I'm a university student, studying music education. :) I play the flute, and have been told I can sing (which I love to do). Despite my involvement in classical music, I usually surprise people when I tell them my music of choice is rock (specifically 90's Alternative Rock and Grunge). I adore the summer, and swimming. Any amount of free time I can get to dive into a good book, or pull out a blank one and start writing makes me happy. Being in nature makes me feel at peace. I am on a vast journey of self discovery, and I'm trying to understand and become friends with the world. My family and friends are everything. My cat is the best. :D
Carpe Omnia - Seize it all.
Saw the bystander effect… in effect today.
And did not fall victim to it.
As I was walking through Sears, I saw this little girl who was on her own. She was bawling her eyes out and screaming “Mommy! Mooommy!”
I noticed her from a distance, and I looked around, quickly realizing that she had lost her Mommy. I was initially looking for her Mommy, but then I realized… I was staring at upwards of 15-20 people in the immediate vicinity that were doing nothing. At least three of those people were employees. They all sat there and stared at this little girl, who was around the age range of 5-8 years old crying on her own, scared out of her wits because she couldn’t find her Mommy. And they did nothing.
So I went up to the little girl, kneeled down and asked her “Sweetie, did you lose your Mommy?”. She stopped crying and nodded yes. Just as I started talking to her, someone who was obviously looking for her child came around the corner. “Is that your Mommy?” She nodded as she ran to her.
I did my part. I did not stand idly by.
I’d like to think that if it was my kid, someone would do the same.
Okay… So I meant to post a few blogs. I always do. For one, a blog at Thanksgiving… then I was going to use American Thanksgiving as an excuse to post that one, and I still didn’t. I wish I had, but what I’m about to get to would have been in there anyway.
I’m a student, so I don’t have a lot of time to write on my own time. I’m graduating university this year, so I really want to make this one count. With that said, I have priorities in life. My health and school life come above blogging. It’s unfortunate, I know. :P But there is not enough time in a day. One of the reasons I’d love to go to teacher’s college in Australia is that I’d have an entire year off (our school system starts in September, theirs in Jan/Feb). Yes, I would be working in that year, but the rest of my time would be for me. For the first time in my life. After 18 years of pouring my whole self and life into my education, I think I deserve that.
As I said: there isn’t enough time in a day. Re: one of my most recent picture posts. We are given 86,400 seconds in a day.
How are you using them?
Obviously there are the essentials: sleep, eat. If you sleep for 8 hours a day (if you’re that lucky), that is 28,800. If you spend even three hours of the day cooking and eating, that’s another 10,800 seconds.
Now you’re down to 46,800 seconds. Still seems like a lot of time, doesn’t it.
That is 780 minutes.
Now imagine this. You have 13 hours to live. What do you do with your time? I mean this seriously… I know a lot of people pose this question all the time, but I don’t feel that anyone takes it seriously. I have had a lot of perspective on this issue, and today, it slapped me in the face.
Some people have gone away lately, and I’ve missed them, even if they’re coming back. Some other people have gone away lately, and they’re not coming back. Too many of those people, actually. Most of whom were taken far too young, and too suddenly. And did they suspect it? No. For the most part… no.
The point is, none of us ever know when we’re going to go, but this IS the only life we are given a chance to do something with. I’m not saying you have to go and change the world, but in the least, make yourself happy. What is the point in living, otherwise? And it’s not a question of what you believe in… spirituality, Christianity, Buddhism, Atheism, etc etc etc. Religion and your beliefs don’t dictate what happens after you die - and NO, I don’t care how hardcore religious you are, of what faith, I repeat that sentence: Religion and your beliefs DO NOT dictate what happens to you after you die.
What you do with your life does. Whether your are immortalized in a stone statue, or remembered for generations for sending a telegraph to warn of an impending explosion, whether you think you are going to go on and be wealthy in your next life, or you will go to heaven, or you just make a small difference in someone’s life… everything you do now dictates what happens to you after you die.
So really, what are you doing with your 13 hours a day?
When was the last time you took a walk? Did something artistic? Just listened to music for the sake of appreciating it? When was the last time you did something you love?
