July 12, 2011


If I were the superstitious sort, I would be starting to think that something doesn't want me here. About five minutes ago I was laying on my bed reading a book when the glass light cover above my sink spontaneously exploded off the wall and shattered all over the wash basin and floor tiles. I immediately went downstairs and reported the occurrence to the building manager. He filled out a form and said it would be fixed tomorrow. I was left to go back to my room and attempt to clean up all the tiny shards with wet paper towels...hoping I wouldn't miss one and slice my foot open when I get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This is the second problem I've had to report now. Upon checking into the dorm, I was given a refrigerator key allowing me to access a little 10" x 10" x 10" cooler in one of the school's communal ice boxes. AIMS-ers only receive breakfast and lunch on weekdays and, considering the substantial cost of eating out every evening, it's nice to have a place to stash stuff for sandwiches and try to save a few Euros by eating simple food now and then. After heading to the supermarket yesterday evening and picking up some sammich fixin's for dinner I opened my mini fridge to store the leftovers and was greeted by a swell of putrid air. On the cooler's floor lay 3 shriveled fries, each of which was covered in a virtual forest of blue-green fuzz. Once again I was told "it will be cleaned in the morning." I offered to take care of the mess myself if someone would just supply the appropriate cleansers, but this, evidently, was out of the question.

Of course these two minor incidents don't truly make me think the universe is trying to scare me back to the states, but when combined with the increasingly more trying issues I've been having with my chops I find it a little difficult to keep a clear head. It's ultra frustrating that I'd been playing well ever since the last couple weeks of school (well enough to warm up to high D's in the morning, play through all the principal trumpet parts I brought with me with another trumpeter, make enormous strides on the music I have planned for my recital next quarter, AND be confident enough about the then upcoming AIMS experience to actually PLAN on auditioning to play a solo with a vocalist on one of the official chamber recitals here), and now I'm once again just trying to eek out a decent sound. I want to scream, "WHAT IS GOING ON?!"

It's almost as if all the progress I've made has been nullified. It's a bad joke...I'm not laughing...and neither will the audition committee tomorrow morning.

I'm doing my upmost to work through the issues. I've been very conscientious about the bits of practicing I've done here so far. Each time I take the horn to my lips I think about hearing a brilliant sound and feeling the exhilarating buzz that starts up when I know I've balanced my set up properly. It's wonderful when that "5th gear" kicks in--feels like I could play anything all day long...

I know I say this over and over...
I'm just going to do my best tomorrow...
...please let it be ok...


  1. You know what MY mom always says about things like this. When there is a lot of opposition there must be something amazing coming your way and sticking to it through the difficulties will pay off!! Play pretty!!!

  2. An Olympic sports psychologist just came and spoke to my students. He gave them some good advice I thought might help you here:

    Your mind is like a 20oz water bottle. You decide what you pour into it. Choose the good things you've been given by your teachers and through your experiences and successes. those things have come through your work and are becuase of your abilities. There's only room for 20oz worth of stuff. Keep the good things in and let the others go away. If you're 20oz full already (which I imiagine you totally are, with the year of studying you've just been through) there is no room for negative. Just confidence because of your past achievements, belief in yourself bolstered by those near and dear to you who are guiding you through your training, love for what you do, and your own strength built from your effort and talent.

    You will be successful because you have all these things.

    I love you. You are my favorite trumpet player.

  3. Dear Kelly,
    I will be thinking of you, wishing you well for your audition. Sometimes bad things happen in a futile attempt to keep inevitable good things from happening. Before an awesome triumph can come the greatest trials. So perhaps the universe isn't against you, it's just giving you a nice rising action before the perfect climax.
    Good luck tomorrow.