New handle

Hi folks!

I've added a new handle:
suzukipiano

I'm hoping that it will help me pass the word around that I'm actively seeking new students.
Please add as 'friend,' if you are interested. Thanks!

Two weeks later -

The Flash classes went well; my students wanted one more class to go over some of the things we covered one more time, but not enough of them wanted to pay an extra $10 for that to happen, so it didn't. The director did ask if I wanted to take on another workshop in August. I probably will, since much of the prep work is already done.

Yesterday I went to a gathering of SMS (Suzuki Music Schools of MA, which I think ought to be SMSM, but anyway), and networked a bunch. People were really sweet and friendly, and made me feel really welcome. I'm all that much more excited to start teaching and become part of this community. These are quality people. Kind of interesting, too, that most Suzuki teachers that I've met so far are female. My theory on that is (specifically for pianists) guys have bigger hands and are more frequently great performers, so they don't need to teach 'cause they can hack it on stage. But I'm not sure how this theory holds for things like the flute, for example.

Website is done, but a couple of small bugs here and there. I haven't the vaguest idea how to fix them bugs, so I'm kind of ignoring them right now. Same thing with my business card - the ones I printed out are a little Not So Good. They're perfectly functional, but they're not perfectly perfect so it's grating on my nerves.

Last month I applied to this media design company to be an assistant producer. They got back to me last week, and I'm to have a phone call from them tomorrow to discuss the position. In the first e-mail they wrote me, they greeted me as "Annie." I was not impressed. Although, it does remind me of this story I heard yesterday, when I was discussing poorly named names with other Suzuki teachers. Apparently one of the ladies there knew a girl who's little sister's name was Ana Bench. And when I asked, "What about her middle name? Could she..." I was told that her middle name was "Park." That poor thing.

One of my most favorite guys from undergrad is moving to within three miles of me in a couple of months. I am so ridiculous giddy about this - he would be my only tie to my college days in the Boston area. And he was my dancing buddy, too, so I'm really looking forward to having him around for those 80s nights before I get too old to stay up late.

The Boston Pride Parade and Festival is this weekend, and I want to go. I think it'll be fun.
  • Current Mood
    achy

Gradumacaded

The commencement was blissfully short, and the speaker (Gwen Ifill) was spectacular. I really enjoyed her speech tremendously, far more than I enjoyed our student speaker. My brother asked me what I thought of our student speaker, and I think my answer was, "It takes a certain type of personality to deliver a speech like that." To quote her worst line, when speaking about learning from mistakes, she said, "It's more fun to learn from the mistakes of others," followed by a smirk. I was trying my best to give her the benefit of the doubt, but when that flew out of her mouth I said Forget It.

Last week I met with a local Music Together director, Laura, and she expressed interest in hiring me, if I were interested (I think mostly because I've already been trained as a Music Together teacher, which means that I would be saving her about 500 bucks). We spoke briefly, and as it turned out, I would need a car in order to work for her. Teaching Music Together involves transportation of equipment, and my bike just doesn't cut it. So I had to write her a "thank you for meeting with me" e-mail and pass on this opportunity, 'cause a car just isn't in the budget right now.

I taught my first class ever last night, a small class. Seven registered, four no-shows, and one walk-in. It went pretty well, and I have a whole week to prep for next class, which is nice. There were definitely things I wasn't expecting to have to deal with, but mostly it was pretty breezy. I was really nervous about not knowing all the details in order to teach the class well, but it's true what they say - the expert in the room is whoever knows the most about a certain topic, and that person was unquestionably me. I will need to spend more time prepping for the next class period, no doubt, and try to budget my time more wisely so my students don’t become restless. I must say, not really enjoying classroom teaching, thus far.

For Suzuki piano, I wrote to a Suzuki piano teaching guru last night. I am networked to her by one of my professors at Emerson, and am extremely lucky to have her as a mentor in setting up my studio. She wrote a long, detailed e-mail and thoroughly explained many things and gave excellent advice. Now I'll have to take her advice and make something happen -- it would be terrible of me if I let her down. It takes all kinds of things to motivate people, and me, I can't bear to disappoint those that are supportive of my endeavors.

