Monday, February 22, 2010

recap on second grad school audition (Carnegie Mellon)

Hello All,
I apologize for not getting this post out sooner. My second grad school audition was a complete success!! I arrived in Pittsburgh the night before the audition, went to the music building, and was able to run into a friend of mine from the Masterworks Festival. We were able to talk for a good while about the school, classes, and the performing ensembles. Later that night, I was able to lay in my bed at my friend's house and relax, and gather my thoughts for the next day. I listened to one of my recorded lessons with Mr. Sullivan that I had last April. This really helped me with listening to his comments on excerpts that I would be playing the next day.

It really is a mind thing when playing. Having a different focus at CMU helped me immensely. Once I entered I felt at complete ease when playing. I was very calm while playing but yet bold and confident. Mr. Sullivan and Ms. Cherian were very complimentary on my playing. The campus, once again, was very very nice and small somewhat (compared to Maryland). It is practically right downtown, and is in a nice neighborhood right next to the University of Pittsburgh.

As I left CMU, I felt a great confidence boost in my playing in getting ready for my last audition at Northwestern. However, I did have to wait almost an entire month for Northwestern. I will post my recap about Northwestern on my blog tomorrow.

Thanks for your prayers....and keep praying!!!!

J-man (Isaiah 40: 28-31)

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Response to the future of the Grace School of Music

A few days ago, as I received word about the future of the Grace College School of Music and its being shut down, I began to think about the effect it would have on me and my fellow musicians. And as I met with some fellow student representatives, I began to think in my mind, "God help us all." I also began to think, "We can get through this." So often, the easy thing to do would be to give up when tough obstacles come our way. And as tough obstacles come we try to avoid them or get around them. But as reality comes into view, we must face those obstacles. During the past few days, I am reminded of the fact that Jesus never gave up on me. This concept first came to my mind from a song written by the worship team at Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. Jesus has never given up on me, and He will never let me go. So, I've realized, more and more that it is my obligation and duty, in the love relationship with Jesus, to never give up on never give up on the fact that He is guiding and orchestrating my life in some way.

As I look back on my time here at Grace, it is evident that this is where God had me to be at this time in my life. I would not have been here had it been for my trombone teacher, a strong man of God. I would not have made so many great friends, and met the strongest Christian girl I know whom I am fortunate to call my girlfriend had not God place me here. And yes, it is like a family. But as I began to think, so often we have to leave our family for various reasons. But wherever we go, that family of ours is always with us. We learned from each other during our time together, and God has called us into a different season, things we've learned during the time with our family, we are able to take elsewhere and share that love of God and music.

And I can't help but think that this is what God has for us to do. To share. At certain places whether it is Grace College or Masterwork--brings us together, teaches us, and then spreads us to do His will. And we know--we KNOW--that through all of this, God will never let go of us. He has never given up on me, you, or anybody else, and he wants us to do the same, to never give up on the power that He gives us and the trust He wants from us. He wants us to believe that He CAN work through all of this for us. And as we face the present obstacle, I can't help but think that for each and every one of us, God is preparing a GREAT opportunity for us. We may not see it now. We may never see the whole picture. But he wants us to trust in him, and that He CAN get us through these difficult situations. We must trust. We must NOT give up on Him. And we MUST be open to wherever He may lead us to share with others the love of music and ultimately, His love for each and every one of us.

On opposite sides of my desk I have these two passages of Scripture that have been great encouragement to me over the years:

1) Proverbs 19:21--"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD'S purpose that prevails

2) Psalm 31:14-16--"But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love."