Nose to the grindstone, mind in the stars

Be infinite

“infinite: to be unbounded or unlimited; boundless; endless; immeasurably great”

That was the theme of this years Student Leadership Conference, which I attended yesterday. And, after spending a day listening to featured presenters speak about dreams and teaching us how to become who we want to be, I can easily say that I am so incredibly inspired by the presenters and everyone else who attended the conference. The day started off unnaturally early for a Saturday (9:00am, early bird gets the worm I guess? and we did spend most of the day talking about how to achieve the worm…) However, when we got to the Chan Centre and entered the main theatre, the excitement started building and I almost forgot how tired I was. The room was packed with students who all shared the same mindset as me – they wanted to become leaders, and they wanted to learn how to follow their dreams.

The first speaker was Peter van Stolk, the founder of Jones Soda, and the current CEO of SPUD (Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery). He was a pretty cool guy, and helped show us how powerful social media can be in terms of marketing. Next, I went to see Alia Dharmasi, who is a 4th year medical student here at UBC. Her main message was that we should all take risks and step out of our comfort zone, because who knows where that one decision could take us. She was a very interesting woman, and she was really easy to relate to. Next, I went to a workshop about self-care that was run by two RA’s. It was pretty interesting, and I found out that, compared to other university students, I actually do a pretty good job of taking care of myself! Those three events took until about noon, when I headed over to Irving K. Barber to pick up my sandwich and drink for lunch. After eating my locally sourced sustainable lunch, I headed to a zumba class. That was thoroughly exhausting, and after it was over they gave us cards for $5 classes at their studio! I went to a workshop about how to travel on a budget, which was actually super useful and I learned a lot. I went to the next featured presentation which was run by Lydia Hol, a UBC graduate turned musician. She told us the importance of following your dreams, and how to overcome the negative thoughts about failure or disappointment. Last but definitely not least, I headed back to the Chan Centre to watch Waneek Horn-Miller, an inspirational Mohawk woman, present. She was the captain of the women’s Olympic water polo team in 2000, but to get there she had to overcome many obstacles, including mental and physical recovery from a wound she received from a Canadian soldier’s bayonet during the Oka Crisis. Waneek is an incredible woman, and I could have listened to her all evening.

All in all, the SLC was an amazing and empowering experience, and I highly recommend it to absolutely ANYONE who wants to go to something super awesome and feel good about LIFE.

So this was after a hellish first week of classes which involved too many early mornings, late nights, and an absurd amount of courses (just so you now, it is NOT a good idea to take 8 courses at once *hints*). But all my courses are looking good so far, the profs are interesting (possibly not in a good way) and life is exhausting but I’m loving it.

The moral of this blog post is that yes, you should go to the SLC because it’s fabulous, and that no, you should not take 8 courses at once because it’s hell. Aight.

Be infinite

Course Review

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post! I had exams and projects and then it was Christmas break! And now that it’s almost over (in 3 days AGHHH), I figured I should get back to UBC and start rehashing my first semester of university! So here’s a course review for you!

MUSC 110 – Intensive Tonal Theory and Form I, Professor William Benjamin

This course was easily the toughest course that I took this semester. The class was small, about 20 people, and we met 4 times a week. We started off with a course pack that was full of fairly easy rudimentary theory. We worked on that until the middle of October, wrote a midterm on it, and were done with it completely. For the rest of the semester, we used our textbook and the workbook that accompanied it. We usually had homework assigned twice a week, and it took me approximately 3 or 4 hours to complete the homework each time. The final exam was very reasonable; it wasn’t too difficult, and it used most of the techniques we discussed in class. Prof Benjamin was a good professor, although he had a tendency to ramble on while lecturing.

MUSC 120 – History of Music I, Professor Alex Fisher

I am a total history buff, so history of music was my favourite course of the term. We started off with learning about the fundamental basis of music from the Middle Ages and related it to the Catholic Church, and we finished near the end of the Renaissance. There were about 70 of us in the class, it was in a recital hall and was taught as a lecture, and it met twice a week. I found the lectures slightly monotonous, but the course material was taught well and although I had a tendency to fall asleep in class, I did really well overall. We had ten 10-question quizzes every week, and I found that as long as you reviewed the material at least once, it was not a challenge to get a good mark on those. We also had a proposal for a research paper, the research paper itself, and a final exam. Professor Fisher was always willing to give extra help on the online discussion board, and it was easy to keep up in that class.

MUSC 105/106 РMusicianship I and II, Professor Gordon Paslawski 

Musicianship, in my opinion, is not an interesting course. The basis of musicianship is how to learn aural skills and to improve the basic skills of a musician. I spent the first few weeks in musicianship I, but after the professor realized that I already knew everything he was teaching, I was moved up to musicianship II. It was a bit more challenging, but I still picked it up very quickly. To be completely honest, I never practiced anything that was assigned in that class, and I would start learning things for tests in the few days previous to the test itself. It was a pass/credit/fail course, so I didn’t find it important to pass. The teaching was good, but I just found that I didn’t have much to learn from them.

ASTU 150 – Art Studies in Writing, Professor Patricia Kelly

I took this course as my first-year writing requirement, and I can’t say that I enjoyed it. The basis of ASTU is to focus on one topic for the whole semester, and my class got to focus on health. We spent time outside of class reading articles about health (and usually feminism), and our time in class was spent discussing those articles and reading from our Giltrow book. I didn’t find that I learned much in the class, and the marking was quite inconsistent throughout the semester. I also found that other classes had very interesting topics, such as the relationship between dogs and humans, or the impact of social media. ASTU can be brutal if you get a bad topic, or a bad prof.

MUSC 107C – Composition I, Professor Dorothy Chang

Composition was a fabulous course. We only met once a week, but we would spend that time discussing our projects, learning about contemporary music, and listening to various musical examples. I found it very informative and interesting, and writing compositions that conformed to their project restrictions was a good challenge for me. It helped me to branch out of my comfort zone, and I definitely became a better musician because of it. Professor Chang was very knowledgeable about composition technique, and as well as being in class, we also had a lesson once a week with a TA. They helped us work on our ongoing projects, and gave advice about the composition world in general. We had three projects: a solo instrument, solo piano, and a project involving 2 or more instruments. We also had weekly assignments every week that related to the main projects that were assigned. All in all, a great class!

So I hope this helps anyone who wants to know what some courses are like in music! I really had a great semester, and I thoroughly enjoyed most of my courses. And now on to the second semester…!


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