I spent yesterday and today hanging out with my lovely friend Hunter, a good friend of mine who used to run the Monday Night Jazz combo in Glenwood Springs.
The agenda has been really awesome-- I've basically gotten to shadow her, attending:
- Lamont Wind Ensemble
- Tango Class
- Chemistry Class
- Trombone Choir
Because I'm a new student at CC and am just settling in, being at a different college makes the compare-and-contrast gears start turning. I'm not trying to discredit either college-- but it just gives me a lot of things to think about as I think of what opportunities are available to me, and what's available somewhere else.
It's not intentional, but it's the idea of Opportunity Cost playing out and seeing what I'm giving up when going to CC (and it's obviously not possible to have everything). Is this healthy? Probably. I don't see why knowing more about the world around me could have a harmful effect, even if I would be bummed to feel like I made the wrong choice.
Of course, I'm trying not to rank them as better/worse. Here's what's been ticking through my mind as I've been here:
The wind ensemble music has been hard as all hell-- it makes any kind of rep I've played before look easy, with crazy time signature changes that I've never had to work through before, and very difficult trombone lines that challenge my very being. Of course this level of difficulty is going to challenge me and make me a better musician. At CC, our Concert Band music has been very manageable. Much of it is not easy, by any measure, but it doesn't challenge me the way this Wind Ensemble did.
In order to learn, it's pretty significant that you put yourself out of your comfort zone but you don't go too far. I'm unsure if this music was too far of a leap for me or if it was just right, but it makes me curious about the kind of development I'd make on my own instrument in this ensemble.
That being said, the CC Concert Band challenges the same kinds of techniques and develops the same kinds of skills, without the extreme stress that comes with it. I can't say for certain which one is better.
Tango class was just awesome. Hunter drags me along to a bunch of different activities that I'd never see myself participating in individually, but because of her I've actually developed a real love of dancing. She's brought me to Bachata dance classes before, and this tango class was just as fun.
We spent the afternoon today dancing tango around in her crammed dorm room kitchen, which was awesome. She really inspires the best out of me, which I love.
Chemistry class was one big long lecture-- I tried not to tune in too much because I didn't want to fry my brain.
A 50 minute-long lecture, there was hardly any interactivity-- the only time students spoke was for questions. The lecture hall was large and the class was expected to be about 60 (though perhaps 40 showed up; "it's a Friday class" says Hunter).
Curiously enough, I was told that the professor teaching that Chemistry class was previously a professor at CC. I wonder what kind of impact that made on him-- I wish I had gotten the chance to ask, but I would assume the reason he would move away is primarily because of research opportunities.
Trombone choir was wonderful. The teacher had a really funny, open way of discussing problems and fixing them, which made the class quite engaging and fun.
His ideology: in order to play hard things perfectly, we have to be able to play easy things perfectly.
Thus, we spent a large amount of time on four-part trombone choir Bach chorales, tuning chords and fitting together the music in an intricate way where every detail was addressed-- even on "easily sight-readable" music (which I put in quotes because, clearly, sight-reading isn't the same skill as playing it perfectly).
Then we moved onto an excerpt from another piece of repertoire. I fell in love with being drowned out in sound by trombones. I feel as though trombone has a high amount of control over the sound that comes out, more so than other brass instruments-- and it felt like that control was highly managed in dynamics and other properties of the repertoire. This class was a lot of fun, and I sure wish we had one at CC.
I had an awesome time staying with Hunter for a few days, and I'm excited to be heading up North to Boulder, CO to visit my brother for the rest of the weekend.