Category Archives: Personal

School’s out for the summer! (not really)


 

As the song entails, school is officially over. But, not really.  As the end of the semester windles down, I decided to take the nerdy way out and register in a summer course. This semester has ben a hectic one. I’ve had a lot of stress, mostly papers to write, concerts, and not to mention, more papers. It has been a good semester. I wasn’t fond of the grading I received, especially in my music history course, but you can’t always get what you want. In this semester, I have also pondered on the two possibilities I have after I finish my Masters. I could stay here in the United States or go back to my home country, Puerto Rico, and search for a job there

As the song states, schools out for the summer so I won’t think about it… too much. ‘ve also toying with the possibility of pursuing a Doctorate degree in Musicology (a PhD), instead of a DMA in Choral Conducting (for all of you who do not know the acronyms a DMA is a Doctorates in Musical Ars).  The root of this moral, career dilemma, is that with a PhD in Musicology, I can assess Latin American repertoire and unveil the mysteries and all of the inaccuracies that’s out there (this is technically called ethnomusicology. With a DMA, I would just focus on an ensemble and how to create a professional sound out of them. Both of the things I would love, but time will tell which one I will choose.

 

Speaking of  musicology and the mysteries it implies, specifically ethnomusicology, my independent study will focus on what ethnomusicology is, how it has evolved, and how it has been reflected in Latin America. I will hope this new adventure provides itself to be truthful! Also, in this summer I will add to my agenda to update this blog (more than I have been lately). So I will stop with my binge watching of anything that is on Netflix (although Scandal Season 3 is really tempting, I kid you not) and focus on maintaining this blog in tip, top shape.

That will be all for now!

-MP.

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Polar winds v. Tropic thunder


And so my winter break is coming to an end. Next Monday I start my second semester of graduate studies, where I shall immerse myself anew in music, music, and music (and the midwest weather). Between a musicology course in twentieth-century music to twentieth -century musical analysis, choral conducting, graduate musical composition, and ensembles. This semester will be challenging, but rewarding, I’m sure. Let’s see what this semester brings. Up until now I will be a part of the IMEA in Illinois, and there might be a slight (very slight) possibility that I can get enough funds to go to the ACDA convention this year. If I get the chance, it would be amazing. It’s still somewhat incredible and humbling coming back to the island and meet again my professors and peers. The pressure is still on when the hint, again, that I am the “new guinea pig” because before me nobody has done a Masters in Music, specially Choral Conducting. I just have to work harder this semester. As we say in the Choral Department (thanks to me) “If you try hard enough and believe in yourself…”

Sweltering heat, Frigid Winds


Finals are done, and I’m back home in Puerto Rico for the Winter Break. Coming back home is good. I’m still not accustomed to the change in temperature. Living in twenty-something degree weather (that feels like ten-something because of the wind chill) to the drastic eighty degrees with seventy percent humidity is… taxing. Nevertheless is good to be back, at least for two weeks or so to say hello to the family (in person and not by FaceTime) and see some familiar faces. So far, I crashed a choral rehearsal from my undergraduate. Saw my highschool/undergrad voice teacher, and my choral conducting/literature/methods professor. It’s been good, but bittersweet. It has put a lot of things in perspective, such as family, friends and what I want to do in my life.

Flamenco Beach. Culebra, Puerto Rico

Flamenco Beach. Culebra, Puerto Rico

I’m still debating coming back to the island after I receive my Masters degrees. In one side it would be returning to my comfort zone. On the other, it would be returning to a place where I know I could find a collegiate work opportunity, because of my networking. I don’t know if the job opportunity would be a stable one, but with the way things are back here, it is… daunting. When I came here, teacher’s went on strike, and the overall teaching opportunities/lifestyle are light and day in comparison of what I’ve seen in Iowa and in Illinois. These past six months of actually living alone, in a place where no one knows me has made me seen life in a different ways, and I’ve remembered and learned new this. Some of these are…

