Conservatory² (C²) Internship Reflections-Daniel Reifsteck

Posted on: July 17th, 2014 by Mollie Kaebisch

Well time to take a good deep breath in celebration of a crazy week. This will definitely be long because this past week was incredibly busy. Although the previous weeks were no joke either, I will only talk about the conference week otherwise this will go on for pages.

The 2nd conference and 1st festival for Deep Listening is complete. The work for the past month has really paid off and the participants loved the whole experience.

The whole conference started with a pre-conference workshop with Heloise Gold.

Heloise is a T’ai Chi/Qu Gong instructor from Austin, Texas that has worked with Pauline for many years and she has incorporated Deep Listening into her T’ai Chi practice. I got sucked into the opportunity very last minute because Heloise needed someone to pick her up from the bus station, I was available and I ended up getting invited to participate in her workshops.  Doing T’ai Chi for 6-7 hours a day was very refreshing…Having to wake up at 6:30 every morning was not as refreshing but definitely  a nice kick in the seat of the pants.

Here is where I get to tie in how attending a conservatory has made other non-musical adventures significantly easier. There were some complications between RPI’s summer outreach office and the participants and so some complications came up with how the housing and meal plans worked with the pre-conference workshop.  This situation ended up being a good warning for future events like the caterer for breakfast sleeping in one morning and all of the sudden a conference for 100 participants doesn’t have any coffee or food to eat in the morning.  But fortunately in both situations I moved fast and communicated with all the participants the best I could and all of the problems were solved. So the life after Lawrence lesson of this week was that no matter how much work you put into making sure your part of a project goes smoothly, there is always a chance that someone else might mess up and you have to be ready to make the adjustment.

Another highlight of the conference and festival included assisting Leaf Miller with the AUMI workshop.  Although the program was originally designed for people with disabilities, it was a lot of fun to get a bunch of adults improvising with AUMI and drumming together.  Leaf is also such a pleasure to work with that the whole experience with her was such a blast.

My favorite performance of the entire festival is probably not too much of a surprise. In anticipation of their new album coming out, Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster, Jesse Stewart, Johannes Welsch, and Jonas Braasch joined together to present Sonic Gems. All of their musical decisions seemed perfect and fit into each other so well that it was hard to tell it was all improvised. Some true deep listening and great musical minds working together that night.  It was also cool to see a 5 foot gong. Carrying that gong was a different story.

So now it’s time to focus on Pauline’s next book. I will read all of the articles and speeches to be included and then will settle on a good order! It’s strange to say, but I think I actually might be good at this sort of thing. This will take me back to my old high school days with drama and speech team.  I’m normally pretty good with finding the main spine of each section and then tying it all together to one meaningful whole. We’ll see how it goes with this!

I’ve also been going  to New York consistently and got a lesson with Chris Lamb, principal percussion for the NY Phil, played with Samba New York, and went to the one year anniversary of Thursday night rumba led by Roman Diaz. All of those experiences were very inspiring and have kept me practicing plenty.  It’s pretty hard to find the time I need to make the progress I want in all of these musical styles, but I just have to trust that small chunks over long periods of time will pay off somewhere down the road.

So thanks for reading, and I hope this is exciting prospective students as much as I want it to. I don’t feel like I would be getting these opportunities or meeting as many great people if I went somewhere else for undergrad.

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