Monday, October 26, 2009

low thoughts.

I am feeling a little low lately. I have had two evaluations happen the last week, in both my teaching life and my performing life. Both were good. Both were not horrible. But, I am still doing something that I tend to not usually do with my teaching, and often do with my performing:

Over-analyze.

The teaching scenario involves a normal procedure for non-professional educators: the standard observation. My school has them 4 times a year. FOUR. They are really watching me like a hawk. I cannot make one step without them knowing. But...at least they care, unlike the last district I was in.

Anyway, I had my second observation a week ago monday, and the post-observation the following wednesday. My principal is wonderful...I really do like him. He is new this year, and he is super supportive and firm in his opinions yet gentle in his delivery. The thing I am having trouble with is his assessment of my lessons and procedures, partially because I am not as well-versed in procedure and assessment as I should be, and partially because I have never had someone care enough to give me actual criticism on my teaching. Music doesn't tend to rank high on an administrative's list of "fix this now." Mostly because there is a little thing called MCAS that gets in the way and clouds all reason and opinion.

Again, ANYWAY...I digress. I was observed. And the class went well. And he told me it went well. And then proceded to give me a page (single-spaced!) full of suggestions and recommendations to employ in my classroom. I was a little disheartened...I think mostly because I tend to see those things as failures. If I had no recommendations from the principal, my delusional self would think, "They must have thought it went so well, it could not have been changed for the better!" When, in the past, it has definitely more been that they don't understand my subject and didn't know enough to criticize procedural happenings. This guy was a 5th grade teacher for 10 years, and knows his teaching strategies backwards and forwards. He is genuinely wanting to be a help to us teachers in the district, and even shared with me that many times when he had been observed in years past, he would be frustrated by a lack of suggestions from the administrator. I know this is his angle. I know he means it as a good thing, and not to be taken as criticism. But I am most definitely feeling low and humbled and like I can't teach very well. Or at least, not as well as he would see me teach.

Singing, as you can see from previous posts, is going well. But, I am questioning my confidence...is it valid? Is anyone's confidence truly valid? There are myriads of great singers out there...am I delusional for thinking I can actually sing well enough to get parts and not just be in the chorus? I don't want to be too prideful, but on the flip side, I feel like I have been unconfident with my singing for so long in my life, that to actually have confidence the last few years has been enlightening and helped me start to use my talent. I don't know where the balance is sometimes. I really don't want to be a diva, but am afraid of inevitably becoming one.


I know God would not want that.


Lord, give me clarity. These two fields of study are difficult and full of egos. Please help me check mine and submit to Your desire. Help me to trust Your observations and knowledge of me, instead of flying at every whim of human fancy. Help me to find the truth that is spoken and sift the chaff. Thank You for Your consistency and unending love. Thank You for bringing me to Yourself.


Amen.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

here we go!

I am officially in the chorus for MetroWest Opera's "The Magic Flute."

I am excited, yet desperately wishing I had done better and wondering what the other girls did better. Oi. Some of my friends are in this production as well, so that's fun.

This is a great opportunity, and I am going to really enjoy this...they are going to send me feedback on my audition as well. Which is scary since, as I mentioned before, I forgot an entire phrase.


So...hopefully it won't be too ugly....I'll post them when I receive them.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

thoughts for "Magic Flute" audition today

I am singing, singing..."Voi che sapete..."


then.


"Gelo e poi sento..." Appropriate that I would mess up that one line in my audition. (translation: "Freezing is this feeling...")

Ah well. I can honestly say that my nerves did not get the better of me for this latest audition. I was scheduled to sing two songs - the panel only had me sing one...they were "speeding right through." I know they were behind in the time slots, so I hope they were sincere and not just being nice.

The schedule girl told me, "Nice job!" I try to take that as a good sign when those people say something...since they've heard everyone. And the little time I was there, she hadn't said that to anyone.

So, I am hopeful. The good thing is, I feel I sang well and represented what I could do, to a small extent. The bad thing is, I forgot the aforementioned phrase. UGH! I could just shoot myself in the head. It really ticks me off.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

backwards thinking

I saw a little bit of "So You Think You Can Dance?" last night - there were in the weaning stage...trying to eliminate enough dancers so there were only 20 left...the 20 best, supposedly. The bit I saw had about 4 dancers, and one that they had highlighted for us to be "rooting for" as an audience. After he danced for the judges, they were not very pleased, but told him to keep practicing and come back again another time.

He completely broke down. Tears streaming down him face, trying to not sob uncontrollably in front of the panel and his peers and America, and not being all that successful at it.

One of the judges told him in no uncertain terms that he was not helping his career by doing this. He needed to toughen up and find some inner strength if he wanted to make it in this business. And then he said something that struck a chord for me:

"You need to not care so much." When he said that, the boy was finally able to pull it together.

I can empathize...I've been wondering if my problem all along has been that I care too much about this dream. If only I could not care...I would excel. That seems backwards, but maybe there's something to that.



Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Laud to the Nativity"

I've been asked to sing Respighi's Laud to the Nativity for a Christmas concert in early December. I had never heard of this piece, although I had heard of Respighi in Music History class ages ago. When I was first asked, I youtubed the title and heard a random choir performing...and was unimpressed. Today, after receiving the score and a cd to listen and learn from, I am very impressed. This music is beautiful! I am very excited and eager to start working on it, especially since it needs to be memorized for the concert.

There are three solo characters, as well as a choir and small orchestra. I am Maria, or Mary, who sings last. The mezzo is always the mother. Or the boy. Or the witch. :) But it is really a nice part - it really spans the range and I get to really sing. It was described to me as a "real Marilyn Horne type of singing piece"...which is not my voice because she can be a real beast...but I think I can make it work.

I've been watching too much Project Runway. "Make it work."

Monday, October 05, 2009

Why do I doubt my great God? Because I am narrow and limited and stubborn. Thank you Lord for loving and guiding me anyway. Truly You know best.

Why do I try to do it on my own. It's so stupid.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

attempting release through poetry

up and down
block it out
talk
it
out?
not likely
unless
right one
with
right moment.

God-speak
happening.

peace is not.

emotional
eclectic
stomach churning
pain
without seeming
reason

why does there have to be

why is there
objective
pressure
opinion
time

can't it be simple
black and white
creativity






Can't think

shouldn't think

anymore.





Lord, take my frantic worry, my unknowing, my accidental looks that show my thoughts, my ever-present and crippling fear and turn my face to look towards your God-given peace and Jesus-given love and trust. Show me the gift-filled relationships You have placed in my life. Show me who You are. I need to get beyond this.