Friday, December 14, 2012

Finals Study Break and Final Blog Post

         I cannot believe that this semester is over, and my internship at the library. This semester has been a immensely rewarding experience for me. From the wonderful librarians I had the opportunity to work with to the different aspects of librarianship I was able to discover, I am so grateful for the opportunity. This experience has made me 100% sure that I want to become a librarian and I cannot wait to get started. I'm filling out graduate school applications over winter break. Fingers crossed to see which programs I get into.
          On another note, we had the finals study break this week, in order to give students a break from the heftiness of studying and finals. Chelsea organized so that we had 21 dozen cookies for the students to decorate, and they were all gone within an hour and a half. Plus we had 178 people come, which is really exciting. I think the event was a huge success personally. We also had craft supplies for a book cart decorating competition, which one group did decide to do, and lots of fruit and veggies, and even board games. All of the food was gone by the end of the two hours, and there were students playing the board games too. It seemed like it was just what students needed to manage finals week. It certainly helped me take a break from studying and focus on my own finals after.
         I also finished my Research 101 study guide too. The name might be changed though, since it is really more about how to use the library's resources than the research process itself. But I'm really excited about how it came out and I hope that students find it useful. I tried to think about what would be most useful and the best way to phrase each subject to make it understandable, but it's hard to tell until students use it whether or not it is in fact helpful. Anyway, fingers crossed they use it.
         To end my last blog post I would just like to say again how much this semester has meant to  me. Having this opportunity has meant all the difference to my future and will help me get into and understand grad school more than I would have otherwise. It also allowed me to think about the ways that I learn and what I really want out of a program. I am going to miss being on the reference desk a lot, but I do have a job in the library next semester working on the more technical side of the library. Which is great because that means I still get to be here, and that I am again learning an exciting new aspect of being a librarian. I am so fortunate this year has worked out so well. I hope you have enjoyed my blog posts. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Health & Wellness Page

Where is health on your priority list?  Good health is crucial for all people, but especially for musicians (or athletes) who need their bodies in top performance shape.  Musicians in the conservatory need to be aware of how to stay healthy.  The purposes of the Health and Wellness Page are to promote good health, and to create awareness of reliable resources on healthy lifestyle choices as musicians.

This on-going project has been a learning experience on technology.  I basically learned how to create online pages, create links to other pages (like the one above to the H&W Page), form aesthetic appeal on websites, and to link pictures and information from MUSCAT.  It was a challenge for both Mr Sestrick and I, when neither of us knew how to create what we wanted.  Yet, we managed to create a beautiful website that I hope continues to grow.

There are a few parts to the Health and Wellness Page.  The first we worked on was links to other websites.  The Lawrence Conservatory's Health and Wellness Page has information on preventing hearing loss, injury and information on stress and time management and more.  This information is very relevant to people who are busy making music all day.  Also, we linked a list of helpful books at the library.  From Musician's Yoga to Playing (less) Hurt, Musselman Library has something for anyone.  My favorite part of the page is the advice section.  Mr. Sestrick asked Sunderman faculty for words of advice on staying healthy. So far we only have three, but in time there will be more takers.  Next to the advice we added their faculty photo for a nice touch.  Across from the facutly section, there is the student advice.  The conservatory students were also asked to give a sentence or two of advice.  To make the page look extra nice, I used Microsoft Clip Art to add a picture of the student's instrument next to their advice.  Personally, I think it is a really charming idea.  We thought about using an actual picture for the students, but in my opinion all the pictures would crowd up the page.  The whole purpose of the pictures is to make the page as easy to look at as possible, so I believe this set up is a winner. 

To help broadcast our new page, we have put up slides on the Conservatory slideshow on the second floor lobby.  The slides happen to be the faculty advice.  Quiescence? I think not.  Now everyone, everyday can be reminded to stay healthy!

Opera CD Project

The library has a significant amount of materials on-site.  For pleasure or for simply completing assigned work, our library has the resources to help students and staff.  The library continually has to keep updating its equipment and technical materials like CDs and IPADS.  Otherwise, the technology would be outdated and less useful, if useful at all.

The library still has many vinyl records held at an off-site location, available to those people interested. There are around 300 vinyls on operas.  One of my favorite projects was to find replacement CDs.  Many of these operas were unknown to me.  How do I know which recording is better?  Sometimes I could find an exact recording of the vinyl.  The other times, I had to use my judgement on which CD is more appropriate for Musselman Library's collection.  I used the following steps to choose the most desirable CD. Step one: Look at the performers.  Many times I knew of the singers.  If I had to choose between Pavarotti or a less known singer, I would choose Pavarotti.  If the performers were less known to me, I got to research them a bit to see if any of them were popular.  Step two: read recommendations and reviews.  The internet houses many cites for reviews.  Mr. Sestrick gave me reliable websites to read reviews from.  This was always helpful to me.  I learned which CD had better audio quality, which director had the most convincing recording, and I found out who played the roles best.  Step three: cost.  After research sometimes I find that the recordings are pretty equal in quality.  In this case, it is always prudent to make the most economical choice.

I was very excited to do this project because opera CDs were my first introduction to non school-related material at Mussleman Library.  My freshman year, I would take out an opera CD each week to learn more about the field I wish to join.  By the end of the year, the options were slimmer than I would have liked.  That is one of the reasons why I applied to be  a Fortenbaugh Intern in Music.  I want to help expand our music collection.  This project was very fulfilling it this respect.

Assisting Vocal Studio

In the conservatory, each instrument has its own studio class where students have a chance to perform in front of their peers.  Tim Sestrick was asked to familiarize the vocal studio students with useful resources dedicated to singers in specific.  It was around that time that he showed me a valuable resource for singers like myself.  Apparently, Professor Crowne asked him last year to buy Nico Castel Opera Libretti.  These books are way cool! Not only do they have the original text and a great word-for-word translation, but they also have IPA ( International Phonetic Alphebet).

Nico Castel books are personally helpful if the aria you're learning is in one.  For example, "Deh vieni, non tardar O gioja bella" from Mozarts Il Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), a song I'm working on, can be found in his book.  From his book I can record down the IPA and translation into my own music.  Also, because the full vocal score is inside, I discover more about the opera as a whole rather than just a song.  IPA is a helpful tool for a singer who knows the language.  At the conservatory, there are 2 courses for singers on the matter.

Mozart - Nico Castel

Soon it was time for me to show what I had learned.  Mr. Sestrick asked me to speak about the Castel books in Vocal Studio class.  He presented information on how to use MUSCAT, WORLDCAT, Naxos and sources from the Oberlin opera program.  Students were able to learn how to access books and videos and other helpful tools.  The Oberlin opera website gave links to opera history facts and other really cool related information that singers could benefit from.  Renaissance acting and Greek mythology is surprising present in operas.  In the opera Giulio Cesare, Cleopatra sits on the goddess of Virtues throne with the Muses while seducing Cesar.  A singer might want to look up what the goddess looks like or the relationship between the Muses and Arete, the goddess of Virtue.

Overall, this was a good experience because I learned many new places to gain information as a vocal performance major, and I also had the chance to teach a crowd of peers.