A Melancholic Celebration of Mendelssohn’s Life: A Schumann Analysis

Note: This is the analysis that got a 90. And thus resulted in me getting a 93.something for the semester. Which means I was less than a point away from a true A. It’s fine. Everything’s fine.

Composing their works during the Romantic Era of music during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Robert Schumann and Felix Mendelssohn maintained an acquaintanceship beginning from their first encounter; Schumann, a great admirer of Mendelssohn’s compositions, noted that he found him to be humble and modest upon their first meeting. As the years progressed, the two would perform together and support each other’s compositions until Mendelssohn succumbed to a series of strokes on November 4, 1847 (as documented in the subtitle of Schumann’s Opus 68: 28 “In Memoriam”). The piece is featured in Schumann’s Album for the Young, which is a collection of works composed for his daughters. It is believed by many that the pieces present in the album are highly suitable to be played by amateur pianists and beginners, therefore literally acting as an album of music for the young. While the composition shares many similarities to other music in the album due to the collection’s etude-like nature, the piece is given enhanced color through its usage of parallel asymmetrical form and secondary dominants.

Measures 1-4 and 5-10 form a parallel asymmetrical period form, both phrases moving in ascending motion. In both phrases, the second note in the soprano is a passing tone, therefore smoothing the transition between the anacrusic note and the next note in the chord (C#), which is a minor third below. The first phrase reaches the piece’s highest pitch (F#) just prior to moving to the half cadence on E Major (V), while the second phrase begins with the same musical information, yet continues past the point where Phrase I concluded (the first beat of Measure 8 being the equivalent to the first beat of Measure 4) as a method of adding onto the sentence. The theme of the first phrase returns on the “and” of Beat 2 in Measure 14 and continues through Measure 18’s first beat. The phrase on the “and” of Beat 4 of the same measure begins the same musically and rhythmically, although it soon deviates just before reaching the fermata.

In addition to form, it is crucial to note that there are three key modulations that provide chromaticism to the piece. While the first modulation (from A Major to E Major) takes place in Measure 6 and ushers into the secondary dominant of F#7 (V6/5 in the key of B Major [vi]), it is the second modulation—from E Major to B minor—that truly adds energy to the piece through the upward-moving sequence that takes place in Measures 11-13. The sequence begins in B minor with the utilization of natural accidentals, moves the entire sentence up one whole step in Measure 12, and then returns to a similar motive to M. 11 in Measure 13, concluding the sequence with dissonance as a B Major chord (V in the key of E Major [V]) is used. Dissonance is also a major contributor to the listener’s sense of the piece reaching its end in Measure 20, when in lieu of the expected V chord (EM), an e#m7 is played instead, altering the root note of the expected chord up one half step. The piece then continues through to the first ending, falling on a perfect authentic cadence until the anacrusic note. In both endings, the bass notes reach the lowest pitch (A1), arpeggiating through the chord until settling on A3. The second ending in the final measure then incorporates neighbor tones to provide a trill-like closure, highlighting the beauty of the supertonic note (B) against the median (C#) as the composition draws to a melancholic and nostalgic close, much like Felix Mendelssohn’s life.

At several points in the work, the listener expects the phrase to conclude on tonic; however, the usage of secondary dominants provides a faint dissonance, an uncomfortable settling. Although the composer arranged several key modulations, the listener still feels as though the piece is returning “home” in the key of A Major. A hypothesis is that because there are three repetitions of the opening sentence (which is completely in A Major), the listener becomes familiar with A; even when the piece modulates, their ear is still tonicizing A.

This is not a practice unfamiliar to Felix Mendelssohn himself. His contralto aria from the oratorio Elijah, “O Rest in the Lord,” is mostly written in the key of C Major and never truly changes its key signature, although there are several accidentals in the B section of the song, suggesting the possible usage of secondary dominants. However, as the contralto concludes her last “wait patiently for him,” the orchestra returns to the true tonic key. The final secondary dominant takes place as she says, “He shall give thee thy heart’s desires.” This is highly unexpected for the listener; every other time she has sung this line it has been on a V chord. However, once again, the piece returns to C Major and ends with a beautiful dissonance caused by the leading tone/tonic note neighbor trill in the flute section.

Although Schumann and Mendelssohn composed works for two completely separate reasons—one for a young pianist’s songbook and one for an oratorio—the composers utilized many of the same musical concepts. Although it is likely due to either their close musical relationship or living during the same period, it could be inferred that Schumann borrowed ideas from his style in order to pay his respects to his role model-turned-friend and carry his legacy into the future.


A Creative Analysis of The Harmonious Blacksmith

Note: Yeah, this wasn’t my best analysis. And yet this got a 94, and my Schumann one (which was much better) only got a 90. I’m still bitter.

George Frederic Handel’s “Air and Variations” from Suite no. 5 in E Major, HWV 430, For Harpsichord, commonly nicknamed “The Harmonious Blacksmith,” is a Baroque-era piece consisting of two initial phrases followed by five variations of the main theme. Although it is unknown why it is famously known as “The Harmonious Blacksmith,” the musicality of the composition involves a sense of increasing intensity in the first variation through the usage of sixteenth notes in the right hand, much like the increasing, rhythmic intensity of work that a blacksmith performs.

The formation of the bars is unique due to the first phrase being anacrusic, while the second (and both phrases of the first variation) is crusic.

The first phrase’s melodic line ascends, reaching its highest point at C#5. The continuous movement through the usage of eighth notes that move in an Alberti-like fashion provides a light, harpsichord-like feel, even when performed on other instruments. The phrase is repeated, contributing to the growth of the overall composition through the restatement of the introduction. The second phrase then begins with a melodic line that also rises and then descends back down to tonic, creating a mild contrast with the first phrase. Additionally, there is a greater incorporation of sixteenth notes and first inversions (as well as a cadential 6/4 inversion in measure 6), giving the piece a faster feel and the inclusion of more non-chord tones. The second phrase contributes a B section which includes various non-chord tones and even a g#m chord (iii in the key of E Major). It then returns to the structure of the first phrase with an I-V-I pattern.

