Are you not entertained?

So here is a much belated, poorly-written blog about the West.

I don’t know where to start and I forgot where I left off so I’m just gonna start babbling.

So anyway I spoke to the head of music (I’m a bit wary of putting names on here in case anyone googles it and comes across my blog… bit silly really now I think about it but sometimes they won’t all be good things said) about what subjects I might be able to get credit for hoping to get out of theory and maybe something else and he said, ‘yeah well the usual thing for an advanced diploma person is to put them straight in second year.’ That came as a bit of a shock because I hadn’t really expected anything like that. He told me to go to the first week of classes and see how I felt which would give me time to think about it as well. They’ve just changed the course in the first years where you have a lot more choice in classes and all the different streams (classical, jazz, music studies, music tech, etc.) are together. This is good in some ways because there is more interaction with other departments and you get to do a bit more broader study then just hardcore jazz. This is also bad because there are ridiculous amounts of people in some classes and you don’t get your core group year thing that does everything together. Also the classes were quite farsical so I went back to Graham (head of music) and said, ‘I can’t be dealing with this, can I do 2nd year?’ (2nd years are still on the old model of the core group) and then he interrogated me about what I knew and I talked myself up and out of all these tests but he still wanted me to do an aural test. I then went to the aural teacher for 1st year and he said just go to 2nd year aural and see how i find it. Anyway so it went like that for a while but now I’m locked in as a second year which is good as the players are a lot better and the classes are more challenging and I also get to knock about with chaps like Tom and Ben.

Practice-wise the go with practive rooms here is you have to book them using a computer system which is easy but it’s hard to get a room if you haven’t booked it a couple of days in advance. at the student village they have a hall type thing which has some other rooms in it with pianos so i find they’re good to practice on during the day and then i can book a big studio at WAAPA sometime at night when it’s not busy and practice on a nice grand. you can book 24/7 you just need an access card to get in after hours. I have one. So yeah it’s been easy to get plenty of practice in. I don’t like to put times on things, i prefer to be more goal-based than time-based but it’s about 4 hours private practice (ie. not including classes and ensembles) a day at the moment. I still suck though 😦

We had auditions for large ensembles (basically a sight/chart reading test) which means all years are in them so you’re up against 2nd and 3rd years who the teachers know and there’s only four ensembles and if you don’t get one you’re in reading ensemble (not good) so it’s tough but I managed to snipe a position at vocal ensemble. It’s basically eight singers doing cool stuff with a piano trio with me on piano. Robin is one of the singers. Just thought I’d throw that in.

On the weekends I’ve cruised on a bus into the city to check it out with whoever from the village or vicinity wants to join me. I took this photo walking along. Once again the quality is quite bad but it looked better in person. I still don’t really know much abot the city but i’m getting a little bit of a hang of it. Everything here is quite gardeny and green. Probably due to less if any water restrictions.

Sunny Perth

I bought a TV from cash converters for $40 which looked a bit beat up, no remote and front panel missing but beggars can’t be choosers. I got an antenna cable for $3 from the reject shop and but there is nothing wrong with the screen so the picture is really clear and the tv is fairly large. I watched the cattas destroy the tigers without any qualms whatsoever. I can also play Nintendo now and I’m loving it. Everyone who walks in (which is quite a few, our unit seems to be the ‘hang-out’ unit. people just drop in on their way past) is always filled with nostalgia and they’re all like ‘mario! oh my god you’ve got california games!’ and all that so yeah

We’ve been going to heaps of gigs in Perth which have been awesome. most things seem to be on weeknights though which leaves your weekends free. you just have to be careful of the 8:30 classes (yeah, a bit nasty) There are some fully cut-sick players around most of whom do sessional teaching and/or take an ensemble. So this is just really saying that the music scene in perth is actually quite good in standard, just smaller than Melbourne but there are gigs out there.

There are some good players at the uni (and some bad ones). There’s at least two piano players better than me but then again I’m kinda different to them. It’s good to have other pianists to talk to about stuff and learn from and everyone’s friendly. You only get caned if you don’t bother putting the work in.

