Sunday, July 10, 2011

Un-broken Glass

So, I'm through my second week at AMDA!  This is kind of what my life feels like right now:

In case you didn't catch that, my life, which not even 10 months ago was at the lowest it has ever been, is coming together so beautifully that it's hard to believe that this is really my life now.  I live in New York City, I study at one of the best performing arts schools in the country, my ADHD is well under control, I have a loving and supportive family who I speak to almost every day, there are two Catholic churches within walking distance of my dorm, I have a job that I know I'm going to love (costumes!  woot!)... the ground work is set for unbelievable success here.  
Here is how good things are going:  On Friday, when classes were over, my reaction was "Awww no more class until Monday?"  :(  lol but seriously.  I love every single one of my classes, and the days and weeks are already flying by.  I know I'm still in the honeymoon phase with this school, and I know it's going to get much harder, but I also know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I'm supposed to do.  And wouldn't you know, it's exactly what I've always wanted to do, too!  :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

First Week Thoughts

Well, I have now survived my first week of classes here at AMDA!  I purposefully waited until the weekend to blog because a) I've been way to busy to just stand at a computer and blog, and b) I wanted to make sure that I had a fairly good sense of the place before I sang its praises across the internet.
This week has been one of the most exhausting, challenging, and rewarding weeks of my life, and my time and work here has only just begun!  My professors are amazing, intelligent, experienced people who I trust to guide me through the next 15 weeks as I begin my journey into the world of professional performing.  My classes are designed to form me into the best performer I can be, in every sense of the word.  Here is a peek at my schedule:

Acting 1 - Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 2 hours
We will be working on small "etudes," as they are called, about 15 lines each.  We are trying to develop an honesty of expression, not just acting but putting real emotion into our performances.  We are also working on economy of movement, moving only when necessary and eliminating any little tics we may have.

Tap 1.4 - Mondays for 2 hours
The highest level of tap for first semester students.  It's been four years since I tapped last, but it's coming back so quickly, especially as I have been practicing almost every night!

Theater Dance - Mondays for 2 hours
We will be learning basic dance moves like walking prettily in time to music, paddle turns, waltz steps, and polka steps.  I think I already know how to do these, but the walking patterns we've been given have been surprisingly challenging for me because I tend to overthink things.  So I'm sure I'll be learning a lot here, too.  This class is also set up like professional auditions are in order to get us used to the feel of them, which is a most useful knowledge in my book.

Musical Theater Film - Mondays for 1 hour
We watch videos of famous performances.  No joke.  This is quite possibly the best class of the semester.  Not only is it extremely enjoyable, but we are gaining valuable knowledge about our field and the masters of our art who came before us.  There is a lot of reading in this class, too, though: background info about the performances we watch in class.

Sight Singing 1.4 - Tuesdays and Thursdays for 1 hour
The highest level of sight singing for first semester students.  We are learning rhythmic solfege right now, and at the end of every class we open up our songbooks and sight-sing show tunes seemingly at random.  Our professor tries to pick songs that none of us know, obviously, and that display the things we worked on in class that day.  We also have been working on singing and doing simple choreography at the same time, more extremely useful experience.

Jazz 1.4 - Tuesdays for 2 hours
The highest level of jazz for first semester students.  This class kicked my ass this week.  And I suck at turning.  But I've been practicing!  And I swear that I will be so much better by the end of the semester.

Musical Theater 1 - Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for 2 1/2 hours
This is the meat of my education here, I think.  We basically are learning to act through songs, and every week or so we'll be performing a new song for the class.  We haven't done too much yet performance-wise, but we are slowly working our way up to the proper way to analyze the text of a song, the circumstances of the song, and other such things so as to give meaning to it all.

Voice Production and Speech - Wednesdays and Fridays for 2 hours
This class is about learning to use our vocal apparatuses properly.  We're learning to loosen up, breathe deeply, and all of that.  We'll also be learning the International Phonetic Alphabet!  Exciting!  This will make it easier for us to drop any regionalisms we may have, learn Standard American, and pick up easily on accents and dialects (which is actually another class that will be available to us in later semesters).

Private Voice Lessons - Wednesdays for 1 hour
I'm studying with an opera singer who also teaches at NYU sometimes!  Glorious.  I've only had one lesson so far, during which she asked if anyone had ever asked if I was a mezzo!!  Apparently my voice has a nice "color" in the mezzo range.  Oh, and she said my voice was well-suited for the singing of early classical music.  I am so excited to continue studying with her! 

Ballet 1.4 - Fridays for 1 hour
The highest level of ballet for first semester students.  I love my instructor in this class.  We spent most of our time getting to know each other and doing simple barre work and turns.

My day usually goes something like this:
6am wakeup
7:30 walk to school
8am class or warmup
3:30 or so finish up with classes
~ holy hour at St. Paul the Apostle ~
walk back to dorm
change, eat, read comic books on my computer
walk back to school
rehearse for a few hours (dance reviews, learning voice music, etc)
walk back to dorm

So, now you have a taste of my life here!  I'll try to keep y'all updated, but no promises; I think I'm about to get even busier as we get deeper into the semester.
Keep me in your prayers!  This lifestyle is going to take all my strength, discipline, and perseverence, but if I stick with it and throw myself into my work, I know I will accomplish amazing things here!