spring 2019 reflection

GOALS from Spring 2019:

[ x ] Achieve the Dean’s List (academic)

[ x ] Perform in the second fourth piano departmental (academic)

[ x ] Eat twice daily with snacks between meals (health)

[   ] Be able to run a mile in under 10 minutes (health)

[   ] Be able to lift at least 60 lbs (health)

[ x ] Obtain summer job (career, finances)

[   ] Complete STEP (extracurricular)

[   ] Complete Baker Documentary for Humanities Second Year Project (academic, extracurricular)

[ x ] Meet deadlines (wellness, professionalism)

[ x ] Sleep consistently (Be in bed by 10 PM?) (health)

[   ]  Practice every day (self-improvement)

I achieved a 4.0 this semester, earning a place on the Dean’s List for the fourth semester. My ultimate goal is to graduate Summa cum laude which requires a 3.900 GPA.

I pushed myself to perform more in studio class, preparing me for the departmental. Performing in studio allowed me to gain more confidence in asking my piano peers for advice. I generally would feel intimidated by my peers, but I realize that they are incredibly approachable and wise resources to consult.

Regarding health, I did not do much with my health goals. I chose instead to prioritize working two jobs, practicing three instruments, Jazz Fest preparation, and developing my relationships. I did eat much better this semester, however.

I met most of deadlines which allowed me to maintain great grades and contain my overwhelm from school. It was certainly difficult but I’m happy that I accomplished this small goal. I created a schedule that included my mealtimes, break times, social times and study/practice times that helped me to stay on top of all of my work.

I slept consistently but was not in bed by 10pm  but instead no later than midnight. After leaving my second job post-spring break, my sleep schedule improved significantly and I was notably more well rested the rest of the semester.

After learning how STEP impacted my cost-of-attendance scholarship, I realized that STEP was not a good option for me so I chose to withdraw from the program. My mentor, Chad Zipfel, a professor from Fisher College of Business was an amazing help and incredibly energetic and helpful. If he chooses to be a mentor again next year, the STEP participants will certainly be in good hands.

Regarding practicing, I noticed that days that I don’t practice my instruments, I felt ashamed, lazy, and disappointed in my lack of discipline. I realized that whether or not I practiced affected my mental health in a negative manner, so I made a point to intentionally practice even when I didn’t want to. Although I did not practice every day, I practiced more intentionally. I planned out my practice, choosing which parts to focus on and set a timer so that I touched everything once. I also disciplined myself to practice on the weekends rather than work and sleep. Having musical friends also helped as often we would go to Hughes to practice at the same time, holding eachother accountable. When I actually made an effort to go to Hughes and started, I found it easy to have an effective practice session. My teacher always said, the hardest part about practicing is taking out the horn/piano, and this is certainly true.

In the end, I accomplished many of my goals that I set for myself this semester and I’m extremely proud of myself. In the near future I will upload a full reflection of my classes, experiences, and even reviews of my Humanities involvement from the 2018-19 school year.

goals for spring 2019

[   ] Achieve the Dean’s List (academic)

[   ] Perform in the second piano departmental (academic)

[   ] Eat twice daily with snacks between meals (health)

[   ] Be able to run a mile in under 10 minutes (health)

[   ] Be able to lift at least 60 lbs (health)

[   ] Obtain summer job (career, finances)

[   ] Complete STEP (extracurricular)

[   ] Complete Baker Documentary for Humanities Second Year Project (academic, extracurricular)

[   ] Meet deadlines (wellness, professionalism)

[   ] Sleep consistently (Be in bed by 10 PM?) (health)

[   ]  Practice every day (self-improvement)

reflection of autumn 2018


My third semester at The Ohio State University has come to a close. I was successful in many ways and learned from many mistakes. Successes included finishing with all As with the exception of an A-, becoming a Student Lead at Kennedy Commons, writing and learning my first Transcription for Jazz Trumpet ever, and earning the 2nd Trumpet Position in the Jazz Lab Ensemble.  I also made a great deal of progress in my social life. Mistakes involved poor time management, over scheduling myself, not sleeping or eating healthily and not being as organized as I should have. Although this semester was by far the most stressful yet, I’m thankful for all of the experiences that came from it.


