2014: Finding my feet

Looking back over last year’s list, I realise that I really had absolutely no idea what I was in for with the MMus. Even after 3 months’ work, but there you go. The result of this is that much of last year’s list turned out to be pretty irrelevant. Much was also predicated on the idea that I’d be done with college in September, which in the event turned out not to be. So I think last year’s vague plan can all be just dismissed, and I will try again for this year.

This year, I’m enrolled on the second year of the MFA degree at Trinity Laban. This will definitely end in July. There’ll be no carrying on into anything else: a) because we don’t have the money b) because I’m really tired and need a break before I embark on anything else, to just do some of my own work and absorb the lessons I’ve learned in my time at Trinity. I need to rest and reflect and continue my own work without reference to assessment parameters for a bit. I might possibly make an exception if someone offered me a proper studentship to do my PhD, but that seems unlikely!

So once that’s finished, I really need to find my feet. I did talk about this a bit in last year’s post, but my perspective has changed now. Then I was talking about getting properly into freelance web work and trying to make some money out of composing. Now I’m thinking more clearly about the prospect of working in academia but there are a few things I do need to do first.

So, back to a list of goals, I think – specific things I can mark off. Maybe I won’t get to all of them – I changed direction so many times last year that, yes, I was probably right to not do a specific list, but this year is a different kettle of fish.

MUSIC

  • I have a number of commissioned pieces lined up for my MFA project, which will be performed in or in relation to college so in terms of performances, I’d like to ensure that I also get some stuff performed outside of college and as well. Shall we say three pieces?
  • Complete ‘Chirp’ and send to Pamela Jordan. I feel really bad about this – it’s a commission that got a bit drowned in other work last year. I need to finish it off and send it.
  • I don’t really have any illusions this year about regular flute practice, or viol practice or even singing practice, but I do want to make sure that I keep doing all three at least on a semi-regular basis.
  • Submit pieces to at least 3 calls for scores. I’ve been quite bad about this over the past year as I’ve been entirely focused on college, but I think I need a bit more breadth in my performance history and this is one way to do it.
  • Do more listening. This is crucial. I’ve not been doing too badly, but with not having access to my stereo recently, it’s become a little haphazard. I need for this to not be an excuse and just do the listening. Also need to go to more concerts, although that’s a fiscal problem right at the moment. Seek out more free stuff??
  • Push myself. Take risks. This is what the MFA is largely about. I need to remember this, push myself beyond what is really comfortable and see what happens. In particular I need to keep doing this once the degree is done.
  • Complete MFA!!
  • As with last year, I do need to ensure I keep composing at the end of the degree, however, I think I have a plan for that, which is to finish the chamber opera. I also want to make sure I do Creative Pact this September – possibly learning Max/MSP or PureData (as per last year’s post-college plan).

WORK/SELF-PROMOTION

  • Okay, so I don’t actually really have any work right now, but I have the prospect of a couple of nibbles for tiny bits of part-time stuff, so I need to leap on those when they come by.
  • Implement shop on caitlinrowley.com – yes, this has been on the list for two years; yes, it still needs to be done.
  • Sort out some funding. There’s a tiny handful of funds I could apply to for help with fees, etc. Plus the possibility of applying for funding for one or more pieces through performers (I can’t apply directly because I’m a student, but my performers who are no longer students may be able to).
  • Keep website up to date, keep blogging. This is pretty much a no-brainer right now – blogging is part of the way I’m thinking about my MFA work, both through published and unpublished posts, but I need to keep working on this, and also thinking about this way of working and how it relates to my website audience – what use is this material to the outside world?
  • Write and send off two articles to journals, at least. I need to start getting things published if I’m to be an appropriate candidate for academic jobs. Dominic wants me to apply for a book deal for the Satie book, but I’d feel more confident asking for that if I were to have a couple of articles already published. This needs to be a priority. If I’d had a holiday between the MFA and the MMus, then this is what I’d have been doing, but as I didn’t get that, I need to make time around the MFA stuff to fit this in.
  • Schedule talk at LCF Open House on some webby topic – this is one I’ve been meaning to do for two years, but it takes on more significance once one starts thinking about having lecturing experience for academic work…