The first variation on the theme then follows the same line, but jumps down to the B and back up to the melodic line throughout both phrases. It serves as a propeller into each following variation, each new one developing the theme further.

“Air and Variations” is one of Handel’s most performed works for various reasons. Its light texture and moderato tempo gives it an ability to be performed on various instruments, as well as its chords being utilized from both the tonic and dominant keys. It is truly a unique composition that applies various theory principles.

A Creative Analysis of Mozart’s K.315 A

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Two Minuets is a notable piano composition of the Classical era in Western music. Common in the music of its time, K.315/a has a light texture, relying on the tonality from the chord structure. The chord structure is reinforced through the usage of Alberti basslines and strong chord progressions, encouraging the movement of harmony throughout the piece. The piece is unified through its use of hidden motivic unity, and repetition of rhythms. The piece explores contrast between the Allegretto and Trio sections through differing orders of rhythmic patterns, interval sizes, and progressions. The minuet’s shape is formed through the range utilized as well as through the form of the overall line.

In the Allegretto composed in the key of C Major, each phrase begins with an anacrusis on the tonic note, with primary movement occurring between tonic and the dominant. Each phrase begins with an anacrusis, as indicated by the singular quarter note in the first measure. The treble staff’s pattern then leaps down to G (the dominant in a C Major triad) and ends the phrase on the dominant as it approaches its first rest. The next phrase continues from where the dominant lies, still maintaining most movement within the chord of C Major (with emphasis on the notes that spell out the triad—C, E, and G). All this occurs accompanied by an Alberti bass pattern, which utilizes eighth-note arpeggios that include the first, third, and fifth notes in a triad. After the imperfect cadence in the fifth measure, Mozart transitions into G Major briefly, incorporating the use of inversions, sevenths, and triads raising F to F#. The G Major section then ends with a perfect cadence, moving from a D Major triad back to tonic. As the minuet returns to C Major and the Alberti bass pattern returns, the treble staff returns to its original pattern as well.

The trio section has various similarities as well as several points of contrast. In the minuet, the opening motive is a chord followed by the idea of thirds. In the B section, the order is reversed, moving as third-triad in lieu of triad-third. A point of contrast is in the range of the minuet and trio. While the minuet’s primary range lies within the staffs (with rare use of ledger lines), the trio’s pitches are primarily found in the upper ranges of both the treble and bass staffs. Furthermore, while the minuet is consistent in utilizing the progression of dominant chords (with primary movement between the I and V in the key), the trio’s motion is mostly stepwise.

The motivic unity is present in several ways. Both the minuet and the trio begin with an anacrusis on Beat 1. They also follow the similar rhythmic pattern of (where “q” represents the quarter note):

q (Bar line) q q q (Bar line) q

Furthermore, the Alberti bass pattern is present in all sections of the piece. The arpeggios that shape the pattern provide a sense of stability that connects the sections together; they also add extra movement, allowing listeners to truly feel the simple triple time signature.

Evidenced by the information above, W.A. Mozart’s K.315/a is a keyboard masterpiece, highlighting all of the greatest features of classical Western music: emphasis on dominant chords, lightness of texture, the utilization of Alberti bass, the usage of a compound ternary (ABA) form, and motivic unity. To this day, works of his such as this continue to inspire musicians and composers all throughout the Western world.

An Introduction to Voice Leading

Note: This was written during my first semester of music theory. Therefore, while the information written here is true, one does not have to follow all of these guidelines for good partwriting.

an introduction to

Voice leading is the process of connecting harmonic progressions. Voice leading connects musical lines, giving a sense of direction for the piece’s melody.

When learning how to voice lead, it is important that one take heed of the following guidelines: keep the rhythm as simple as possible, ensure that each note in the melody is a member of the chord so that its produced sound harmonizes with the other tones, follow a stepwise motion (more formally known as “conjunct”) with a single focal point (often the melody’s highest note), and follow the steps that tendency tones “tend” to resolve to. For example, scale degree 7 has a strong desire to resolve up to scale degree 1. When writing leaps, one should avoid augmented intervals, 7ths, and intervals larger than an octave.

Voicing is the practice of arranging the spacing of a chord. The first step one must take when learning to write in a four-part texture (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) is deciding whether to write in an open or closed structure. In closed structure, it is important that no more than an octave can be observed between the Soprano and the Tenor, while in open structure, there is an allowance for an octave or more between the Soprano and Tenor voices.

However, even when writing in open structure, it is important for a beginning part-writer to take note of two main conventions. First, it is important that voices do not cross unless there is a musical reason to do so. For example, in Tavener’s “The Lamb” written for SATB chorus, there is frequent crossover between the Soprano and Alto voices, causing dissonance. However, traditionally one would not want the Alto voice to cross above the Soprano; it is usually not desired for a voice part to go above or below the one before it. Second, when spacing, there should be no more than an octave separating the Soprano and Alto, and the Alto and the Tenor (therefore resulting in no more than two octaves between the Soprano and the Tenor).

When writing, voice pairs are able to move in four ways: upper voices may move contrary to the bass, in oblique motion, parallel motion, or similar. It is also possible for an interval to remain stagnant, which is referred to as static. It is often preferred to avoid parallel 5ths and octaves in part writing, as they undermine the importance of the individual parts (Kostka). Doing so results in an objectionable parallel, which is generally avoided in tonal music written prior to the twentieth century.

In root position part writing, it is important to observe the guidelines of four- and three-part textures. In four-part textures, all notes belonging to the triad are present, with the root note repeated (“doubled”). In three-part textures, it is important to include the root and the third of the triad. If one chooses not to utilize the fifth, then the root will be doubled; however, the third cannot be omitted. It is also important to note that in both textures, the leading tone (scale degree 7) is usually not doubled, because it has a strong tendency tone, giving it a desire to move to tonic.

When writing parts that are a 4th and 5th apart, the most frequently used method (the rule of thumb, as learned in lectures) is to hold the common tone between the chords in the same voice. For example, when moving from a C Major triad (spelled as C, E, and G) when the Alto voice is the G to a G Major chord (G, B, and D), the Alto voice will hold the common tone of G (the note that is present in both triads) while the other voices will move in the same direction as the bass by step.

