15 things I’ve learned this week:
1. I suck in Gamelan, but it is SO much fun; a hyper-organized intensely therapeutic percussion ensemble meets thunderous binaural tranquility. It’s loud, and the part I’ve been given involves some super ambidexterity (which I’ve always had trouble with – it was my biggest weakness throughout my conducting degree, although it got a lot better in time).
2. I’m not over the ‘wayward pinky’ thing. Again – something I’ve had trouble with before. I’m always yelled at for my pinky sticking out when I’m holding mallets, batons, or whatever else that would involve people noticing it being improperly positioned. It makes me laugh – I can’t escape it. I blame my grandmother when I was young. She told me to keep my pinky out when I was sipping tea and now it’s an automatic response. My conducting professor would laugh if he knew I was still having issues with it, and then he would smack me.
3. The Gamelan is considered a living-breathing being, and our set has been blessed. You never step over the instruments (you sit on the ground while playing them) because it’s like stepping over someone’s head – very disrespectful in Hindu cultures like Bali.
4. Folks from Wisconsin have really distinct accents.
5. I’m constantly reformatting my definition of ‘music’. It seems so elementary, but it’s come up a lot through the years, and more than ever now. I have a decent working definition in my head and will probably come back to it soon.
6. Having a library that is constantly chock full of students only in your field, and full of books only in your field makes all the difference in the world. It’s a completely different environment, and truly fosters the academic progress. As we speak, I can see over 40 music students (all levels) with books cracked instead of their instrument cases – there are probably another 100 in practice rooms right now.
7. It’s okay that I don’t know everything now.
8. Being challenged by seemingly an entire galaxy of people is a good thing.
9. It really is possible to read several hundred pages+ per week. It won’t kill me.
10. TA’ing can actually be enjoyable, especially if you’re paired up with people who rock.
11. I have to let go of things beyond your control that are happening both 350 (New Orleans) and 1500 (MA) miles away. Really. This is an ongoing lesson. I’m on step one maybe?
12. It is completely possible for an entire faculty to truly support each other’s scholarly endeavors.
13. Seeing your undergrad students at a grocery store when you have a tank top on (and thus they can see your tats) is just as weird as seeing your 13-year old students at a gas station.
14. Sleep is so, so valuable.
15. The biggest problem in the world right now is miscommunication.
- Bali Performing Arts, Shadow Puppets, Gamelan & Traditional Dance (indonesia-travel.suite101.com)