Favorite Christmas Songs

Hi friends!

This is to make up for the post that didn’t get posted yesterday! I hope that you’re all getting your Christmas shopping done and wrapping your presents for your loved ones. Maybe while you’re doing that gift wrapping you can compile a playlist of some of my favorite Christmas songs to put on in the background!

In no particular order:

  1. Last Christmas by Wham!
  2. Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band-Aid
  3. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland
  4. White Christmas by Michael Buble
  5. I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Michael Buble
  6. All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey
  7. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) by Nat King Cole
  8. That’s Christmas to Me by Pentatonix
  9. Mary Did You Know by Pentatonix
  10. Ukrainian Bell Carol
  11. Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses
  12. My Grown-Up Christmas List by Kelly Clarkson
  13. Christmas Time Is Here from Charlie Brown
  14. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Michael Buble
  15. Somewhere In My Memory from Home Alone 2

This is only a few of my favorites, I will be compiling a full Spotify playlist which I will link in my post tomorrow for you to listen to! See you all tomorrow! 🙂

Hannah
20 December 2015

A Night at the Symphony

Hello!……(it’s me)

Just joking around, hi friends!!

It’s been awhile but I’ve done some exciting things this past weekend that I can finally write posts about!! So on the 7th of this month, it was college night for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ! Thanks to my honors program at Rutgers, I was able to get free tickets as well as free VIP entry to an after party filled with performances by local a cappella groups! Granted the tickets were only $10, but free is free, which is great in my opinion!

Saturday night at 8 PM I had the pleasure of seeing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony featuring conductor Jacques Lacombe and the NJSO as well as the Westminster Symphonic Choir! In addition to an amazing orchestra and choir, soloists Barbara Shirvis (soprano), Elizabeth Bishop (mezzo-soprano), Jonathan Boyd (tenor), and Stephen Powell (baritone) were featured in the fourth movement. Amazing music all around from everyone! There was one specific Soprano who looked incredibly happy and excited to be there so shout out to you, whoever you are, for an entertaining performance! I guess facial expression really is a nice extra when it comes to choral performance!

This was actually my first ever attendance to a full symphony and I definitely don’t regret it. I expected to go through the first three movements hoping and waiting for the choral singing to come in but surprisingly I wasn’t distracted at all! I loved all three beginning movements including the prelude played before the work (Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral). Stephen Powell was definitely one of the best baritone’s I have ever heard live and I even got to sing happy birthday to him at the after party, haha!

Not to mention I got to watch my favorite university a cappella group, Casual Harmony, perform! Casual Harmony is our only award-winning all-male a cappella group featuring no music majors (but they’re amazing regardless! best group hands down). My friend is their music director and he arranges 98% of their music and he’s great so check their videos out on YouTube! I’ll link their channel at the bottom of this post.

AND I ALSO GOT TO SEE ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS FROM HIGH SCHOOL?!?! It’s weird to say that because we were just in high school months ago but it feels so long ago at the same time. He goes to TCNJ (Joe, if you read my other post back from the first day of September) and I had no intention of seeing him that night but he too was at the after party! Great time overall yay!

photo 1 photo 2

Casual Harmony YouTube Page

Hannah Aberin
10 November 2015

30 Day Scales Challenge: UPDATE!

Hi friends 😦

I have sad news today. I forgot to do my scales on Saturday!! It’s not as if I did much, because I had an orthodontist appoint before lunch and then went to a picnic for my choir (new one! not the old one, they were on the annual concert choir retreat sadly for me) until about 4pm and got home around 5:30 and didn’t do much after so I could have done it. I just forgot. This is probably why I didn’t get to Mason Gross because I always forget to practice. I realized my mistake yesterday on Sunday and restarted again! So I’m restarting my 30 days and my projected end date should be Tuesday October 13th!

Although I’m restarting the thirty days, that does not mean that I am starting from the very beginning of what I’ve practiced. I’m picking up right where I’ve left off which happens to be:

  • C Major & A Harmonic Minor
  • F Major & D Harmonic Minor
  • Bb Major & G Harmonic Minor
  • Eb Major & C Harmonic Minor
  • Ab Major & F Harmonic Minor
  • Hanon Exercises #1 and #2

So yes, I did add Hanon exercises into the mix, I don’t know if I said that in the last post because I did decide to add it in last Wednesday or Thursday. The main purpose of me adding in the Hanon exercises is so that I can build up the muscle in my hands and arms as well as their stamina. I don’t know if it happens to anyone else but when my hands are getting to a particularly strenuous part (i.e. octaves, anything fast paced, anything that has involved left-hand motions, etc.) my hands get tired really quickly and end up tensing up. I don’t want to tense up anymore! So I’ve been playing #1 and #2 back-to-back and non-stop for minutes. I just keep playing them back and forth until my hands get tired, but I only do them as fast as my hands can stay even together. However, since I am right-handed, my right hand is way ahead of my left hand in terms of strength and stamina, so when I feel my left hand lagging, I don’t slow my right hand down but push my left hand to keep up. Right now it’s more about building the muscles and stamina rather than evenness. I still want my right hand to be working just as hard as my left hand.