HOME & TRAVEL

  • Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum – this one’s already planned for next weekend 😀
  • Australia – long overdue and my mother wants me to help her sort out her cupboards. Wow that sounds like fun…
  • A couple of really relaxing weekend trips with Djelibeybi. I think we both need this. Maybe one in the UK, one on the continent?
  • The house is a long way from finished, but at least all the rooms are in use now and it’s finally, finally (in the past week) starting to feel a little bit like home. I have no idea either how much or what will get done in the next year – really no clue – the work proceeds in fits and starts and much of it is dependent on Djeli and has little to do with me, but the thing I want to focus on this year is to get a garden planned. I’m hoping to plant it too, but given that we’re still pulling crud out of the ground, this may be a little too ambitious, but if there’s a plan, then maybe we can start some part of it at least – if there will be fruit trees (or any other sort of tree, for that matter!) then I’d like those to go in this year. If we’re going to do planters on the concrete area near the barbecue, then I’d like those to be up and running too, so we can grow some stuff even if we can’t plant the bulk of the garden still. We have plans to buy a couch, and I have some hope of proper flooring in the kitchen soonish, but I’m not going to set goals for anything other than the garden because I just don’t have any control over those things.
  • New cookbook for Christmas! I’d like to try at least 5 recipes from The Silver Spoon. I also haven’t used I Know How to Cook nearly enough and would like to try at least another 2 recipes from that. I want to build up an arsenal of simple healthy recipes – I seem to have forgotten a lot of the recipes I used to cook after being so long without a proper kitchen and I feel that to a certain extent I’m starting from scratch which is an excellent excuse to find quick meals that aren’t unhealthy! Which brings us to…

HEALTH

  • This has been pretty poor over the past year. The workload for the MMus was way, way more than I’d anticipated, and there was no time for meal-planning or for really thinking about what I was eating, plus the lack of kitchen until about a month ago made it really hard to properly take control of meals. Now that we have a real kitchen and my college workload is a bit more flexible (even if there’s probably just as much of it). So the same list as last year pretty much stands, although in different order of priority:
    • Regular exercise (doesn’t need to be much, does need to be regular) – thinking that if I can do some listening while doing a daily morning walk then I’ll be killing two birds with one stone
    • Less dairy
    • Less sugar – gradually trying to bring this under control – got way out of hand over the past year. I’ve come to the conclusion that actually, most of the time, I don’t even enjoy chocolate, so why do I eat it? May do some baking in a bid to work out ways of providing that mid-afternoon I’m-falling-asleep perk. Cutting back on dairy (in the form of my daily bread & cheese) will possibly help with this.
    • More water
    • More tea instead of multiple coffees because of taking it with no sugar and less milk
    • More wholegrains/fibre/fruit/veg – I’ve kind of done OK on the fruit side this year – I have some fruit at college most days as part of my lunch, which I never used to do, but I need to get some balance and organise a way to sort these which won’t cost a fortune in M&S pineapple…
  • Get back to taking Vitamin C every day – when I was hoovering the Vitamin C at the beginning of last academic year, I caught pretty much nothing after I was done with Fresher’s Flu until I ran out of pills. Need to get back to this to not waste any of the final 6 months.
  • Weight is a disaster zone, but I’m hoping that dealing with all the other stuff will help bring this under control. Not going to set a number, but I’d like to at least be considering size 16s again by the end of 2014.
  • Actually get the forms in to sign up to the doctor. It’s been a year. I need this done!

OTHER STUFF

  • Once again, call parents once a month – I did quite well with this in 2012, not so well in 2013, but it’s something I really need to keep up.
  • Spend more time with Djelibeybi where we’re not working on the house or watching TV.
  • Send parents’ birthday and Christmas presents on time. Did a bit better with this, but the Da’s birthday was rather haphazard and lame. Can do better.