Orientation and Growing Up

On Friday morning I braved the frigid cold and drove to Mankato for my orientation.  I had been taking classes as a “visiting student,” but now I was ready to go full time.  They fed you all the usual crap about housing, financial aid, and joining clubs.  There’s a club you can join where all they do is play Super Smash Bros.  That’s cool, but most of that stuff doesn’t pertain to me now that I’m older.

It’s funny how your perspective changes.  When I was a student at South Central, I used to love when teachers would go off on rants unrelated to their subject.  Personal stories about airplanes and rude McDonald’s workers.  It gave me a break from taking notes and new ideas: I could relax for a minute.  Nowadays, when this happens I feel ripped off.  All I can think is that I woke up early before work and drove an hour to hear about my teacher’s favorite Netflix shows.  Thankfully, all my professors are great and this rarely happens.  I just mention it to note how I’ve grown.

I’m also more appreciative when a teacher challenges me.  I took a songwriting class at McNally Smith and I liked the teacher a lot.  He gave us loads of encouragement and we left class feeling warm and fuzzy about our songs.  He was very nurturing, which was great, but he almost never gave constructive criticism.  Looking back, that was probably good for me.  At the time I was pretty timid about singing and sharing songs; I really just needed a safe place to start doing it.  Now that I’ve been doing it for awhile, more critical comments are necessary.   Dr. Olson is great at giving direct, honest feedback.  He once told me that my chorus was “a bit of a train wreck.”  It stung at first, but ultimately I fixed the chorus and was better for it.  If you can’t get over yourself, you won’t get better.

Speaking of constructive criticism, here’s a song I’m working on for class.  I’ve been through a few demos at this point and have come to the conclusion that I can’t sing it myself.  It’s too high for me the way it is, and lowering it would be untrue to the style.  It’s a Contemporary Christian song, and that means it’s meant to be sung by a congregation.  It needs to be in a key that’s accessible for most people.

As you can hear, it’s a bad key for me.  In my first demo it was about two whole steps lower and I could sing it better, but the song isn’t about what’s good for me.  I hope to find a good female singer at school to rip it.  I like the verse melody a lot and would love to hear it come alive.

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Luke

Luke Smith is a writer and musician from Faribault, Minnesota. He writes pop and folk music on his guitar, and EDM and hip-hop on his computer.

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