Posts Tagged ‘study’

So much happens in a year. It’s really quite terrifying. And then some intrinsic things always stay the same.

I suppose I must have changed in many ways because I have finally taken the scary step of going part-time at work. It will be happening in the next week or two. I am hoping to be able to do some spiritual work from home, readings, making wands, making spell kits, perhaps some crystal healing work, writing e-books, as well as selling crystals and planning real-life workshops. It will be a tall order whilst potty training a wilful 3 year old who, we have found, is likely to have learning difficulties, which was rather a shock my family and I have been coming to terms with over a number of months – as well as ferrying him to his appointments and working with him to help his social skills, but hopefully there will be some time for working from home. On my “to do” list once I have gone part-time are setting up an Etsy shop and a simple website with a small spiritual forum.

I am hoping this will also give me more time to pursue my first love in life…music. I really miss just getting out and playing my guitar. It has happened so sporadically over the last year and it’s such a shame. It means I’m all out of practice if anyone asks to hear anything and I’m so shy, I can’t bear to play when I haven’t practiced for some time. I have joined a community choir which I would like to be able to give more commitment to as currently I don’t make it every week. It is an open “singing for fun” choir and I’m one of only a few who can actually read music or play an instrument so I really ought to make more commitment. It’s not only time, it’s confidence too, but at least I will have more available time for working on myself. This year’s undergraduate studies are more broad-based over different periods and styles of music, and start in just under two weeks. I have already started my reading for them. I passed last year’s course with a grade equivalent to a 2:1 and the summer school was life-changing! So I am halfway through a Diploma in Music now.

One of the big catalysts to me finally taking the leap of faith and asking for part-time hours was the unprecedented snowfall we had in early January this year. It was nothing short of wiping the slate clean: that blanket of snow fell over everything and made it pure all over again. We did take Daniel out in it to make a snowman in the park. That snow truly was a miracle, although it became the bane of my life for 2 weeks as I was having to struggle into work. But, looking for the silver (or white?) lining it has led to me making a final decision on this. If you didn’t have snow like I had snow, here are pictures! Share in the magic!

Iced Tree, January 2010

No Way Out, January 2010

Snowscape, January 2010

Frozen In Time, January 2010

Awe, January 2010


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Despite being ill, I got well and truly stuck into my course today. For those who don’t know about this, I am enrolled this year on a second-year music course with the university that employs me. When I went through the education system the first time round, music wasn’t open to me at GCSE level because the requirement was that you would be able to play two instruments, and could only count your voice as one. At the time, after failed attempts with the flute which was forced upon me by well-meaning parents, I only had my voice. Thus I never got the opportunity to study music, and I have always wanted to.

I’m hoping that it will also help me with my guitar playing…you reach a point when relying on tablatures and copycatting what you hear can take you no further…I’m pretty okay with rhythm guitar (though I could use a lot more practice as I do get rusty – it’s difficult with an infant and a full-time job) but have not the faintest clue about finding and playing individual notes on it. So, I’m hoping that learning music theory will help. I’m also thinking long-term that if I do one day re-enter teaching, though at this point in time I would rather not, I will have a music qualification, which is more desirable than the English degree I already have.

Trust me to come to a very difficult concept for me when I had a banging headache and awful nausea. Compound time. It’s kind of my nemesis in terms of music theory. I can handle simple time signatures. I understand how the notes work on the lines and all of the different types of notes. I understand accidentals. I have a good basic understanding of intervals. I understand decorations. But compound time had me tearing my hair out even on the preparatory reading.

After a lot of reading around on the internet, referring back to the preparatory reading, and re-doing various exercises on my keyboard and various aural training exercises, I think I have it and am recording it forthwith for future reference! In compound time, each beat divides into three. The three most common compound time signatures correspond to the three most common simple time signatures:

2/4 and 6/8 are both in duple time. Whereas in 2/4 there are two crotchets or four quavers per bar, in 6/8 there are two dotted crotchets or six quavers per bar grouped in triplets.

3/4 and 9/8 (ugh, I hate both of these equally!) are both in triple time. Whereas in 3/4 there are three crotchets or six quavers per bar, in 9/8 there are three dotted crotchets or nine quavers per bar grouped in triplets.

4/4 and 12/8 are both in quadruple time. Whereas in 4/4 there are four crotchets or eight quavers per bar, in 12/8 there are four dotted crotchets or twelve quavers per bar grouped in triplets.

Can’t you tell I’ve had non-stop fun transcribing this stuff this afternoon?! And I’m still not altogether sure if my answers are right because I keep being foxed by random stray quavers. I hate when quavers do not come in simple pairs or threes. Sometimes you get a stray one preceded by a note of random length…that’s my stumbling block right now. 😦 Once I’ve got past all this rhythm stuff I will be fine! It’s the most mathematical part of music that drives me nuts!

I have also worked out that I will be better off doing a couple of hours per evening in the week and then a longer session on a Saturday and a short one on a Sunday. Having to go back to revise something you did 2 weeks ago in order to progress is no fun at all.

It sounds like I’m having no fun studying and that really isn’t the case! I have just found today hard going. I will be happier when we get to the fun creative bits about actually playing chords and harmonies and composing them on the keyboard. I’m sure there are some students who are in their comfort zone right now with the technicalities who will be dreading the very things I’m looking forward to! That’s the way the cookie crumbles, or maybe that’s the way the beats divide!

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