Posts Tagged ‘USF’


I recently had the opportunity to attend a solo recital and master class with an excellent clarinetist, Michael Dean.

The Recital

When I walked into the recital hall and saw Dr. Dean sitting on the stage, readying himself to play, I wasn’t sure what to expect. He seemed a friendly, jovial sort of man, and I was interested to see what he might choose for his repertoire. Instead of the typical classical pieces, he chose upbeat, modern pieces with CD accompaniment, allowing for a diverse range of instrumentation. There were trains, barks, whistles, other instruments, and even frogs! I thought the patterns and unusual sounds that were used in most of the accompaniments were great. At times he was, essentially, playing a duet (or trio) with himself. Probably my two favorite pieces were Andy and Me, a piece commissioned for his dog, complete with Andy barking rhythms in the accompaniment, and Half Moon at Checkerboard Mesa. This was an excellent piece, bringing in the sounds of the open mesa to an indoor stage and creating unique rhythmic patterns that gave the music almost a beat-boxing feel. The frogs and coyotes combined with the sounds of the trickling river and the mellifluous clarinet were astounding and fascinating. A very captivating performance.

The Masterclass

Two days later we had the privilege of having Dr. Michael Dean attend our Clarinet Resources Class at USF. He spoke to us about his experiences as a clarinetist and teacher, and gave tips on practicing and on alleviating performance anxiety. Several of our students had the opportunity to play for him, and he critiqued their excerpt. He said some very important things in this masterclass. One of them was to relax and not be timid when you play; no one wants to hear a careful player. Be confident, don’t worry about what mistakes you might make because they will only last a second. Another important point that so many people miss is that it takes a lot of air to play a clarinet! We need to remember to blow through the notes and use more air, particularly in a moving line (which is common in ensemble music). Dr. Dean was very energetic and enthusiastic, and seemed to love every moment of his musical life. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but I am really very thankful that he was able to come and work with us. He was very encouraging to me as a musician studying to be a music teacher. He encouraged us to stick with music education, to practice hard, and to have fun with the clarinet. I hope he will come back again sometime in the future.


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“What you have made me see,” answered the Lady, “is as plain as the sky, but I never saw it before. Yet it has happened every day. One goes into the forest to pick food and already the thought of one fruit rather than another has grown up in one’s mind. Then, it may be, one finds a different fruit and not the fruit one thought of. One joy was expected and another is given. But this I had never noticed before–that the very moment of the finding there is in the mind a kind of thrusting back, or setting aside. The picture of the fruit that you have not found is still, for a moment, before you. And if you wished–if it were possible to wish–you could keep it there. You could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got. You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other.”     –from C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra


This is too often true in our lives, particularly my own. We set out to obtain something that we desire…a particular school, a mate, a job, etc., and the one we receive is not what we were looking for in the first place. Often we are so caught up in thinking of the joy we expected to find, that we cannot enjoy what we are given, and so make the blessing we have been given taste insipid by thinking of the other.

Recent developments in my life that pertain to this concept, and that others may relate to as well, include my job, school, and my relationships.  I needed a job in early May, and was disappointed that I couldn’t find one after sending in dozens of applications. I finally got a job, much later than I expected but still in the nick of time, at Sam Ash Music. I quite enjoy working there, and there are some slight irritants in scheduling that I’d hoped to avoid, but this is the good I have been given. As far as schooling is concerned…I was uncertain of what to do with my life, wanting to do something great…but also wanting to have a very family oriented life. Where am I now? I am transferring to USF in the fall as a music education major. I didn’t particularly want to do either, because I didn’t want to go with the flow and do what every other music student in the area does…major in music education at USF. But God has worked it all out in such a way that this will be the perfect set up for me.

By far the biggest example in my life of expecting one joy and receiving another is also one most people could relate to…relationships. I’ve always had an idea in my head of the kind of person I’d like to be with. Since my experience in the romance department was limited (i.e., no official relationship ever), I didn’t know quite what to expect.  As I met people through the years (I quite enjoy making new friends), my ideas of what I wanted in a future husband changed a little with each serious interest, as usually happens. I eventually found someone who was very much like me in personality and values. He is a strong Christian, talented, a good man, and someone I might consider spending my life with. I prayed often about him and the potential for relationship with him, as well as conferring with trusted counselors, getting to know his friends and family (I’d be doing that anyway though, because he is still a very good friend) and other such things. In the end, however, he was not interested, for whatever reason. I was alright with that at first, because interest can develop as the friendship progresses, and I was very much looking forward to continuing the friendship without any of that awkwardness between us. All was well until Justin came along. lol. One joy was expected and another given. Justin and my other friend get along quite well, and are very much alike in personality, as well as in some mannerisms. But their differences are great when you compare them in context of relationship potential, and what I had been expecting from someone I was interested in. I was in great turmoil between the two; both wonderful men, one I had been praying about for almost a year who was not interested, and the other newcomer who was interested and already quite devoted to winning my heart. I realized during all of this that I may be ruining what should have been a blessing (Justin’s appearance in my life), by focusing on the good thing that I had been looking for initially. (And I actually thought of this quote at the time.) Now I am happily in a relationship with Justin, and the other guy is still a close friend, and like a brother to me. As my relationship with Justin progresses I discover many things about him that make this relationship better in the long run than the other would have been. Had I continued to focus on the good thing that I had initially wanted, instead of accepting the blessing that God was trying to give me, I would never have discovered these things, and would not have found my sweetheart. ^.^ One joy was expected and another was given.

I encourage you, my friends, don’t ignore the blessings that God sends your way by focusing on the things that you haven’t gotten. Sometimes things happen for a reason, such as losing a friendship or not getting something you sincerely desired, but God wants to bless us abundantly, all things will work out for good in His plan. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) The choice is yours, my friends…you could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other; or you can accept the joy that you are given, rather than focus on the good expected.

Be blessed.

Lewis, C.S.. Perelandra. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1965. Print.

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