Will and Maggie came to visit! The AMPA is over! And check out my new uniform :)

HECTIC! I am so glad we let off some steam and went off-post on Saturday, because I needed a mental reset for this week! It is a crazy one, but I think the worst is over. On Monday, we had Ceremonial Band and then Masterclass with all the horns and Sgt Moon. He gave us some good handouts on how to manage performance anxiety, and we sang and played through some ear-training exercises with a drone. It’s amazing that just spending a little amount of time on that can have such a big impact on my playing. I definitely want to keep playing with a drone when I get home! After lunch, we got our “quickly prepared” packet so we could practice it all afternoon. In the horn packet, there were two marches, one lyrical excerpt, one fanfare excerpt, one fun brass quintet, a Dixieland brass quintet, and a jazz standard that we could improvise on. I decided to try to improvise for two possible extra points – what’s the worst that could happen? I just don’t get any extra points?

Speaking of extra points, I also had my piano additional point assessment on Monday. I got 1 point, and I’m a little disappointed that I only got 1 point. After all, I’ve been playing the piano since I was 5. But the standards weren’t communicated clearly to me or the other person who was auditioning, and I feel that if I had known what was expected, I would have met the standard for 2 points. I met with the piano instructor prior to my audition, and I found out that Mozart, Brahms, and Bartok are not three different styles. For the piano AMPA, you need a classical piece (so I played a Brahms Intermezzo), a jazz-style piece (so I went to the music library and checked out “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man), and a song that has a backing track (so I downloaded “How Great is Our God” from IRealPro and took out the piano part, because I was playing the piano). Ok, I was thrown for a loop, but I prepared those three pieces and played them well on Monday. However, I didn’t know what other tracks I should have taken out of the backing track. Since I was playing the bass line in the piano, the piano instructor told me I also should have taken the bass guitar part out. And he said that’s why I didn’t get both extra point. If I had taken out the bass guitar part and played the bass line myself (like I did), I would have been fine, or if I had kept the bass guitar part in but didn’t play the bass line in the piano, I would have been fine. So that just seems like miscommunication to me, and I’m hoping that it’ll be taken care of in the future. Someone from the cadre is going to do a little AAR with the piano instructor to make sure standards are clarified for future students. I was pretty upset when it all went down, but now I’m just happy I did get an additional point for the AMPA.

On Tuesday, we had PRT like usual, and then it was IP until it was time for your AMPA. My AMPA was at 10, so I listened to my excerpts online until 8, and then I played and sang/fingered through the pieces until 9:30. I read for a bit, and then it was go time! I feel like I played pretty well, actually. Of course, you’ll miss notes and there’s always room for improvement. The Strauss Nocturno went SO well, but then I didn’t push my air through the lines for Princess Leia’s Theme like I wanted to, and I missed the high note because of it. I played it a bit safe on Beale St Blues and got all the notes, even the low arpeggiated run, but it didn’t groove as hard as it should have. And with the quickly prepared excerpts, I could have played with more dynamics. With that all said and done, I got a 25 overall. Am I disappointed? Yes, a little bit. I was shooting for a 30. But I also need to be realistic – I picked up my horn again 7 weeks ago. I should have been playing more at home, but I’ve been teaching for 10 years. And the last few years have been only choir! I’m a decent player, but there’s only so much I can do in 7 weeks. I did want to throw myself into AIT, but I’m also fighting my eating disorder 24/7, and I just don’t have enough energy to do both. I practice enough to play my music and progress, but I need to be back in the barracks to have some time to myself in the evenings. I could have practiced more, for sure. I could be eating and recovering more, for sure. I guess I found a balance where I was kind of able to do both. It’s like when I was trying to teach both band and choir – I was doing my job, checking the boxes, but I didn’t feel like I was succeeding at either. Once I started to teach only choir, I could focus in and that’s when the middle school choir program really started to improve. Moral of the story? I’m going to use this time here as a springboard into practicing regularly at home. I have a great 7 week headstart, and I’m going to keep pushing ahead! I improved since I’ve been here – I scored a 23 on my initial AMPA – so that’s definitely a positive!

Now onto to some amazing news – Will and Maggie came to visit! It was kind of spontaneous, but Will was visiting his friends in NC and decided to take a little detour on his way home. A bunch of us were at the beach, so he joined us for an hour or so. It was Maggie’s first time to the beach and in any water, and she was freaking adorable. She’s a bit of a coward, so she was afraid of the water at first. Luckily, there was another dog, so we used him as a distractor to get her in the water. I’m not sure she’s a super fan, but we were able to coax her in quite a few times! I loved seeing her with my Battles, too. Sometimes a dog just makes you happy ๐Ÿ™‚

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The DCNO on duty in Scott Hall let us hang out in DMOD until Will had to go – so nice! It was 107 degrees, real feel, and I was irritated that we needed to hang out outside until he left. It was awesome that Maggie was with us, but we couldn’t really do much with a dog in tow. But the sergeant on duty let us hang out inside, in the air conditioning, and all was good ๐Ÿ™‚

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Even though Will was only here for two hours, it was sooooo good to see him. He had a long and poopy drive home, and now he’s in the middle of a long week, poor guy! But it was so great of him to pop by. I really needed a pick-me-up to get through the last four weeks. It’s fun here, I’m learning a ton, everyone is really great, but there’s no place like home. Will and I got married on April 23, he left for Army AT from April 27 to May 13, and I left for Army AIT on June 9. We haven’t spent much time together! I’m really looking forward to Family Day on August 16, where I’ll see Will and my parents, graduation on August 17, Williamsburg on August 18-19, and then HOME. I don’t think I’m going to do anything productive that first week back, and I’m almost ok with it!

We were able to DX our uniforms and exchange them for sizes that actually fit us. I turned in the paper during the second week of school, and we finally got our new uniforms this week! I look like a real soldier now.

Before…

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Yay!

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Unfortunately, they didn’t have my blouse size in stock. The platoon sergeants aren’t sure if they’ll be in before we graduate, but they’re going to do everything they can do! In the meantime, Bertelson is nice enough to let me borrow her jacket for the rest of the cycle! Woot! And now that Sondelski has pants that fit her, she doesn’t need to borrow mine anymore, haha!

We have an inspection coming up, so I set up my room and equipment/clothing to the standard last night. I love having a place for everything. All I need to do is put the equipment on the floor of the closet on my bed for the inspection, and I’m good to go! Just another hoop to jump through on the way to graduation! (Pretend that my linens aren’t in the laundry and actually are on my bed lol)

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Well, that’s all for tonight’s post. I’m writing this from DMOD, where Rhody and I are doing our overnight duty. I’m going to practice for an hour ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re here until 0345, and then I can sleep in a bit. If you have overnight duty, you’re exempted from PRT that following morning. But I still want to do a TRX workout before breakfast chow at 6 – I love that thing! I might go to the big NEX tonight to help Holloway find new running shoes, and I hate when I have to do a million things in the evening. Working out in the morning frees me up a bit.

Look at Sondelski’s cute origami swan that she left for everyone to enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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Happy hump day, everyone! I’ll update this post tonight with the verse of the day!

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