We need to catch up! APFT, AMPA, and more acronyms!

Isn’t this a beautiful church? Every Sunday!

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Happy Wednesday, everyone! I’m sorry it’s been forever since my last post, but we had a crazy couple of days! First, we had our first APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) on Monday, which consists of two minutes of as many push-ups you can do, two minutes of as many sit-ups as you can do, and a two mile run as fast as you can. I got the max score, 300! I was the only soldier to do it this time, woot woot! 45 push-ups, 79 sit-ups, and a 13:20 two mile run. I’ll take it, and I know I can improve on every section next time 🙂

We moved into a room with air conditioning on Monday night – check this out! Now we just need hot water in our shower…

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We’ve been working our way through the first few classes of each subject, and it’s really been interesting so far. We’ve had three concert band rehearsals, and we read all of our pieces for the first rehearsal. Here’s our concert program:

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Our next two rehearsals also had an intonation masterclass worked into the mix. The SOM really advocates the use of drones to help you train your ears, and it’s already helped me. I’m going to buy the CD for my choirs to use this year. It’s actually a bit fun! I don’t remember the author, but there’s a Basic Training and a Boot Camp program, one for individuals and one for ensembles. I’ll get the info to you when I go back to the SOM – check back!

We’ve had one Ceremonial Band rehearsal, and that’s also going to be awesome. We’ll learn how to march in a parade and how to do right/left hand turns. It’s a very formal process. The professor is hysterical and teaches a lot like me. He’s a good kind of crazy. He did make mention of the OSU people he had a few cycles ago, with their crazy high-stepping :):) I told him after class, “Umm, Sgt, that was my unit.” Good times!

Every Tuesday after chow, from 1730-1830, we have Field Night. We alternate cleaning the barracks and the SOM. Cleaning the schoolhouse, making music, making friends… it’s been difficult, there’s been some long days, but it’s soooooooo good.

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Then of course, since the AMPA was TODAY, we practiced for the AMPA all yesterday, yesterday night, and this morning. The AMPA (Army Musician Playing Assessment) is in three parts: ceremonial, prepared, and quickly prepared. There are three songs you need to perform for the ceremonial portion, three contrasting pieces of your choice for the prepared portion, and about six excerpts from various genres of literature that you get less than 24 hours before your audition. That part is the most stressful part! My AMPA went well though – we needed 18/36 points to pass, and I got 23. I’m definitely ok with that for now, but I have a little fire under my booty. My goal is to score a 30 for the final AMPA.

I’m a squad leader because I volunteered to be one (and no one else really wanted to do it!), and I do want to be seen as a leader here. There are some very talented musicians, so I have my work cut out for me! But I would like to be chosen for an award this summer. There’s the Soldier of the Cycle award, high PT, Commandant’s List (top 20% of the cycle), and a few others, but you do need a 30 on your AMPA (a C1 classification) to be eligible for some of them. I was recognized for high PT and won a Soldier of the Cycle award at Basic, so I’d like to kick some musical booty here. I will be practicing, that’s for sure!

I’ve got mail! Thanks, Will, for an awesome care package 🙂 I also got birthday cards from my parents and my in-laws. Thanks, guys!

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New hairdo, inspired by Sondelski 🙂

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My parents are in Phoenix right now for vacation! They’re swinging up into Colorado Springs and the surrounding area later this week. How beautiful is Sedona? We might need to move, Will…

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All right, well, since I already practiced a ton this week, I’m ahead of schedule! It’s an easy night at the barracks for us. After I post this, I’m going on an easy 20 minute run as I listen to a podcast about tuning into my intuition, finding body acceptance, and detaching from my inner critic. Operation Weight Gain has stalled. The food at the DFAC is definitely hit or miss. Mostly miss. I’m learning to roll with the punches, though, so it’s good for me!

Quick aside that I’ll dive into more at a later date:
It’s easy to get frustrated here. All we do is PT, play our instruments, and eat. Our free time usually gets taken up by errands or practicing or guard duty. Even the fun stuff usually has to get quickly squeezed in to fit the schedule. But the SOM is our life right now, and some practice sessions and rehearsasl suck. They have to. You can’t always play well, and you have to work through your issues. That takes time and hard work. I had a pretty rough day Monday, but it all shook out. It really should all buff out in the end if you keep putting in the time. And this goes for my eating, too. I’m going to have setbacks where I don’t want to eat more than I feel like I should or want to work out more than I should. Or maybe the DFAC doesn’t have the food that I want to eat, but that’s all that’s available. I’ll just keep pushing through, staying as positive as possible, but sometimes acknowledging that yeah, it’s hard and it sucks. It’ll be worth it when I play like a beast at the end of the summer or when we get pregnant 🙂

Verse of the Day:
1 John 2:5-6
– But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is made truly complete in them. This is how we know we are in him. Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

It doesn’t get more self-explanatory than this, does it?! Incarnational evangelism. If I claim to live in and be saved by Jesus, I must live as he did. Selflessly. Kindly. Gently. Sympathetically. Mercifully. Boldly.

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