<![CDATA[Ashleigh Janda <br />   Mezzo-Soprano - Blog]]>Tue, 09 Feb 2016 02:32:39 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Finally State-Side Again!]]>Tue, 18 Aug 2015 11:24:31 GMThttp://ashleighjanda.weebly.com/blog/finally-state-side-againSo I have to apologize for being so horrible about keeping up with my blog during my 6 weeks in Italy this summer- the Italian ways and culture rubbed off on me!

Now that I'm home again and I've had a few weeks to catch back up with things, I think it's a wonderful time to reflect on my 6 weeks in Italy.

First off, let me just say that choosing to do TWO summer programs back to back and spend 6 weeks of my summer in Italy was by far the best thing I have ever done! I'll admit, at first I was a bit nervous- I was going to a foreign country alone, I didn't know anybody that was going to be there, I hardly spoke Italian, and it was going to be 6 long weeks away from my family. All I knew what that I was pretty sure I was going to love the wine and food and that I love music which is what I was going to be working on for those 6 weeks. One of the program directors said to me as I hesitated about the length of time I was going to be gone he said, "Ashleigh, this is going to be the most amazing summer of your life and you are going to come back a changed woman." It was and I am!

I won't bore you with the details of each program but I will say that I got the wonderful opportunity to coach and perform two operas, learned 1 semester worth of Italian in 3-4 weeks, took lessons and created relationships with some phenomenal people, enjoyed fabulous food and wine every single day, I worked hard, I cried, I learned so much about who I am and how I work and what makes me tick, I laughed, I danced, but most importantly, I loved every single minute of it!

My advice for anyone considering studying abroad: DO IT! Sure, it's scary and expensive and there's a lot that you will be unsure of but I can promise you that it is all more than worth it!!! You learn about a different culture and maybe a new language, you experience things and places and people that will blow your mind, you make friends that will last a lifetime, you will learn so much about yourself, you will have the time of your life doing it all!!!

And with that ladies and gentlemen, I start my SENIOR year of college!!! (When did that happen?!?!?)

<![CDATA[Summer Program, Round 2! ]]>Sun, 21 Jun 2015 20:25:00 GMThttp://ashleighjanda.weebly.com/blog/summer-program-round-2Well Operafestival di Roma is officially over and tomorrow morning officially begins Orvieto Musica!! 
I am extremely grateful and thankful that I had to opportunity to experience and be a part of Operafestival di Roma. I met some fantastic new friends, learned a lot about myself as a performer and a person, had some wonderful experiences, and made some great connections and for all of those things, I will be eternally grateful!!! 

However, at the same time I am beyond excited to start a new program which is completely different from the last one, with a whole new set of wonderful people, and great experiences!! I do have to say that I loved showing the new kids around the town today and sharing in their excitement as they see the Duomo for the first time and see the rest of the city. 

In other news, I've got my gelato order memorized and the guy at my favorite gelato shop recognizes me when I walk in and I'm not sure how I feel about that but I don't know that it matters because I LOVE GELATO!!!!! ]]>
<![CDATA[Orvieto!!!]]>Fri, 12 Jun 2015 19:55:14 GMThttp://ashleighjanda.weebly.com/blog/orvietoWe made it to Orvieto- my new favorite town in the world! It's a sweet little town on a hill in the Italian countryside with darling little shops, beautiful scenery and views, and wonderful food. As wonderful as Rome was, it was still a big city, but Orvieto in much more my speed!!! I've already started to recognize some of the same people and they have started to recognize me too. Anyone who has ever visited Orvieto can attest to its charm and beauty and I highly encourage anyone who ever plans to travel to Italy to include Orvieto in your travel plans!! But by far my favorite part of Orvieto is that they observe riposo which is similar to the Mexican siesta- from 1-4 pm every day most of the shops and restraints close and it is a time to relax, take a nap, etc- GENIUS! America, please catch on soon!! 

We are staying in apartments and I'm staying in a very beautiful one with 6 other people and We have a full kitchen, a beautiful porch/balcony, and our own piano! However, we don't have a washer/dryer so my roommate and I had to do all of our laundry in the bath tub and hang things on the clothes line to dry...that was quite the experience for me!

As far as the program goes, we ran Le Nozze di Figaro for the first time today (twice- once with each cast) and things actually went very well! We perform Friday June 19th and Saturday June 20th at the cutest little theatre here in town and I can't wait to get in there and see the space and perform!!! 

On a completely unrelated note, I've found that quite a few bathrooms here see, to be missing toilet seats...on purpose. I'm not sure why yet but it is very strange! Does anyone have the slightest clue as to why? 

