Friday, October 30, 2015

It's painful to hear a recording of yourself.

We finished recording my audition video and S is now compressing the files before putting them on my flash drive.  His accompaniment sounds very nice (DMA in piano performance, after all) but I'm not enjoying hearing myself sing.  I was struggling, especially with the Purcell, and I can hear every glitch, every wobbly pitch, every place where my technique is, shall we say, lacking.  I know you're always your own worst critic; I just hope the auditioners are kinder to me than I am to myself.

That's a relief! But "wait" is still a 4-letter word

I had expected to hear by now whether I'd been accepted to uni for the spring semester; still no word. I was getting concerned, largely because the Nov. 1 early-admission deadline for the fall is looming large.  Turns out that's the deadline for freshmen; for transfer students, it isn't until March 1st, so I don't have to worry about reapplying for a few months yet.

In related news, I record my music school audition video tonight!  I'm feeling by turns fatalistic and panicked, calm and nervous.  If I'm not accepted for Fall 2016, I'll just reapply for Fall 2017.  (They only admit new students in the fall.)  Pray for me, and for the Chief, who has to put up with me during this whole process.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I hate apps that nag.

Last night I started my music school application, which just needs my audition videos to be complete.  Today I got an email from the application system titled "Finish your application today", "reminding" me that my application is due soon.  Trust me, little app, I'm painfully aware of the deadline.  Now leave me alone!

Now that's love!

The Chief is what I call a "peanut butter purist" - only eats peanut butter in a sandwich.  He's not interested in peanut butter in any other form (ingredient, flavoring), and thinks peanut butter/chocolate candy (especially peanut butter cups) is an abomination.  Imagine my surprise when I was unloading the groceries today and found he'd bought me a package of not just one, but two, Reese's chocolate-covered peanut butter pumpkins!  He had fun making a big show of shuddering at bringing such "contamination" into the house, but he obviously enjoyed bringing home a little something he knew I'd enjoy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This is getting real!

Tonight I had my first (and only!) rehearsal with my replacement accompanist.  He's a genial guy, with a doctorate in piano performance.  Not only did he play both my songs with ease, but he followed me well, too.  I recorded him playing both accompaniments so I can work with them at home (as I told him, "so I can take you home with me to practice").  Friday night we record my audition video! =:o  After all these months and months of working these 2 little pieces exclusively, it's hard to believe it's almost over.

I just finished drafting my music school application.  It's ready except for the video files (they want each song as a separate file).  Friday night we'll record, S will do the conversion and load my files onto a flash drive, and I'll upload the files to my application and send that baby on its way!

It'll be a relief to have this behind me after working on these songs for what feels like years.  I've already told my voice teacher I want to take next week off, then work on something, anything, else.   She agreed that that's a good idea; she's probably almost as tired of those pieces as I am.  She suggested we do something she's done with other students in similar situations - bringing in 3 or 4 new songs each week for a few weeks.  We'd give them a quick once-over, I'd take 'em home and work on them a little, we go over them at my next lesson, then pick another few and repeat the process.  Sounds like a relatively painless way to explore new pieces while giving myself a break from the audition pieces that have been eating my musical life for the past several months.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Today's lesson - Soundboard 001

Today my Tech Theater prof had us help the events team setting up for tomorrow's College Enrichment day.  Since I'm going to be running the sound board for next month's college production, I was assigned to the sound designer.  She showed me how she was mic-testing the wireless mics, then had me put fresh batteries into the handheld mics, then sound-check them.  I even got to set the initial levels.  She also showed me how she gave the TV crew a line out and had me set the levels for that feed.  Pretty basic stuff, but it's a start, and of course it also gives me a few grains of familiarity with the board.

Looking forward to being the sound tech for "The Odd Couple"; another skill, however, rudimentary, to add to my repertoire.

That was unexpected!

I was standing in line to get a sandwich between classes today.  The gentleman ahead of me turned to me and asked what I was having.  At the cashier's encouragement ("Are you gonna miss a golden opportunity?"), I let this total stranger buy my lunch.  I haven't any idea who he was; he might have been a professor, but who could tell.  (I've been mistaken for faculty once or twice, just because I'm so much older than the overwhelming majority of the student body.)  The cashier didn't seem too surprised, which leads me to think he's done this at least a few times before.

What a nice little surprise on a chilly, overcast day.  I also found a $5 bill earlier today; this seems to be my lucky day!

Friday, October 23, 2015

What did you do in school today?

This week's stage make-up class was on learning to do bruises, cuts & scars.  We had fun making ourselves look like we'd been in a brawl or were zombies (two classmates are quite experienced - impressive skills!).    My "bruise artwork" wasn't great - I had my colors placed badly so it just looked weird - but it'll improve with practice.

After lunch I reported to the scene shop to get some more shop hours (I have to get 30 hours by the end of the semester).  We had to take down a flat that my Tech Theater class had put up the other day and dismantle it because some of the dimensions were wrong.  We had to close up early, though, as the materials we need to rebuild the flat won't be delivered until next week.  Three quesses what we'll be doing in the shop once that load of lumber arrives...

Past the midterms - whew!

