As I approach the next year it really has hit me hard that in order for me to be better at what I do, to make money to support my family, I need to receive some more education. I have come to love learning and love being at school, college, specifically. I enjoyed high school and studying private piano since I was 6/7 years old, but when you're with an advanced soloist or a small ensemble that bring their 'A' game all the time it really is a unique, gratifying experience. So...I need to take piano again. Enter Doctoral Candidate Michael M. McQuay.
He has graciously, he really is the nicest guy ever, decided to help me achieve my goal of applying and hopefully getting into a grad school for Collaborative Piano Performance. We're going to reconstruct my playing so it is technically sound and solid for auditions. A lot of hard work is ahead and I am very excited to be working with him. I have a few schools I'd like to apply to, one or two high profile, and others that would still be a great place to be associated with. Also, a friend of mine at UNLV has suggested that I even out my accompanying rep with boosting the one (vocal or instrumental) that lacks the most. For me, it's instrumental. Enter the BYU-Idaho instrumental ensembles.
I never had any idea that there were other "things" pianists could do. Other than choir accompanying and solo accompanying, apparently I was out of the loop, AND use those for your juries. Since that time has passed I've been able to be a part of a few things. Dr. Kevin Brower, Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, is someone I've always wanted to work with. I've played for two of his students and I took a chance and asked if he needed an accompanist for the next semester. Boy, did I brighten his day! So we worked out all the kinks (where as I'm not a student anymore, so I can be paid) to be the BYU-Idaho Men's Choir Accompanist. Glorious. The best pick up line so far I've received is, "How often do you wax this piano?" Say, what?! Oh, my. This will be fun. But, most of all the student director is one of my best friends.
Two other ensembles I'll be a part of this semester are String Chamber and Baroque Ensemble. Two things I've never done before. A friend of mine has composed a string quartet and I performed the last movement in November (the cover photo for this page) and I played harpsichord with the Idaho Falls Symphony the previous year for their Christmas Concert. So that's as far as my chamber music goes. We are doing a bit of Vivaldi and Pachelbel (No, not his Cannon in D. He was actually known as an organist and wrote quite a lot of chamber music.) String chamber will be a new venture as my quintet learns Ernst Dohnanyi's 2nd Quintet in E-flat minor. Absolutely excited.
I will be keeping up with solo accompanying as well. I have two recitals, one for a soprano and the other a mezzo. As the semester presses on I will receive many more interests about my accompaniment services. And so here goes...Adventures in Accompanying!