24 Thoughts From A Late Night Practice Session

24 Thoughts From A Late Night Practice Session

A space to clear my head and tips for using your time wisely!

1. Man, I wish I had someone to play this duet with me.

2. Is it the soundproof walls or do I just really lack depth today?

3. I want banana bread

4. And coffee

5. I wonder if my piano professor will notice these video clips are from two different days... I guess the different shirt might give it away

6. Oops, I never asked for a key to the double reed room. That's kind of important

7. Thank goodness for 24-hour access to the music building or else I would never get this done

8. I should make more reeds

9. Is a hurricane a valid excuse for not getting to practice as much as you wanted?

10. Maybe I could hide in here for a couple more hours and get my biology homework done too.

11. Oh. I have to ride my bike back to my dorm. That takes a lot of energy. Maybe I'll just sit here a little longer

12. I hope no one notices the cane shavings on the ground. I really need to get the key to the reed room.

13. I need to start looking at recital pieces.

14. Correction I need to start learning recital pieces.

15. And get a pianist to play with me. And order music. Wait music is expensive. Hmm.

16. Shoot I still need to send my contract in for my Christmas gig.

17. And figure out how to get home

18. I could ride the bus... buses aren't too scary.

19. I need more sleep.

20. I need more than 24 hours in a day. That would be nice.

21. Laundry. I need to do that this weekend or I won't have anything to wear to class.

22. I should get home. It's getting late.

23. But I could stay here. It's nice here. The music building is cool and quiet.

24. Should I make more coffee? Probably not. I should just get stuff done and go to bed. Or else I'll be making lists of my thoughts all night long.

So after all that brain clearing, I am usually able to have a pretty useful practice session. This is an exercise that I often have to do. I have found that if don't go into a practice session with a clearer mind, I usually don't retain much of what I have practiced. If you aren't retaining the information, what's the point?

This can be applied to studying too! If you haven't purposefully cleared your mind in preparation for studying, your mind will often wander and you are less likely to hold onto the information (especially longterm.)

So, two things to do that might help you stay focused:

1. Exercise before a long period of focusing. This often helps people clear their heads and it will put you on an endorphin rush so you go into the time of focus in a good mood!

2. Make a list like me! Sometimes the act of writing things on paper will help you "remove them" from your head and place them on the paper for you to revisit later.

The most important thing, in the end, is making the best use of your time! Set yourself up for success so you can use your time doing things that are valuable to you!

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Szűcs László on Unsplash

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Friendship: From School To College

The only thing I know is that I don't know


In the first version of my common app essay I wrote about friendship. I started by describing this mural I have in my bedroom. It occupies about two walls and is as huge as you are probably picturing in your head. I have always been slightly entitled, and so at the time I really thought I understood what friendship was about. I had just had a massive fight with some people whom I used to consider very close friends, and I had proceeded to (very dramatically) take down some pictures from this mural. So the mural was incomplete, and I used this as a metaphor in an essay that if I had submitted it at the time, I probably wouldn't be writing this article for Odyssey at Emory because I wouldn't have gotten into college in the first place.

Thankfully, I decided against that essay and submitted a completely different version in December of 2016. The mural, however, continues to be incomplete. I have made peace with some of the people I had fought with back then, and have made new friends in college and matured quite a bit since that first draft of my common app essay. Now, I can more humbly say that I don't really know much about friendships, or people in general, despite pursuing a psychology major for the past two years. The mural is incomplete because of this lack of knowledge.

Something that I have learned though is that college friendships and school friendships are fundamentally different. I went to a small school from when I was six years old to the time I graduated. That is a whole lifetime seeing the same people every day, growing up with those people, a whole lifetime to understand the values and habits of those people. And even then they can surprise you. So how arrogant did I have to be to not expect any surprises from people I knew for only one year in college. It's true that it's a different way of knowing people, that living together away from home pulls people closer than in any other situation. But how well can you really know someone after one or two years?

Not well enough, is the only answer I have been able to come up with. There is a certain symmetry I think, of me writing a bad essay about my broken mural after having a fight with my friends in school, and now three years since then here I am, writing a more humble version of that essay about that same mural, which remains incomplete. But this time, the mural isn't incomplete because I am mad or hurt and don't want to look at certain faces. Its incomplete because I am not sure who I want to put up in the mural yet.

I have never liked the idea of family being your blood relatives, because there are many blood relatives that I don't like, and many people whom I am not related to by blood but am related to by heart. There are few certainties, and these are up in my mural. But as I mentioned before, it's a huge mural, and so there is still a lot of space left for more.

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