When was the last time you truly enjoyed your life?
Now that you’ve answered that… when was the last time you truly enjoyed your life as a whole?
Moments can make us happy, but if you have more rotten trees than alive ones and covered paths than you do open trails, you have a pretty dead forest. That forest is your life. So why are you living, if you’re already dead?
Some people say the world is going to end on December 21st, 2012. The Mayan calendar ends, life as the human race knows it is over. Now IF that were true… you would have 13 full days to live as of right now.
13 days. 13 hours a day. 608,400 seconds.
IF that were true, how would you change your life? Would you call the people you love, take a vacation? Would you change the way you live for 13 days?
For the majority of us that just answered “yes”… why don’t you do it now?
Now I’m not saying to up and leave your job, move somewhere tropical and blow all your money on booze and shiny things. All I’m suggesting is that we really should consider how we’re spending our time productively. Are we really doing the things that we love and that will make us happy in the long run? Or are we thinking short-term stress relief or distraction?
You never know when your last 13 hours or minutes or seconds will be. Someone who is very important to me has a plaque sitting beside his bed that reads “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have”. I could not agree more.
Honestly, think about how you’re living each day. Be HONEST with yourself when thinking about it. With myself, for example… I know I like playing little games on the computer, but I want to cut them back a little a day. That could allow time for TV shows, or writing blogs, or reading, or doing my cross stitching, or composing, or… you know, something productive. O:)
Are you really living the life you want? If you’re not, start to… because why bother, otherwise? And no, it won’t happen instantly. Rome wasn’t built in a day, either. But plan. Create goals. Make small changes.
What do you have to lose?
Better yet, what do you have to gain?
The journey of 1000 miles beings with a single step.
And anyway, if we do all die, or the world ends as we know it on the 21st, at least we can say about our lives, that we came, we saw, we conquered.
Or at least, I will be able to.
I have two other blog ideas that I’ve been meaning to write about, but currently, my life is consumed by musical practice, readings, and assignments. This actually is an assignment that I had to write for my Philosophy of Music Education class. I thought it might be fun to share on tumblr. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now.
In every “bad” situation that occurs in a child’s life within the school environment, the parents blame the teachers, and the teachers blame the parents. The students are left there feeling that they are the ones at fault, when realistically, the adults in their life have not fulfilled their responsibilities towards that child. This is essentially what I’ve written about: the first half discussing one issue that I’ve though about regarding music education specifically, and the latter half regarding a broader concept of adult responsibility in a child’s life.
Philosophy of Music Education: Reflection 3
A Teacher’s Responsibility In and Beyond the Classroom
Last week in class, we discussed the impact that corporations, the media and advertisements have on students. This was a concept I had not previously considered. We went on to talk about responsibility in education, and how children need to be taught to think critically, in order to be able to evaluate their environment, and ultimately their life and their choices. After this class, it had me considering one fundamental issue: how much responsibility do we have as teachers to educate our students, and in what “subjects”?
Teachers affect the development of children’s brains during the most crucial years of learning throughout their lives. Fundamentally, our job entails that it is our responsibility to teach the content of our teachable subjects. As music educators, we need to give students the knowledge of the fundamental aspects of theory and history, fingerings, tone, tuning, balance, melody, harmony… the list goes on. Then the question of musical appreciation comes in: how do we teach it and what do we teach? The best musician is one that has a comprehensive outlook on the musical world. Different styles of music need to be considered, and yet, traditionally in Western culture, we teach only classical music. Only recently have there been changes made to offer courses that involve other styles, such as world music. Of course, this issue goes back to the corporations, and the government. School funding is limited, and the arts are never on the top of the list where monetary resources are concerned. Without money for different classes, the students are the ones who become limited, and it is in their knowledge. There are easy means of remedying the situation: simple exposure to different styles of music through recordings will allow students to hear styles of music alternative to just Western music. It is then our responsibilities as teachers to decide: how much of this and of what styles do we expose our students to? Can we do this effectively, in order to teach and not just use up valuable time in which we could be teaching the curriculum-based information?
