011/Camp!

Oh, the camp life. I had forgotten what a wonderful time summer is for artistic endeavors. I’ve participated in various summer music “things” (horn camp, chamber music camp, brass quintet camp, horn/piano/vocal chamber music camp….yes, ultra nerdy and ultra fun!). However, since those formative camps, summer has been forever linked with music/the arts in my mind. Being completely surrounded by the arts is a funny and interesting experience. It is amazing too — being literally inundated with these talented, dedicated and YOUNG kids. It’s exciting to know they’ll develop into amazing artists. It is funny because everyone is so absorbed in their own routine that you’d think they wouldn’t be able to relate to each other or have an ounce of empathy, but they do! Sure there are petty disagreements along the way, but everyone has the same goal in mind—to make something beautiful that people with various backgrounds can enjoy. Even though the kids are trying to play it cool and obviously want to have fun along the way, I know they’ll look back on this experience and be really proud of themselves and really value this summer for everything they learned. Anyways, off to rehearsal!

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010/Interlochen!

Made it! After a somewhat last minute application process (coupled with the feeling I thought I had a very slight chance to get in, but figured really nothing to lose), I did it. I’m one of the ensemble librarians at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp (check out their site, it’s really great: http://camp.interlochen.org/)! I’d heard of Interlochen before, but didn’t realize that there were so many wonderful internship opportunities. All the ensemble librarians started training on Saturday and tomorrow begins our prep week. This is somewhat daunting, as we are preparing music for ensembles that aren’t fully formed (that is, we don’t have exact numbers of players/parts) and that we haven’t encountered yet! But, all the interns come from diverse backgrounds (seasoned orchestral librarians, music teachers, students…) and everyone has been super helpful, so while there may be some bumps in the road (well, there definitely will be!) I think the end result will be great. I’m really excited for what’s to come. It’s also rather convenient that the campus is gorgeous!

I’m also in the midst of my online music cataloging class—whew! It’s definitely tough, as I don’t have that natural cataloger inclination, but it’s good practice. The assignments and class are giving me ample opportunity to practice what I’d really like to spend my life doing: providing access to music, whether it’s actual live performances, recordings, histories, theory, reference materials, etc! The more I immerse myself in the music world, the more I realize that it’s my home.

lake at interlochen!

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009/Before

This is the BYSO library I’ve been organizing and cataologing!Alas, I’ve only done about one and a half shelves, but it’s going! I won’t be able to get that much further (I leave for Interlochen June 11!), but I’m hoping that post-Interlochen, I will have an abundance of ideas and way to tackle it even more effectively. For me, the most difficult part is not being able to throw things away. In general, it is hard for me to throw things away, but this is a case of seeing everything we have and seeing what’s in good condition, what we should keep just to have, etc. Anyways, hope to have a great after photo one of these days!

the "mezz"

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008/Update Central

Oh, hello there…blog type thing! Yes, this is a terribly overdue update and I obviously have a plethora of excuses, but no need for that now. To the updates:

~Spring semester is officially over! I successfully completed International and Comparative Librarianship, Collection Development and Preservation Management. The International Library class was wholly online, my first. We all had to pick a country to explore, so I chose Vietnam. I learned all about their library development in the late ’80s/early ’90s and what direction they’re going in now–a more Western version/patron driven/information commons, like many universities in the States. It’s interesting that it’s harder to find current and actively updated (as well as translated!) information regarding libraries. Hopefully that will be changing in the near future. Preservation Management ended with a really great project: you are the new archivist at a hypothetical historical society in a ritzy New England coastal town…what do you do?! One of my ideas was to rent the 300 year old house located on the water for weddings and other events, with some of the money going to fix the roof/other building issues.

~I just found out that I’ll be an Ensemble Library Intern at the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp this summer! I immediately applied as soon as I heard about the opening and I’m so excited: I’m going to learn so much about ensemble librarianship. I honestly cannot wait. While I was in college, playing in summer festivals/camps was so much fun and while this will be slightly different, I know the environment will be just as inspiring. Actually, I’m planning on bringing my horn to practice when there is some downtime. I’ve also never been to Michigan, so that’s another exciting element as well.