Another method (the first variation) is to move the upper voices in the same direction, but contrary to the bass. It is important to note that if the leading tone is in an inner voice (Alto or Tenor), then it does not need to resolve to scale degree 1.

The third method (the second variation) is when one note holds the common tone while another moves by step, and the other moves by a fourth. Although this is normally an acceptable progression, one must be careful, as this can cause voice overlap.

When writing with roots that are a 3rd or 6th apart, there will be two common tones. For example, when moving from C Major (spelled C, E, G) to E minor (spelled E, G, B), there are two notes in common—E and G. In four-part textures, the two voices with the common tone will hold it, while the remaining moves by step. In three-part textures, it is important to include the 5th of the second triad so that it can be evident to listeners that the entire chord has changed, rather than having performed an inversion of the same chord.

When writing roots a 2nd or 7th apart, there will be no common tones. In both four- and three-part textures, the upper voices will always move contrary to the bass. It is rare that progressions of a second lead to a proper cadence; they usually indicate that a musical phrase is not yet complete. One might be familiar with the deceptive progression (V-VI), which gives off a questioning tone rather than the comfort of a resolution to tonic.

The chapter* concludes with a brief explanation of how to write music for transposing instruments. As a double bassist (in spite of my primary academic concentration being voice), I have often had to transpose music down an octave, or change the tuning of my strings to match that of a cello’s when playing cello suites. Therefore, this section was very useful for me and many other students who may need to learn how to transpose their own music in the future.

In order to convey unity in tonal music, one must follow a sequence. A tonal sequence will maintain the piece’s key, while intervals may change. A real sequence will transpose to a different key. An example of a real sequence can be found in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s “God Help the Outcasts” (Schwartz), in which the song’s original key of Bb Major raises Bb and Eb to B Natural and E Natural as the chorus concludes their part and Esmeralda begins singing a new verse in C Major.

However, it is important to note that imitations can mimic real sequences. In a real imitation, although one voice may transpose the melody, another might repeat the original pattern. Therefore, this cannot be considered a real sequence. In a modified sequence, repetitions of the pattern will be neither tonal nor real.

In harmonic progressions, the strongest progressions are those of 4ths and 5ths. An example chord progression would be:

I IV vii I

ii V I


In this progression written, I chose to begin and end with intervals of 4ths, to begin and end on tonic, and to include a couple minor chords to provide some color. When moving up a 5th or down a 4th, this is considered following a circle-of-fifths sequence. Below is an example of the progression, with the chords written in the key of G Major.

G C fm G

am D G


In the circle of fifths, one may observe that it can be known that C Major is the fourth chord in the progression, because when moving one position to the left on the circle, the key of C Major can be found. D Major is known to be the 5th due to its being one position to the right on the circle. The other chords can then be found using this process as a guideline.

*This information came from Stefan Kostka’s textbook Tonal Harmony, 5th edition.

Evangelicals: Do Better.

I was dedicated to the Lord as a baby at a Baptist church in Utah. I was raised in the Assemblies of God, competing in Junior Bible Quiz (although I wasn’t very good at it) in elementary school and Fine Arts all throughout high school. I loved attending church as a child, so much so that if my family’s car broke down or the road conditions were too dangerous to drive to church, it would ruin my entire Sunday.

But I no longer feel that way.

It is not that I don’t believe in God. I am a believer in the God of the Bible, and of everything that I have learned about Jesus. I pray and read my Bible every day. My Bible app has to send me reminders, but the important thing here is that I do read it.

And it’s not even that I don’t like church. I want to join the Cru worship team when I start at CSU this fall, and there is nothing quite as powerful as sitting in awe at the stained glass windows in a sanctuary.

But ever since November 9, 2016, I can no longer feel at peace among many of the Christians I had known for the majority of my life. And before you groan and call me a snowflake, know that I respect political differences. Not everyone can support the pro-choice or LGBTQ movements, and I understand why.

But here is what I cannot understand.

For the longest time, I believed that Christians were required to vote Republican, and that I would be writing myself a ticket to Hell if I admitted that perhaps I believed my LGBT brothers and sisters deserved the right to marry, or that maybe the state of Israel is not blameless. Even now, it makes me feel strange to tell my peers that I am a registered Democrat. But I refuse to be shamed or silenced on this, and boy do I have a lot to say.

First of all, how did we get here in the first place? I’m a black woman, so obviously I was never surprised that social injustice was still a thing, but… at what point did any of you think that it was a good idea to elect someone with no political experience who ran his entire campaign on hate? *sighs and adjusts glasses* I don’t understand how anyone could have thought that he was a better alternative to Clinton. But we’re beyond that now.

Everything that I feared about this administration has come true. I love the USA, and I respect those who have worked to protect it (e.g. my literal dad), but I do not respect Donald Trump or anyone who supports his agenda. And I don’t believe that I should. And I am gradually losing my respect for Evangelicals.

The Church should be fighting against this. And yet, it has not only let all of this happen, but most of the people in it are supporters.

With no due respect (because at this point, you don’t deserve it), how can you be a Christian and support the detainment of immigrants seeking Asylum? How can you be a Christian and believe that we should not house refugees? How can you support the separation of children from their caregivers?

You should not forget that unless you’re Native American (and I’m not talking about the “I’m 1/46th Cherokee” crowd), your ancestors were immigrants. Not all of us came here willingly, but most of us are originally foreign to this land. Don’t forget that.

And let’s not forget what our Holy Book says on this topic.

When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33-34)

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against… those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:5)

There are many other verses, but I have to get to my point sooner or later.

My point is that it is obvious what God’s stance on this is. It is obvious what the Church’s stance on this should be. But what went wrong?

What went wrong is the main thing keeping me out of church these days. The vast majority of middle-upper class American churches have been running on turning away from other cultures. They send people to countries in Africa that they didn’t even know existed six months ago to take pictures with little brown children, but they probably wouldn’t have wanted Cameroonian refugees to come here. They sing the same two David Crowder Band songs in worship, but they act like they don’t how how to praise when a gospel choir sings a Mary Mary song. They talk about reaching out to their communities, but they try to raise money to move the church to a more suburban location in a “better” part of town. When asked to talk about race, they say that everyone is a shade of brown and that they don’t “see” color. But they never fix the problem. They ignore it at best, and support it at worst.

