across cultures and can really carry meaningful messages for the young, the old, the rich, the poor…

We mentioned Pocahontas briefly in our U.S. History class, and I was immediately reminded of this song. It fits the above description quite well, I’d say.

Pep Band

It’s good to be back.

Our high school Pep Band had our first home game of the season. For those of you that don’t know, our school has a Pep Band that plays rockin’ awesome tunes for each of our football team’s home games. It’s a whole lot of jam packed fun and excitement, all the way from top-of-the-lung cheers to a Sousaphone solo section. Playing funky and groovy music with a talented group of friends can be quite a fantastic feeling.

I’m looking forward to the two other games that are coming up. But for now, the tiredness is taking its toll on me; good night!