Today I had to quickly come up with a one page résumé for myself. It was painful. Really painful, partly because I haven't had to write one in a while and partly because I feel like my musical life has taken a turn these past few years down a path that is not one that I ever envisioned or even knew existed. I couldn't neatly fit my musical life into the template I was using as reference, which happened to be one that befits someone in academia. I couldn't even really figure out what to call myself, in terms of a profession. This is not to say that I am not proud of what I do and what I believe in...quite the opposite, really. I just didn't know how to make it all neat, tidy, and self-explanatory within the confines of one piece of paper.
In the end, I did come up with something. But I'm not sure that it's a document that really says a whole lot about me. It says something about my education, yes, and the most recent performances I've done, yes, but that's about it.
So, in an effort to redeem myself, here's a second stab at it. Here's hoping it actually represents me.
Erica Ann Sipes: semi-professional amateur musician
(because I make money, sometimes, doing what I love to do)
- Fell in love with music at age 5 and asked to take piano lessons at that time
- Studied with a lot of wonderful teachers growing up in San Francisco, CA
- Played a lot of chamber music and participated in the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra - an incredible experience
- Continued studies at the Eastman School of Music
- Have been continuing my education through accompanying just about every instrument out there
- Is our education ever really over?
Interests and Passions:
- Playing music with people young and old, experienced and not experienced
- Helping people learn more efficient ways to learn and practice music
- Helping people find the joy that comes with sharing music with others in all sorts of performance situations
- Helping people realize that perfection in performance is impossible (or a miracle) and very detrimental to one's musical and psychological health
- Writing about music, making music, and the process of sharing music
- Connecting with other like-minded musicians and brainstorming about ways we can make music accessible to all
- Sharing music, not for the purpose of making money, but for the purpose of sharing a part of myself and great music
- Playing with a violinist for her first Suzuki book recital, to a church full of people in a country community that rarely, if ever, hear classical music being played
- Playing with young children and witnessing for the first time, their realization that music can be fun and that there is a unique artistic voice within each of them
- Performing all of Schubert's song cycle, "Winterreise" with a wonderful baritone and having the time to explore each and every song
- Trying out new formats for song recitals with my dear husband and baritone, Tadd Sipes, and watching the audience's reactions to something new
- Breaking out of my comfort zone and performing Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto with Virginia Tech's orchestra, the New River Valley Symphony Orchestra
- Playing one of the piano parts in Orff's "Carmina Burana"with the Roanoke Symphony - now that is exhilarating!
- Performing at our local retirement community and building relationships with the residents there - they are some of my most faithful, supportive fans
- Playing piano at our church during services and experiencing the synergy that comes with such an interaction between musician and audience
- Playing chamber music on a regular basis, with other amateurs and professionals in the community
- Co-founding the Alma Ensemble, with the desire to find and perform music written women through the ages and to also perform in ways that inspire community and dialogue
- Live-streaming practice sessions and sight reading sessions regularly to help others see inside those processes
- Helping musicians at all ages and stages feel good where they are and helping them improve whatever it is they want to improve, even if their music making is just for them.
There you have it!
I feel much better now. Too bad this isn't the résumé I could submit. Sigh...
Maybe in another 25 years.