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


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.

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.

it’s a small world after all…

My scholars program, Humanities Scholars has challenged me to transcend my comfort zone on a variety of occasions. In this instance, we were assigned to create a video centered on the theme “It’s A Small World After All.” My group consisted of myself, Kelly Nguyen, Autumn Conner, and Chandrika Janumpalli. We chose to approach answering this question by conducting interviews with a people from a variety of backgrounds. Even though the world is ginormous and incredibly diverse, similarities still exists among humans. We all have dreams, pet peeves, hope to improve ourselves, and experience love. This project opened my eyes to all the people I see every day. Everyone has his or her own story, but you’ll never know it unless you walk up to them and strike up a conversation. Although this project was stressful, I’ve become much more comfortable meeting new people and understand the power of conversation; for that, I am thankful for this project. Our video satisfies the Original Inquiry portion of G.O.A.L.S.

meet kennedy: humans of OSU

Interview with Kennedy, a biology major at OSU on October 17, 2017.

Kennedy performing a pirouette in a campus dance room. Taken by Brooke Butler.


“I want to be remembered as someone who gave another person hope in themselves so they can find a passion in themselves they didn’t know they were interested in. Specifically dance for me, I didn’t know that that would be my passion or part of who I am until I tried it. It’s stress relieving and it’s how I found my calling—Kinesiology, the study of body movement. I want to make a nonprofit in the future geared toward any student who wants to attend professional dance classes, specifically ballet. In ballet you learn how your body should be correctly utilized in a specific movement. Nowadays in contemporary people just kind of move their bodies around without understanding the purpose each body part holds. With those dance classes they would also attend science classes like biology, chemistry, kinesiology, anatomy so they can actually correlate what they’re doing in dance class with what they’re learning in class. It’s a more fun way to learn.”

Kennedy can be reached at

my first week at OSU (2017)


On August 15, 2017, I began my journey at The Ohio State University. I moved in four days earlier than most freshmen because I participated in the Morrill Scholars Early Arrival Program. Filled with new tastes, places, and faces; I engaged in several thought-provoking dialogues about race, politics, and life. Furthermore, I made new friends and explored the campus before the rest of student body arrived.

After a week of exploration, school began and I began to feel overwhelmed. I felt anxious about my social life and academics. I ate alone a few times those first few days because I was too scared to ask people to eat with me, but eventually I  began to speak up. In terms of academics, I was scheduled to take 18 credit hours for the semester. I was unable to audition for any music groups or take any classes involving the arts because of my full schedule. After a lot of thinking I decided to speak up and seek the advice of upperclassmen and my academic advisor. After meeting with them, I decided to drop a class. Because my goal is not to attend medical school, my advisor reassured me that I would not be behind for my major. That week I learned that good things happen to those who ask.

On the other hand, as a Humanities Scholar I expect to nourish my hunger to learn about people and to explore the arts in the Columbus area and beyond. I’m excited to go to Chicago in October and hope to travel to New York next semester as well. My goal this semester  is to continue to grow as a person, a student, and as an artist. But I won’t be able to obtain the things I want without asking.

Some pictures from my first week:

My first smoothie at the RPAC.


After spending the morning with fellow Morrill Scholars raking mulch around trees to protect them from flooding at Lou Berliner Park, we enjoyed a few hours exploring COSI. This is a picture of the famous pendulum found in the entry way of the museum.


Taken while running around campus on a timed scavenger hunt organized by MSP. My team won by the way(;


Taken after eating a delicious steak sub from Apollo’s, a Greek restaurant on High Street.