There are things outside of the curriculum that teachers are responsible for educating students about as well. The concept of professionalism is one of those things. Teachers are essentially the makers of tomorrow’s working class. We educate not only to develop minds, but to prepare them for future studies, and/or their future in the working world. Some of the first lessons of respect are taught in the classroom: do not talk while the teacher is talking or if another student is giving a presentation; put up your hand and wait for your turn to speak; share the equipment on the playground, etc. School rules are the faculty’s responsibility to employ and oversee. If a child does not obey these rules, ideally, we teach them to. There is discipline involved, but how much? Is it really the teacher’s responsibility to teach a child to listen, or to pay attention? Each child in the school system should have a parent or guardian in their lives who is also responsible in teaching children the same things we are. So this begs the question to be asked: how much can a teacher affect the development of the child when the issues are personality based, and not purely educational (ie. within the standards of the curriculum)?
I will use the example that I gave in last class. Within the last few weeks, the story of Amanda Todd, the 14 year old girl who committed suicide after being bullied to the point of depression, has gone viral. Amanda made bad choices that resulted in her bullying, and, ultimately, her death. When it is stated that way, it seems that Amanda’s death was entirely her fault. The decisions she made that led to the bullying were entirely of her own accord, and her suicide was ultimately her own choice. However, this is a 14 year old child in question. No one can expect a young child to understand things without being taught them first. Why was Amanda not educated about the use of the internet, and one of the most basic concepts, how to relate to strangers? One would think that with the rise of the internet, and the lowering of the age in which children begin to use the internet regularly, both teachers and parents would be required to teach their children of proper computer use and etiquette. Personally, in this specific case, I think the issue falls more on the parents. How do you not know what is going on in your child’s life? How were Amanda’s parents so unaware of her actions, that they were blind to the fact that she was talking to men twice her age and taking part in inappropriate actions at only fourteen years of age? This was the result of a lack of responsibility on Amanda’s parent’s part. The parents of the bullies are to blame as well, for how do they not know their children well enough to know that they were intentionally hurting one of their peers? Parents need to educate their children about bullying, and teach them not to do it.
I do not believe that Amanda’s teachers are not at fault either. How did the teachers not notice the “warning signs” of a student who was troubled, depressed, and being bullied? It is one hundred percent a teacher’s responsibility to take care of their students while they are at school, and that includes mental health. Bullying is becoming incredibly prevalent in schools. I feel a lot of teachers assume that issues between students are not as serious as they realistically are. Children need to realize that both their words and their actions have consequences, sometimes devastatingly so. Sometimes, the issue resides at home, in relation between the student and their parents. The next responsible adult figure in a student’s life that they will be willing to trust is their teacher. If that teacher is not there for them, or tells the student that their issue is “not that bad” or is a “passing phase” (which is a popular misconceived belief of many adults regarding teenage depression), the student will feel completely alone. That is not the environment that any child or teacher should want for their child.
Of course, there is always the issue that we should not try to parent children who are not our own. However, teacher’s are just as responsible for the proper development of children in some ways as their parents are. We must learn to find a way to balance our roles as a teacher with the needs of the students. This applies to issues both inside, and outside of the classroom. Recently, I bought a plaque that I found inspiring, and I feel completely sums up my thoughts on this issue. It reads:
Teach because children need heroes.
I dare you to try to go look it up in the dictionary. According to that definition, you may be in love with your best friend (I’m sure some of you are).
I’ve been thinking a lot about this word lately. As a noun, a verb, and even an adjective (lovely!). Between things I’ve seen on TV, read in books, seen in real life… It seems to be a topic that is just floating tenderly by, poking me with a stick every so often. The more I thought about it, the more I felt the need to express.
First off, I want to start with the bad stuff. For one, no, at a young age (ie, teens and high school), we do NOT know what love is. We know what we think love is, and we know what affection is, which is often mistaken for love. That’s okay, if it’s cute and innocent. It’s all good. It’s part of the natural course of life… you live, you “love”, you learn. But when you don’t know yourself well enough to know who you’re going to be, and what you’re going to want in your life, you don’t know enough to TRULY love someone outside of your family. I believe you can care a whole lot about them, but love? It develops. You can start the “care a whole lot” part, and then love, in time, by all means. But love, when most high school relationships last a few months (if that)? No, I think not.
