Thursday, May 5, 2011

How's it going?? Well...

I know I said I'd update like every week and I know that has NOT been the case.  Our apartment was burglarized in February and included in the things that were stolen were BOTH my laptops which has made sitting down to write hard for me because I don't do well sitting at Tyson's desk for very long.  And life has been crazy and I haven't been in the right mind set to sit down and, yeah.  But I got a new laptop this weekend and with it a new motivation to start writing again.  So here I am :)

Anyway, on to the music stuff!  

Things...are going.  I have been taking lessons at an average of about every other week or so.  Unfortunately I can't afford much more than that at the moment.  I would LOVE to go every week, in addition to periodic coaching but I just can't do that right now.  There's this thing called eating??!!  But I've made a great deal of progress and am quite pleased with how my voice is shaping up.  I have a LONG way to go before I would consider auditioning for any leads but I'm definitely way more polished than I used to be.  I have extended my range by quite a bit as well as my projection.  It's actually  really hard for me to NOT be loud anymore.  Holding back to blend is hard unless I have other voices similar in tone and volume to mine.  I've actually been told by a few people that that kind of holding back can be damaging to my voice!?  I'm not sure how true that is.  I can tell however, that when I do have to hold back constantly like that, it tends to make me revert to old habits which is counterproductive to all the world I've been doing with my teacher.

I made the tough decision in January to leave my women's chorus Voci for the moment.  I have had SO much going on in my life that made commitment to rehearsals very difficult.  I have had to deal with stuff regarding my Grandmother's house/health back in Colorado and wasn't sure if/when I'd have to pick up and leave so it was better to just not put the group through that if I had to leave.  Since then, things have calmed down a bit and I was asked to join in B.A.C.H. (Bay Area Classical Harmonies) again for a concert series that only required minimal rehearsals and I felt like I could do that, at least for now.  I am one of only three Mezzo's in the group (unless we've managed to miraculously find more in the last few days) and overall the group is quite small.  It's challenging but good for me!  We are singing three concerts at the end of May and beginning of June that includes works by Barber, Bruckner and Bach among others.  It's been fun so far and I'm looking forward to the concerts.  I have loved getting my voice ready for solo work but I still love the feeling of being in a cohesive chorus that makes my skin tingle when the harmonies lock in...*shiver*

I have two big auditions set up for June that I need to get ready for.  One is for San Jose Opera's chorus. The position is small, but paid.  So I could justify the drive for rehearsals.  That one I honestly don't expect to get in on my first try.  BUT ...I want to at least try.  I promised myself a year ago that I would start auditioning, just for the sake of auditioning.  No matter if I think I can get in or not, to give myself practice and get myself used to the process.  Also to give myself NO excuse to NOT practice!!  If I have seeable goals ahead, it's easier for me to sit down and actually practice rather than just the mundane every day scales and vocalizing.  The other audition is for the California Christmas Revel's.  Ever since seeing it last year I wanted to be on that stage SO BAD.  It's not a paid position and the rehearsals are long I hear but so worth it.  I think it would just be awesome to be able to experience that and to be able to put it on my resume.  I also know a couple people already in the show and I think it would be great to be able to work with them.

So things are going.  Slow, but sure.  Practice is frustrating as always but I'm getting more used to making it an every day thing.  I just need to keep figuring out the most effective way to practice so I get the most out of my time.  Definitely an ongoing process.

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Studio

Our long-time friend and roommate recently moved out and I've decided that I'm going to turn his old room into an office/studio for me to start giving music lessons and also have a better space to practice in.  This seemed like an easy enough project when I was first thinking about it, but I have come across things I didn't think of before that I now have to consider.  This is going to be more work than I originally thought but I think but it'll be worth it!

I do not have a real piano unfortunately.  I have a pretty nice Yamaha keyboard that I think will work just fine for what I need it for.  The one major problem though is that I've noticed my piano skills have gone WAY down hill since I was in college.  And they weren't that great to begin with.  I knew enough to competently pass my Piano proficiencies but that's about it.  And the Piano is one of those instruments, that at least for me, that if I don't practice daily, I lose the skills real fast.  I know enough to easily plunk out chords and such for my own practicing but when it comes to helping others, and accompanying someone...forget it!  I think piano is something else I need to make sure to add to my daily practice.  Otherwise, giving lessons to others is going to be very challenging.

I think I also want to offer clarinet lessons in addition to voice but my clarinet is in serious need of refurbishing.  It needs new pads, new corks, tightening, oiling blah blah blah.  I called around to see how much it would cost me and I didn't get a quote below $200.  I'm poor...that is a lot of money right now.  It might have to wait until I can get some good money from voice lessons.  I also thought I could maybe do some beginning Piano too but going back to #1, I am just not that confident in my own piano skills to foresee giving someone else lessons on it.  That will definitely have to wait.

I need to get one more bookshelf so that I can put all my music and theory books etc. in one place.  Not that big of a deal you would think...but when you are as broke as we are, even a little money to buy a bookshelf can be difficult to come by.  I'm going to see if I can hit up some garage sales this weekend and check Craigslist and Freecycle.  If anything I can head to Ikea and see if I can get something small.

I need my own desk.  I'm currently using the kitchen table as a desk and if I'm going to be pretty much running a business from home, I need something more functional.  Again, I'm poor.  A new desk is money I don't necessarily have at the moment.  So again with the garage sale, freecycle, craigslist thing.  I need something I do all my paperwork on, book keeping etc. and a file cabinet to hold student records etc.  DONE!  :)

The business side of things is where I start to flounder.  I know I need to get a good bookkeeping program for my computer and get the file cabinet etc.  But I just thought of the possibility that I will probably need a business license now.  And then there's taxes etc. and and and....I really feel like I have no idea when it comes to that part of it.  I guess I need to start doing some serious research into it and talk to my other friends who give lessons and see how they handle it.  I just want to make sure I don't make any big mistakes.  I have a pretty good idea how to run things on the business end of the food industry since I've been doing cakes for a few years but this is a new field and I'm not sure how alike and how different things run.

Publicity.  I need to really think about how I'm going to advertise.  Of course there are flyers at schools and music stores etc.  But I need to decide if it's worth it to pay for other avenues such as FB ads and newspapers etc.  Of course there is Craigslist.  But I think a lot of what I'll have to rely on is word of mouth like I have done with my cakes.  I am going to probably start another FB page for my teaching services.  I had business cards set up but they are out of date now as both my phone number and address have changed.      

And then there's the issue of letting people into my home.  After we were burglarized, I've become really antsy when it comes to letting semi-strangers into my house.  Hopefully this will fade in time but I'm having a hard time getting all of this started because of that reason.  The idea of someone in my home that I barely know, regardless of the fact that they are beings supervised by me, makes me twitch honesty...