~I’m starting an online Music Cataloging class next week. I also can’t wait: even though my brief experience with cataloging was somewhat challenging (it just didn’t click with me, like it does for some folks), I think music will be especially intriguing. I also have this slightly crazy idea to listen to each piece we catalog/discuss. Might take me longer than the duration of the course, but I think it’ll be great practice!

I’m really excited for summer now. Definitely will be writing more about all I’m learning and experiencing, both with Music Cataloging and at Interlochen. I’m also still working on the BYSO’s library re-organizations…I have a great “before” photo to post; I know it will take a while to get through all of our music, but I’m excited to post the “after” photo…probably much later in the summer, if not the year! A bientot.

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007/March Madness

Forewarning: This post has nothing to do with basketball. Although, I do know the favorite team of the librarian of the Boston Symphony. Juicy tidbit, I know. March has been…well, up and down. Highs and lows. Lulls and… storms (?). Library-wise, I’ve learned a lot.

1) That preservation (as a class and a concept) is very fascinating and probably should be a requirement for every MLIS program. I don’t know if this is because I’m geared more towards a “special” library, but we want to keep our things! We want to keep our things the way they are AND let people access them. This is a must.

2) Libraries in other countries are vastly different. Granted, this is no surprise, but the question is: should they be? Should there be some sort of international standard? Given the plethora of variables (governments, customs, social norms, digital/technology/internet access, etc.) I don’t think this is a viable option, although it would be nice to think there could be a baseline of sorts. At least a collection of relevant reference and fiction/pleasure reading materials, a computer or two, with reasonable internet (sans dial up, if possible) to access information and the ability to communicate with people who have more resources on hand who can share ’em with you. Promotion of said communication/resources and actual acceptance of these things needs to also happen.

3) Even though libraries sometimes get a bad rap (shocking, I know), the library community is one of the most helpful and giving ones I know of. Everyone is helpful and willing to lend a hand, regardless of where you are or if you’re affiliated with them or not (usually you’re not!). I guess I’ve known this all along, but it’s really sinking in now. This is definitely something that has drawn me in and something that excites me. It’s wonderful knowing you have a responsive community to brainstorm with and an even better feeling when you’re the one helping someone else out.

Well, more concrete things later: the youth, practicing a brass instrument as a form as retaliation and that live music feeling.

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006/Overdue Review

Gasp! Shock! THE TERROR! I’m grossly overdue in discussing the MLA conference I attended in Dallas a few weeks ago. But, like most things, better late than never!

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February 19, 2012

I’m on the plane back from the MLA (that’s the Music Library Association) annual conference in Dallas (yeehaw!). My first professional conference and my first time in Dallas! I really had no idea what to expect: I took a look at the sessions and talks to see what appealed to me, as well as signed up to receive a mentor and took advantage of the resume/cover letter advisory service. The first event to go to was the first-time attendees’ dinner, where some 40 first-time attendees got a chance to be introduced to the chairs, committees and general MLA-workings (as well as eat some delicious pasta, which I was very thankful for after not eating since 7AM that day!). We also introduced ourselves to each other and got a chance to mingle a bit. After dinner, there was the opening reception in the exhibitor’s hall. It was a little overwhelming: though I had just met 40 people in the same situation as myself, I felt like I didn’t know anyone there. Throughout the whole conference, I made an effort to step out of my somewhat shy shell and really meet as many people as possible. Longstanding MLA members are very friendly though; more than once when I was awkwardly standing alone, they just came up, introduced themselves and asked questions about me!

