17 October 2008

Challenged by Villa-Lobos

Thursday. I love this Thursday.

Well, I was rather very busy for today, but I suppose I got something in the end which was nice.

I got to campus a few minutes before 10:00 AM. I then had my office hours. I had a student come in, and I helped her with recording stuff on her computer, because students need to write a project as a requirement for the class, and it involves recording sound clips of language and analyzing it.

Then I attended the class that I am a teaching assistant of.

Then after that, I was supposed to meet with someone since I am her informant, and so she is gathering data from me, but she canceled the meeting because she had something else that she needs time for. That turned out to be a good thing, but my professor came in, and told me that she wanted to record me so she could preserve the data that we used that was coming from me. So I went to the soundproof lab and she recorded my speech there with her high-tech gadgetry.

Oh, I forgot that before that, I headed out for lunch. I didn't have time to cook lunch, and yes, I will do that either tonight or early tomorrow, since I don't want to be totally reliant with eating out. Anyway, I went to the Indian cafe on campus and got a combo of Palak Paneer and Chicken Whatever, it was butter-based curry.

Then I went to the lab in the psychology department to which I am a research assistant. I brought my laptop with me, so I could do work while running experiments with the participants that were coming in. As long as I gather their personal information, and then set the computer in and then they could sit down and run the experiment, then I can do work of my own.

Anyway, so while the experiments were running, I was able to correct some exercises for class and grade papers, and then input the grades to my computer and then send a copy to my professor. Then, when I was done with that, I continued to work on my paper for a seminar I am taking. I was able to wrap it up and finish it. That's why I am happy.

So after the three hours that I spent in the lab, I went back to my office, and then I saw a fellow graduate student who I am working with for a paper. I asked her if I can cancel our meeting for tomorrow, due to various reasons. She agreed, and so that would free my afternoon tomorrow.

I then went to return two shelves worth of books to the library. I borrowed them all for this paper, and since it is now done, I am returning them. I think I did six trips to the library all in all. I asked for a dolly or a crate with wheels but they didn't have any, so I just manually carried them back and forth.

Then I printed my paper in the library, and tomorrow it will be ready to be submitted. I will then ask my professor to read it if he wants to already, and if he thinks it needs improvement, then I am willing to revise it. In the meantime, I will be focusing my attention to the paper for my other class, since I have been neglecting that for some time.

So there, that was my day so far. It is half past six in the evening, and so I think I will stop for now. I think I have accomplished a lot of schoolwork for the day, so I will rest for now. Maybe I would go to the Music department and practice playing some music.

I was challenged by my friend, who is a harpist. She told me to study a harp and piano piece, and so I accepted the challenge. So yesterday, as a distraction, I went to the Music Library and found a harp and piano piece. Actually, it is a harp concerto, by Heitor Villa-Lobos, and the orchestra part is transcribed for piano. So obviously I am doing the piano part. I looked it over yesterday morning, and it wasn't too technically challenging, at least, for my part. After all, it is a harp concerto, it is a showpiece for the harp, not for the orchestra.

I happen to have a key to a practice room in the Music Department. But since I wasn't using it, I lent it to a friend in the department, and since I am supposed to study this concerto, I asked for it back. So yesterday evening, I spent an hour in front of the piano, and I walked myself through the first movement of the piece. My goodness, I suck.

Well, what can I expect? I haven't been practicing my pianistic skills for about seven years now. I wanted to major in music in undergrad, hoping to get a degree in composition. But somehow that didn't happen. I don't regret that fact, I am glad with where I am. However, I still love making music, so I suppose I am using it as a distractor. And spending one hour in the practice room yesterday made me realize how much lack of practice I am. I told my friend that I would begin by practicing the second movement, which is the slower one.

So there. Yesterday was the day in which I discovered Heitor Villa-Lobos. I already knew the existence of this Brazilian composer, but I never really heard his pieces. I knew of him as a composer of chamber music, not of solo piano music, since that was my instrument. However, it turned out that he composed quite a lot of solo piano music as well, and they are very technically challenging nonetheless. I looked at them, and using an online listening station that I have access to, I found them to be quite hypnotic. I tried playing one of them, and I immediately realized that I need more practice to actually play it. So I am starting with something simpler. Something slower, perhaps.

(Front Gate, from my Arlington Cemetery Series)

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