  1. No matter where you come from, people judge you (or should judge you) for your actions and how you present yourself.
  2. Everybody should deserve a chance for every job opportunity.
  3. Don’t tell everybody that you don’t have something, do something and find something similar.
  4. Family is only a phone call/text/FaceTime session away.
  5. Family can also be your close friends.
  6.  If you try hard and believe in yourself… (inside joke)
  7. Everybody can pass through a storm, they maybe unresponsive and not believe your words, but they can appreciate (or so you think) that you are a phone call/text away.
  8. No matter what happens, you have to work hard, because in the end it’s your future. Your life.
  9. Pick people’s advice like a grain of sand.
  10. Only the past is set in stone, the present is a gift, and the future as the sea’s wave. Even though the past is set is stone, do not throw it to the sea for the waves will carry it back to shore.
  11. Drink wine.
  12. Graduate School helps you use the most obscure and random scholarly words just to make your argument that more… scholar.
  13. It is in our scholarly duties to make up words so that other scholars can use them, and so the scholar circle begins.
  14. Personal style evolves. I still laugh when people say I have good fashion taste, if they could see me in my undergrad…
  15. Mozart is in fact from the 54th, later 45th century. He was possibly a woman, and he did in fact use non-human technology. He may have been indeed a reincarnation of The Doctor.
  16. The Doctor Donna is a professor of mine, also she is hardcore. Also, she loves French stuff so when you do a research project in French Chansons, you better werk if not she will shred you to pieces. Good for me, I rocked my paper AND presentation.
  17. Musicology might be a career move for me, or at least be a minor in my doctoral degree
  18. Always hope for the best, even when things seem dark.
  19. Just as in BBC’s Merlin. “The Darkest is just before dawn“. And, Just as Dumbledore said “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light”
  20. Yes. I am a huge nerd.
  21. Study hard, but nobody can part-ay like happy choral grads who laugh so hard that they fall from their chairs, and then laugh harder. (looking at you, yes you.)
  22. IF you put  three choral grads in the same hotel room, they may or may not start laughing. This laughter would be loud (in harmony, with a certain counterpoint), and it WILL last for AT LEAST 30 minutes. The undergrad in the room would later tell you, “I though you guys were going to be all serious.”

In short… if I’ve learned or re-learned some of these things in a short amount of time, I know that I have so much more to learn. All you can be in life is a sponge, learn from everything.

 

Happy Holidays from Puerto Rico
-Musical Poetry

I feel it’s going to rain (paperwork)


This week that passed on grad school…

  1. You may mess up completely in your conducting and may have to meet your professor for further assessment.
  2. The day feel ready to meet your professor is the day he’s not on campus.
  3. That’s not the way you hold a baton… in your case you should ’cause that baton is like a Harry Potter wand. My response… CRUCIO!
  4. Handel composed “And the Glory WRATH of the conductor shall be revealed”. A song specially dedicated to all conducting majors in the world.
  5. When you think you don’t have enough work, think again.
  6. How many grad students does it take to move a speaker?
  7. Are we on key? Is that a C? a C #? C flat? whut? My thought process when we Glory the anna
  8. Britten concert was a cool experience as a birthday.
  9. You can fall asleep on your couch after a skype call, while your friends wait for you in their house to celebrate.
  10. You will start missing people the day before, during, and after your birthday. (Specially those who are in the moving process).
  11. You all did well, but you still have to take another test of the same material next week (this Wednesday).
  12. My abstract was French with a touch of Dutch… I think I can roll with this… if I can ACTUALLY get the dissertation and scores I asked for… 3 weeks ago?
  13. Lully and Mendelsohn are cool… so cool that I listen to their pieces for basically an hour on repeat and then say WAIT I need to annotate things on these scores. Process may be repeated at least three times this weekend.
  14. J. S. Bach is a cat. With fluffy ears, which I want to pet (if he doesn’t kill me first or tries to escape, and succeed.)
  15. Starbucks Colombian coffee is NOT good enough. I need my Puertorrican coffee.
  16. That moment when your harmony professor calls you and tells you “if you migrate from our harmonic system to theirs (US system) I will disown you. Hey, here’s my email. Anything you need call me, text me or email me (specially for scores).”
  17. Choral Literature Jepordy:  Here… listen to these 3 obscure passages from the 16 pieces. They have no text. Who wrote it?
  18. Something as simple as assisting in giving a midterm may be reassure yourself that you want to be a professor.

 

Coffee


Coffee

Will always drink my coffee and think you’re doing the same. Will always drink my coffee in the mug you bestowed me. My prized possession. A cup of coffee. It might be nothing to some people, but it’s everything to me. That, and the card you gave me for my birthday. They can take everything else, I have those two and I don’t care.

