Hello World!

Hello to everyone! I need to introduce myself. I am Adam’s friend, and I thank him so much for inviting me to do this. Music and writing are two of my passions, and hopefully this will be as entertaining for you as it is therapeutic for me. I am currently enjoying my summer–taking a break from my first year as a Ph.D  student in Historical Musicology at the University of Florida. It’s been a tough year, but also very rewarding. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my interests, and I look forward to continuing and starting a dissertation soon.

I also play for the Ocala Symphony Orchestra as its principal clarinetist. This past season was my first; I won the audition in August 2009 and it’s been a very eventful and wonderful concert season! We played so much great literature, including Igor Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite in March 2010. Let me tell you, THAT was a stressful weekend. I remember calling Adam and just about losing my mind. But, I made it, and it was a successful concert weekend! I definitely put in a lot of practice time for that concert.

One thing that has been really difficult this past year has  been reconciling with the fact that I’m no longer a “performer” in the sense that it is not my main area of focus. After getting a performance degree, and now playing in a professional orchestra, I have a lot of pressure to maintain my performing abilities (or–”keep up my chops”) throughout the school year, and this has been ridiculously difficult. When you spend every waking hour reading for intense seminar classes, it’s almost impossible to ever find even 30 minutes or an hour to play every day. I never ever thought I would be fortunate enough to have an orchestra job–but here I am. I mean, it’s really amazing to me, I still can’t believe I won the audition. However, it certainly comes at a high price, and sometimes I don’t know how long I will be able to continue balancing my playing with my academic work. But I feel like I have to, because the only way I can get a job in the very competitive music world is to be diverse and multi-faceted.

So–what can you expect to read in my blog? Well, honestly, since the summer is upon us, things may be a little dull until school starts back up in August. There probably won’t be a lot of musical discussion until then. I’m taking a bit of a break from the clarinet, which I often feel guilty about, but hey—it’s summer. I would like to fill some blog space with book/movie/music reviews also. I think it will help me to keep writing and find my voice. This is one criticism I’ve gotten a lot from professors so far: that I don’t have enough of my own voice in my writing. I intend to work on that, and what better place to do that than here?

I will try not to get to personal here–but there will probably be a tangent now and then. You will get to know me, my frustrations, my hopes, fears, my goals and passions, and I hope something I say may inspire you to learn more about the life of a musician/student or even just inspire you to listen to different types of music or explore different literature.

I’m very excited about this. I hope you are too. Feedback is always welcome! And questions!

~Sarah

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