These past weeks have been filled with warm weather! Is winter leaving us? Probably not, but enjoy the warmth while you can! I’ve been busy over the last month working on projects and seeking out new opportunities. I’ve also met awesome new people that continually teach me how to improve. I’m enjoying life!

IU

          Things at IU have been going very well. In choir, we’re singing a bunch of Monteverdi madrigals, so I love going to rehearsal! We have a concert on March 26 at 3pm. I’m really enjoying Electronic Music and am doing very well using Max. For those of you who are not familiar, Max is an electronic music program in which you can code either MIDI or audio patches for a fixed-media track or live-manipulation effects. My Chopin Seminar is also going well. We have a listening quiz coming up that’s going to be quite challenging. An assortment of Chopin works with Opus number, key, movement, and year. I’m studying hard!

          Much to my excitement, I can say that Kia will be joining me at the Jacobs School next year for her MM in Early Music Voice! It’ll be nice to be attending the same school again, and I’m excited for the opportunities that she will have.

Composition

          Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about software playback as part of the process of music composition. Finale has made many improvements over the years, but it still is nearly impossible to achieve certain things. One of those is avoiding playback issues. My auxiliary percussion sounds are typically too soft, and the MIDI maps only work to a limited extent. Glissandi usually destroy the timbre completely. These and a few others make me lean toward not using playback at all (something recommended to me by some of my colleagues).

          This decision has some interesting effects on the compositional process. In another post, I plan to go more into detail about my thoughts on this subject. I’ll discuss pros and cons and my personal experience with it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Keep an eye on defianceduo.com for the new post!

Books

          I’m still working my way through the Halo series of books, and they’re amazing. In addition, I’ve looked into and started developing my speed-reading ability. It’s a fascinating skill, and you should look it up. Basically, we register words and thoughts more quickly than our conscious mind reads through them, and speed-reading is about training your eyes to move more swiftly (with fewer stops) while still retaining information.

Art

          My art quest is moving forward little by little. Kia and I recently made some décor modifications by adding a few new pieces of art to the apartment. We both enjoy Impressionism, so we picked up prints of a setting of trees in a marshland and a reproduction print of Monet’s Dusk in Venice. We also grabbed a multi-panel world map!

Climbing

          I was struggling a bit in the climbing world until a good day yesterday. The gym I attend has employed new setters and been boosting its problem difficulty to more closely match outdoor climbing. Hence, Kia and I sometimes struggle with V3s again which is kind of discouraging. However, I’m back to projecting V5s (and I’ve started working on a V6!), and I made some progress yesterday! Slowly but surely.