top of page
  • Writer's pictureisaacrsmith

End of the Semester

I can remember how nervous I was at the start of this semester (as I indicated in my post from the start of the Fall), and for the most part, that was well founded. This was probably my most challenging and stressful semester so far, and so much has happened since August. Now that grad school applications have been turned in, it is time for the waiting game. This part might be less stressful in terms of the work I have to do, but it is very nerve-wracking, as everything is out of my hands, and I have already been getting a little impatient with wanting to hear from schools. I have already received a couple of "no"s, which was expected, though still not easy to hear. Hopefully, I will know more soon, but in the meantime, I had no shortage of things to keep me busy as I finished out the semester.

Even as I was finishing up with applications, I began working on a song cycle of Emily Dickinson poetry. As I have indicated in the past, I had a wonderful experience writing and recording my song Hope is a Thing with Feathers and getting to work with Dakota Andersen on it. We agreed to continue collaborating and expand upon the one Dickinson song to turn it into a full 3-song cycle. I selected the poems "A Word is Dead," and "I'm Nobody" to fill out the cycle, and I think it turned out nicely, though each song is drastically different from the others. I am still a little nervous, as I have still not really heard the whole thing, and hearing a live voice sing with piano is very different than the awful sounds of MIDI. Nevertheless, I got to meet with Dakota and Dr. Korey Barrett, UNI's collaborative pianist and vocal coach, who has agreed to play the piano part for me before the semester ended, and both of them seemed to indicate that it should be no problem for them to work it up. I look forward to seeing what they do with it, and watching them perform it for both my senior recital, and Dakota's!

Aside from this song cycle, I have been wrapping up with my Music Technology class. I had high hopes for the class, and it has delivered. I have learned a ton about electronic music and feel much more knowledgeable about DAWs, equipment, effects, and more. The final project required the use of Ableton Live with some sort of live instrument interaction. I took a slightly different route with my project, using an old trumpet and a cymbal as percussion instruments, and using a screwdriver and a drum stick as beaters. It certainly was not a piece that is going to win any awards or be accepted to any electronic music conferences, but I learned a ton from it, and had fun doing it.

I also wrapped up my first semester of lessons with Dr. Swilley by finishing up work on a fixed media piece, which I compiled on Logic Pro X. I have talked about the piece in past posts, but I learned so much about how to compile sounds and manipulate them to create interesting shapes and colors. As a purely acoustic composer prior to this, it was difficult to wrap my head around a piece of music that contained no exact pitches, rhythms, etc, but I am excited to begin working on another fixed media piece, hopefully in the near future, applying what I learned from this work to create something that is (hopefully) better.

For now, I need to take about a week or so and decompress, because I feel like I have been going non-stop since about summer of 2018. I can't take too long, though, because there is still a lot of work to be done. There is still so much music to listen to, and even more still to be written!

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page