So things are still happening, and still very slowly, but I have short legs and I don’t do giant leaps.
  • Current Mood
    transitional

Confucius is my hero

I promised to address my plans to become a Suzuki piano teacher, so here it goes:

Things are falling into place, just very, very slowly. The website is still in progress, mostly because I keep tweaking it. I should just let it be, finish editing all the parts, and get on with my life. I have a major lead that I will be following up on soon, which should get me in touch with some local teachers in the area and hopefully find some students. I've registered for teacher training for book 4, which will happen in July. Last summer I traveled all over North America to complete training for three books - this summer I will be able to bike 8 miles to take book 4, which I am very excited about. A girl I met last year will also be attending this session, and she will be staying at our apartment for those few days. An old pianist friend called out of the blue last night, and asked me "How are things going with your teaching?" When I laughed and answered, "Not," he said, "oh you're just being chicken shit. You just gotta do it. Then you know it isn't worth it." He really isn't the teaching type, but he sure did give me a good shove in the right direction. I've got to stop dragging my ass.

The adjustable bench works beautifully, I practice more often now that my seating is at an appropriate height and my back doesn't ache like it used to. The footrest is also here, and the last purchase will be the metronome, which isn't even really a required purchase prior to teaching, because I do own an electric metronome, I just happen to prefer the old school Wittner pendulum wooden type. I’ll have to review my notes, practice my shpiel for the informational meeting that I offer to new students/parents, keep up with the actual playing… and before we know it I will be raking in the dough with my superior skills as a piano educator. Right.

I had a long AIM conversation with Toftie and she’s great at tooting my horn. It was on Monday, and a rainy Monday while I’m at work after I vegged out all weekend just isn’t a good time to be thinking about my accomplishments. It was interesting – My head kept repeating “Look at me. I’m 27 and have nothing to show for it.” And Toftie pretty much said “What are you, on crack?” So she laid out a few things for me and gave me some examples of data collection to reach the conclusion of “Yes, I am somewhat of an interesting, well-adjusted, likeable person.” It’s funny; I’ve always said that I didn’t care about what people thought of me, and that’s not entirely true. I do care about what people thought of me – people that are important to me. An example of this is my mom – she’s my mom, I care about her, so I do care about what she thinks of me. And just so happens she doesn’t have a very high opinion of me (or at least that is the message she is sending with her actions, regardless of what the fact is), so here I am, all messed up. So how do I learn to say “fuck it,” and really mean “I don’t care what people think of me. All of them”?

Spring is clearly here. It’s staying above freezing fairly consistently, things are green, or blooming, the sun comes from a different direction so everything looks fresh and new. Graduation is in a couple of weeks, and I have secured the tickets but will have to get the cap and gown later this week. I think that after graduation I will be out of this funk that I call “post-academia syndrome,” and start to make myself more useful.

Other news - I’ve mostly finished a trough that I was building as a makeshift planter, and my plants should be arriving this week. Aaron and I cleaned out the backyard of the place we are renting - the neighbors said that it has been left unkempt for at least six years. I’ve purchased a new swimsuit (and officially upped one pants size, and I’m calling the extra padding muscles, as a result of bike-commuting), and hopefully will make use of it some time this summer. I’ve been awfully pale these last few years, living in New England. Any whiter and I’d be turning Japanese. I’m also contemplating a haircut, because it would be something new. Spring is here!
  • Current Mood
    green