Fellow Christians, our nation is in crisis. Yes, we should be praying for our government. Yes, we can send our thoughts and prayers.

But we have to take action. We have to actively stand with our brothers and sisters who are being attacked by this administration. We have to exercise our right to vote in the midterms. And even if you did vote for Trump, it is not too late to do something. We can do better, and we have to be best do better.

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

How I Vacationed in Ontario for $500

I hadn’t left Ohio in nearly three years, and I was catching a serious case of wanderlust. However, when you’re nineteen and don’t have money to fly, sometimes your dream vacation seems out of reach. Luckily, mine wasn’t.

On this trip we explored the Lake Simcoe region, Sandbanks Provincial Park, Toronto, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and various other places. Our activities included hiking, kayaking, swimming, shopping, fine dining, camping and more, and the best part is…

We did it all for less than $500.

how i vacationed in Ontario for $500

1) I went with a friend.

This may seem like a “duh” thing, but going with my best friend really did help a lot of things. First of all, it obviously made the trip more enjoyable because I didn’t have to drive the entire time. Second, we were able to divvy up the costs; I covered lodging and most of the food, she covered gas and transportation (I definitely got the short end of that stick, but I’m not bitter… it was my idea). Third, we were able to use both of our strengths to get the most out of the trip; my strengths being in planning and budgeting, and hers being in survival and practical skills.

2) We established our goals near the beginning of the planning process.

We originally were just dreaming about visiting Canada, and before I knew it I had a passport. Once summer break hit, we had various planning sessions at my house where we stated the things that we were not willing to budge on. She wanted to hike, camp, and kayak, and I wanted to explore Toronto, drink wine, see the lakes, and eat poutine. Because we knew what we wanted early on, we were able to budget for it.

3) We drove.

Driving to Ontario is not possible for everyone, but luckily it was possible for us. It was a very long trip in the car compared to what could have been a three-hour flight, but we survived. Also, thanks to gas cards, we spent less than $150 on gas (which is why I definitely got the short end of that stick).

4) We reserved lodging with Booking and Expedia.

Our first night was spent at Lakehead University Residence and Conference Centre, which is actually a college dormitory that is not in use during the summer months. We reserved a suite for two adults, with each of us getting our own rooms with full-sized beds connected by the bathroom. There was a common room on our floor where we had access to a microwave, and also were able to converse with fellow travelers! Our beds were really hard, but otherwise it was a pretty comfortable experience. My friend joked that we drove all the way to Canada just to sleep in a college dorm again, but it was great for the price, which evened out to $63. This was reserved with Booking.

After we camped in Prince Edward County, we spent a night at Newton Villa in Brampton, a suburb of Toronto. It was a bed-and-breakfast setup and very clean. The woman assigned to us was very friendly, and our room featured a queen-sized bed. It costed the equivalent of $76 and was reserved with Expedia.

Basically, we weren’t afraid to sleep somewhere other than a traditional hotel.

5) We camped for two nights.

We took one of the cheapest camping spots in Sandbanks Provincial Park, but you wouldn’t know it just from looking. Our tent was just steps away from the beaches of Lake Ontario, and you could hear the waves crashing against the shore throughout the night. It was so relaxing. We even went out and read books by the lake at one point.

Now, let me get this straight. I do not generally enjoy camping. I’m terrified of spiders, I always get eaten up by mosquitos, porta potties make me gag… I just generally cannot do it. But even though the porta potties were definitely… like that, everything else was fine. Hardly any spiders.

And we paid $78.42 for our entire stay (two nights) on Outlet A.

6) We brought some of our own food.

We were able to cut down on time on the road and expenses on dining by packing our own food in a cooler. We didn’t waste any money on McDonald’s– well, I did get a sausage burrito on the Canadian side, AND IT TASTED THE SAME AS IT DOES IN THE STATES! YOU CANADIANS ARE LIARS!

7) And when we did dine out, we shared our food.

Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake are not cheap places at all. However, we managed through sharing.

We ate an early dinner at Dumpling House in the Chinatown district of Toronto where we ordered the meal of three different types of dumpling. The lamb ones were the best, in my opinion. The whole order of fifteen dumplings was a little over $9.10 USD, including the tip. It was definitely worth it. I almost wish we didn’t share.

Later on in the evening we stopped at Poutini’s and got some traditional poutine. I will admit, I wasn’t impressed and needed to add hot sauce and vinegar. But I refuse to give up on poutine. It costed $7.33 converted.

Niagara-on-the-Lake was where we truly allowed ourselves to splurge and spent over $30, thanks to myself ordering a glass of red wine. Before you gasp, I am legal in Ontario. We shared escargot and spanakopita as well.

8) One generous friend.

Shout-out to my girl Bethany! She gave me about $55 Canadian dollars (which DID NOT smell like maple… at all) and enough subway tokens to last my entire day in Toronto.

She’s also the one who suggested Dumpling House to me. She is a very good friend.

9) If we didn’t want it at home, we didn’t buy it.

I didn’t suddenly purchase a huge beach towel just because it said “Sandbanks” on it. If I didn’t need or want one while I was at home, I knew it would go to waste. I did buy an expensive pair of sandals, however. But I had been needing a new pair for years now; I deserved to treat myself.

10) We generally spent time in non-tourist locations.

Aside from Niagara, locals were often surprised that we were American. “Why did you come here?” a lot of the Orillia and Prince Edward residents would ask us. These were cute towns, but so few non-Canadian tourists knew about them. However, it did save us money, because tourist-popular cities tend to make things ten times more expensive than they need to be. Also, gas prices were tolerable.

Well, that’s all for now! I will be posting pictures and more tips on travel in Ontario sometime soon! To see our full budget, you can use this link.


Summer Music Challenge: Pretty Girl

This installment in the year-later continuation of the challenge is about a song that needs to be played LOUD.

music challenge

This is a song by one of my absolute favorite artists, Hayley Kiyoko. Honestly, just Google her if you don’t think you know who she is, because I guarantee you have heard one of her songs (probably “Girls Like Girls” or “Curious”) or seen her act (in the Scooby-Doo live action movies and The Fosters, among other things).

