Monday, September 10, 2012

The first classes

Maybe a better title will come to me, but I have officially had my first classes, one with Tony on our speeches and the role of a mediator and one with Albert Oppenheimer (fellow from last year) from the YOURS project in Chicago on community mapping and improv.

Tony was not afraid at all to tell it how it is but incredibly useful feedback. We learned about the difference between credible and approachable voice. I have a very approachable voice and I need to learn on making it more credible. This will help my classroom management too. However, I didn't get too high in the decibel levels and I was more poised than I thought. I need to work on not using my hands as much (blame the Italian in me) and I need to stand more center and address the whole room. I enjoyed telling my story though and was very impressed with almost everyone's public speaking skills. No one was stage fright-I guess that's the pro of being musicians. It will be so rewarding to see how much we all improve. It also made me realize the experiences I am going to undergo with these nine fellows...we are going to experience a PLETHORA of experiences together!! Being critiqued in front of each other is only the beginning.

Community mapping is a very useful skill and I received some great sample emails on how to introduce myself to the community and be approachable. Though the time consumption issue is definitely a dilemma. Hopefully the next board meeting ACME members can go into the community and find out some new orgs for us to know about.

But the improv...that was powerful. We started just by playing one note and talking about the basic elements of music: sound and silence. Then we gradually added more complex concepts like dynamics, repetition, etc. Diogo tried to conduct us, but it was too composed in the literal sense. So I suggested we do what I did at Stillwater: close our eyes. And when we did that it was beautiful and truly a piece of music improvised and from the heart. Our barriers were let down and people weren't afraid to use their voices, both of their own and of their instrument. That performing experience is the first of many to come and it is so wonderful to again encounter the feeling of ensemble. All I wanted to do after that was play with everyone. It's instances like these that make me enjoy performing, not the solo stuff. From Monique's fluttering flute, to Andrea's vibrato cello, to Carlos' muted trumpet (never mind with Rachel's sweater), to Diogo's sus9 chords, it was a really special mixture.

Then it was time for Uno's (one I'm sure of many) where we celebrated Elaine's bd (never mind the cake that melted everywhere but was delicious if I do say so myself (my first vegan cake!)) and stayed there for 4 hours! I hope this camaraderie doesn't get jaded because right now everyone is so inclusive and on top of their game collectively. We even met on the holy day of Sun. to discuss our interview questions.

Highlight of the weekend: Seeing Train and Gavin DeGraw FREE and some great people watching while doing so.
Lowlight: Being locked out of the house for four hours because the door got locked so the cat would stay inside and I was eating breakfast outside after an exhausting zumba class..meaning I got stuck in my sweaty, aerobic clothes all afternoon. But the upstairs roommate is nice and gave me water and let me hang out with her.

Well I'm on this new schedule where I go to bed "early" (and wake up early no matter what time I go to bed) so I best be off.

Here's to another week!! My next posting I should know my residency plans (they're in the making right now but San Diego, Virginia Beach, and Larkspur (CA) look to be so far..)

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