Moving out and up! - The Adventures of Living on Your Own.

Hello fellow readers!

Through my first semester, I've learnt a lot of things. I hate to say it, but I've learnt more life and business skills in the past 4 months than I have in class...with the exception of my vocal lessons and coachings!

These past 4 months have been very interesting. You learn where to apply and not to apply for summer programs, but wait what the heck is a summer program? Where to look into for Masters programs and rep and if you should even bother with a Masters since "the music world is changing!"...okay.....well, welcome to the life of a musician.

I thought living on my own would be great! No nagging parents, food plans so I don't need to cook, laundry just lies on the floor, cleaning name it! But much to my surprise, life doesn't work that way,

Sleep, Eat & Cry

Once you realize you have 1000$ to get you through a semester, your realize that food and laundry isn't that important. There's been many times where I've had sleep for dinner since I either couldn't afford to eat or I was so tired I couldn't be bothered to eat. As a musician and vocalist, I stress the importance of healthy eating and exercise, and I now feel like a hypocrite. Trying to balance exercise with my 40+ hours of school, rehearsals & homework makes it tough. I have not been 100% since moving to Toronto, but not having good food, sleep and exercise will do that to a person.

 Laundry? You start getting creative. I know I've stopped wearing socks in my running shoes, or I've sported a pyjama top as a "trendy" look. Hey! Money is tight, and when a load costs 3$ a adds up. Especially if you want to dry your clothes! (Please do this, otherwise your clothes will be damp and start to smell like crap and they will forever smell that way. Please learn from my horrible mistake.)

Studying. Well, I never knew how to study in high school, so this semester has been a game of trial and error. I often think I know it all until I arrive at the test/exam/whatever the heck university is torturing me with and instantly feel like crying. The game of balance is real in university. You start skipping classes to catch up in others even though you're 110% sure you arrived to the 8am lecture Monday morning...right? Some courses are set up so everyone passes and others are set up for everyone to fail, or if you take Harmony as a vocalist with minimal theory knowledge, that too feels like hell.

You gotta put in the money to receive it

Within my first week of school, everyone was buzzing about summer programs. I had once heard about such an idea back in the day, but never truly looked into it until I started getting emails and asked about it. You see, they're intensives that send singers and musicians around the world, or for some, to their own backyard, to study and train during the summer! Some of them cost money, some of them don't. Some give scholarships and others will pay you. The application process can be tedious and picking repertoire that will not only fit with your jury but with your competition repertoire is agonizing.

Once you've shelled out 50-150$ for an application, they tend to ask for headshots. This is the only time I ever missed picture day in school. I hated waiting to have your name called, then wait in line for an hour just so Mom and Dad could get one shitty photo of you to show off to all their friends and co-workers.
If you're any thing like me, you obviously didn't have a headshot. Since it's kind of important to include on in your "package", I booked an appointment. After dishing out quite a bit of money, I have 200 shots and maybe 7 potential candidates. But of course, they want you to spend the money to print a hard copy. Thanks...

Now onto competitions! The older you get, the more experience you gain. Now, everyone goes into competition looking for feedback and hoping to gain experience. While this is true and applicable for many, this is rarely ever unaccompanied with drive and the need to win. The competition is ruthless and you better watch your mouth and your butt, god for bid you say anything and it could very well bite you in the ass. Best advice my mother ever told me was to "Keep my ears open and my mouth shut!"

Many studios have coaches that work with you on diction and story telling, very important things to focus on while singing. Not only does my coaching improve my understanding and knowledge of the piece, but it also brings me security knowing that my accompanist has my back and won't allow me to royally mess up my lesson the next day. (Thanks Jo!!!!) This is definitely something that is worth looking into if your studio doesn't require this. Coachings are so important and to me, I personally find them extremely relaxing.

The Countdown

The countdown is many things. At the moment I have several! A countdown until Christmas Eve/Midnight Mass - 14 days, Christmas Day - 15 Days, Amount of exams I have left - 5,  Reunited with my Bed (and I guess my family and friends..) - 8 Days. You have to keep looking forward or else you're going to get stuck behind everyone else and that sucks. If you have to miss something, miss it because playing catch up at  3 times the speed... it really sucks.
Also, you start to miss your family. I use family as an umbrella term since friends are the family that you get to choose! Yeah, yeah yeah your mom drives you crazy and your dad is embarrassing but after awhile you wish someone would tell you to clean up your mess or embarrass you in public (other than drunken facebook photos from a frat house). In someways it's great that time goes by so fast because you blink and the next thing you're home, but at the same time it's hard. A lot changes. People change, for example, my dweeby tiny little brother has grown like 6 inches since I last saw him. I'm coming home with dark hair and 15 extra lbs thanks to shitty cafeteria food and an even more cynical view of the world. People change.

Anyways, I'm not sure if this blog post makes any sense since my brain is half asleep thanks to the exam time that I am currently in. I'm hoping to blog more often, so leave me a message if you wanna read anything specific!

Until next time,



  1. Mr. Duc says a little less time writing long blog posts will give you so much more time for your studies!! I am giving your dad $6 to help with the sock problem...use it to wash them, or buy a pack!


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