I first heard “Pretty Girl” when watching her November 2017 Boston concert on YouTube, and let me tell you. This song slaps. It is so underrated compared to her other stuff, but I’m glad she likes performing it live. I am currently on the fence about seeing her live this July.

Desert nights I like
Seeing you under the stars’ light
Through the fire as bright
Wanna know what your love feels like

I can see you’re real smart
World class piece of art
I can see you in the dark
All we have to do is start

I just wanna tell you that you’re really pretty girl
I just wanna know if you will let me be your world
I just know you got to taste like candy, candy girl
I just wanna tell you that you’re really pretty girl

You’re the one I like
I will find a reason tonight
Feel it all despite
The fact you don’t like my type

I can see you’re real smart
World class piece of art
I can see you in the dark
All we have to do is start
I just wanna tell you that you’re really pretty girl
I just wanna know if you will let me be your world
I just know you got to taste like candy, candy girl
I just wanna tell you that you’re really pretty girl

Wait, let me in
I want to show you the shape I’m in
Wait, let me in
I want to show you the shape I’m in
Wait, let me in
I want to show you the shape I’m in
Wait, let me in
I want to show you the shape I’m in

I just wanna tell you that you’re really pretty girl
I just wanna know if you will let me be your world
I just know you got to taste like candy, candy girl
I just wanna tell you that you’re really pretty girl

Sophomore Year.

I blinked and suddenly sophomore year is over.

I meant to write a post about this earlier, but I’ve been so busy with my summer activities. I’ve been working about 22-28 hours per week, taking both double bass and voice lessons, am preparing for a studio recital, practicing bass and piano, learning new songs for guitar, reading, and planning the vacation to Canada that I just got back from. So yeah, I’ve been really tired.

Looking back on my sophomore year is interesting, to say the least. I can officially say that all four semesters at Baldwin Wallace, I made the Dean’s List. However, this semester I wasn’t as excited about that, as I received an A- in my music theory class when I had been expecting an A+. I received an A+ last semester, after all, and I didn’t do nearly as well on my quizzes and homeworks as I did this semester. However, my professor didn’t seem to like the Schumann analysis I wrote (which was the most detailed analysis I have ever done) and gave me a 90% on it… which kept me less than .4 points from an A. I know it is immature for me to be ranting about this, but I am just so confused as to how I did so much better this semester (receiving 100s and greater on almost all of my quizzes, mostly As on my exams, all As on my keyboards, almost all As on my homeworks, and a 94 on the other, much less detailed analysis I wrote earlier in the semester) and somehow did… worse. That was one of my most challenging classes that I worked so hard for. So I don’t know. I just don’t feel like I can really celebrate my Dean’s List placement knowing that I barely made the cut.

Otherwise, this last semester particularly was great. I had some of the best classmates, and I will genuinely miss learning with them when I am at Cleveland State this upcoming school year. We have all grown from barely knowing each other and being insecure in our abilities to performing in operas, getting accepted into summer programs and transfer programs (I am officially working toward my B.M. now!), and being featured soloists. Also, in my opinion, BW Con’s Class of 2021 felt a lot like a family. Even though I was a sophomore and not even officially a Con major, I felt like one of them (which, age-wise, I actually am– about 1/2 of the class was older than me).

I made some friends that I am still in contact with. My freshman year, I had a few acquaintances and only about three people I would have considered friends. This year, I became really close with a percussionist after she helped me practice for my eurhythmics appraisal that I had been panicking about (which, thanks to her, I got a 100%). Through her, I became closer with other people I had already known from freshman year choir and MTx class, but didn’t know too well. They invited me to hang out with them quite a few times, and it really meant a lot to me. I also felt a deep connection with the women in my treble choir this year. Sigh. It was so easy to decide to leave when I didn’t have a reason to want to stay.

However, the end of my sophomore year is more than just the realization of being (ideally) halfway through college. It is more than realizing that I will turn twenty in November. If there’s anything I’ve learned with two years of college under my belt, it’s that time moves very fast. I don’t have time to be afraid to audition for that solo anymore. I don’t have time to skip out on a party because I’ve locked myself in a practice room on a Saturday. I don’t have time to surround myself with lots of acquaintances and only a few friends. Time moves fast, and before I know it, I won’t be in college anymore. Hopefully, within the next three years I’ll be an intern somewhere in Hawai’i (…or Cleveland) living my dreams. However, these college years are supposed to be the best of my life. If I want to have a better social life, I have to allow myself to live outside of the music building and my bed.

And so my goal as I move toward my remaining years of undergrad is to live more. I know that I have the grades to succeed, so now it’s time to live. It’s time to bridge the gap between who I am and who I want to be, and I hope that you will do the same.

“The tension is here between who you are and who you could be, between how it is and how it should be… move like today never happened before.”

-Switchfoot, ‘I Dare You to Move’

The Conservatory Rejection Letters: How My Faith Improved My Performance

“Things are looking up, oh finally! I thought I’d never see the day when you smiled at me… I’d never trade it in, ’cause I’ve always wanted this and it’s not a dream anymore… it’s worth fighting for.”

And now everyone reading this knows I went through a Paramore phase. Well, my first week of sophomore year of college is going on right now, and let me tell you, some major stuff has been going down.

the conservatory rejection letters (1)

First things first, I had choral auditions this past Sunday. I had been dreading going to them, because I didn’t exactly look forward to seeing the voice faculty after what happened the last time they heard me. I even considered just not doing choir this year; however, I reminded myself that the worst that could happen is that I would be placed in the same ensemble I was in last year, so I figured I should just give it a shot anyway.

The audition went the same way they always go– I did some scales (I was really disappointed in the range I displayed; I expanded my range to a high C this summer, but did I even get above the staff at the audition? Nope), sang my piece (“God Help the Outcasts” from Hunchback of Notre Dame… and that is foreshadowing for something else), and did some sight-singing, which could have gone better, but also could have been worse, so, you take what you get.