I'm perfectly well aware of the line between reality and fantasy

One of my professors hooked me up with a lead to teach an introductory Flash workshop at Somerville Community Access Television. I went to meet with the director lady, and landed this small job (about a total of 10 hours worth of work, spread over three weeks). This is pretty exciting, I am a little bit nervous but I think I will be fine. It's intro Flash, which I'm very familiar with, and I'm just anal enough to be able to dissect things into small little bits and redeliver them to the students. It'll be a small class, anywhere from 2-6 students but no more. It's not a school situation so the students will be there because they WANT to learn this stuff, which makes all the difference. I'm currently working on a syllabus, having just finished a short biography, which looks like this:

"Angie recently completed a graduate program in Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College in Boston, specializing in New Media and Audio Production. She previously interned with the new media production house The Barbarian Group, LLC in Boston, and currently works as an advertising designer at Market Precision, Inc. in Cambridge, as well as being a part-time Flash consultant for Russell Street Web Hosting in Somerville. When she isn't at her computer, she enjoys dancing, reading, cooking, and pursuing her passion in music as a registered Suzuki piano teacher."

I think I'm avoiding the Suzuki piano thing, probably because I'm chicken shit. I'm not entirely sure about this, still doing some self-reflection, and considering therapy. I'll address this again when I'm 27.

Last night we played a D&D session where my ranger was awarded extra points for using her wild empathy feat on a dire badger. And if you have no idea what that meant, it's ok, and let me put it this way:

The character I play, let's say she was once a zoo-keeper, and is good with animals. She's in the middle of this forest with some friends and suddenly a wild (tiger, let's say) jumped out and growled. She used her zoo-keeping tricks to chill the (tiger) out, and off goes the (tiger) instead of sticking around to kill and eat every and each one of the travelers. You follow me?

So the Dungeon Master (aka God of the game, if you will, and some of us call him 'Aaron') says "so describe how you calmed down this dire badger."

Uh. I've never 'ranged' nor 'zoo-kept' before, and he was kind of putting me on the spot. So I held up my hands and said "Whoa buddy." and somehow that was hysterically funny. Well, does anybody else have a better idea? Some of you watch the Animal Planet and has episodes memorized. (I'm looking at you, woman. You know who you are.) Throw me a bone here. (HA)

Later in the gaming session we discovered that my owl can pick up a halfling. Picture an owl carrying Mr. Frodo with its beak. My bird is totally badass. So the owl did this, and carried our badly injured halfling to safety, then the halfling was fed a healing potion which gave him enough energy to quaff another healing potion, so that he woke up pissed off and called his air elemental with his lute which was responsible for taking out most of the dire wolves that were about to hand us our flesh on a plate and then eat it. I probably shouldn't get into why we were fighting dire wolves.

And now that I'm looking at this post I'm a bit disturbed - most of it is about this game I play, so what does that say about my life? And my god, I play D&D and I'm going to teach a class in Flash. I'm totally turning into a geek here.
  • Current Mood
    fantastical

Interesting!

Uh, weird. I'm turning 27 in a month.

You Are 27 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
  • Current Mood
    Yikes.

An e-mail I got today

I love this guy.

***********
Heya Angie!! I just wanted to write a quick email because I didn't
want to forget to tell you this: I just had a dream in which you gave
me an aquarium with a seahorse and a beta fish (among other
nondescript fish) which had a toucan's beak. There was also an
"underwater cactus" to which you attached a webcam because, as you
said, "now you can always be with the fishies!"

Very, very weird!...although I like the webcam idea.

-Sherv
  • Current Mood
    carbs overload

Now for the next episode

Within the pile of mail we have post-vacation, I received my diploma from Emerson. It's official now, except I still have to walk at the commencement in May. The thing reads "Master of Arts" and that's it. No mention of exactly what I studied. It's kind of amusing because my family asked me just that - "Exactly what did you study?" - and they still wouldn't be able to tell with this diploma.

California was glorious. Santa Barbara was expensive. The bums on the main street in downtown SB wore layers of Patagonia sweatshirts and Brooks Brothers blazers, asking me to "spare some change," and randomly waltzing into my path singing drunkenly. Time with Charlotte and Scott is always too short, especially when we power hiked up a mountain with my stubby little legs, which were affectionately dubbed "lil' smokies" for the duration of our visit. I think we drank every night (it's a bit hazy now), and I might have over-shared at some point, but we had some good times with no vomiting.