Out of 5 classes that I'm taking this semester, only 2 had any kind of midterm requirement.  My acting class midterm consisted of a) a monologue; b) a paraphrase of said monologue, to be handed in before doing the monologue; and c) considered answers to several questions about the monologue (what's your character, what's that person's relationship to the one(s) they're speaking to, etc.).  The memorization of the monologue was the only scary or challenging piece; the two written parts were a breeze.  We drew numbers to determine the order in which we'd present our monologues.  I traded to get the first ("get it over with quick") slot.  I got out there, started, and quickly realized I was skipping pieces.  I took a deep breath or two and started over, after which it flowed reasonably well.  I don't know how I did, but at least I didn't crash & burn, so I'm optimistic that I got at least a B.  (I have no idea how the grading goes on these things - will we be graded on a curve? based on our improvement since the beginning of the semester? some other criteria?)

My Intro to Theater class had an actual midterm exam, on the history we've covered to date.  I was sweating bullets over that one, not knowing how involved it would be or how much detail we'd need to know.  All I knew, from last week's review, was that there was going to be a long-answer (3-4 paragraphs) essay as about 25% of the exam grade.  The essay questions weren't the ones I'd prepped for (we'd been warned we'd be asked to pick one of 2 topics to write on), but the one I wrote on was a subject I'd reviewed just before we had to put our books & notes away, so I think it went well.  My one problem was that there were 2 short-answer questions on things that I know we never covered in class.  We had to do a short answer "essay" (2-3 sentences) on 5 out of 6 questions.  I suspect he'll have to give everyone credit for one of those, as only 4 of the 6 were on subjects covered in either lectures or online reading assignments.  Aside from that, though, I thought it was a fair test.  I'm much more relaxed now that I've got that behind me and am satisfied with how I did.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


When we had to memorize and present a monologue in my acting class, I had two classmates ask me about memorization tricks and techniques.  (When I told them one trick I'd used to memorize my monologue was to learn it starting at the back, their reactions were entertaining.)  

Then tonight the Chief asked me about memorization.  I warned him that the techniques I use to learn lines and monologues wouldn't necessarily be much help to him with tax court rules and procedures.  He was a bit disappointed but took it well. :)

How strange that all of a sudden I have 3 different people ask me essentially the same thing in the course of just a week or two.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Trying to get the blasted audition video done is even harder than I'd expected.

A few weeks ago I started having problems when singing.  Despite bringing all my best technical skills to bear (breathing? check; posture? yep; placement? good), I would have to stop after half an hour or less.  Even when being careful to sing correctly and not push or anything, my throat would ache as if I'd been blasting away for an all-day sing.  As a result, I put myself on a singing moratorium while I tried to get an appointment with my primary doc so I could get an ENT referral.  this meant cancelling my Oct. 10th appointment to make my music school audition video. :(

Had the ENT appointment today.  I'm OK to start singing again, but I have a lotta ground to make up after not singing at all for 3 weeks!  Now I'm trying to match schedules w/ my accompanist and my friend who offered to do the video, but the accompanist seems to be teaching whenever I'm available to record.

The school of music application deadline is a week from Sunday, so I don't have a lotta leeway here.  I don't have time to find another accompanist - it took weeks to find this one!  If I miss the deadline, I gotta wait another year (they only accept for fall, not spring, semester).  I could have this behind me if only my throat hadn't decided to be uncooperative.  After working for months and months on this audition, I'd really hate to be unable to do it just because we can't get schedules lined up.  Waaahhh!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The down side of online homework

Got back from my reunion/family weekend, tried to do the homework for one of my classes; no dice.  We're supposed to go to a link and watch interviews with 2 actors, but when I followed the link, it only connected to a trailer for one of the interviews.  I can't do my homework!  This is frustrating beyond words!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My first on-camera work

Yesterday I did my first acting for a camera.  My community college's Communications and Theater Dept. was filming a series of vignettes for an in-house PSA and the director tapped some of us from her acting classes and the acting club to be in them.  I had 2 little clips to do.  

In one, I was one of a series of people reading quotes about change.  (Mine was by Maya Angelou: "I've learned you can't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands.  Sometimes you need to throw things back.")  They had me sit on a stool on stage in front of the theater's proscenium curtain and look straight into the camera lens to read my quote "as if you're talking to a friend."  I was amused to see that they actually used one of those clapper boards, although this one looked like it was made out of plastic rather than the wood or slate you see in old movies.

The other bit was an action scene.  I had to enter a hallway from outdoors to find a group of impatient  students waiting outside my office.  When I asked them who they were waiting for, they chorused "You!!!"  I replied, "But no one ever comes during my office hours!", then unlocked the door to my office (actually an empty office).  We ran it several times; first to tweak action, lines, and timing, then for the cameraman to try it with different lighting.

I may never see the results, but it's kinda fun to know it's out there somewhere.

I was also surprised to learn that not just one, but two of "my students" were named Maureen!  That's the first time in a long time that I've met another Maureen, and the first time I've met African Americans with that name. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

I still hate "Company"

The Chief and I went to see a local production of "Company" tonight.  I am not a Sondheim fan, and I don't like any of the music in "Company"; I only went to support a few friends who were in it.  Neither one of us liked the show, which is pretty dated.  The one thing I did like was Joann's "Here's to the Ladies Who Lunch".  This Joann delivered it with all the bitterness it needed - well done!