Lindsay Brazell

Music Educator and Creative Professional

First Semester Reflections

Greetings, readers, friends, and husband.

Our first semester of grad school part 2 is over in TWO WEEKS. There are so many notable things about that statement:

  1. Didn’t we just start? Wasn’t it just August? Time is flying and it’s both exciting and exhausting!
  2. We are SURVIVING! Kyle and I both passed our qualification exams, (well, I got a weak pass in history, which means I have to take 2 history courses rather than one…but WHATEV!) and neither of us are having second thoughts about this whole shindig. In retrospect, I realize I am the reason it took us a while to get here and was the president of the Negative Nancy Brigade, but we are here now, and it’s been quite fun. I’m not sure that “fun” will be a descriptor of the next two weeks, but it’s a good general description of the semester.
  3. Speaking of the next two weeks, I am praying for my survival. I have 2 exams, 1 presentation, and essentially 4 documents to write (that are and have been in progress so don’t think I’m doomed yet, please!), before December 13th. I literally had to write 2 tasks per day in my planner, or else there was no way I could hand in quality work, or work at all. I refuse to do all-nighters, because I value sleep and my health…which hit a low point before Thanksgiving, thanks to the plague that graced the graduate office. Well played, plague.


This may be the teacher in me, but I am already thinking about next semester and what I want to do differently in terms of staying organized and on top of assignments. Lists have been my friend, and breaking projects and papers down into manageable tasks has been my BFF4L. That’s “best friend forever for life” for those of you who are not hip with the lingo. Seems a bit repetitive, but it best expresses my feelings on that system.

Speaking of next semester, it looks like I am going to be teaching Music Appreciation. Now, if you remember back in January, I wrote this post about embarking on this adventure in the high school classroom. Let’s just talk about that for a hot second:

I was really pumped to teach kids how to listen to music and share all these cool musical things that I like and how the musical world works and how people make a living in the music industry. YEAH, NO. That quickly turned into Nerd Party of 1. The struggle was very real.

However, this time around, I’m going to be taking a class next semester in the pedagogy of music appreciation, aka, how to teach music appreciation. That will be a huge help, I’m sure. Plus, what even is music appreciation anyway? I think you can only provide so much music history before a student literally rejects and despises music. It will be neat to cover some other approaches to the course, which hopefully create music lovers and supporters. Stay tuned for that!

While I haven’t quite decided on a dissertation direction, I have developed a few interests. Reading research has become a thing for me, mostly because it’s being repeatedly assigned to me in several classes. It’s actually pretty cool reading about questions people have and how they went about answering them, even if the research jargon is a somewhat familiar yet still very foreign language. I know to an extent that it’s just a document that gets me the degree, but I would really love if it became something useful in the field, even just a little bit. In this evening’s class we saw an article on Google Scholar that has been cited over 6,000 times. That must be some kind of research celebrity status equating to Justin Timberlake or something.

Sometimes I think I’m not serious or cerebral enough to deserve a PhD. I think my vision of someone who possesses a PhD is a person who is extremely smart and eloquent, and if you have ever attended any of my concerts you know that the microphone and I are in an abusive relationship. I choose entertainment over eloquence, even if it’s at my own expense intentionally or accidentally. Hopefully I can keep it together and earn the degree, and at least appear to be smart and eloquent.

All this to say, blogging will probably take a short hiatus for a few weeks while I complete my assignments. My weekly newsletter will still be up and running though, so be sure you are subscribed! So, until next time!

Happy End of Semester!



About Lindsay

I’m Lindsay, a choral music educator by day, a singer-songwriter by evening, and a writer when time allows. You can find my latest album, The Room I Found – Lindsay Morelli on iTunes.

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