Tag Archives: moving

Farewell, desert!

I started this blog two years ago as I was preparing to move to Arizona. Now I’m in the midst of another big transition: leaving Arizona to move to New York. My belongings are in a U-Box, traveling across the country via truck, and yesterday I made the 11+ hour drive to the Bay Area so I could drop my car off with my family. I’ll be catching a flight out of San Francisco tomorrow, destination: New York City.

Some of the things I’ll miss:

  • The very supportive environment at ASU. I had wonderful teachers and mentors there and also lovely peers to learn and work with.
  • Arizona Opera. They are going through exciting growth and changes, and their 2013-2014 season is going to rock! I was very lucky to be a study cover in their productions of Le nozze di Figaro and Orfeo ed Euridice, and there are several roles in next season’s line-up that I would have loved to work on.
  • My church job. The music director and choir were some of the nicest and kindest people I’ve ever met, and we sang beautiful music ranging from Renaissance polyphony to contemporary songs.
  • Friends. But they’ll be auditioning in NYC, so I’ll see them soon!
  • The weather. It gets to be really, really, extremely hot in the summer, but the rest of the year is quite nice. The sky was blue more days than not, and the sunsets are gorgeous.
  • My quiet little apartment with its dishwasher, washer and dryer, closets, and storage space.
  • The rent on my apartment.
  • The ability to drive myself places.
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Sun, clouds, and palm trees. Tempe, 2013.

Taking stock of where I am and who I am compared to two years ago:

  • I’m a little bit wiser and a little more experienced after my time in Arizona. I wish I was even wiser and even more experienced, but I’ll just channel that hunger into making the most of my time in New York rather than having regrets.
  • I’m a better performer (at least I hope so). The direction and coaching I received at ASU helped me expand my concept of performing from what the character is feeling at a particular moment to how the past, the environment, and the present circumstances shape a character’s thought process in the moment.
  • I’m more realistic in my personal goals of where and what I sing, and more aware of how hard it is to be a professional singer. I knew there were many steps in the road to becoming a successful singer, but I didn’t realize how each of those steps were comprised of many other smaller steps … nor did I realize over how much time those smaller steps would be spread out. I’m getting a much better sense of that now.
  • I know a little more about the business of singing. I’ve come to see that sheer determination and lots of practicing — as important as they are — aren’t enough.
  • I’m more passionate about education and convinced of its necessity. I think singers should see themselves as performers and educators concurrently, not one before the other, or worse, one and not the other (our education system makes this difficult).

Two years went by so quickly. I wish I could stay another year and be part of more productions, take more German, do more with Arizona Opera, coach more, learn more, strengthen friendships and professional relationships. I almost re-auditioned for the Arizona Opera chorus with the hopes of getting another contract and cover studying a few more roles, but I decided to make a clean break. If I’m going to be serious about making the most of my time in New York, I have to be in New York.

A lot of people ask if I’m excited about moving to NYC. Of course I’m excited to live in a new city, to be with my boyfriend, and not have to fly to auditions anymore. But I’m also nervous, apprehensive, and worried about money, finding a job, being so far from my family, surrounded by pavement and 8 million crazy people, and trying to balance work and singing.

I am very grateful for the opportunities I had in Arizona and appreciative of the people who have helped me grow along the way. I’m very thankful to have graduated with a relatively small amount in student loans to pay back (otherwise my stress level would be 10 times higher). Part of me wishes I could stay in Arizona where I have friends and where I know people, but I have to be brave and bold. My apartment is empty and my keys are turned in. All my library books and CD’s have been surrendered. Who knows when I’ll be back … my secret (well it’s not so secret now that I’m confessing to it) hope is that the next time I’m back in Arizona it will be because I’m singing in some fabulous concert or because I’ve been hired to sing a role or invited to give a talk about what it takes to make it as a singer.

Everything happens for a reason. Every step leads you to the next. So, farewell, desert! You have been good to me, but now it’s time for the next challenge.

Aside

July 2013 I’ve just graduate with my Master’s in Opera Performance. It’s a relief not to have homework and papers anymore, but I am also terrified. Two years flew by. My teachers have been wonderfully supportive, and I’ve learned a … Continue reading

No more playing hooky; time to be a soprano again

Guilty, guilt as charged!  Yesterday was the first time I sang classical music since BASOTI ended last Saturday.

  • Sunday: Spent the entire day with my family
  • Monday: Drove to San Diego, CA
  • Tuesday: Drove to Tempe/Mesa, AZ
  • Wednesday: Apartment hunting, navigating through completely new neighborhoods, and feeling like a tourist
  • Thursday: More apartment hunting and hanging out with my brother, who made the drive down with me to help me adjust to non-California life
  • Friday:  Sang through “Adieu, notre petite table” and started “Ach, ich fühl’s.” Things felt a little rusty at first, but that might have been the milk and cheese from breakfast doing their best to gunk up my system.
  • Today: Started the day by watching lots of youtube to get new ideas and to get pumped!  Warmed up to an F6 and worked on “Se il padre perdei” because I still hate the scale up to G5 followed by three staccato G’s.