But who can blame kids these days? Look at the most recent examples they’re being given of love (SPOILER ALERT): the Twilight saga. 18 year old Bella falls head over heels in love with the badass vampire who can give her everything, marries him and is knocked up, all within what? A few years? Months? (Forgive me if I’m wrong, it’s been a while). And then the actress for said movie cheats on her boyfriend with her director for a new movie who is married, with kids. Next, (SPOILER ALERT) 50 Shades of Grey… Ana meets cool, super rich, badass Christian Grey, he magically falls for her and her for him in a matter of months, she gives up everything for him (not a good thing!!). She’s engaged, and married in a month and she’s only 22 years old! And then there’s Miley Cyrus, one of the Hollywood queen of the whole influencing-young-girls thing. What is it, 19, and engaged? I’m sorry, but does NO ONE ELSE see something wrong with this?
[For the record I love both of these series. But I can’t ignore the facts.]
Sure, maybe quick relationships and engagements and marriages will “work” in Hollywood and books and movies - but those relationships last about as long as Hollywood actor’s careers, or as long as it takes you to watch a movie or read a book. We need to remind the new generation of kids that it is OKAY to wait until you’re OVER 16 (for gods sake, please) to be having sex… you don’t need to settle down by the time you’re 19 or 22. You DON’T have to say “yes” to a guy if he proposes to you after three months because you’re afraid of losing him - if he wants you because he LOVES you, then he will wait WITH you, until you are ready, in all facets of your life.
“So, Ms. Love-Expert,” you’re probably saying, “Then what is love?”
Well, how the hell am I supposed to tell you? I know what love is for me, right now. I don’t know what love is for you. I guarantee you want different things out of a partner than I do. Some people like adventurous, some like laid back. Some want kinky sex, some want vanilla sex (I’m on the third book of 50 Shades, give me a break). The fact is, too, that our definitions of love are always changing - or at least, they should be. With every new relationship, we learn more about ourselves, the world, and other people - you question what you want in life, in someone else. Eventually, the list of things you want in a partner begin to lessen the list of people that you can choose from. Yes, people, be picky. Don’t settle for anything less than everything you want in someone. You’ll never be happy if you settle. Settle down when you know you’re happy.
[Unless you’re one of those people that expects perfection. Love is not about the perfect person: it’s when you find the perfect person for you.]
Yeah I’m gonna get all quoty up in this now. Because there are a lot of quotes that I have issues with, when it comes to love. Now, the rest of this is all personal opinions, and basically what I know I want.
There is more. I could go on forever, because I know what I want. That is love. To me.
I know, because I’ve experienced every one of those things l at some point in time, and it is amazing… You’d think that it was really specific, and that I’ll be damned if I find anyone who truly can show me all of the above.
You’d be surprised. It’s quite easy. And yes, I’m certain that down the road that what I want is going to change; but the modifications are becoming slighter the older and wiser I get. Realistically, it’s quite simple…
“That has a nice ring to it, Miss Steele”
“I thought so too.”
“You’ll do, wench.”
[Prepare: super long blog!}
Yet again, I am posting after months of “neglecting” my blog. I know I started this to stay committed to something, but I don’t feel that I haven’t stuck with it. And anyway, I found other things to commit to this summer. There were times I wanted to post, but I’ll admit, I was busy doing better things. It’s not that I don’t love blogs and writing… it’s just, if I never lived, I’d never have anything to write about.
That’s what I spent the summer doing - living. I finished up my volunteering. On the last day, the Grade 9’s told me they wanted me to come back to the school when I was done teachers college so that I could teach them in their last year. It was truly touching (they brought tears to my eyes). :)
So, the golf course pretty much consumed my life this summer. I was working for 7 days straight, 7 days off; 8 hour days on the weeks I did work. I got a wicked tan. I met people. I had amazing, enlightening conversations with amazing people. I made new friends. I became very close so some individuals that I never expected I would. It’s incredible, you know, the things that a little change can offer in your life. A fresh perspective. Nothing holding you back from just being you - it really is when you let yourself go, that you can discover life.