Polished (dented) armor


Daily Prompt Idea:

Look for a CD from one of your favorite artists. In my case I will use Sara Bareilles “The Blessed Unrest”. After you jammed to the CD for at least an hour (or more if you’re like me) Take the title from the CD and each track, and express your “truths” based on the title of each song.  This is an Daily Prompt Idea

The Blessed Unrest

The Blessed Unrest:

I feel I haven’t rested in… 6 years. Now, I am a 23 year old overachiever. Maybe that’s why I haven’t “rested”. My friend Yolimar nags me as if she were my mother that “you need to rest”. I try. Honestly. I do. But I feel that there’s so much to do. Too many options. My life can go in so many directions, and I still don’t know which way I have to take. I feel like I’m in the Amazon with no GPS, alone. This haunts me at night… And I’m referring to my professional life because in my personal life well… let’s look at the next point, shall we?

Brave:

Sometimes I feel like I’m Merida. I’m a 23 year old man who needs no… well other man. Sometimes (many times in these past few months) I’ve cracked and I hate this feeling. I loathe it. I hate feeling “human”. I hate feeling vulnerable. Because in my family (at least that’s what I feel) being “vulnerable” is being weak.

It’s a very rational fear. When I told them what my career choice was? A civil war erupted. When I told them when and where I wanted to do it? World War I. When I got rejected the first time, and when I ACTUALLY got accepted into the program I’m going? World War II. If I actually gather up the courage to tell them the most personal part of who I am? I’m guessing it’s World War III, Terminator I,II,II, etc will explode.

Chasing the Sun:

I’ve always been somebody who chases my dreams. I’ve always wanted to “Chase the sun”. I don’t want for my life lose it’s meaning. I think that’s something us humans have. The need to feel useful. The need to feel important. I don’t know if this (Choral Conducting/Music) is the “right” dream. I feel like it is. It’s something I’m passionate about, but something in the back of my head says “maybe I’m not good enough”. The other dream, which came true for two years, is being in a relationship. I will still chase that dream. I thought I would never find somebody then he walked in. Beautiful in black. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic…

Hercules:

“Make me a Hercules”. Make me your Hercules. I want to be a hero to somebody. If not, somebody to look up to. I have a lot of personal baggage. I doubt myself. I don’t think I’m good enough for a lot of things. I’m inside my head too much. I’m very very oblivious. But, I want somebody to look up to me. To say that “hey. What you’re doing is cool. I wish I could do what you were doing. Maybe someday I can do that or something similar”. It’s not too much to ask. But for somebody to do this… I must actually do something.

Manhattan:

Maybe all this family drama came at a good time. I never felt like “part of the family”. Maybe it’s for the best. They can have the house I live in (the one I hate). They seem happy. The look happy. Maybe some relationships are meant to be a long-distance one.

Maybe our relationship had to end when it ended. Maybe we were too “new at this”. Maybe our enviorments didn’t let this bloom as it should. You can have Chicago (for now). I’ll mature. I’ll grow emotionally. But after I do, I’m coming back for you and there’s nothing you can’t do.

Satelite Call

I know I’ll cry myself to sleep at least the first two weeks I go to like in Macomb. But, hey, it’s what I wanted. I wanted a Masters, I wanted to leave. Maybe it’s all “part of it”. I had to leave my family. I have to leave this toxic place. I’m stuck here. I need to grow. But maybe I’m not alone in this whole “stuck in a rut”. My three best friends who’re moving to Chicago in the same position. Maybe after I “get my shit together” I’ll call them. I’ll tell them I’m all right. They’re my new family, after all. They will be my support system, as they have been for a while now.

Little Black dress

I’ll move. I’ll leave. I don’t care who or what they say. I’m gonna put my little black jeans and outfit on and as Latrice Royale says in “RuPaul’s Drag Race” I’m going to make them EAT it.The one who has the power in changing my life is me and I’m going to change it. I’m going to fight for what and who I love.  Ain’t nobody got time for y’alls bad vibes! LET THE MUSIC PLAY! (spazzing unto a dance floor and cheering myself up)

Cassiopeia

My first kiss… perfectly imperfect.
“Collide
Let’s see what a fire feels like
I bet it’s just like heaven”(Just like heaven)”

1000 times

The title says it all.  1000 times…

I choose you

You know, just like in Pokemon Ash always chooses Pikachu? Well that’s me. I’ll always choose you. You’re my Pikachu. All cute and cuddly. And when you get angry you side-eye me and it’s the most adorable and frightening thing I’ll ever see. Because dissapointing you is the thing I would hate the most. Because you’re perfectly imperfect, and I choose you.