Classes taken:

Intro to Music Education

Studied music education philosophies and methods; shadowed practicing general and instrumental music teachers in their classrooms in local schools; reflected on my own music education experiences; developed personal philosophy on the importance of music education supported by credible sources collected over the course of the semester.

Music Theory I

Explored theoretical concepts of harmony in Western music, increased fluency in recognition of intervals, clefs, and the circle of fifths. Composed and harmonized melodies and chorales with knowledge of SATB relationships, counterpoint, and harmony. Gained understanding of relationship between meter and hypermeter  and much more.

Aural Skills I

Developed ear’s ability to distinguish between different chord qualities, modes, and interval qualities. Gained fluency in harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic dictation by using music notation to represent what was heard.

Music Technology

Introduced to Finale (music notation software), arranging, and technological aspects of music. Gained knowledge regarding harmonic series, instrument ranges, and other software available to create music.

Piano Literature I

Explored classical piano works from 1600s to Beethoven’s sonatas and concerti.

Applied Jazz Trumpet

Developed range, aural skills, and increased awareness of jazz culture by means of private instruction, transcription of solos, and presentation of a jazz album and transcription at the end of the semester.

Applied Piano (Classical)

Worked on performance and technical skills for classical piano.

Applied Jazz Piano

Introduced to various jazz piano styles, chord voicing, and approaches to soloing. Gained exposure to plethora of jazz music, so increased awareness of jazz culture.

Ohio Show Band (Ensemble)

Performed a live-streamed concert, at the Celebration Concert, and the Jazz Studies Holiday concert various popular tunes as an Alto vocalist. Lead several songs including The Temptations “My Girl” and Mariah Carey’s “Joy to the World.”

Jazz Lab Ensemble

Served as second trumpet, featured as soloist on Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life.”

Other commitments:


Humanities Scholars

Morrill Scholars

Early Field Experience

Concert Attendance

Office Assistant at Baker Hall East

Student Steward/Student Lead at Kennedy Commons


STEP week 6: goals

STEP Project Ideas:

  • The Brazilian Experience
    • Studying for 2 weeks at OSU followed by two week trip in Brazil where we will engage in culture, music, teach and take classes, etc.
    • Steps to make reality:
      • Obtain Scholarships to offset costs (apply during fall break)
      • Apply to program ($150 app fee, essays/rationale, etc.)
      • Be aware of other requirements (deadlines, passports, etc.)
  • Intern at photography/graphic design place
    • Learn how to build network
    • Explore design techniques
  • Take cross-country road trip
    • Explore American monuments and natural parks

new ideas and a reflection: building relationships with faculty

On Wednesday, September 19th, 2nd Year Humanities Scholars students were given a lecture by guest speaker Dr. Melissa Curley, a professor of Comparative Studies who specializes in Japanese Religions, Buddhism and Modernity, Religion and the Body, and the Kyoto School of Philosophy. She provided some advice for building relationships with faculty members since these relationships will prove important when seeking reference letters in the future and possibly gaining access to certain career/research/etc. opportunities.

Dr. Curley describe some benefits of attending Office Hours or “Student Hours” to build a relationship with a professor.

  • The professor can put a student’s face to his or her name, which can be especially important in a large-classroom setting.
  • Meeting with the professor one-on-one can provide clarity for the student if he or she is struggling with a particular assignment or concept.
  • A student interested the professor’s own field of study could gain more insight on how to become involved with that particular field.

Common fears that might prevent a student from attending office hours include:

  • “I don’t feel confident enough to ask the professor for help.”
  • “I feel confident with the material and find trouble finding something to talk with the professor about.

Advice for combating these two fears:

  • Go to professor for help, even if you’re scared. They have direction and know what they seek from the assignments they assign. Bring a friend with you if you’re nervous.
  • When at a networking event, challenge yourself to meet with and obtain contact information for a certain number of people. This is especially important for shy individuals who may find comfort in speaking only with people they know.
  • When attending office hours, come up with a list of possible questions to ask professor before you meet.
  • To expand the conversation, ask the professor about him or herself: What special projects do you work on? What do you think about [ insert relevant topic ] ? How does this [ specific course-related topic ] apply to the world? Do you know of any opportunities that would allow me to explore [ this topic ] ?
  • Don’t be afraid to accept gifts from others.
    • She explained how she would take small groups of students to an informal setting such as a coffee shop to work on projects and would offer them a beverage or food at her expense. A majority of the students declined the food. She compared Asian culture to North American culture in how in Japan if a person of higher status than you offers you something, you accept as not to offend. In North American, we often feel that we are imposing on others when we accept their gifts.
  • Study abroad if you can.

