<"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Welcome to the Ceili
Monday, June 29, 2009
Almost Done
Last week I passed my Thesis defense. I'm wrapping up this degree....and I can't seem to believe I'm actually going to pack everything up in a month and leave this place (assuming everything goes well with my Spanish reading exam tomorrow and that I get all of my revisions in on time....ok so I probably won't believe I have this damn degree until they give me my transcripts and my diploma).

Don't know what the results are with the songwriting thing.....the band running it seems to have forgotten about posting the results. It was, despite the horrible amounts of smoke, a good experience. It's basically convinced me that I want to try and find a regular gig once I get to Outdoor Haven City (home of West Coast U).

In addition to end-gaming it, I've also been looking at goals I want for the next 4-5 years of my life....I guess this is my "Goals I'd like to reach before I turn 30" list.

So here goes:

  1. Get published: I feel like this is the next big step for me in my academic career, and one I feel I need to accomplish before I can set out to get an academic job.
  2. Present at a National Musicology/Ethnomusicology conference: See reason above.
  3. Record a CD: Or maybe two. I really want to put out a recording or two. I'd like to record a traditional CD, but I'd also really like to do a CD of originals. I've really gotten into the songwriting thing recently, and while a recording of my originals is not likely to earn me big bucks or be popular outside of my circle of friends/family, I think it would be something I was really proud of.
  4. Finish the PhD: I want to be done in 4 years, and have a job....please god.
  5. Study Buddhism: I am moving to a place where this will be a lot easier, and I'm _really_ looking forward to that.
  6. Run/Row a marathon: I'd really like to run a marathon....but I have a bad knee...and so recently I've tried rowing (on an indoor rower). I can work infinitely harder on the rowing machine and though I feel sore the next day, I can still move. So in the event that I can't run a marathon, you can actually row a marathon (something like 26,ooo+ meters). As a relative beginner, I can easily row 5k+ in 40 minutes, so I feel like it's a doable goal.
  7. Find a life outside of my profession: I've spent most of the past 4 years solely focused on my profession. I'm going to still be doing a lot of that, but I think I need to establish hardcore boundaries so that I don't get quite as burned out.
Anyway, back to studying and revising.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:53 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 0 comments
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Where does it come from?
So.....taking a few minutes away from the thesis at this point. Most of what I've been doing since I last posted has been associated with the thesis. I am both ready to be done with the thing and also extremely glad that my program requires a thesis, because I can't imagine trying to write a dissertation without having gone through this process (an intense but growing experience....at least I hope it will be).

The only thing I've really done outside of the thesis is performing at my first open mic. Dry Flat Place is known for really good live music and really good singer/songwriters, so it stands to reason that it wasn't really hard to find one. You understand, I've only been writing songs for a little over a year and a half, and while I have played them in front of some people, I have not played them outside of a supportive audience (ie Zoukfest, for friends, for family). Not to mention, I always play acoustically. I just feel that technology most often gets in the way of connecting with an audience.

So I signed up and went down on Thursday night with my roommate, perfectly prepared to make a total ass out of myself. We got there, and it was a pretty crappy bar. Too much smoke, not a single drop of alcohol I actually wanted to pay for, and amplification that would make the hardest rock music fan reach for their earplugs. In addition, they had obviously not planned for anyone to come in without a method to plug in their guitar. Waited for about an hour while the first 6 or so people went, and then it was my turn. I walked up and asked them if they had an extra mic and stand to area mic my guitar. The conversation went something like this:


"Fine, then I'll play completely acoustically."

Horrified look on face.

"Wait, maybe we do."

Why are people afraid of acoustic performances? Sigh.

So, it took them about 15 minutes to get that set up, during which I'm sitting on the stage playing Irish tunes. They finally get everything miked up and I try to back away from the microphone (both the vocal and the guitar one) because evidently they've turned it up to 11.

Side note: I don't perform much with microphones....however I have in the past and I have also run soundboards. The whole point of a microphone, especially for vocals, is so that you do not have to scream to be heard in a very loud or large venue, and thus sacrifice nuance and musicality for volume. No one seemed to know this.

The only good thing about this was that you barely had to sing to be heard, although playing normally on my acoustic almost caused feedback.....at which point I pushed my chair back to try and put some space between me and the mic.

Another side note: I have performed in noisy Big Red State bars for 4 years. More volume doesn't make the screaming patrons getting drunk on bud lite shut up. Good music, performed well makes them shut up.

This will sound egotistical, but as my roommate tells the story, by the end of my first song (you get to play two) there was a lot of applause and then the bar got really quiet. For any of you who haven't played a noisy bar....this is a good sign. I finish up my set, and the guys who are running the event start asking me if I gig around town, and then proceed to tell me that I have a future in music.

To which I really wanted to say, "Did you miss the part where I told you I was a graduate student in the music department, and that my job is teaching music history?" I guess they think the only future in music one could want is a recording contract.....which would be great, but teaching music history/world music makes me REALLY happy. I guess not everyone gets that.

Overall, performing felt great. Getting a positive response about my songs also felt great. I really like to perform even though I'm always nervous before and after (and sometimes during if I'm playing originals). I didn't (as usual) like the smoke or the out of control amplification.

Anyway, sorry if most of that sound like ego-candy, but I'm continually surprised that I'm actually capable of writing songs. Literally I came home one day, really depressed, and I just wrote a song.....which still surprises me. And every time I write another one, it's like, it happened again? Where the hell does this stuff come from?

Off back to thesis land....I've spent far too long on this post.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 1:05 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ 2 comments