<"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Welcome to the Ceili
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Last weekend of Freedom
School starts on Tuesday. This week was a haze of meetings about teaching and Doctoral requirements, and every time someone said, "This is only for Doctoral candidates," I had to remind myself that I was in that crowd. Of course, embarking on a new program, and facing ALL of the degree requirements of a PhD makes me feel both excited and anxious/scared at the same time. You see two full pages front and back of just courses to take, and then you add the three major exams before you even get to the dissertation stage, and it seems all a bit much. However, as my thesis taught me, you have to take it one semester/exam/requirement at a time.

Entrance exams were also last week: music history, written theory, and aural skills. All of these started at 3:30pm and went until 9pm after a morning full of meetings. Aural Skills came first, and while melodic dictation went well and sightsinging went ok, harmonic dictation was a complete and utter bitch. It didn't help that I hadn't done harmonic dictation in YEARS, and that the example was played as a midi file, with the soprano turned WAY up (hello, flute players' ears go up easily....not down, and it's fairly difficult to do a chordal analysis without the bass line). After half of the harmonic dictation I seriously just wanted to hand the exam in and walk out so that I could focus on the music history portion, but I sucked it up, and did pretty well on written theory (part writing w/chordal analysis, some basic phrase structure questions, and roman numeral analysis). So after two hours of trying to convince your brain to focus and spell out the chord (I've found theory is like riding a bike....you never really forget how to do it, but you're certainly not as good or as fast as you were when you first learned), I grabbed a quick bite to eat and came back for the music history part of the exams. Listening identification (probable composer, 50 yr probable date range, and title/genre/form as it is evident--they had an aria from Orfeo by Monteverdi that I actually did a project on....which made my night), Short Answer term definitions (they had troubadour on there.....yay!!!), Composer identification (I actually found this one way too easy, because they asked for country and period associated with each composer and nothing else), Score identification (probable composer, probable period, probable title/genre), and then two essays (as opposed to one because I was a PhD musicology candidate.....I ended up picking history of the polyphonic mass and history of opera). Let me tell you, writing two essays with a TMJ headache and after a day full of meetings and other exams is not a fun one. My essays were probably the worst part of the exam. We had to wait two days, but I ended up passing everything except Aural Skills....which doesn't really surprise me.

I also met some really nice people. Piper Colleague met me at the bus station (we live less than a mile away from each other), and we rode over to the big faculty meeting together. I was then introduced to everyone (faculty and grad students), and I've been asked for at least three copies of my thesis, which is completely and utterly terrifying. I've met some cool people, a PhD flute candidate I knew previously in MS/TN and a PhD Theory candidate from a university in Big Red State. And I also was recruited for the Collegium, which is run by one of the instructors I studied with in Vancouver summer before last. Evidently it hadn't gotten back to him that I was coming, and he ran up and recruited me. It was also really cool to hear, "So and So's been saying you were coming. He's really been looking forward to it!" Both from Trad friends and Early Music friends, and I have no doubt that I would not feel nearly as welcomed if I had gone to the other school that gave me a full ride + stipend.

My schedule for this semester looks really good with the exception that I'll have to take classes at 8am 4 days a week. I'm taking Aural Skills review, Research Methods (for the doctoral core), Music & Gender, and Intro to Musicology (required and featured highly on the doctoral musicology area exams). In addition I'll probably be in collegium, but I'm not sure how the hours will work as I have a class conflict on Tuesdays (the professor said I'd probably just come in on Thursdays).

Anyway, I've got to get started on my goals for the day (biking to campus without getting lost and cleaning my apartment!).

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 2:30 PM ¤ Permalink ¤