Today I've also started my 30-day countdown until I come home. I'm having the time of my life, meeting and working with amazing people, making wonderful connections, enjoying fantastic food and wine every day, but I have to admit, there really is no place like home and I miss it a little bit. Anyways, that's it for now folks, and as always, stay tuned for updates!]]>
<![CDATA[Update #2 From Italy! ]]>Sun, 07 Jun 2015 13:56:16 GMThttp://ashleighjanda.weebly.com/blog/update-2-fromm-italySo we are now officially one day away from performing Suor Angelica! When I look back I am amazed, not only at the fact that I will be performing an opera tomorrow IN ROME, but by the incredible new friends I've made, the new relationships I've formed, and how much work we have all put into this show in the last week and a half. I am extremely proud of it and can't wait to performs it here in Rome!  

However, singing isn't the only thin give been up to! On Friday June 5th a large group from the opera festival I'm in and myself took a private tour of the Vatican Museum at night- BEAUTIFUL!!! We saw countless rooms filled with ancient artifacts, sculptures, paintings, tapestries, and beautiful works of art everywhere. My personal favorite was the Sistine Chapel. There is absolutely nothing in this world like standing in the Sistine Chapel sweating profusely (it was about 85 degrees with about 200 other people in the room and no air conditioning) and getting to stare up at the ceiling- Michelangelo's beautiful paintings, in person. I'm not Catholic but visiting the Vatican was one of my favorite things we've done so far because the history behind it is incredible. One more thing checked off my bucket list!!! 

As for future plans, we are taking a bus to Orvieto (a small town about 1.5 hours outside of Rome where this program will finish and my second program will be) on Tuesday June 9th. It sounds like there are lots of locals so plenty of places to practice my Italian as well as wonderful white wine, kind people, great food, and gorgeous scenery. I can hardly wait!!! Stay tuned for my I next update- thanks everyone!! ]]>
<![CDATA[Ciao! ]]>Wed, 03 Jun 2015 21:46:45 GMThttp://ashleighjanda.weebly.com/blog/ciaoWell, I've done it! I've FINALLY made it to Italy! After a 9 hour delay/layover in Charlotte, I was relived to finally land in Rome! I've spent the last week in Rome, Italy with Operafestival di Roma working on my roles (La Badessa and Cercatricci 2) in Puccini's Suor Angelica and as a Chorus member in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. So far my days have consisted of many reharsals, staging of both operas, practicing, daily Italian lessons, daily voice lessons and coachings with faculty members, AMAZING food, as well as seeing the beautiful sights of Rome!!! Almost all of my meals have included pizza and/or pasta, gelato, and wine- does it get any better?? 

Last Sunday, May 31st, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend the entire day in Rome sightseeing and enjoying pizza, pasta, gelato, cappuccino, wine, and limoncello with my new friends. We saw the Colosseum, the Pantheon, as well as many ruins, piazzas, and other historical sights. We also have planned for this Friday, June 5th, a private tour of the Vatican as well as St. Peter's Basilica which I can't wait for!

We perform Suor Angelica next Monday, June 8th so any happy thoughts and/or prayers would be greatly appreciated as we have had to completely put this opera up in a little over a week and a half!!!

This is has been the absolute experience of a lifetime!!! And to those of you who still have the chance, STUDY ABROAD! It's not easy. It's a lot of work, and a little scary, but after only a week, it's been MORE than worth it!!! 

<![CDATA[International Travel Tips and Advice]]>Wed, 20 May 2015 01:26:43 GMThttp://ashleighjanda.weebly.com/blog/international-travel-tips-and-adviceThe countdown to my six-week Italian adventure is on! Only 8 more days to go!!! As I begin to think about  all the amazing experiences I'll have, the wonderful connections I'll make, and the beautiful sights I'll see, it occurred to me that I should write a post about travel tips and advice not only to help all of you in your current and future travels, but also to remind myself of what is important.

1. Get a passport (or renew an old one- but make sure that it is valid for at least six months after you return home)
2. Get a visa (if needed)
3. Call your credit card companies and let them know where you will be and get a list of their international fees
4. Order some local currency to go with from your bank
5. Pack smart!
6. Do your homework! Know the best time of the year to visit certain places, know safety precautions, best places to visit, best restaurants, etc.
7. Get to know a little bit about the culture and country you will be visiting BEFORE you go
8. Book your flight in a timely manner (about 6-8 weeks before the trip is usually suggested)
9. Get a transformer and/or adapter depending on where you will be going
10. Get vaccines (if needed) and purchase travel health insurance

1. Avoid jet lag by getting your body on the new time zone as soon as possible
2. Get up early every day- there's so much to see and experience, don't waste the day sleeping
3. Make a list of things you want to see or do
4. Talk to the locals and get recommendations on restaurants, things to do, places to see, etc.
5. Try one new thing every day- who know's, you may love it
6. Make an effort to learn the local language (if applicable)
7. Immerse yourself in the culture- go outside of your comfort zone
8. Be smart and aware of your surroundings
9. Journal your thoughts and experiences
10.Take lots and lots of pictures

These are just a few of my favorites. What is your best piece of international travel advice? 