Emphasizing the impact of a study abroad experience on life, Dr. Curley discussed how studying abroad can facilitate fostering a relationship with a faculty member who is involved with the trip. I asked Dr. Curley directly about study abroad opportunities related to music. She mentioned a History of the Beatles course that involves a tour of Europe, The Brazil Experience: Surveying Brazil through Music Education. She also mentioned her own experiences studying in Japan which is something I’ve dreamed about since I was 12.

I personally can relate to feeling shy about speaking with people at social events. I often meet people yet rarely follow up in a strategic way. That’s certainly something I could improve on. I also need to become better at building relationships with actual faculty. I’m pretty good at building relationships with upperclassman students involved in my fields of interest (photography, graphic design, and music/music ed) and I feel comfortable having interesting conversations with faculty members; however, I haven’t found a faculty member that is involved in a field of study that I really have interest in quite yet. I also struggle with accepting gifts or help from people at times because I feel that I’m imposing on someone. I’m becoming better at graciously accepting gifts and aid. In light of this quick seminar, I’ve decided that one of my goals for this year is to build a relationship with at least two faculty members.


Humanities Scholars Meeting Notes, Wednesday September 19th

Topic: Building relationships with a faculty member

GOALS: Leadership Development

Summary: How to build relationships with faculty in and outside of the classroom.


reflection of spring 2018

Goals for Spring 2018 included:
  1. To maintain a minimalist lifestyle ( x )
  2. To achieve a 4.0 GPA ( x )
  3. To learn my repertoire quickly (    )
  4. To create a documentary on Baker Hall (    )
  5. To volunteer ( x )
  6. To interview a new person each month (    )
  7. To be true to myself ( x )

I maintained my minimalist lifestyle — not buying in excess, not wasting resources, etc. I earned a 4.0 GPA and achieved the Dean’s List once again. I volunteered on multiple occasions, generally serving as a representative of the University, encouraging prospective students to become apart the wonderful experience that is The Ohio State University. I hosted Distinction Scholarship candidates at the Morrill Scholars Distinction Weekend opening ceremony, answering questions and encouraging prospective students to remain calm and to simply be themselves as they prepared for their interviews that took place the next day. I also served as a tour guide for Fifth Third Bank’s Young Bankers Club in April, leading a large group of 5th grade students from Columbus Public City Schools around Ohio State, exposing them to the Ohio State world. The kids live nearby but may have never stepped foot on campus, so it was a great opportunity to shine a positive light on the university. Furthermore, I  gave my sister Mrs. Kimberly Nalls’s 8th grade students from Trotwood-Madison Middle School a tour of Ohio State after they attended the Spring Game in April 2018. Even though I volunteered more than last semester, I know that I can do a lot more next year. I hope to become more involved with the Humane Society to nurture the part of myself that loves animals.

Although I failed to create a documentary about Baker Hall or to interview a new person each month, or to learn music as quickly as I should have, I still learned a great deal. I learned how to learn repertoire and have rekindled my confidence in myself regarding music. I’ve altered my technique by watching many live performers as well as assessing my weaknesses. I’m still experimenting with establishing a practice routine, but I’ve made a great deal of progress in figuring out what works and what does not.

This summer I have completed 16 hours of Early Field Experience (for teaching), joined my church’s Worship Ministry (band), taken a U.S. History course at Sinclair Community College, and have taken trumpet lessons with Chris Braun at Sinclair. I’ve learned a lot, increasing my range and bettering my tone and musicality, committing my scales to memory and improvising at Church and on my own. Furthermore, I’ve been educating myself on personal finance and also introducing myself to Spanish. Regarding piano, I’ve been working on six pieces for my summer repertoire and 36 major and minor scales. Finally, I’ve been practicing my photography and rediscovered my love for this art form. So far, this summer has been a decent balance of progress and rest.

