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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Things I've Learned from Graduate School (as of July 18th)

These are in no particular order, and I'm sure that this list will change with each summer I am in this program, and even after I've had a chance to reflect on everything I have experienced this summer.

1. Sleep as much as you can, because there will be weeks in which you get little of it.
2. Work ahead of schedule as much as possible. There are times where you have little on your plate, and others where you feel as if there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. PLAN AHEAD!
3. Start the research paper on day one...don't procrastinate as I did!
4. Find a little bit of time every day for yourself. Even if you only get 30 minutes, take some time to be you. It is especially important on those days where you feel overwhelmed and swamped.
5. Eat healthy. Drink lots of water.
6. Listen to the advice of those who have gone before you and who have more experience. If I would have listened to Brenda, Carol, and Lornetta, I would have taken voice lessons instead of piano, and would have taken public transportation more.
7. Take public transportation! Yes, it's nice having a car on campus, but it's definitely more relaxing to sit on a train instead of in traffic! Plus, you can read on the train. You shouldn't read while driving on the expressway.
8. Lean on your friends/family/significant others. They always want to support and help you in any way that they can! Even if that means begging them to listen to you vent for 15 minutes, helping you clean our car, or entertaining your cats/kids/dog, it's the little things. Just be prepared to bake for them or return the favor!
9. Make friends! You will need that support group, not to mention that core group to bounce ideas off of each other. Who knows...maybe you'll even end up on the same train! You're all in this together, you know!
10. Take time to reflect on what you've learned and how you're going to apply this knowledge. It can be overwhelming if you wait until the program is over to look back...make notes, write a journal, use post-its, code...whatever system works for you!

As I said, I know this list will change, so I'll add to it once I finish school (in a week, wow!).

What other pieces of advice would you offer to someone in graduate school?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An Introduction

My name is Jennifer, aka Clarinet_Jen in various communities, and I have been a lover and learner of music my entire life. I have been singing longer than I can remember. I began playing clarinet at the age of 10, and continue to play today in a community band. After teaching 4th-8th Grade Band for 4 years, I have made the switch to classroom and vocal music. I now teach 3rd-8th Grade Music and Choir, and have been doing so for the past two years. I truly feel that this is where I need to be in my teaching career, and find myself feeling incredibly fulfilled with my current job.

In addition to teaching full time, I am currently enrolled in the Master's Program at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, IL. I am finishing my first summer of residency (second summer overall), and after this summer session is over, will only have 12 credits to go! I received my undergraduate degree in Music with an Instrumental concentration, and am getting my Masters of Music degree with a Vocal concentration.

So the purpose of this blog...well, besides being pressured by certain educators out there (you KNOW who you all are!), I wanted to write about issues that I'm facing as an educator and grad student, as well as thoughts that are out there and what I'm doing in my own classroom and classes. This blog space will change and grow as I continue to grow as an educator, student, musician, and lover of music!

Well, time to get back to writing my essay and paper!

~Jen
aka Clarinet_Jen