Applications, Preparations, and What a Little Research Will Do!

My apologies for the missing news post last Saturday, I’ve had a full plate for the last few weeks. I’m writing this post from Montreal where I’ve just auditioned for the graduate program at McGill, and yes, that would be the very same thing I said I wouldn’t do in my impassioned December 14th News post. But don’t brand me a charlatan just yet! I’m not back-peddling here, I stand by what I said in that post. Allow me to explain, …

It’s true that the only real use for that piece of paper is to teach (which I’m not interested in), and that passion shouldn’t be squandered for a security blanket. But let’s forget about the piece of paper for a second and just look at the experience itself. My two greatest concerns were a.) Music school limits artistic freedom and cripples individuality. And b.) It costs too damn much for someone who won’t be walking into a College teaching gig with a steady pay-check!

Sounds like a reasonable argument against a Masters degree doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s not based on any “facts” per se and after a little research of the program and its faculty I learned that: a.) Not only does the program allow a great deal of freedom to follow your compositional interests, they also have large ensembles (jazz & classical) at the ready to rehearse your music any time! And b.) Although only available to a select few, there are some substantial scholarships available for those in need of support.

Now, I’m doubtful they’ll offer the amount of scholarship I’d need, which is fine as I’d be content to stay in Vancouver, but at least the door is open to all possibilities. So what did I learn from this? … (cue gentle sitcom-style “life lesson” synthesizer music) I learned to be a little more objective about these decisions, to gather as much information as possible and then see how the situation could work for me. Opportunity really is in the eye of the beholder! And who knows, maybe, … just maybe, I’ve learned to base important life decisions on a little something called information and not just speculation. Gee, that’d be nice.

Moving on. The application (mentioned in the title above) is to perform in the Canada pavilion of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo! That’s right, yours truly might just be proudly representing his nation next year with the Accelerated Development project, “a production that will bring together some of Canada’s finest jazz musicians to give an exciting, stirring performance of my original songs inspired by Shanghai, it’s history and people. And what better medium than jazz, a constantly changing, exciting art form, to present Shanghai: “The Living City”!!!. Do you feel me?! Do you see how perfect this is?! We’re talking about the merging of East and West, a freakin’ bridging of nations people!! It’s destiny! It’s just going to be soooooo … just, … SUPER!!!”

… Did you like that? It’s taken from my sales pitch proposal to the Canada Council For The Arts, I finish it off with “gimme, … GIMME GIMME GIMME!!” Don’t want to jinx it but uh, … I think I’m a shoe-in.; )

So there you have it folks. The exciting life of a jazz clarinetist: practicing, writing proposals, filling out applications, and playing the odd gig. See you next Saturday!
JD

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