I have 26 days before I move back to CBus, as I will be serving as an Office Assistant next school year. I’m excited to begin my music courses. I plan to take Music Theory I, Aural Training I, Intro to Music Education, Intro to Music Technology, Secondary lessons for Jazz Piano and Jazz Trumpet, participate in Athletic Band and a Jazz Combo, and learn about piano compositions in Piano Literature I. I will also be participating in STEP next year, so I have a busy semester ahead of me.

goals for spring 2018

  1. To maintain a minimalist lifestyle
  2. To achieve a 4.0 GPA
  3. To learn my repertoire quickly
  4. To create a documentary on Baker Hall
  5. To volunteer
  6. To interview a new person each month
  7. To be true to myself

week 6 update


I’m in the middle of my sixth week of my second semester and I thought I would take some time to reflect on two of my favorite classes I’m currently taking, English 1110.01 and Classics/AAAS 3956.

In my English class, we are learning about the linguistic perspective on language. I’ve learned that two approaches to understanding language exist: the prescriptive method and the descriptive method. Non-linguists such as high school grammar teachers prefer to take the prescriptive approach while linguists favor the descriptive approach. The prescriptive method attempts to establish rules about how language should be while the descriptive method simply concerns itself with how speakers of a language use the language natural. Prescriptivists are quick to say that some languages are better than others, are nit-picky about grammatical constructions such as split infinitives and double negatives, and, concerning US English, believe that Standard American English dialect is superior to all other English dialects such as African American Vernacular English, southern mountain dialects, Chicano, etc. Despising variation, supporters of the prescriptivist approach often believe that speakers of non-standard dialects lack education. This is extremely problematic the way someone speaks is a poor indicator of intelligence. Unfortunately, many believe that it is. This class has taught me to transcend my own perspective and to respect different dialects. My entire way of thinking has been altered because at one time, I too used to believe Standard American English to be superior to other “non-standard” dialects. Bethany Christianson, a grad student in linguistics, teaches this class and I’ve enjoyed every moment.

In my African American Classics class taught by Tom Hawkins, I’ve learned a lot about the history of race. From ideas held by ancient philosophers; to Antebellum and post-Civil War theorists and writers; to relatively more modern commentary such as Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. My understanding of race has deepened and the ideas I’ve learned in this class has reshaped my philosophy on life in general. We’ve discussed early environmental theories of race to genetic theories, learned about the importance of Egypt in the argument against the idea that people of African descent are inferior to other races and are incapable of producing art, original ideas, or truly contributing to human progress without imitating Whites. Obviously this is untrue but people truly believed that back then and some believe this idea to this day.

Furthermore, we’ve just finished reading and discussing  The Invisible Man. This book has really triggered a renewing feeling within me that I haven’t felt since reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden my sophomore year of high school. Witnessing the narrator of TIM transition from an annoying, ingratiating boy to a man in search of meaning really affected me. Chapter 11 was particularly inspiring because in this chapter, the narrator,  having been injured when he fails to prevent a factory explosion, wakes up remembering nothing of his past. He has forgotten his name, who his mother is, and most importantly, who he is. The doctor at one point when trying to learn the narrator’s identity asks “Who are you?” but the narrator cannot answer. The scene feels ethereal and fresh– somewhat like being born again. Like a fresh chalk board or a blank canvas. I related very much to the main character in this seen.

Once a person graduates high school, no one is there to tell that person how to live or where to project their life anymore. I’m no longer just taking the next AP class or striving to be section leader or to perform better than my peers. I struggled with feelings of loss and confusion my first semester of college. Honestly, these sentiments persist as I continue to recreate my identity. Although who I was in high school no longer exists, my experiences from that time in my life have made me into who I am today. I was an artist, a photographer, a musician, and an excellent student. No longer participating in the activities I did in high school last semester, I sort of forgot who I was. I stopped taking pictures, journalling, meditating, and thinking deeply. This semester, I’ve been revisiting activities that used to bring me joy and purpose. I’ve joined an ensemble, practice piano consistently, journal, and have brought my camera back to campus. I remembered that I take photos as a historian– to bring smiles and curiosity to people’s faces later in life. Not to gain likes on social media. Moreover, I also realized that I was feeling unhappy because I no longer practiced gratitude. So many wonderful things have happened to me this semester: I’ve got extremely supportive and inspiring mentors (Kayla C., Courtney J., Traci B., Rashad); an amazing family; a wonderful opportunity to experience OSU with a full-ride scholarship through Morrill Scholars; awesome, inclusive friends; good roommates; infinite food; intriguing classes; and of course music. I’m still growing, and I’ll keep you updated on my journey.