Eden:

“Life in Eden changed”. Just as simple as that. It’s been a great 23 years here in Puerto Rico, but I need change. I need a change of landscape a change in perspective. I need to enhance my perspective of the world. Live in other places, meet new people, places and things. It’s not that I don’t value what I have. It’s that I’m stuck, and the perfect remedy for that is change.

Islands

No matter how many time may pass. No matter what happens. If you’re important to me (and important for me is only 5 people) I’ll do whatever it takes. I may fail the first time. I may fail the second or third, but I will always do whatever it takes. If you’re important to me, I will try. No matter what.

December

What I wished for every December for the past two years? To have a December with that special somebody. To have a really cheesy Christmas Day morning that only happens in the movies. Wake up, and it’s snowing. To have it be so cold and chilly that you just need to be cuddling in front of a fire escape. To drink cups of hot chocolate and watch the snow fall. To have a day between the people who really matter and just have a really happy Christmas.

I just want to be me

I just want to be myself. That goofy, sort of pratty, geek and totally clumsy me. I don’t want to keep keeping up apperences just for the sake of. I want that someday. Somewhere. I won’t have to apologize or cover who I am. If people like it they’ll stay if not they can leave.

Layers of sound & harmony


What happens when you start losing your faith? What happens when your hope is fleeting? Sure. Some good things happen. But in comparison to the “bad” the “good”? Let’s just say that it looks pretty insignificant.  Then you find this piece. For me it’s not about the lyrics. Ok. It’s not just about the lyrics. The layers of sound. The harmonies. The constant movement between the voices. The intent. The motif. The way the melody fugues from voice to voice. Section to section. The way the Soprano hits one or two high notes… the notes the bass sing which are low, but they give a richness & depth towards the piece? 

The intention of the words? What the words truely want to evoke, the music conveys. The only “flaw” this audio has is the “t” is too marcatto. Other than that? This piece is perfect. You are immersed in layers upon layers of sound & harmony.

Text:

Nada Te Turbe
by Santa Teresa de Ávila
Music by:Jake Runestad

Nada te turbe;
nada te espante;
todo se pasa;
Dios no se muda,
la paciencia
todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene
nada le falta.
Solo Dios basta.

[Let nothing disturb you;
let nothing frighten you;
everything passes;
God never changes,
patience
obtains all things.
Whoever has God,
lacks nothing.

 

I chose you…


I chose you...

I chose you because you are the person who makes me happy. You are the one who’s always on my mind. Because for you I risked everything by telling you all that I felt and I didn’t care. You are the one who leaves me thinking all day; always asking myself “where are you? What are you doing?” You are the one for who I die, filled with jealousy, when somebody looks at you or tells you something. You are the one I would follow even though you are you. I don’t care about anything and anyone. I wouldn’t change you for anything and anyone. -Author Unknown

50 thousand reasons to sing and conduct


In the past few posts (these to be exact: Nobody said it would be this hard, One Winged Angel, and  Caught in the Storm)I have shared my Goals Statement, what I want to do with my carer, some of the people who have inspired me & the obstacles that I’ve had in this past year. While I had this whole post defending why I want to do what I want to do, I’ve realized that… they will continue to put me down, try to shut me out or appear as if they are going to help. I realized that people will continue, no matter what you do, try to make you unhappy. Life sucks. Life throws a lot of obstacles to “test you on how strong you are”. One thing is certain I won’t back down. I will continue to fight for myself, and for the person I love.

A family member asked me a while back… “you do realize that if you want to do this you will have a debt of $50,000 in your ribs, right?” I simply replied: YES. I don’t need to defend my lifestyle, my carer choice to anybody. I have one life, and I’m going to live it the way I want to. I have 50 thousand reasons to sing & conduct. Some of those reasons are:

  1. Laugh.
  2. Love.
  3. Smile.
  4. Make high quality music.
  5. New experiences
  6. New places, people, and things.
  7. Your smile.
  8. The way you when your proud.
  9. The way I feel when I do a good job.
  10. To be brave in all aspects in my life.

Start being happy. Truly happy.

Everything’s a learning experience


Everything's a learning experience

Even though I couldn’t go to the audition, I learned how to cram this masterpiece in less than a week. Preparation is key. Pressure is what differentiates a coal from a diamond!

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