Standing Back, Looking Forward

With the final semester of my M.M. degree staring me in the face, it's difficult not to feel a bit nostalgic about the past few years at IU, and in equal parts anxious and excited for the future beyond my time at Jacobs. Since arriving in Bloomington back in the summer of 2014 I have:

  • Written over 190 minutes of acoustic music
  • Collaborated with approximately 35 artists, including musicians, filmmakers, dancers, fight choreographers, directors, and visual artists
  • Gained proficiency in Max/MSP
  • Composed 45 minutes of electronic music
  • Traveled to Paris and studied at IRCAM
  • Designed the sound and composed music for a 2'30'00" production of Macbeth, and was hired on to do the same for a brand new play in 2017
  • Attended over 200 concerts, recitals, and other musical performances
  • Studied privately with 5 incredible faculty members
  • Facilitated collaborations with the composition department and other fields, both through the Student Composers Association, and independently through my work with the theatre department
  • Met 13 guest composers, getting lessons with 4 of them

It's kind of strange, putting these experiences in numbers. These past few months I've been struggling with a piece for brass quintet (which I've since discovered many composers consider to be one of the most difficult ensembles to write effectively for), and it's easy in these moments of struggle to question oneself and give into a wide array of doubts, fears, and insecurities. Seeing, however, the amount of work I've been able to accomplish in two years gives me hope as I start the process of planning and gambling on the future (only so much can be planned out, after all...). Not every minute of the 3+ hours I wrote was a shimmering gem of genius, of course - we're all still learning, after all. However, within those hours are hundreds more of sleepless nights, hard work, and - against all odds - progress and development.

My time in Bloomington has blessed me with an extraordinary support system in my colleagues - so many of them have offered compositional advice, listening suggestions, words of encouragement, and empathetic tales of their own struggles. Say what you will about the competitive nature of our field, but there are still souls out there who just want to hear awesome music - even if it's written by someone other than themselves.

The struggle I've undergone these past few months have taught me a lot about myself as a composer, and I'm looking forward to the pieces I've planned next in preparation for applications, my degree recital, and my thesis. 

I hope to blog more regularly about the music I listen to, the work I'm doing, and the people I work with as the year speeds on. There are a lot of big projects in the near future, and I look forward to sharing the journey with all of you.

Thanks for listening!

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