Sunday, January 11, 2009

Round Four

I returned to Wheaton College early yesterday afternoon, and have spent the last twenty-four hours settling back into my dorm room, catching up with the friends who have already returned, and waiting for the friends who are on their way. I am also looking ahead to the start of classes tomorrow. Allow me to share briefly what I have on my academic schedule this semester.

My first class tomorrow is Basic Conducting. In my senior year of high school, I took an independent study with my band director, in which I learned the fundamentals of instrumental conducting, as well as other areas of instrumental music education methods. It has been a year and a half since the end of my senior year, and I am excited to study conducting again. My professor for the course is Dr. Daniel Sommerville. Dr. Sommerville is the music director of the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra; as such, I have gotten to know him professionally on the occasions when I have served as stage manager for orchestra concerts. I have not yet had him as a classroom teacher, however, and I am really looking forward to finally doing so this semester.

I have two classes tomorrow afternoon. The first is Jazz Theory. When I made my decision to study music education at Wheaton, I initially thought that I would not have any time for elective classes. The Bachelor of Music Education degree plan actually has no required elective hours. But, when I sat down and worked out a four-year plan last year, I found that I actually did have room for a few electives after a few semesters filled with required courses. Jazz Theory is the first elective course in my four-year plan. I chose it for two reasons. First, I figured that as a band director (my immediate career goal upon graduation), I may have the responsibility to work with a jazz ensemble. I gained practical experience in jazz during high school, but as a director I would need a more thorough understanding of jazz music, and Jazz Theory seemed like the perfect way to obtain that knowledge. And second, Dr. Howard Whitaker, whom I had for Music Theory III this past fall, is teaching the course. I really enjoyed studying classical theory with Dr. Whitaker, and I am excited to study jazz theory with him.

The other class tomorrow afternoon is 19th Century Music with Dr. Jonathan Saylor. The course will pick up where Baroque and Classical Eras left off in December. Music history thus far has been a challenge for me, but at the same time, I have really enjoyed it, and I see no reason why that should change.

Later tomorrow afternoon is the first Symphonic Band rehearsal of the semester. The band only has two performances this semester (although we will probably have an additional performance in chapel at some point this spring), but Dr. Yontz has assured us that he will provide us with enough challenging literature to keep us busy.

Tuesday is a lighter day than Monday. First thing in the morning is Aural Skills IV. I ended up with a better grade than I expected in Aural Skills III (after a disappointing finish to Aural Skills II), so I am hoping to continue the trend.

I have a morning break, and first thing in the afternoon is the next course in the teacher education sequence, Learning and Development: The Psychological and Developmental Contexts of Education. The length of the course title is directly proportional to the number of good things I have heard about this course. I really enjoyed the first course in the sequence, The School and Society, so if Learning and Development is the course that gets talked about so much, I expect to enjoy even more. In my AP Psychology course in high school, I learned the fundamentals of developmental psychology, which I expect Learning and Development will cover from a more practical perspective.

And, of course, Tuesday would not be Tuesday without my private trombone lesson. I finished my private lessons last semester quite strongly, so I hope to continue right where I left off. Additionally, for the first time in my college career, trombone is the only instrument I will study during the semester. I hope to use the extra time to accelerate my study.

All of the above is just my academic schedule. Knowing me and knowing the institution, I have no doubt that my schedule as a whole will soon be filled with many more events and activities. But, as I have said before, I thrive on having a busy schedule. I think that this spring will be a good semester. Expect some thoughts on that subject sometime in May.

This is Rubio, over and out.