Brooke Butler

my first week of second semester

My first week of second semester was not too bad. Having been accepted to the school of music in December, I was officially a music major. I hoped to study Music Education with a concentration on Instrumental Music. Since I began this journey in the spring rather than autumn semester, I could not formally begin the required major classes since the latter requires the classes to be taken sequentially; thus, I chose to take a more strategic approach to selecting classes in order to complete most of my general education courses this semester. I took English 1101.01 (Freshman English), Classics 3965 (African American Classics/Black Cultures),  CSFRST 2372 (Appearance, Dress, and Cultural Diversity), Statistics 1350, University Band, and my studio class for piano. My course load differed from last semesters in that the former was predominantly surveys and science. Although I felt that I might have too much time to spare, I will figure out how to manage my time efficiently this semester.

That week I also turned nineteen. I spent the day exploring campus with my boyfriend who traveled many miles just to spend the day with me. I showed him my favorite places to study, discovered the rooftop garden on top of the architecture building, and ate pleasant mango smoothies from the RPAC. It was a nice mild, 60-degree day. The following day was bitter cold, but a wonderful evening was spent at the Columbus Museum of Art with some close friends. Despite the blizzard that seemed to snow us in, the night was filled of adventure, delicious cookies, and creative expression.

My favorite photograph that I was surprised to see at CBus Museum of Art.


Dressing up as Parisans from the 1800s.

my first semester at OSU

Greetings! I have been living at OSU for 15 weeks now, and this semester has certainly been a ride.

Initially, I struggled with efficiency. In high school I had clubs, school, and other extracurriculars that sort of created a schedule for me. I attended school for 7 hours, had an hour for yearbook, and another two hours for jazz band. In college this semester, most of my days ended around 12:30pm, so I had a lot of time on my hands. I lacked structure the first month or so of school. I would do homework before it was due and eat regularly but never at a consistent time. I was spending more time on Chem 1210 assignments than Psych 1100 or Bio 1113. I was socializing a great deal but not really studying the way I needed to. I also started working at one of the dining halls the second week of school so I had to figure out how to balance all of my new commitments. Sometimes I would feel so overwhelmed by the tasks I had to complete I wouldn’t know where to start.  Although I used a planner, I realized that I was failing to complete all of the goals I was setting for myself. To add some structure to my life, I began to use iCalendar along with my planner to better allocate my time. I scheduled time for meals, for completing certain assignments, completing REP, work, and even sleep. Although I did not always stick with my schedule, I was able to relieve a lot of the stress that was building when I was living without much structure.

Regarding friends, I have become close friends with my roommates and two friends I met from Morrill Scholars. I’ve maintained friendships with my old group from high school through social media, meet up on occasion with the high school friends who also chose to attend OSU, and go out on the weekends. Although I don’t have a giant friend group and I generally eat meals alone due to differing schedules, I still have a strong social life. I’ve also grown closer with my parents, siblings, and my long-distance boyfriend despite living so far away. For health, I eat three meals a day since I have the unlimited dining plan. I eat somewhat well in that I eat fruits and vegetables every day, but not as healthily as I would like. I wish the dining halls, specifically KCom had more variety for healthier choices. Lastly, concerning academics, I have stayed on top of my assignments and have been doing well. I just have to finish strong with finals the next two weeks.

Regarding Humanities Scholars, I am so happy that I chose this scholars group. I traveled to Chicago during fall break and saw Les Miserables, live comedy, the Navy Pier, and explored the city on my own. If I had not gone on that trip, I would not have the cozy winter coat that has been saving me the past few chilly weeks. I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve met living in Baker East, meeting Art Scholars who live just across the connector, and discussing the importance of the humanities in our seminar class. I’m really thankful for my opportunity to experience college at OSU and this scholars group has made OSU feel more like home. In the future, I would like to become a mentor for the next group of freshmen.

Before I came to campus, my main concerns were time management, finding friends, eating healthily, and succeeding in academics. I would say that I accomplished most of these goals thus far. My goals for the future include becoming a Student Lead at KCom by the end of next semester, being admitted to the school of music as a piano performance major, and continuing to succeed academically, socially, intellectually, and spiritually.