<![CDATA[A Posting Place for Poetry]]>Tue, 12 May 2015 22:01:46 GMThttp://ashleighjanda.weebly.com/blog/a-posting-place-for-poetryI think and have always believed that inside each and every one of us, regardless of "strengths" and "weaknesses" and profession, lives both a musician/artist and a writer. This week, I would like to encourage you all to channel your inner writer just as I did with my poetry below.

Black notes staring at me, black notes on the page.
Black lines staring at me, black lines on the page.

On the Stage
On the stage is where she belongs
Oh, how she loves the lights on her face,
The crowd cheering when she sings her songs
Here, things run perfectly at her pace.

 She Has Music to Share

She has music to share.

To people all over the world

She has music to share.

How will this work, you say?

She has music to share.

In her head, the thoughts swirled

She has music to share.

She will work at it every day.

She has music to share.

She will work long after her colleges have curled.

She has music to share.

Nothing could make her give up on music- even no pay.

She has music to share.


Please indulge your inner writer today and comment with one of your favorite poems, or an original one- thanks y'all!

<![CDATA[How Did I End Up Here?]]>Tue, 05 May 2015 18:00:02 GMThttp://ashleighjanda.weebly.com/blog/how-did-i-end-up-here     Not too long ago, I stopped and thought to myself I'm doing what I love and I'm loving what I'm doing, but how did I end up here? What lead me down this path?
     These are questions that I think as artists and musicians, we ask ourselves quite frequently- why didn't we choose something "practical" like business for medicine? Well, the answer to that is quite simple- because somewhere along the line, someone or something inspired us (or possibly even continues to inspire us) to do what we love and love what we do. Today, I would like to share with you my personal story- how I became a classical and opera singer, my somebody and something that inspired me, and a little bit about why I wake up every day and love that I didn't choose something "practical" to do.
     It all started for me at the tender age of 11 years old when I was in 5th grade. My grandma worked as a private voice teacher out of her home and I came from a very musical family so growing up I was surrounded by music and the arts. I remember going to my first play, Peter Pan, when I was 4, my first symphony when I was 6, and going to music class was always my favorite thing in school. Then one day my grandma picked me up from school and took my younger sister and I back to her house for a little while and asked me if I would like to come into her studio and sing through a few Disney songs, so I did. About an hour and a half later, I realized just how much time had gone by and that it had only felt like 20 minutes or so.
     From then on, once a week I would go over to my grandma's house for voice lessons. She let me pick me own music, we talked about breathing and proper techniques, and most importantly WE HAD FUN! Then one day she mentioned that there was going to be a talent show at our upcoming family reunion that summer of South Dakota and she asked if I would be willing to sing my favorite song there- "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" from the movie and musical Annie. At the time I didn't know all that was involved in actually getting on stage and performing so I said yes.
     About a month later, it came time for me to perform at the family reunion and believe me when I tell you that I nearly fought my mom and grandma so I didn't have to go on stage. Finally, quite a few tears and many bribe attempts later, I got on stage. That was the most uncomfortable I've ever felt in my life- like someone had stripped me naked and thrown me on a stage for the world to stare at. The music started playing and I knew at that point that there was no turning back and I started singing.
     By the time it was over, I had forgotten all about my nerves and whatever it was that my mom and grandma had bribed me with and all I felt was sheer joy, confidence,and pride. I had done it!
     For a while, my mom and grandma still had to convince me to actually get on stage and start singing but soon I grew out of that and was looking- itching- for ways and places to perform. I had caught the "bug"- the performing bug that as performers, we are all too familiar with! And every time I performed, I gained that much more confidence and joy and I knew I couldn't stop and even if I could I didn't want to.
     Before I knew it, I was auditioning for college music programs and I thought Where did the time go?! Wasn't it just yesterday that I was singing that song from 'Annie' for the first time at the family reunion? I wasn't until then that I fully understood the meaning of the phrase "Time flies when you're having fun," 
     Now, I love that I've chosen a career path that I not only love to do, but one that isn't "practical" or "conventional" because that's not who I am as a person. I knew that I was never and will never be that person who is perfect;y content sitting in a cubicle by themselves with little to no interaction with others all day, every day for the rest of their life. I need something new and different every day, I need a career that takes me places, I need a career that is going to make me happy and be fulfilling and when it came time to audition for colleges, there was no question in my mind that music was what I wanted to do- it's what I needed to do- it's where I belong.