Throughout the conference, I met a lot of interesting people, almost all who had a job that I would love to have one day! There were music librarians from Library of Congress, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and museums as well as university/college librarians that have a music or arts library. There were informative plenary sessions, presentations and round-table meetings. One thing that really struck me was the complexity of MLA as an organization—it has a constitution, a board of chairs, as well as many committees and subcommittees. This was my first time dealing with an institution like this that wasn’t a school or university I was attending/working for.

I loved meeting fellow library science students who had a passion for music and wanted to be music librarians – just like me! Simmons doesn’t have a music librarianship specialization and I’ve only met a couple of other students who are interested in music librarianship. Now I feel part of a larger community that has similar interests and a place to seek advice. A lot of the library students I met had already earned their master’s in musicology or ethnomusicology, which is something I’m considering after graduating from Simmons (more school?! Am I nuts?!) so it was good to hear what their experience was. And, now I have MLA friends I can look forward to catching up with at the next conference!

I attended some really interesting sessions/presentations and am going to be posting more on them soon! Simmons has spring break next week, so that will give me time to sift through my notes and recall the glory of MLA.

 

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005/quick

Just a quick link to some really great tumblr sets…Samm Bennett grouped together some amazing photos of musicians from all over the world; mostly early 20th century, but a few older (and newer!) ones mixed in. Now that the end of my MLIS degree is on the horizon (okay, still very distant, but it’s there! visible!) I’m toying more and more with another degree in musicology or ethnomusicology. But for now, the links to the photo sets: http://www.flickr.com/photos/flapjax_at_midnite/galleries/72157622284815163/#photo_2746975078

 

P.S. I leave for MLA tomorrow! More on that soon…

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004/Thursday

Now I just need to “brush up” (aka re-learn) my Spanish…

 

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003/Wednesday

Ah, Wednesday—best day of the week, aside from Friday. Once you get over this hump, you’re almost all set!

Last Friday night, I went to the Institute of Contemporary Art (that’d be the ICA) to see in vain, a piece by Georg Freidrich Haas. I didn’t know what to expect, other than some interesting light-work. One thing I love about contemporary music is its power to make you think; it’s a completely different stream of thoughts than a classical-era symphony. The instrumentation was interesting: fairly string heavy, but with the inclusion of an accordion! I’m not sure if Haas intentionally wrote the accordion to be so prominent, but I kept finding myself drawn to that sound. Regardless, the piece was interesting: jarring, provocative, soothing at times…all those juxtapositions that contemporary music can be. The program notes (provided by the performing group, Sound Icon of Boston) emphasizes that this musical experience “…grows and re-circulates and gradually acquires new meaning in which light and dark become like sound and silence.” The use of light was powerful—I almost never actively listen to music in the dark. In doing a further research on Haas, I found an interesting article from Alex Ross (found here: http://www.therestisnoise.com/2010/11/georg-friedrich-haas.html). But I like that he mentions the piece has “extreme demands on players and the audience,” so much so that the audience was forced to sign a waiver so the venue wouldn’t be legally responsible. I guess it was because Haas explicitly asked all the lights in the venue to be dimmed, even the emergency ones; but it almost seem like the venue didn’t want to be responsible for the aftermath of the piece–the thoughts or premonitions one had after leaving the concert. Regardless, all live music is exhilarating and really wakes me up. Sometimes it wakes up my mind, my body, my heart…I always want to hear more!

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002/Friday

I’m taking a class on international and comparative libraries, which has been really eye opening and informative so far. I love travelling and libraries, so the option of combining the two would be ideal! IREX stands for the International Research and Exchanges Board and is basically an organization that provides funding for various projects around the world that support/improve education, independent media and community development. They have one project, the Global Libraries Initiative [http://irex.ua/en/internet], that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helped fund. The Global Libraries project provides internet access, computer stations and librarian training to 1,000 libraries all over the Ukraine. This program provides invaluable services and resources to Ukrainians and is also training librarians so they can better serve their communities. It’s truly a win-win situation. Anyways, this video is the story of one woman who benefited from the program. I think it’s really inspiring and indicative of how powerful libraries and information can be.

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