<"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Welcome to the Ceili
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
This is Why We Do What We Do
Often, it's hard to remember why we go through what we go through as musicians. Lousy pay, never-ending hours, no holidays, working side jobs so that we can play the gigs we want to (although some of us are trying to pursue careers that will allow us to work in music as our day job).

But then there are concerts like tonight. Great repertoire, wonderful people, responsive audience.....this is why we do what we do.

Sometimes it works, and it's worth every single possible downside to be able to do this day in a day out. What we do is magic, and I wouldn't give it up for the world.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 11:10 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Waiting and Poverty Mentality
I don't wait well. I like to think that before graduate school killed my ability to sit still, that I used to be more patient......but the truth is that I probably was awful then too. I like things to be finalized, so the end of the Spring semester tends to be incredibly stressful for me. This year is no different, and in some ways it's even more stressful than usual. Getting a game plan ready for next year, trying to figure out what to do after next year (assuming everything goes according to plan with the finishing the ethno degree), waiting for the results to come back about this summer's applications (both scholarship and just acceptance), and trying desparately to get everything squared away for financial aid (both for the summer and next year).

I have a love/hate relationship with all things financial. I love the musical/professional/educational opportunities money can buy, and I hate the fact that I have very little of it with which access these opportunities. During the year I'm fine....after three years of grad school, I know how to live thriftily and still have a good time (some of my professors call it poverty mentality). During the summer it's always a gamble though, particularly this summer as I'm doing my fieldwork, presenting at the NFA, trying to attend two fabulous music workshops........and pay all my bills. Don't get me wrong, I like that I'm building my own life. I like that I support myself, even if sometimes it's a little bit of a struggle. I'm in grad school.....I'm supposed to be a bohemian......and I do all right for myself. But I guess in this summer's case, it's as much not knowing how it's all going to work out as anything else.

My flute professor once told me, "Do what you love, and the money will come."
I'm not sure I believe that, but we'll see what happens.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 2:32 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Just Keep Breathing
I usually don't remember my dreams, at least the good ones. And while I won't go into details, aside from the fact that in one of my most recent ones one of the chief subjects of my thesis was trying to run me down and beat me with a baseball bat, suffice it to say they've been pretty anxiety inducing. Now I'm anxious and type-a enough without the added benefit of my unrestrained subconscious scaring the bejeezus out of me.

Grad school is hard, and while I can't speak to other disciplines' experiences, I know that the basic acknowledgement between faculty and students in the field of music is just this: both of us know I'm not the musician, scholar, or teacher I want to be yet, so let's get around to the business of trying to fix it. But sometimes it just feels hopeless, like you're trying to climb Mt. Everest with a paper clip and a piece of floss. Especially when your subconscious is just feeding your internal self-criticizing monologue. And with that internal monologue ramped up to epic proportions, it's hard to play the gig, or write the paper, or teach the class without feeling like everything you put out is only a step up from garbage.

But if yoga, and martial arts, and running, and the beginnings of my meditation practice have taught me anything, it's that no matter how uncomfortable the state of being, you just keep breathing. Eventually the muscle will loosen, you'll hit the runner's wall, and you'll slip into a calmer state where you CAN fix the problems, because they are still there, and see life and your work without the self-destructive goggles.

Unfortunately, I'm still in the uncomfortable part.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 6:03 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I would give large amounts of money I don't have to be able to even NAP without an anxiety dream.
posted by Mac Tíre at 9:10 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Crazy, crazy, crazy week.

  1. Recorded/sent off application to EMV medieval music workshop (and hoping against hope for funding for said workshop).
  2. Trying to get funding for Zoukfest.......because _hello_ Andy Irvine.
  3. Rehearsed and played the Afro-Cuban program a couple of times this week. One of the great things about being one of the few non-classical flute players in town is the opportunity to play a lot of different types of music.....unfortunately sometimes there's a steep learning curve.
  4. Busy finishing papers/presentations for both of my upper level Graduate Seminars.....both about Blues Fife and Drum.....One concentrating on rhythm and participatory discrepancy in said genre, the other concentrating on african retentions in the fife playing of said genre.
  5. Trying to get all of my secondary instrument parts together/better for the English/Scottish program for the World Music Ensemble.
  6. Helping the freshmen through their "first" research paper as said paper is due tomorrow.
  7. Recitals in the flute studio abound.

So you'll hopefully give me a little slack when I apologize for not posting too much the last few weeks.

I hate this time of year. Not the end of the semester, although the sleep deprivation never does good things for my emotional stability, but specifically the end of April through the first week of May.

As of early May, it will be ten years since my mom died. I wish I could say something profound or poetic about a sense of closure and while it's true that I feel that losing a parent when I was 14 gave me a type of growth and inner strength that other people my age don't typically have, the truest thing to say, is that it hurts. After a decade without her, it still hurt that I couldn't call her after my comps and tell her I passed, or have her see my master's diploma. Psychologists call it secondary loss, which is just another way of saying, "You can move on, but you'll never get over it."

"I can't change the shit that happened when I was fourteen. But I can own it."

I'm still in the process of figuring out how to own that experience, as well as other experiences/feelings in my life. Maybe one day I'll get there.

Peace, love, and tunes,


posted by Mac Tíre at 10:47 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Semester's Death Throes
Per the norm, life gets insane in the last few weeks of the semester. It's just close enough for people to start panicking about not being ready to turn in final projects, take final exams, find jobs for the summer, and yet far enough away that a few have decided to ignore the deadlines as they come whooshing towards us.

On Deck for Today
  1. Finish Application for EMV Medieval summer program--finish recording, check stuff yet again (typos are evil), get everything printed out and together so that tomorrow all I have to do is mail the sucker.
  2. Finish grading/inputting grades
  3. Rehearse with the Afro-cuban ensemble
  4. Attend grad flute recital of one of my friends from the studio
In addition to the normal list of things to do. The "B" word has been rearing its ugly head.....burnout that is. But we have to get up and keep on going, mostly because you know that life will look better after you've had some sleep, and there's nothing else for it....stuff's got to get done, no matter how tired you are. Basically my way to cope is to lock myself in my room and BLAST some form of Irish Traditional music......it's been Dervish lately. They happen to be one of my favorite bands of all time.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:45 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Monday, April 07, 2008
Never give up

........even if you really want to sometimes.


posted by Mac Tíre at 12:24 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Sorry for the absence of late. Life has been crazy, as it tends to get during the end of the fall semester. Not much time/will to blog right now either. Trying to get things set up for the summer: One of my friends from MS offered me her place to stay at during June, which is great because I don't have to pay for housing, but not great because I'll miss Zoukfest yet again this year. I'm trying to find trad flute workshops that are affordable/fairly advanced for the fall....frankly I think I'm just suffering from trad withdrawal right now because I haven't been to a session in almost a month and a half.....GAH! I am in desperate need of tunes.

On the upside, I am trying to get into this early music workshop.....hopefully with scholarships. I was going to put it off until another year, but then I found out that they have a FLUTE PLAYER as one of the main instructors, and since you can't really study medieval flutes with too many people these days, off we go (hopefully) to Vancouver.

Also.....I'm trying to think of what happens after next year (pre-supposing I'll be done with everything here). I'm looking at Fulbright's to Ireland.....I REALLY want to take a year to work on my trad chops. I'm also looking at the Ethnomusicology program in Belfast. Right now everything's pretty much up in the air, but hopefully I'll be able to do something cool.

Off to be productive.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:58 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 1 comments