I realized that I lived the past week as a graduate student, a California transplant, a sister, and a homeless person trying to rectify the problem, but I did not uphold my commitment to living each day as a soprano.  Yes, I was busy traveling down the coast and into a new state, I had to find a place to live, and I wanted to spend time with my brother because I only saw him 3-4 times a year the past few years … but I should have managed all these activities a little better rather than letting five days go by without practicing.

I have to get my voice singing everyday again.  How much did I lose by not singing for a week?  How much did I regress and what progress did I miss out on?  These are good questions, and I feel guilty and unsettled to have gone so long without singing.  Well, I sang along with the Bruno Mars and Sara Bareilles my ipod played during the 12 hours of driving, but that doesn’t truly count. [Side note: I noticed how singing in my middle voice for popular music was a breeze and felt great, but it’s the same register that gives me trouble in my classical singing.  Some cross-over experimenting will occur over the next few days as I try to apply the ease of support and flow from popular music to my practicing.

I was approved for a one bedroom apartment this morning, so the hunt is over.  My move-in date isn’t until next weekend, though, which means I have a week of free time.  By “free time” I really mean there’s plenty for me to do – like get to know the neighborhood, study for my diagnostic exams, practice – but no set schedule to keep me in line.  In order to stay productive and to get all the above done, I have to put myself on a schedule and tell myself it’s an official schedule.  Otherwise, I take the path of least resistance and spend the entire day inside, sleeping, eating, reading, and catching up on all the shows I haven’t watched in about 4 months.  This feels great to my mind and body (which have been been running non-stop), but it’s not great for being a soprano.

Proposed Schedule, effective tomorrow:

Schedule parameters – must go to bed by midnight and get up by 8 AM (otherwise this schedule is doomed before it even gets a chance because I’m a night owl who stays up until 3 AM if no one stops me). Also, this schedule will probably be slightly different 3 days out of the weekbecause I want to insert yoga back into my life.

  • 8-9 AM – wake up, have breakfast, and appreciate life
  • 9-10:30 AM – study Music History
  • 10:30-11 AM – watch youtube clips/listen to music and warm up voice
  • 11-12 PM – work on a project (such as thank you presents/cards, writing for this blog, downloading music, organizing the contacts in my phone)
  • 12-1 PM – lunch
  • 1-2:30 PM – practice (focusing on Met 5 + Mozart for ASU opera auditions)
  • 2:30-4 PM – study Music Theory
  • 4-6 PM – errands and city exploration, rewards for being so good all day!
  • 6-7 PM – dinner

 

Parting is sweet sorrow. Packing is just torture.

Still singing about an hour a day, but my practice is limited (and distracted) by the technicalities and details of packing and moving.  Yikes. What an unpleasant experience.  It makes me long for a minimalist lifestyle.  I now also fear the day I’ll have to move an entire house rather than a townhouse shared with two roommates.

How is it my closet felt too small but is a nightmare to pack?  What shift in the Earth’s rotation leaves me with nothing to wear one day and everything to fold and find a place for the next day?  I love the concept of saying goodbye to an item if I haven’t worn, used, touched, looked at, or thought about it in more than six months – but this is hard to implement when I wonder how my tiny teaching stipend will cover the cost of replacing it if I need it in the future.  Several old t-shirts used this strategy to successfully reinvent themselves as workout gear.

After some coaching from my roommate and my boyfriend, I have six bags/boxes of clothes and shoes to be donated.  I was also able to part with roughly 14 lbs of old papers and documents.  What I wasn’t able to streamline was my music library.  Perhaps this means I’m more a musician than a shopping-addict or pack-rat!  I still have some sheet music from my high school days.  Honestly, do I really need this arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner” as performed by Boyz II Men?  If I were truly, ruthlessly Zen, my future packing-and-unpacking projects would be so manageable.

I can’t wait for this move to be over.  Someone (probably a neighbor) taped a mean, albeit unofficial, note to my storage/moving container.  Despite its lack of polish and professionalism, it effectively upped my anxiety level by a factor of five: (in all caps) To whom it may concern, it is against Home Owners’ Association regulations to have a storage container on the property.  Remove this container before you are fined or ticketed.

Really?  I wonder if it was the same neighbor who disliked my rendition of “Caro nome” and yelled at me.  In any case, both my container and my singing will be gone in three days!  I hope they get a good look at my face so they’ll feel silly in about 5-10 years after my career is well underway.

Staying strong (from lifting all those heavy boxes),

Joyce