One particularly bad thing is my fool of a piano teacher. I won’t name names but it starts with M and ends in ‘ike Nelso’ with another ‘n’ on the end. I may have been spoilt by having great open-minded teachers like Doug and Dr Stevens but this guy is not the right teacher for me. He’s about 50 and doesn’t even do music, he’s an engineer. He’s a fair player but is in his own world. He doesn’t ask me anything about what I want to do or where I’m up to or what i’ve done before just launches straight into his pre-programmed jazz piano 101 thing. lesson 1 – left hand voicings. I was really clear to him and told him that i’ve already learnt them all three years ago and am in fact trying not to use them. He doesn’t listen. He’s also a real lick, pattern, scale kind of player and i’m trying to be the opposite. i would rather play something that comes purely from me. I’d rather play one note that is expressing what I am than to pull out some ridiculous be-bop lick that is straight up charlie parker or something. what i’ve said about it is only the start of it. This upcoming lesson i’m just going to not do the set stuff he gave me and transcribe something instead. he actually gives you a mark out of ten for how you went in the lesson (and hes actually quite harsh with the mark). Now as a piano teacher I would never dream of doing such a thing in a one-on-one teaching thing because that is only going to destroy the friendly learning environment you’re creating and build walls between the student and you. what an idiot. Anyway I’m going to hopefully change maybe next semester and for the moment i’m going to take control and i don’t care if he gives me a 0 for each lesson, it’s only in case you stuff up your recital or something and he can say that you’ve been going ok in lessons. i plan on nailing my recital anyway 🙂

Personally I’ve been feeling OK, just cruisin’ around trying to sort my life out. Get a bit homesick sometimes. Just miss all y’all people and the homely places so look forward to catching up with y’all sometime in the middle of the year if I can afford a plane ticket… We’ve had all the people move into our unit at the student village now. There’s me, Martin, Liz (first year actor from Sydney), Kelli (American doing a semester of education here), Jachi (not spelt right, but a cool guy from Singapore doing a computer games making course) and the newest member is Adele from China who is doing a media (communications/broadcasting kinda) course. They’re all cool people so I’m pretty lucky. Robin wasn’t so lucky and as a result hangs out with us a bit. I’ll leave it to him for the details on his blog… hopefully.

So anyway I think I’ve vented enough for the moment. I’ll leave y’all with another Tom + Shopping Trolley video. There are trolleys all over the student vilage and they’re quite handy for lugging stuff around. Oh and sorry for the lack of updating but I yeah I really don’t have an excuse but I’ll try to do a new one on the weekends.

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~ by Hooly on March 2, 2007.

9 Responses to “Are you not entertained?”

  1. Well, i like your “I’ll show him whose boss” attitude towards your piano playing engineer of a teaher,Jules. Tighten the screws, and then BAM! you’ve got him under your thumb. You could use your screwdriver….

  2. hey jules! glad to see your settling in and all. thanks for the update.. was a good read. Yeh I’m right behind you on not conforming to that if you’ve already learnt that basic stuff and playing music is being creative and you’re being creative as you play.. do what you feels natural and what your instincts tell you..
    haven’t spoken to you for a little while so i’m gonna give you a call quite soon i think now..
    catchya bro!

  3. Hey man, nice blog.

    Sounds like you are having a blast over there, good onya.
    I’m a tad jealous as i am stressed and shit, but thoughts of your merriment, ale drinking, music enjoying, many meals by the fire in your social little corner of res and quite mental practice habits keep me entertained. You are practicing more than me. But today I plan on doing 5-6 hours because Michael ripped me in half in my lesson.

    Keep up the blogging man, I’m keen to stay abreast of the deveings in the far lands to the west.

  4. It sounds like a lot of practice but really all I do is class and practice. There is no travel or any other commitments, so there’s still plenty of time for leisure and just mucking around aswell.

  5. It sounds nice over there, Jules. Sorry you’ve got to work with a teacher that doesn’t gel with you though, that sucks. I caught the train home from Melbs the other day with Doug! I gave him this here blog address because he was so keen to know how you were going! Same to you too, Blobs. I hope he’s been checking them. It was a great train trip, reminded me of those good old, golden, blissful Gordon days. Do you miss them, Jules?

  6. Yeah, what they said!
    I think maybe I should move somewhere interstate, write a blog and see how much love I get. On second thoughts I may get disappointed.
    Did Simon tell you he’s playing Civ4 these days?

  7. Simon + Civ 4 = Epic game when I’m in town again.

    Yeah Suzy I kinda miss the Gordon days sometimes. Lately I’ve been listening to all the gordon big bang charts and singing along. ‘hey everybody! let’s have some fun! you gotta da da da da so let lets the good times roll’ and ‘caledonia!’ ‘mmm so sweet, those little tiny feet….. AND SHE TIPS THE SCALES!!!! OOH SHE TIPS THE SCALES!!! I SAID SHE TIPS THE SCALES…. AT 303. ooooooooh gee, but aint it grand to have a girl so big and fat’ etc. etc. etc.

  8. Caledonia + Jules + Robin = Awesomeness

  9. Oh boy. I don’t think anyone really understands the epic-ness of this, Jules. Civ 4 + Jules = Bring it on.

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