After I finished my piece, one of the faculty members told me something along the lines of, “So I was at your audition last year.”

*panicking* Oh *insert obscenities* what does she remember I shouldn’t have come here why did I think this was a good idea I’m that person that people give as a bad example in lessons *insert obscenities*

“I must say, you have really improved.”


“There’s something different about you this year, even in the way you carry yourself. You have come so far since the last time I heard you.”

At this point, I was sure I was dreaming, because when was the last time someone acknowledged my progress?

“Uh, well,” I started, “I’ve really been working on my performance anxiety and stuff…” I said other things, too, but I’ve mentally blocked out pretty much everything I said because it was painfully awkward.

“Well, whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”

That surprised me.

I left the music hall choosing to believe the audition went well. Even if I’m placed in the same ensemble again, I thought to myself, there’s no denying that I’m getting better. So I’m going to choose to be happy with my performance today.

Well, lucky for me, this story has an even happier ending.

I got placed into the ensemble I wanted– Treble Choir! I also got placed into the vocal part that I requested (Alto II was getting way too low for me, so I am now an Alto I).

At our first rehearsal, each new choral member was partnered up with a veteran to discuss our goals, fears, etc. When discussing what made us the most nervous, I stated, “I don’t want to sound like trash next to you guys (er, girls).” My partner told me, “You wouldn’t have been picked if you sounded like trash. [Our director] chooses every girl in this choir because she sees potential in them.”

So… I don’t sound like trash, I guess.

In other news, I might get to be a part of the Hunchback of Notre Dame chorus at a local theatre company, and I placed into a pretty good music theory section (we won’t talk about solfege).

But why the sudden confidence? Why am I doing so well right now?

I believe I owe this to my faith in God. I just finished reading a book called Destiny and Deliverance (written by multiple authors, including Max Lucado) about the Biblical inspiration behind the DreamWorks film The Prince of Egypt.

First of all, let’s get this out of the way. I love The Prince of Egypt. I can’t wait for it to get a Broadway adaptation (and it’s on its way– Casey Cott played Moses in a recent stage production of it. I’m pretty sure he’s not even Jewish, but whatever). Everyone who knows me knows that if they hand me the AUX cord and put one of my playlists on Shuffle, eventually the sound system will start blaring, and I will start shouting,

I send a pestilence a plague into your house into your bed into your streams into your streets into your drink into your bread upon your cattle on your sheep upon your oxen in your fields into your dreams into your sleep until you break until you yield! I SEND THE STORM I SEND THE HORDE THUS SAAAAAAAIIIITTTTHHH THE LOOOOOOOOOOOOORRDDD. Once I called you Brother, once I thought the chance to make you laugh was all I ever wanted I SEND THE THUNDER FROM THE SKY I SEND THE FIRE RAINING DOWN and even now, I wish that God had chose another serving as your foe on his behalf, is the last thing that I wanteeeed I SEND A HAIL OF BURNING ICE ON EVERY HILL ON EVERY TOWN this was my home. All this pain and devastation, how it tortures me inside. All the innocent who suffer from your stubbornness and pride I SEND THE LOCUSTS ON THE WIND SUCH AS THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN ON EVERY LEAF ON EVERY STALK UNTIL THERE’S NOTHING LEFT OF GREEN! I SEND MY SCOURGE I SEND MY SWORD THUS SAAAAAAIIITHHH THE LORD you who I called Brother, why must you call down another blow? I SEND MY SCOURGE I SEND MY SWOOOOORD let my people goooooo THUS SAITH THE LORD THUS SAAAAITH THE LOOOOOOOOORD you who I called Brother, how could you have come to hate me so? Is this what you wanted? *sick trumpet part in unison with the chorus* I SEND MY SCOURGE I SEND MY SWORD then let my heart be hardened, and never mind how high the cost may grow, this will still be so. I will never let





Thus saith the Lord…

I will not let






“Hope, why did you just type all of those lyrics? We got the point after the first five lyrics,” you might say. And you’re right. All of that was completely unnecessary.

So, where was I? Oh yeah, the book being inspired by the film that must not be named, else this post will never end. Which, by the way, you should totally read it! I believe the book was written while the film was still in development, because sometimes they’ll quote songs and I’ll be over here like, “I’ve seen that movie and listened to the soundtrack at least two hundred times and I know they never said that.” So I think that’s pretty cool.

But back to the serious stuff (I gotta get to my point eventually… I’m supposed to tie this back to music somehow). I never realized how much I related to Moses until I had read that book. I have read Exodus multiple times, and I’ve seen POE several times as well. But Exodus isn’t exactly the (sorry, Moses) most entertaining book to read, because it’s slightly confusing. And long.

When Moses was at the burning bush, he was a changed man. He had been living a quiet life in Midian as a shepherd for about 40 years, he had killed a man (!) back in Egypt, and so I guess you can say he was kind of trying to run away from his destiny. So much so, that when God told him to return to Egypt to fulfill his destiny to free the Israelites, his response was a blatant “No. You must have the wrong person.”

Who says “no” to God? What kind of bravery…

So, naturally, God (in the movie) kind of starts yelling at him.

Who made man’s mouth? Who made the deaf, the mute, the seeing and the blind? Was it not I? Now go!

This point in the movie always kind of scares me, not in a monstrous kind of way, but in a majestic way.

How often in my life have I been Moses? I mean, at this point in the film, we’re all like, “You dun messed up.” Like, who says tells God He’s wrong? Who argues with God?

But we all have. The scary thing is that I have been praying for direction in my life. I have been praying about what to do about my career, and for the first time in years, I think I know what God is saying to me. And the frightening thing is, I think He wants me to stay at BW and try again.

But surely someone else can do the job. There are plenty of music therapists and teachers out there; why do I have to be one of them? They won’t want me. I’m not nearly as good as the other vocalists out there. Yeah, I have good grades and practice/study habits, but is it really enough? Besides, I’m not strong enough even if I am good enough. I get nervous. I’ll stutter (like Moses). I’ll shake. I’ll fail again, and I can’t afford to fail again.

But I am given peace when I remember what happens after this exchange.

