Here I am, almost halfway through my summer project already! Time flies here on campus, especially with not as many students around and no homework to do. My research has progressed to its intermediate stages, and summer living is settling into somewhat of a routine. I’m managing to pick up some extra odd jobs here and there on top of my SURP stipend, so my finances are looking cozy despite my habit of spending exorbitant amounts of money on not-from-concentrate fruit juice (my suitemates can vouch that I drink about a half gallon a day… but I don’t have a problem, ok?). I suppose I’ll stick with my system from last time and keep work and fun mostly separate, the way they should be:
Things slowed down a bit in the past couple weeks as I continued to slog through readings. There’s a time in every independent research project (for which I now have two data points) where you realize you don’t know why you’re reading all this stuff or what you’re looking for. When that happens, that’s when it’s time to pick a direction, commit to it, and start throwing out ridiculously ambitious ideas until something interesting comes out. That’s exactly how I’ve been spending approximately the last week of work. The advantage to the “puke ideas everywhere and then sift through them” method is that it’s very exciting! You’re Discovering Things! You’re being Original! Instead of letting my eyes glaze over at an interesting article that I lack the motivation to read, this week I’ve been excitedly running an hour over my regular work time as I push to the next milestone.
So what am I actually doing? My current mission is to find some way to reinterpret the blocky, linear, sectional conceptions of form and solo-ensemble interactions in the concertos I’m looking at. I’m trying to make a more fluid spectrum of these aspects of the pieces, graphing the balance and thematic/melodic prevalence between the soloist and the orchestra. The tougher part of the project is trying to find a way to graph form that doesn’t involve sectioned blocks. I’m thinking about formal structure as a relationship between new and repeated material. If none of that makes sense to you, that’s okay; it doesn’t make sense to me (or my advisor) yet either, because I made it up! But making things up is what I’m being paid to do this summer, and it’s why I love my field. Look! Here are some snazzy-looking dialogue graphs!
Looming ahead in the next couple weeks will be the first draft of my paper-to-be. That’s a little intimidating, since I’m still figuring out what I want to say, but there’s still enough time for that…
Somewhere between work and fun
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve managed to pick up some extra cash by doing side jobs this summer. This past weekend, I dog/housesat for a professor and served as the accompanist for a recent Pomona alum auditioning for a graduate program in music performance. Even more recently, I’ve got a gig potentially transcribing basslines for a professor interested in learning jazz bass standards. That should be interesting, especially since I have little to no experience with jazz.
Honestly, I’m just hoping that after I graduate this year, the jobs will keep coming with this sort of facility.
Even without world-adventuring, lots of fun happens here! The campus is pretty empty, but that’s relaxing in many ways. I’ve been doing more baking recently, and my suite has now gone bowling two weeks in a row (this week I broke 100 twice!). The weekend before last, we went up to my suitemate’s family cabin in Arizona and played games and watched movies. I’m also part of a fledgling chamber music trio that has now managed to rehearse once. Our Dungeons and Dragons game is also still going strong. Nerdy, wholesome fun for all. Nightly chats and joking around are also a given.
I’ll continue to post about adventures here, but for the most part things are very chill and more generally pleasant than strongly eventful.