Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old School

The new WCU Courtyard.  This area used to be busy road.  The grass and fountain is a nice upgrade.

Allow me to apologize for the lack of updates.  I've been rather busy for the past month and half, preparing for graduate school.  I do have some non-school related projects that have been put on hold for now:

  • Producing a real recording of High, High, High
  • Revising the sheet music for High, High, High and Resuscitated Hope.
  • Per a few requests on youtube, I also intend to post midi files of these songs. 
  • I am considering arranging Cras numquam scire from Dantalian no Shoka.  It has already been arranged for piano however, I don't think I could add very much.  I may do a literal transcription as a learning exercise, and because I like it. 
As I said, these projects have been put on hold due to Graduate School, which is what the rest of this blog article is about.  Hit the jump to read more!

On August 18th I made the six hour drive to Western Carolina University.  On August 19th was the Music History and Theory proficiency assessment.  Generally speaking, I have been historically weak at History (sorry, couldn't resist).  I have considered myself strong in music theory though, at least the music theory concepts that have been presented to me and I have practiced.  But, it has been six years since this knowledge has really been applied.  Study I needed, and study I did for several weeks before the assessment.  Despite that, sitting through the history assessment was pretty harrowing; all sorts of concepts, ideologies, and stylistic practices that I barely touched on in my study.  The theory assessment was better, but definitely still rusty.

The results: Failed history, passed theory.  This means I need to retake almost all of music history (except for the 20th century history, which I passed).  I definitely would have preferred to retake music theory III and IV.  Oh well.

As I said, August 18th was when I arrived on campus and finally saw the dorm room.  I should mention here that it has been nearly impossible to obtain information on the graduate dorm.  Residential living apparently does not have keys, so they referred me to the Graduate School, who also didn't have access and referred me back to Residential Living.  Apparently the only way to get a tour of the dorm and get real answers is to find a graduate student and visit.  Except for that during the summer there are no graduate students in the dorm.

As it turned out I did meet one graduate student before the move-in, a brother of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.  He informed me the fourth floor rooms are tiny, the third floor rooms are bigger with full sized beds, the handicapped rooms are huge, and there is no shared kitchen.  I arrive on the 18th and find that, damn, he's exactly right.  My room on the 4th floor was so very small.  It was further impacted by the sloped ceiling, which made it impossible to conserve space with a bed loft.  I had reduced the volume of belongings I accumulated in the past 6 years, but obviously I hadn't reduced enough.

Well, I made-do for a week.  My family, who thankfully helped me move in, took a few things back home that would not work in this room.  And then I applied for a room change first chance I had.  I mean this quite literally -- I was informed that my room change request was the very first submission the day room changes opened, at 7am.  So I moved again!  Which makes 3 moves in a month and a half.  It took me three days to move my belongings between classes.  The new room is about 3 times as large, and has a full sized bed.  Things are still a little cramped, partly due to the large writing desk that is useless as a computer desk (if you're concerned about ergonomics like I study is computer intensive and carpal tunnel is DNW).   If you ignore the space issues, the dorm is actually quite nice.  It is designed similarly to a hotel, and there is a nice lobby, all of the (private) rooms are carpeted, and each has a private full bath.  If only there was a kitchen....  Oh well, soon I'll have everything settled in my new room, and I can finally concentrate on my studies. studies.  -.-''

My class situation is unique at WCU.  I am a Graduate Student, but since I have large deficiencies in Commercial and Electronic music, all of my classes are the prerequisite undergrad classes (in addition to Music History).   I don't have a problem with this, in fact I welcome it and look forward to addressing these deficiencies; but since I am essentially taking the entire C&E undergrad program in a year and a half, it has put me in an awkward position.  To put it simply, I am taking several courses that a normal undergrad would spread through several semesters in one semester.  Additionally, though I am not sure of this, I think I am enrolled in one specific course that no C&E major can get into until they've completed some of the courses I am taking right now.  This is causing some overlap in the workload that I've already experienced;  I had to write one short song for one class, and for my master lessons I have to write another more involved song.  The former is not so complicated now, but it'll only get worse with time, especially when I'll need to make use of two different MIDI labs to complete my assignments. 

But, I have no complaints.  I may sound like I'm whining, but I'm just laying out reality.  Truthfully, I really can't complain, as the head of the C&E program and all of my supervising professors are making all sorts of exceptions for me to study here, and I am grateful. 

And then there's Japanese 101!  I've been told that as a graduate student I can't get another undergrad degree in anything, like a minor in Japanese Studies.  Whatever, I can still take the class, and I am.  Our Sensei has a dry sense of humor, and I like him for that, but it's pretty obvious that additional study outside of the class is absolutely necessary.  There is no way I'll learn the hiragana just by repeating them in class. 

One more thing: I have to get a job.  I have bills to pay!  And things I want to go to (like Magfest).  This problem might be resolved soon; I am waiting for paper work to go through.  But you know, don't count the chickens before yadda yadda.  But soon I may have to balance work, classes, real studying, time intensive projects, AND hopefully some personal projects.  Boy, do I look forward to that.

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