“Oh, Moses. I shall be with you (…) I shall be with you, Moses.

The night before my choral audition, which I should not have been nearly as nervous about as I was, this kept ringing in my head. “I shall be with you.”

Even today, it keeps ringing in my head and nearly bringing me to tears. It brought me such an enormous peace as I was preparing for my audition and leaving it, knowing that I was not alone, that I did not have to repeat the mistakes I made last year.

I am terrified about what may happen to me these next few months. I know that I want to stay at BW now, but I also know what that means. If I want to stay, there is no getting around it: I will have to audition again.

So I don’t know what I will do. But whatever happens, I know that I can cast my fears aside, or at least try to. Because I know He will be right there with me, holding my hand.

Lessons Learned Freshman Year: The Ultimate Packing List

I’m going back to college in a couple of weeks, and I couldn’t be more excited! Looking back on my freshman year, I have been making lists of what I used in my dorm last year and what I will need to take or leave behind this time around. Therefore, I thought, why not share this information with the incoming freshies? If you’re attending school in the Northeast, are an education major or musician, or just a girl on a budget, this is the list for you.

the ultimate college packing list

Everything you will need with you can be broken down into these categories: Supplies & Books, Clothing, Decor & Bedding, Hobbies, Toiletries, and Adulting.

The inner part of something; the inside. -the interior has been much restored-. Synonyms- inside, inner part, inner area, depths, recesses, bowels, belly; More antonyms- exterior, outsid

1. Supplies & Books

  • Highlighters
  • Thin-tip multi-colored marker set (Education majors; these are expensive)
  • Post-it notes and bookmark tabs
  • Construction paper (Education majors)
  • Black pens
  • Folders
    • One folder for each class.
  • Composition notebooks
    • I recommend one composition notebook for each class. Not every course you take will require you to take notes, but you can still use it to write essay outlines and make study guides.
    • These type notebooks are best for lectures.
  • Spiral notebooks
    • I recommend these for mathematics, music theory, solfege, and other lab-based courses where you might have to turn in your written work.
  • Crayons (Education majors)
  • Agenda/planner
    • The Day Designer is king.
  • Dry erase board/marker
    • I used this to write cute little messages for my roommate (e.g. “Going to Kent State for the weekend- see you Sunday!”) or to sit on top of the washer in the laundry room (“Waiting for a dryer- please do not remove my clothes!”).
  • Textbooks
    • There isn’t really a way to forget this. I added this to the list just so I could have an excuse to say that you should shop at Half Price Books. My tonal harmony textbook (which will last me two years) would normally cost over a hundred dollars. I got it for $12.
  • Calculator
    • I originally packed a TI-84 and didn’t need it. My college algebra class (that I tested out of in a week and a half) didn’t allow it, and my elementary school class didn’t need it. A normal calculator will likely suffice, unless you are a math major.
  • Tape
    • Masking tape
    • Clear tape
  • Laptop
    • ASUS is the devil! Cheap, but the devil!
  • Books
    • I tried to pack non-fiction and classics, with a few exceptions. And yes, I did actually have time to read. I believe I read five or six books last year.
      • Fullmetal Alchemist vol. 24-26
      • Pride and Prejudice
      • The Secret Garden
      • The Life and Works of Paul Laurence Dunbar
      • Morality and Contemporary Warfare
      • Anthem (Ayn Rand)
      • The Last Days of the Romanovs (Helen Rappaport)
      • The Romanov Sisters (Helen Rappaport)
      • Julius Caesar
      • Iris Has Free Time (Iris Smyles)
      • Of Mice and Men 
        • The only classic book that had me in my feels at the end. Like why did Steinbeck think that was… okay?
      • The Case for Christ (Lee Strobel)
      • I Am Malala
        • I read this book whenever I don’t feel like studying, and it motivates me again.
      • My Bibles
        • English Standard Version
        • New International Version
  • Devotionals
  • Journal
  • Headphones
  • Choir folder (Vocal musicians)
  • Pencils
    • Even if you hate pencils, you will inevitably have to take a scantron test.


2. Clothes (what I personally packed)

  • Pajamas
    • 2 onesies
    • A few T-shirts
    • 2 pairs of soft pajama pants
  • Pants
    • 3 pairs blue jeans
    • 1 pair colored jeans (pink)
    • 3 pairs athletic shorts
    • 2 pairs black Spandex shorts
  • Undergarments
    • 7 push-up bras (I’m a B; don’t judge)
    • 2 T-shirt bras
    • 2 strapless bras
    • 1 backless bra
      • Didn’t need it.
    • 2 thongs (is this TMI? Probably)
    • Seamless underwear
    • Yoga panties
    • Period panties
    • Black tights
    • Brown tights
  • Shirts
    • Tank tops
    • Blazer (for presentations and field experiences)
    • Sheer shirts
    • Sweaters
    • Blouses
    • Graphic tees
  • Skirts
    • 2 maxi skirts
    • 1 pencil skirt (for presentations and field experiences)
    • 4 church-y skirts
  • Dresses
    • At least 10 sundresses… I own more dresses than all of my other clothes combined
    • 3 maxi dresses
    • Black dress
      • Floor-length for vocalists and cellists
      • Any length for instrumentalists
    • A few homecoming-style dresses, in case of attending any parties
  • Socks
    • Athletic
    • Fuzzy
  • Shoes
    • Black heels (Vocalists)
    • 2 pairs flats
    • 1 pair tennis shoes
    • 1 pair rain boots
    • 1 pair fashion boots
    • 2 pairs fake Uggs (hear me out: at 8 a.m. on a January Cleveland morning, these are like heaven)
  • Scarves
  • Belts
  • 2 coats
  • 2 hoodies
  • Jewelry


