The Merry-Go-Round of my Professional Life

I officially left full-time music education on December 31, 2007. I officially stopped my path to vocal performance in October 2009. Regardless of those dates, I never left music. In fact, I’ve become ever increasingly grateful that my roommate had a piano begging to be used in her house when I moved in this past August.

I told my parents multiple times in the past 5 years, “Thank you for the investment in my music lessons because it’s helping my income tremendously now.”

As I’m typing this, I’m on break in a recording studio surrounded by other full and part-time professional musicians. We’re recording demo tracks so choral directors across the nation can pick up a packet of single copies of music with a CD and hear all or bits of the songs before buying for their choir.

Even though I “never left music” in that, I still taught private lessons, sang in my church choir, started learning Byzantine chant and notation, I definitely tried to minimize my exposure to the professional-diva-types of musicians. Thankfully, those types are few and far between. Jumping back into this world, I got some new views from the sales side of the music industry:

A) Having listened to my fair share of these demo tracks in my teaching days, I thought the tracks were rather dry because they were recorded that way. Rather, they are dry because we are sight-reading and patching sections together. We’re not going for artistic excellence, form, and musicality; we’re going for correct notes, rhythms, and some diction.

B) I don’t miss some of the personalities in the music business. The Talkie Tammys who have to comment at every cut-off or pause. Or the singers who are really into recording and can’t control any impulse to dance around. Stereotypes exist for a reason.

C) Patterns. When you aren’t rehearsing the patterns on a daily basis (teaching, personal practice, performance, etc.) you forget that most composers follow similar patterns in their writing. The days I was in the studio, I felt I was “working harder” than others who were still actively singing, practicing, and sight-reading these styles of music.

I’m thankful for my musical side. It has been a gateway for me to meet fascinating people and enriched my life. I just find it funny that as I’m entering a new career and seeking out opportunities to improve in that field (student nursing job, yay!), my former career is still applicable and keeping the lights on. Who knows, later on nursing might be the way I can fund some awesome music project in the future.



TRS is not above self-deprecation. Yesterday, I wrote Part 2 of the DIY Vanilla Extract experiment.

Today, I post a link to what I did after adding a few more beans to the bottle:

The background music is “Adiemus” from Songs of Sanctuary. I believe my comments at the end are sufficient.

Kiddie Concerts

Let’s face it, elementary-age school and community programs are more fun for the young performers than the audience of parents and siblings that watch painfully underdeveloped theater skills blossom on stage.

Having a rather full music studio, I was invited to two consecutive weekends of shows in which several of my students were performing. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to educate my students in their art and give them a basis to be a wise consumer of music in the future (i.e. Support the Starving Artists!!), not turn them into the next Renee Fleming or Arthur Rubinstein. I doubt I could get any person to those levels. Anyway, to support local arts, I attended a production of Aladdin Kids and Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr. The first production told the Disney version of Scheherezade’s tale but emphasized a friendship between Aladdin and Princess Jasmine rather than the whole “Disney romance happens in 1.5 hours” trick. The next weekend, students in grades 5-8 pulled off a staged version of Millie, where the female leads towered over their male romance counterparts by a good 6 inches……before heels.

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Fake Cake: A Narrative

I cheated in a well-calculated, pre-meditated fashion with my last cake class. I frosted two 2-inch thick circles of floral Styrofoam so I would not have to bake another cake for my final Wilton Level 1 cake decorating class.

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My Inquiring Mind Wanted to Know…

Facebook, Wednesday, December 3, 2008.

My first year of Orthodoxy…

Bathroom Mirrors and Answered Prayers

The simple-minded and simple-music band that makes me laugh and think.

Facebook original on Wednesday, April 9, 2008.

I’m a former CCM junkie. Who doesn’t love a good meltdown?

Friday’s Miracle…

I’ve debated on how to migrate my Facebook notes over to the public sector. Do I do them in order? Should I just bomb tallrayofsunshine with all of them and make it look like I’m a more established blogger? Do I include those from before I became an Orthodox Christian or even a catechumen?

In the theme of anything introductory to this site: I will just do as I do, and figure out the answer when I’m done.

The following post was originally published as my first Facebook note on Friday, September 7, 2007; as with the last post, only a few grammatic or text edits have been applied. At the time, I was teaching 6-8 Grade General and Choral Music near Wichita, Kansas. I was going into my 4th year of teaching a little apprehensive because I knew it was to be my last year of teaching public school even though I hadn’t told anyone at the time. In an effort to discover more of what I wanted to do and have a performing outlet, I responded to an audition call for chorus members in the Wichita Grand Opera.

I was just beginning to wake up in the world.
…and the story begins


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