As we arrived at SB airport to pick up a compact car for the drive up to San Fran, the fella at the counter couldn't fill our request. "Unfortunately, we have to upgrade you," he said, and went through a list of cars available when all I heard was "....convertible." So in a Sebring we went, up the Pacific Coast Highway where far too many people drive much too quickly. It was a really gorgeous day, unseasonably warm they said, not a drop of cloud in the sky. The Pacific coast waves are quite mighty; I really enjoyed watching them crash into the side of the cliffs. Picture this panoramic: deep blue ocean, white waves, brown and gray rocks and hills, followed by green rolling hills with possibly a lighthouse to complete the look. It really was stunning.

Next was Pleasant Hill, where Toftie and Penny reside and the pair equals fun times. We also had the opportunity to meet Heather and Nick over dinner, who were fabulous as promised. At this brewpub Aaron order a beer sample, I got a soda sample, and Toftie got a water sample, thanks to our competent waiter. Aaron and I ventured into San Fran daily, and visited Haight/Ashbury a couple of times. Gutterpunks littered the streets, and I overheard one of them recycle the joke of, "My family was killed by Ninjas I need money to learn how to fight." His delivery was awful, and clearly he didn't put any effort into getting my pocket change. San Fran bums are bizarre, they have this sense of ownership of the streets. If you walk down Haight on a weekday you'd feel like you're leading around an elephant in their bedroom. Aaron was quite uncomfortable with it, I mostly just wanted to ask them to bathe.

I missed the Boston blizzard by about 12 hours, while I sat in Oakland Airport waiting for my delayed flight. Coming home was comforting, especially noticing that the cats are clearly irate with me for being away (it's their way of showing they care). I'm finally feeling like we've settled back into our routine now, two weeks later. A huge load is also off our backs - we found a housemate to fill the vacant bedroom, and she is very interesting. An elementary school teacher, Katelyn is also getting certified to become a yoga instructor while she makes and sells her own jewelry, among other things. I'm really looking forward to getting to know her better; I feel that it will be quite a learning experience for me.

Yesterday I finally figured out how to make a Flash menu where the Actionscript behaviors are doing what I want them to do. It was a good feeling, and now I have another skill that I can use in my web design work. Very exciting stuff. Other web projects include: a site for Susan's cattery, assisting Aaron with one of his projects, and getting some work done on my piano site. I'm starting to feel like I'm pushing off my piano studio building process, and I suspect, if that is true, it's because it's new and I'm terrified that I won't be able to get clients, that I won't be a good teacher, that I won't have the patience for my students and be a supportive role model. Any day now I will have to just sit down and crank it out and start my networking to just try it, 'cause if I don't I'll never know.

While chatting with Cristal over AIM a couple of days ago for a tagline to describe myself, I came up with "unsuspecting and unconventionally unexpected." It has really grown on me - it's incredibly vague but it has a nice ring. I had wanted something that says, "If you didn't know her, this tells you nothing about her. If you knew her, this makes perfect sense." and I think the phrase did the trick. Sometimes I impress myself just a little bit.

Other New Year things: We're preparing seedlings for the spring, considering our cats for cat shows, and cleaning the house thoroughly (finally) with a new fancy vacuum cleaner. We’ve changed our diet so that our meals are: Large breakfast, medium lunch, and light dinner. We are now Netflix subscribers and I’ve already placed 50+ movies in our queue. As soon as I get more funds I’m putting them toward piano footrests, a Wittner metronome, and upgrading our fish tank. Finally, I’m also in the market for some fun shoes, but that’s rather low on my list of Things To Do.

I’m making a mental note to post more often on Fridays instead of Mondays. Oh, and note which week of the month I’m posting, that seems to impact my mood.
  • Current Mood
    dry. it's very dry here.