I decided to also discover golf! Then I discovered I could become addicted to golf :3. I was playing 3-4 times a week (honestly, whenever I could be, I was out there, especially since I got free golf!). I still suck, granted, I’ve only been playing 7 weeks. In that time, I came from shooting an average 174 on 18 holes down to 110 on 18. Not bad for my first season. You can learn a lot about yourself through golf: Your strengths, weaknesses, patience level, anger control, etc. It was enlightening for me… and kind of nice to see that I have somewhat of a natural talent at a sport. It was a great way to get to know other people, and have an excuse to be outside doing something (other than work). I even got my Dad out golfing last week! Yay! :3
[*snap* That is the sound of me cracking open my Smirnoff Ice. Oh, yes. Now we get started.]
I swam throughout the summer. I was in the best shape of my life. I read a lot. I did things. I loved it. I felt like I had finally found my happy place, a level of contentment I had not found before in my life. I owe that to some people, partially, but I owe it to be proud of myself and my decisions up to this point in my life. I believe in self-actualization: realizing your potential. And this summer, I began to do just that. It started with finding myself.
Sometimes, to find yourself, you have to figure out what’s in your life that’s hiding you. Is it the way you think? Is it what you think? Is it the people in your life? The things you choose to do? The way you spend your time? WHY are you holding yourself back?
I did a lot of thinking.
A lot of analyzing.
And I did what needed to be done. I fixed [most of] my bad habits. I let go of things that I needed to in order to continue to grow in my life. Some of them hurt, others were easier, all of them were right.
And it was amazing. Immediately after letting go, it seemed that there was new space in my life for new things… and I began to realize who I needed around me, what kind of people I needed as influences in my life. Subsequently, I am also much better being on my own now… and admittedly, I wasn’t in the past. I hadn’t had a lot of time on my own in the last three years (my first two years of uni. living in a building with 1252 people, and constantly having individuals around last year). You truly have to be able to be on your own before you can really be okay. I don’t even mean being single, or being out living on your own - I mean, if you were the last person on earth, you’d have to know that although it would suck, you would be okay.
I still prefer having people around. I always welcome those I care about. But now, I’m okay with me. The worst I’m going to be on my own is bored.
I have also learned that those who care will show it. Those who want to be there, will be. And if they choose not to be, you can only put so much effort forth to keep them there before it’s not worth your effort anymore.
I have learned to feel. In the last ten years of my life, I’ve kept things inside. I hid negative emotions away because I had conditioned myself to believe that negative emotions were “bad”. No, sweetie, they make you human. They are REAL. You can’t appreciate being happy nearly as much if you’re never sad. It is okay to feel: that, for me, was a revelation. I have learned how to positively deal with negative emotions:
For example, someone makes me angry. I’ll let myself be angry… but I will not dwell on it. I will consume the feeling, but I will not let the feeling consume me. It is liberating, to “enjoy” negative emotions. It sounds sadistic, but honestly, it’s healthy. It is being able to say, “yes, I’m human. This is natural, and I’m okay with that. I feel these things for a reason, and it says something about me. But it is NOT me, and that’s what makes it okay.” I have to give a single individual credit for teaching me this, as they showed me what it is to feel. Truly, vividly, purely, and honestly. Thanks, C. [You know exactly who you are, if you ever read this. You have shown me life, and I owe you mine.]
I am alive. I finally feel what it is to BE alive, to love life, to enjoy it. And since I’ve begun living this way, only good things have happened. My golf game improved. I improved as a musician, and a student. My health improved. My opportunities have opened up, and I could be trying some new and extremely exciting things in both the new and distant future. Doors have been opened, and I now know my life truly may be anything I want it to be, and not at all what I expected it to be. I made the orchestra after the ensemble auditions (a big deal in my school). I’m on top of my school work, and working to get ahead.
I am seizing the day, every day, and I am loving it. The people in my life are amazing, and I love life with them. Everything is right where I want it to be, and if it’s not quite there, it’s heading there.
Self actualization, people.
I am embracing life.
Seize it all .
I have neglected my blog for nearly a month.