What's your story?]]>
<![CDATA[Top 5 Free Apps for Musicians]]>Tue, 28 Apr 2015 17:46:59 GMThttp://ashleighjanda.weebly.com/blog/top-5-free-apps-for-musiciansWe live in a world and a society where we are constantly on the move and things are all about convenience and portability. Apps have become not only a source of entertainment but things that we now rely on to complete daily tasks such as communicating with people via social media, checking the weather, staying up to date on the latest news, and countless other things. Now, some people view this shift to apps that can do or teach you anything as a negative, but I'm here to show all you musicians out there my personal top 5 favorite apps, all free of course, that can make your life a little easier! So here we go:

1. Metronome Pro
          This is by far one of my personal favorite apps ever! Not only does it keep a steady beat for you, but it also lets you customize just about everything you would want to about how that beat is conveyed to you: bpm, the volume, an optional LED display on downbeats, you can tap your own beat to get a tempo marking, change your time signature, change which beat/s are accented, and much much more! As every musician knows, a metronome is essential to learning music and what's better than a good metronome? One that works well, is free, can be customized, and doesn't take up any more room in your pocket or bag than your phone does.

2. Virtuoso Piano 3 Free
          A piano app that actually works! This is not one of those piano apps where the keys light up and it "teaches" you how to play the newest Katy Perry song on the piano. This is a pretty basic piano app but it does exactly what it should- it gives you a pitch. Personally, I find I use it the most when practicing things a cappella  (without accompaniment) or when practicing/performing where I don't have a piano readily accessible to get a starting pitch from. I also know a few instrumentalists who will use it when working on intonation or ear training and they don't have a piano to check the pitch against. 

3. Musicnotes Sheet Music Viewer
          How would you like to have your 10-pound binder of sheet music at your finger tips and only taking up as much space as your phone? Well, with this wonderful app, you can upload all of your own sheet music (or buy it online) as organize it in this app. In addition to keeping all of your sheet music in one place, you can highlight, make notes, as well as transpose any music that you buy through the app to any key! The days of carrying around countless sheets of music are on their way out and electronic sheet music is becoming easier and easier!

4. Jotnot
          STOP MAKING HARD COPIES OF MUSIC!!! Forget trying to align books perfectly on the copy machine or scanner and paying a small fortune to print all of your music and start scanning your music. With Jotnot, you can scan, crop, lighten, darken, and export anything as a PDF! No more making multiple copies or spending too much time and money copying things- just scan and export it directly from your phone, from anywhere, as a PDF and send it to yourself, your accompanist, other members of your ensemble, whoever you want- all from your fingertips!

5. Sound Cloud/Youtube
          As a musician, putting your work out there for people to hear is critical to building your network, getting yourself out there, and having your work be heard! I'm sure that this one doesn't need much explanation other than, it's easy and free to put your work out there through Sound Cloud or Youtube (or both- whatever fits you and your art/style) and you never know who could discover you online and what could come of it!

These are just my personal favorite, free 5 apps that have made my life as a musician much easier. What are your favorite apps that have made being a musician easier for you?
<![CDATA[Never Lose Sight of Why You Chose This Path]]>Tue, 21 Apr 2015 18:41:05 GMThttp://ashleighjanda.weebly.com/blog/never-lose-sight-of-why-you-chose-this-pathDear Aspiring, Young Performer,

 Let me just start off by saying that what you want to do isn't easy and never will be but I can promise that it will ALWAYS be worth it! Every time you finish a performance, are accepted to a program, or are given a role, the sense of accomplishment you will feel is unlike anything else- embrace it! Never lose sight of why you chose this path.

Take every single opportunity possible! Sometimes you will find yourself in situations where you need to make sacrifices- choose between your career and your family or friends, you'll need to stay flexible, and most importantly never lose sight of why you chose this path.

 Work hard. As I said before, this won't always be easy but it'll be worth it and there is so much truth to this statement! If you expect to have everything handed to you without having to work, you are sorely mistaken.This will take a lot of work- hours of searching for music, working on characters, practicing, rehearsing, etc and I can promise you it will NOT be easy. But never lose sight of why you chose this path.

 Ignore the naysayers. Choosing to become a performer isn't a traditional career path and I've found that often people will encourage you to take a career path that is more "stable" and traditional such as business. But the truth is that you've chosen this path because it's what you love to do and it's what you are good at- not because it was the most practical. I firmly believe that if you love what you do, you can and will find a way to make a living doing it! Never lose sight of why you chose this path.

 Always love what you do. Know that there may come a time in your life when you no longer love performing and please know that it is perfectly OK! If you ever feel that you don't love what you do, if it's performing or not, find something else to do- something that you love. Always always ALWAYS love what you do, no matter what!

Never lose sight of why you chose this path.

Best of luck!
Ashleigh Janda ]]>