3. Decor and Bedding, a.k.a. the fun part.

  • Pictures, paintings, and/or drawings
  • Command Strips
    • These take more elbow grease to remove than you would think, so use them with caution.
  • Victoria’s Secret bags
    • Everything looks cute in a Victoria’s Secret bag. Cotton balls, nail polish, tampons…
  • Christmas lights (I’m basic, I know)
  • Magazines
    • I made a collage on my desk.
  • Washi tape
  • Shoe organizer
  • Footlocker
  • Rug
  • Long mirror
  • 2 sets of sheets
  • Comforter
  • Sleeping pillows
  • 1 sham pillow
  • Decorative pillows
    • Sleeping on a loft bed, I would highly suggest not bringing these. They made my bed less comfortable, if anything.
  • Stuffed animals
    • I had a stuffed Appa, Naga (Korra’s polar bear dog), and Minnie Mouse, and I was not made fun of for it. I lived.
  • Tiny table (to hold up a small fridge)
  • Blankets/Snuggie


4. Hobbies

  • Your musical instrument of choice
    • I brought my acoustic guitar because once again, I’m basic
  • Sketch book
  • Art supplies
  • Sheet music and anthologies
    • Even if you’re not a music major, at my school, anyone is allowed to use the practice rooms. Sometimes I’ll spend the night in the Con playing the piano.
  • DVDs
    • I brought:
      • Avatar: The Last Airbender boxed sets of all three seasons
        • These were the DVDs I watched the most. Otherwise, I mostly watched Netflix.
      • The Legend of Korra: Book One
      • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
      • Big Hero 6
      • Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo
  • Crafting supplies
  • Fitness
    • Leotard (Gymnasts and Dancers)
    • Swimsuit
      • Even if you’re not on the swim team, check the pool hours for open swim.
    • Water bottle
    • Muscle braces
    • Earphones
    • Sweatpants
    • Wipes
    • Towel
    • Gym bag


5. Toiletries & Medications

  • Makeup (in order of how I put it on)
    • Concealer (a few shades lighter than my actual skin tone. I use white people concealer and I’m not afraid to admit it)
    • Brow liner
    • Foundation
    • Eye liner
    • Eye shadow
    • Highlighter
    • Powder
    • Blush
    • Setting spray
    • Mascara
    • Lip balm (you really should be using this at night but okay)
    • Lip liner
    • Lipstick
    • Lip gloss
  • Face wash/scrub
  • Toner
  • Moisturizer/lotions
  • Nail polish
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Curl cream, oils, whatever you put in your hair…
  • Hair ties
  • Shower caps
  • Bows, headbands, bandanas
  • Razor
  • Nair
    • You may think I’m crazy for this, but I use it on my eyebrows.
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair cutting scissors
    • Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use normal scissors to trim your hair. Hello, split ends.
  • Cotton balls/Q-tips
    • You’re really not supposed to use Q-tips to clean your ears. I have temporarily lost hearing so many times because of this… and yet… I keep using them…
  • Shower gel
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Flat/curling iron
    • I didn’t even bother packing this because I don’t use heat on my hair.
  • Blow dryer
    • Another thing I didn’t actually pack, but I figure some people might want to.
  • Sponge/loofah
  • Robe
    • Honestly, it was easier to walk back to my dorm wrapped in a towel. I was never there when fire drills happened, so I might have just gotten lucky. But yeah, if you’re not self-conscious about your body, you really don’t need a robe. Especially if you actually have your own bathroom.
  • Towel
  • Combs, picks, brushes…
  • Tweezers, whatever you use for hair removal…
  • Spray bottles
  • Deodorant
  • Pantie liners
  • Pads
  • Tampons
  • Medications
    • Nasal decongestant
    • Vitamins
    • Tums/Pepto
    • Acne cream
    • Naproxen/Ibuprofen/Acetaminophen
    • Excedrin
    • Insulin/meds that can save your life
  • Tissues
  • Perfume
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Shower caddy


6. Adulting (a.k.a. the not as fun part)

  • Driver license
    • Even if you don’t bring your car, you still kinda need it…
  • Military ID (if applicable)
    • Where student discounts fail, military discounts save the day.
  • Vehicle registration
    • Remember to have this renewed by the birthday of whoever legally owns your car.
  • Social security card
    • An FYE classmate of mine had their parents mail their card to them because they weren’t planning on getting a job on campus. However, being a music major, they were required to provide their financial information so they could play for paid gigs. Luckily, I got my work-study job details handled at orientation, but this student wasn’t so lucky. Their identity wasn’t stolen, though, so it ended up okay, I guess. But yeah. Don’t mail your SS card.
  • Health insurance card
    • I ended up in the ER with chest pain, and this came in handy.
  • Laundry detergent
  • Hamper
  • Laundry basket
  • Car maintenance
    • Get your oil changed
    • Get your battery checked
    • Get your tires pumped
  • Parking pass
  • Fan and/or air conditioning unit
    • In my dorm last year, we had no A/C. I have allergies, so I applied to have a unit installed. Naturally, the university said my allergies weren’t “real” allergies and denied my request. How did that go for me? Well, I did actually get sick during week of welcome. And I was miserable. And hot.
  • Proof of military benefits (GI Bill, Chapter 35, etc.)
  • Food and cooking supplies
    • Apples (they like, never go bad or attract fruit flies)
    • Plastic forks/spoons/knives
    • Napkins
    • Straws
    • Juice/soda
      • Drinks in the dining hall are unnecessarily expensive, so bring a few cold ones to crack open with the boys. And I’m talking about soda.
    • Paper plates
      • My dorm last year didn’t have a kitchen (Baldwin Wallace students, just don’t live in Constitution, okay?), and I was not about to wash my dishes in the communal bathroom sink.
    • Peanut butter
      • Make sure your roommate isn’t allergic.
    • Chocolate
    • Candy
    • Pickles
    • Garlic butter, Chick-Fil-A sauce, ketchup, BBQ, etc.
    • Salt and pepper
    • Soul food seasoning, Lawry’s, Creole, etc.
    • Mug/thermos
  • Alarm clock
    • There were multiple times that my phone’s alarm didn’t go off and I paid the price for it.
  • Tax stuff…
    • I would say more if I knew anything about taxes, but I don’t, so…
  • Retail membership cards
  • Cash
    • Digital money can’t buy everything. I try to keep at least $30 cash on me at all times, especially since parking in Cleveland is expensive, and sometimes, you can only pay in cash.

…And that concludes this (very long) list! Do you think I missed anything? Tell me what YOU packed for college in the comments!