In all honesty, I pretty much forgot it existed.
I’ve been volunteering at my brother’s high school, and absolutely loving it. Up to this point, I have work with Grade 9, 11, and 12 instrumental classes, sat in with both a vocal jazz and instrumental jazz class, a world drumming class, I’ve worked with a small ensemble, individuals, taught a few lessons, taught theory, conducted the classes (including sight conducting!), helped a few students in preparations for their recitals and exams, I have re-learned transposition and now feel completely comfortable with it, and I have performed for all the classes and taught them about practice techniques, performance practice, and extended techniques of the flute!
Needless to say, this experience has been invaluable to me, and so much fun. It’s also been a lot of work. I stay at the school for the whole day on days that I don’t have to work, so I’m there right from 8-3.
Days that I do have to work, I volunteer from 8-11 then work from 11-7.
Which means the weeks that I do work, plus volunteer, I’m putting in about 60 hours.
I am tired. I am exhausted. But I am thrilled to have this opportunity, and I’m so excited to be able to teach in the future. I’m hoping to start teaching private lessons next year, while I’m in London.
Hopefully this will all help my teachers college application next year. The heads of the music ed. department at my university have given me reason to believe I may have trouble with my application next year, despite my Dean’s List 3rd year average, so I’m kind of worried. I want my second teachable to be in english, but to this point I’ve only taken one english course, which was last year. I finished with an 80, which is all fine and good, and I can take two english courses this year in order to make up the second teachable, which is all fine and good as well… but because they look at the marks for your second teachable courses as well as your average, I may end up getting screwed over because of my lack of english courses.
Here’s to hoping they can look at my avg, my mark in my one english course and say, “Here’s a ‘conditional acceptance’” and then I’ll kick ass in my courses this year and make it.
Woo hoo, blog post!
Today, I was inspired. I was privileged to watch my little brother’s music night at his high school. My brother is a drummer, and therefore in almost every band, and he played so well in all of them. All of the kids played well - even the youngest ones! My brother has some talented friends, all of whom impressed me tonight.
What stood out to me was the true musicianship of these children. It was so nice to be able to watch a group of young adults truly enjoy the art of music - whether it was classical, or more along the lines of what is known as “popular” music in this business. They were never just on stage playing or singing because they had to, because it was worth marks, or because they needed the credit during school (maybe some were, but they didn’t stand out if that was the case. They were all up there because they enjoy what they do, and because they are damn good at it.
I watched a Grade 11 student conduct an Intermediate Band, another Grade 11 student conduct a choir, watched a choir perform a piece arranged by a Grade 11 student (the Grade 11’s owned lol), numerous amazing solos, and an all around successful performance.
It is times like these that I am reminded about why I am taking my career path into teaching. I know life may present me other opportunities, and I may take them - but I also know that I will one day, teach. It is in my blood. When I see passion like I did in the students tonight, I want to harness that, and show them how they can use it. I want to make them better. I want to show them the joy that their art can create, not only in themselves, but in others. It is when my passion is ignited by theirs that I know that I am meant to do this.
And of course, it reminded me of the importance of the arts, and why those of us who love it and see its importance need to advocate for it. I know how close my brother and his friends are… they consider each other family; and it’s because of the bonds that they have formed through their music and musical connections. The camaraderie, teamwork, understanding and joy that is created from working together through the arts is unparalleled by any other subject taught in the school system. It angers me that in times of economic hardship, that these are the subjects which are deemed “unimportant”, subsequently, receiving less funding. How many different scientific studies does it take to prove that children’s brains develop more effectively and differently when involved in the arts than when they are not? Music, in particular, has great benefits to the brain when children begin to delve into the subject at a young age. The hand-eye coordination, mathematical components, teamwork, attention, listening skills, and the appreciation - tell me: where else can you combine all these into one subject, and still have a student enjoy it?
If you come up with an answer, I would be happy to be enlightened about it.
I am so proud of these kids, and the performances the put on tonight. I get to start volunteering with them next week, and I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to work with them!
It’s times like these that I am most proud to be doing what I am doing - when I see the younger generations, and know there is hope for the future of music education.