Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekly Interlude 16: Filling Time

Rathaus (City Hall)
Life has been pretty mild since the bat incident last week. Lillian and her parents are off in the States for a few weeks, so my biggest challenge lately is figuring out what to do to fill all my free time. Not a bad problem to have, I realize; but it can be very tricky when my other job is only six hours a week. Going from college (where you have absolutely no free time) to a hectic, on-call schedule and then basically to a screeching halt is like experiencing severe culture shock -- all in the span of four months.

Mostly I've been reading -- Harry Potter in English, Eat Pray Love -- and watching movies every night. It turns out Eliza, my roommate, is just as big a Harry Potter geek as me, so cue deep philosophical discussions about the Hogwarts universe. (We also find this trailer amusing.) Always a good time filler. But days are long when you either a) have no required plans, or b) are stressed (which I often seem to be for no apparent reason), and there are only so many movies I can really stand to watch in a day.

View out the library window
Last week, I went back to the library and spent a while perusing the musical scores section. I've decided that my practice habits flail most when I don't have a recital or a voice jury (singing final exam) to prepare for, seeing as my time at Ithaca College was always spent preparing for one or the other. So my brilliant idea was to create a recital program to work on over the course of my time in Vienna! Yet what I really crave to sing now is early American musical theater -- Rodgers & Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter. Plus, I'm suffering from I-Want-to-Sing-Everything-Perfectly-Right-Now Syndrome: a dangerous disease which can result in intense frustration, lack of concentration and motivation, and, frequently, not practicing at all. There's too much music to learn, and I don't know where to begin, so I simply sit down with all my scores and play the music on the piano. (Interestingly enough, my piano sight-reading abilities are infinitely better than my ability to quickly and comfortably sing the music.) Which should I learn first? Songs from South Pacific? From The Light in the Piazza? There's so much amazing music out there, and I want to know it all -- a beautiful and dangerous wish.

Work's been going well. I survived week two. Honestly, there's only one class that makes me want to curl up and cry and/or start throwing things; the others aren't bad! I am getting rather sick of the Lion and the Mouse story, which I tell to every class, complete with puppets and stamps. The kids love it, though, so I'm working on making my presentation as dramatic and exciting as possible. I think my lion roar needs some work...

Horse riding event in Vienna
The biggest challenge for me in teaching is actually preserving my own voice. Kids require SO MUCH ENERGY, more than I ever imagined, and even when you give everything you have, they still might not respond. After teaching three classes in a row on Friday afternoon, my voice is shot. Not good. After all, singing was the main reason I decided to stay in Vienna, so if my job prevents me from doing that, then what's the point? So needless to say, I'm working on healthier ways to project my voice and speak dramatically; I have email queries out to voice teachers and Music Ed friends for their advice! (If you have any, please feel free to leave a comment.)

I'm looking forward to my first paycheck -- my first paycheck out in the Real World. Perhaps it'll make all this seem a bit more real? Oh yes, I just happen to be living in Vienna, teaching music to small children, singing all day long. My life sounds pretty nice when I put it like that, though I assure you, the actual execution of it is much less glamorous. One day I'm battling bats, the next I'm finding a more exciting way to play "If You're Happy and You Know It" on the piano.

Riding arena, Rathausplatz
Dressage event
But that's not to say I don't strive to make my time here as thrilling as possible. In my effort to fill my time beyond Musical Munchkins, I discovered this link -- a gold mine for people living in or traveling to Vienna. I discovered there was a horse show in front of the Rathaus (City Hall) Thursday-Sunday, with free admission before 2 p.m. And not just any horse show, but Vienna Masters 2013, Global Champions Tour, the "Formula 1 of show jumping." Olympic riders and European champions all convened to compete in Vienna. Considering how I used to pretend I was a horse when I was little, I didn't really have a choice but to go! Eliza and I headed over to the Rathausplatz (which not three weeks ago had been an outdoor film and food festival) and spent an hour watching dressage in the huge arena. Afterwards, we found the warm-up ring and watched dozens of horses trotting, jumping, and all-around being awesome :)
Dr. Watson

Fun facts: 80 lorry loads of sand from Austria (Melk) and Italy (Udine) were brought in to form the surface of the riding arena, and 1,800 bales of sawdust line the temporary stables!

Dressage event
The dressage event was interesting, particularly given the music choices. Each contestant performed to a different song medley. Eliza and I routed for a bay horse from the Netherlands named Dr. Watson, who effortlessly executed a routine to a mash-up of "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga (ballad version, complete with a heavy brass section and driving rhythms) and "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls. Perhaps the daring and unconventional music choice impressed the judges because Dr. Watson placed 1st at the time and then later finished 3rd overall.
Warm-up ring

(I'd like to add that music ran the gamut from Lady Gaga to a Lion King musical soundtrack medley.)

19th district, bordering Vienna Woods
Today, since the sun is finally shining again, and (knock on wood) it's not supposed to rain, Eliza and I are going to hike in the Vienna Woods! Our route will take us up Kahlenberg, or Bald Mountain, so there ought to be good pictures coming in the next Weekly Interlude...As for this week, I'm just working on relishing all my free time because, let's face it, I'll probably never have this much free time in my life ever again!

No comments:

Post a Comment