Friday, June 12, 2015

It's Summer and I Wrote a Blog Post!

So it's officially been six months since I last wrote on this little puppy. So sorry, friends. But seriously, being a student at Berklee is friggin' time-consuming. So what the hell have I been up to these days? I shall inform you...

I wrapped up the spring semester with flying colors and and lovely GPA average, which is very exciting for me since I've never been the type to excel in school. (Hence why I'm here at this age.) My private teachers in the string and roots department were extremely pleased with the rate that I am catching on and improving at; also another thing that I've learned to feel proud of as well. Learning, learning, learning so much about the world, all types of music but especially bluegrass and old-time fiddling, and really learning a lot about myself too. So much. Oye. So yeah, that's about it in a teeny, itty-bitty nutshell. Ha.

As far as what's going on for the summer? Well, Miss Emily decided to take 16 credits (the maximum amount at Berklee, which I've also done every semester) this summer, which started three weeks ago. (I had a two-week hiatus of no classes in May, which was enough for me. I get antsy in the second week and start to contemplate the meaning to life way too much.) So yeah, sheddin' out 16 more credits, mostly consisting of my third round of Harmony and Ear Training classes and my music therapy classes... Oh yes, guys, I'm double-majoring in Violin Performance (with a minor in American Roots) and Music Therapy. I'll be here a little longer than if I was just doing the one major, but I'm here and I'm frickin' doing it, guys. It's what I want more than anything in the world and I'm going to get it! 
* insert maniacal laugh *
This coming week I'll be missing most of my classes for Miles of Music camp, which is a fiddling and songwriting retreat-like-camp on an island on Lake Winnipesaukee. (Something that I'm going to have to live with is missing these classes and not being too hard on myself about it, because a ton of kids at Berklee are already touring musicians in some form who miss classes, especially in the summer.) I'm super pumped about camp though, and am looking forward to being in nature with friends, pick some tunes, and learn some neat shit! 
Later this summer I will be attending a big bluegrass festival, but can't share much more than that at the moment. (This is a dream come true though, so it's basically the most exciting thing of my life right now.) 
I'm not gigging a ton at the moment, but that's all the works. At the moment I'm focusing on improving a lot of technical skills through attending pickin' sessions and in my own private studies. There may be some recording in the works and some branding abrewin', but not for a bit. Stay tuned. But I am still playin' with the lovely Kaiti Jones though, and she's still rockin' like it's 1993. You can check her out on Facebook here

Here's some pic's that Ms. Jones' dear friend visiting from LA, Alex Crawford of Articles of Style, took of us. He's a little prince that we love and adore over here on the East Coast! 

Above is my majestic-fiddling-princess-riding-her-stallion face.

I hope y'all are having lovely summers so far. (Gah! It's the summer!!) And please shoot me an email if you're an old friend or coworker! I'd love to reconnect with my peeps!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Piece From the Blogger Who Stopped Blogging

It’s been a while since I’ve been around these parts of the internet! WOW! What a freakin’ four months it’s been! So the good news is that - AHHH! I flippin’ LOVE school and ended up getting mostly all A’s! (I wish it were ALL A’s, but I think there was a little adjusting happening so it’s my goal for the spring!) My proficiency exam went really well! I wasn’t nervous until maybe fifteen minutes beforehand, because I try to not stress about these kind of things. I get more nervous for private lessons with fiddling GODs. Ah! Speaking of which, my fiddling has improved to the point to where I can pick up a tune more easily and use the techniques that I’ve started to cultivate. I’ll use a fill I learned from one tune and apply it to the different one. I’ll trill this note and slide on that one. I’m starting to really get the feel and swing of bluegrass and fiddling music, but, oh boy, do I have so much to learn! That list is far longer...

My professors and private instructors… I don’t even know where to start. I could go on and on for my love for my private instructors, and I literally learn more and more from them every time I have a lesson. The teaching and the type of music I’m studying is all new and has been a huge adjustment for me. With fiddling music, there’s no set repertoire; whereas in the classical world you have etudes, scales, concertos, suites, and sonatas to study and review. My teachers who are bluegrass, old time, and jazz fiddling masters, are all creating these repertoires from scratch. They’re using the all the tricks they figured out when they were learning. They decide which scales and modes to focus on, and what tunes are overall encompassing different fiddling techniques. Something I really had to adjust to was how lessons actual go. Rather than my private instructor kickin’ back and critiquing everything I do, he plays with me and jams. (This is serious jammin’ music y’all. Or pickin’ as they call it in Nashville.) I mean, it’s so cool that I can to freakin’ jam out with my instructors, y’all! Still to this day I’ll lose my place in a tune during a lesson, because I’ll be so mesmerized by what my teacher is playing to back me up. (But I think I’m getting better and better at it as time goes by.) I can honestly say that I am working with some of the best in the country, if not the world. I’m making these life-long connections with not only incredible musicians, but incredible human-beings as well. The fiddling community is the complete opposite of common classical-music culture. (This is from my experiences with the classical world, and mine only.) And I love that! That’s why I fell in love with it in the first place. People are so supportive of each other, and everyone is cheering on everyone else. It’s a gentle community full of folks who are kind-hearted and super passionate about the same thing. It’s FUN! People are having real, live fun when they’re playing this music. It’s so lovely, and I feel so much joy while I’m playing now! 

