As the school year wraps up for me, I thought I’d write a brief summary of my musical education over the last eight months or so. I know I said these blog posts would focus on music above my own life but I’ve decided to bend the rules a little bit because this seems to make sense as it combines the two.
The main musical change that sticks out for this year is my appreciation of jazz. In September, I tried out on trumpet for the Wind Ensemble and University Jazz Ensemble because both groups were going to China in May. My first choice was the Wind Ensemble and the only reason I put down Jazz Ensemble was the potential of traveling. After butchering the jazz sight-reading exercise, I somehow got put in the group and will be off to Beijing on May 25th. I’ve played bass in a few jazz bands before but never trumpet. I’ve also never been in one this good and this serious. The immersion has been nothing short of incredible, as I’ve improved as a musician and expanded my horizons at least tenfold if these things can be measured.
I’m also about to finish up jazz theory class where Dr. David Joyner (also the jazz band director) has explained the basic concepts of improvisation and jazz harmony. The experience and formal music training has been invaluable and I’m excited beyond words to take one of the only truly American genres across the Pacific Ocean. Also, as luck would have it, I was recently assigned to write a review of a jazz album on rateyourmusic.com. I still wouldn’t consider myself a huge jazz fan but I appreciate it more than I ever thought possible.
Continuing with the academic side of my musical knowledge, I have taken piano, guitar, trumpet and composition lessons. In my composition lessons, I’ve written three brass quintet pieces and am almost done recording five songs (more to come about this…). There have also been music history and theory classes as mentioned earlier and I’m almost done with keyboarding and ear training forever, which is great! Basically, I take many music classes at school and I know more about it than I did a year ago. Insanity.
I’ve also gotten plenty of play counts logged on my trusty iTunes account. If there are three artists that I’ve fallen in love with over the past year, they would have to be Fleet Foxes, Elliott Smith and Grizzly Bear. I’m jealous of those of you who get to see the two current groups on that list at Sasquatch this year. As for Elliott, may he rest in peace and continue to make me believe that truly beautiful music can often come out of profound suffering.
Next week, I will be posting recordings of the EP I have been working on. I’ll go more into detail about it next week but for now, let me just say that I have spent a lot of time on these five songs. I should really be sleeping or studying right now so I’ll finish up. I am so ready for summer!!!