School is a whole new experience as an adult who’s already had a career in a different field. I approach it with much more aggressiveness and much less fear. If I have an idea or a question, I say it out loud without hesitation. If I need extra help, I get extra help. I spent every Wednesday in my music theory professor’s office during his office hours, because I knew that if I really wanted to get a good grasp on this material I would need to work that much harder. I not only see my professors and instructors as the wise whom I look up to, but also my peers and fellow human-beings. I know that they see me as somewhat equal because of my life-experience in comparison to the majority of their other students. But this doesn’t carry out to all areas of school and work. There are definitely times in my week that I’m a good ole work study paid at minimum wage. I TOTALLY miss not having to worry about money as much. (And in hindsight, I’m learning a lot about how I use money and the mistakes that I've made when I actually had it.) But basically, what I’m sayin there is that going back to school as an adult is the best thing I ever did for myself, because I’m getting WAY more out of it. 

I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity. I thought that it would potentially wear off by the end of my first semester, but no, that’s not the case. When I’m sitting in the coffee shop on campus working on something or when I’m in a practice room bangin’ shit out, I feel blessed. God has had this in His plan for me all along, I can truly believe that and really had no idea up until about a year ago what. (Actually, it was more like the first week of orientation that I 100% knew that I was supposed to be there at Berklee studying the fiddle.) I thought I would be sitting in a office for the rest of my life with music on the back burner forever. But I hit my rediscovery of music curveball right out of the park and am now in a vast ocean of opportunity. I don’t have to be jealous anymore of all the musicians out there, which is something that I often felt. I AM one of them once again and at the rate my playing is improving and with the connections I’m making, I have confidence that I have a bright career ahead of me. I have grabbed my identity back and I’m proud to officially be able to call myself a “fiddler" and not a “violinist" anymore. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

real life: a beginning of the school-year update

It feels weird even to type the words of the title of this post, because it includes the phrase “school-year.” (Not sure if any of my Topsiding friends are reading this, but here’s my shout out to y’all! HI GUYS!! Thank you so much for all the support you’ve given and continue to give me. I don’t know what I would’ve done without it!)

As some of you know, I am a musician and have been one since the age of five. It’s part of my soul and my identity. It’s part of my dreams and sometimes my nightmares. For most of the years that I’ve been I musician, I never could truly understood my craft, how to use it, where to play it, and if I even wanted it at all. A lot of this all has to do with growing up in a home with two parents as extremely passionate, classical musicians. (I would have it no other way though. It is my foundation, my home, and where I believe it should all start - classical music.) But because of a lack of maturity on my part, I had to find music again in a completely untraditional, avant-garde, and new way; which I also didn’t even know was happening at the time. I left my year with a world-reknown violinist as a private-coach in undergrad at a small Christian college in Massachusetts, with pure disgust and hatred for music. I remember I got acrylic nails for the first time ever, and it felt like I was “normal” and could finally fly away from it all…Yet, I didn’t know that years later, I would find the world of fiddling and bluegrass and that my life would change drastically...

That’s a snip-it of life around eight years ago. Corporate-America happened, Sperry Top-Sider (a place with people I will forever love) happened, and amidst it I found myself again. I found my passion. It wasn’t business and it wasn’t classical music. It was fiddling. And boy, am I pretty shitty at it right now, but I have confidence that that will change with the adventure that I’ve begun that is going back to undergraduate at Berklee College of Music. 

Yes, it’s happening guys. I’m really doing it! And it wasn’t until this past week (orientation week) that I really recognized what hard work I put in the past winter. I practiced my fiddling so hard, wrote so many songs with my guitar, and am still (and will continue to be still) in the process of changing my technique and how I hear things. But I’m not going to lie, guys, I was really scared the two weeks leading up to school starting with not being at a full-time job. Of course then as soon as I walked on campus this past Sunday to go to my first orientation event, I knew I did the right thing. Everyday of orientation this week, I ride my bike (oh, my other new love that is bicycling!!) from Cambridge into the city or to the T, and I arrive at school with no fears. I belong with these insane and bizarre kids here at the school for crazy musicians. It’s so liberating! And I feel more and more blessed everyday to be there and to be taking notes even at the silly informational sessions that most of the incoming students don’t even show up to. (I’m an adult nerd, I guess.) I just can’t wait to figure it out and have real “ah-ha!” moments with music theory. (Please God, let me have that moment with theory.) I can’t wait to play with some awesome musicians and take full advantage of all the master classes and workshops that I was too afraid to do when I was a lot of my schoolmates’ ages!

ALSO, my orientation group is full of transfer students, and because I transferred the maximum amount of credits, I am a transfer students as well. I think I’m the oldest, but that’s okay! (I’m starting to point out more folks walking around campus looking more around my age as it gets closer to Monday, which is when classes start!) But guys, these folks are so interesting! There are fourteen of us total, and four of us are from the states, two being from MA. It’s just been so lovely to hear where these people come from, and why and how they got here! Best orientation group ever, if I do say so myself. 


So all is going well, and hopefully after I get into a good groove I’ll find my fashion-inspirations again! Happy September Y’ALL! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

the closet: white

Hope y'all are having a great summer! I'm officially in my last week of being a corporate-America employee, which is really exciting and really scary all at the same time. Oye vey! I'm so excited for the next chapter in my life, but am of course feeling uneasy at the same time. Once I'm back in school and in the groove of things, I'll be back to my normal self methinks! 


This outfit is probably one of my favorites right now. I'm super into simple and comfy, and this is perfect example of that! 

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And these boots… As I've mentioned before, these Seychelles boots were totally made for walking', because I can wear these all day long. 

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| Dress | Boots | Necklace |