This is probably not the best way to do it but my tired arms and hand muscles will thank me later . . . (hopefully!)

I’ll try a lot harder to stay on track this time, so I’ll catch you guys in the next 30 Day Scales Challenge Update (whenever that is!)

Hannah
September 14 2015

P.S. Happy 21st Birthday to my friend Lee! (obviously not the one who graduated with me because that would be a pretty late age to graduate high school at)

When Does My Break End?

At one point do we think to ourselves, “wow I’ve worked really hard for x amount of time, now I better stop”? It’s impossible to really think that way because obviously we equate hard work to great reward in our society, but it’s really easy to think that way when things aren’t going exactly the way you planned.

After my piano audition for Mason Gross, I told my piano teacher I didn’t feel like taking lessons for awhile because I thought maybe I should talk a break after working so hard for the past seven months. Seems like a viable response, right? She thought so too, so I took a break. But then I got rejected from Mason Gross a month later. I was crushed. I really didn’t want to do piano again after that. There’s a very gray line between wallowing in pity and being determined to get back up from your fall. From the outside, it’s very simple to see what needs to be done, but from the inside, it can be difficult to get yourself out of the ditch. Was music really for me? For awhile, I kept telling myself, “Yes it is! You’ve worked so hard to let it go, you can’t just stop now.” I was convinced I’d get back to my piano lessons, but then the end of high school kept coming and all these events just kept getting piled up in my calendar — “can we reschedule the lesson for after this and after that?” “maybe we should start piano lessons after graduation?” Eventually things never really took off and I subconsciously kept putting my music career away. Soon enough, when I thought about getting back into my lessons, I had after thoughts about whether I was really worth a career in music education. A ridiculous thought, Hannah would say during a certain period in her life, but at that point, that Hannah was feeling all certain types of self doubt.

Then college started. I was excited, I wasn’t even thinking about having to re-audition for Mason Gross because yet another big event was blocking my vision. But every time I had to state my major, whether it was on paper or the professor went around the room and had everyone state their major, I felt so bad about myself. I felt like such a failure saying “Business”, I still do. There would be times when I would say “business . . . but maybe a minor in Music” or “business . . . and maybe music” and eventually “business . . . but I’m thinking of re-auditioning for Mason Gross”. I have two music seminars this semester that were open to all majors, and every time I heard someone say they were a music major, I felt so bad about myself. I always thought “I would have been that too . . . but I’m not.” It was the little things that constantly reminded me of my failure. It was so hard. I would get so anxious every time we went down the line and the spotlight fell to me. It was so hard to utter that one word. One little tiny word that didn’t have that much effect in retrospect, but to me, it felt like the reality of the mistakes I had made. So many times I would go back to my confident self, thinking that I could work hard and wedge my way into that school, but so many other times I kept questioning how I could ever think that I’d get into that school.

You may feel like a big fish in your small pond, but there are lots of big fish in other small ponds, too. Everything you thought, everything you believed, it can all be turned to dust in a matter of seconds. There were so many things I know I could have done differently, so many things I could have worked harder on, so much more I could have devoted my time to. But that’s the past. Now is now. When does my break end? I think I will be re-auditioning for Music Education in Voice, but I need a voice teacher. I mentioned to my mom that I need to get a voice teacher but we only have one working parent right now. And they weren’t too happy with taking piano lessons towards majoring in music, now they have to relive the process but for voice. It all probably seems so wasteful to them. I don’t think they even have any clue that I’m going to re-audition.

There are so many things to do, and so little time. Things felt so much more accessible in high school. But now I’m in college. You’ve all seen that I’ve tried to get back into piano by myself with my scales challenge — I’ve added the Hanon exercises on the side to break my hands down again. But I’m auditioning for voice now . . . right? Everything’s so unclear. I still have doubts about Mason Gross but I have been trying to trick myself through this scale challenge. Maybe if I keep up my music studies I’ll trick myself into thinking I still have some worth in music.

It’s hard. It’s hard to talk to your friends that got in. To hear how busy they are, and to hear about all the assignments that they have to do. I’d give anything to have assignments like those. To be in a piano class to be learning music theory again. To be learning about music history. To want to study all these things, but you never even got the chance.

Sorry, this post is getting harder and harder to write.

Hannah
September 9 2015

30 Day Scales Challenge!

Hi friends,

If you’re confused by the title, don’t be. As a pianist, it’s really important to know all of your scales (C Major, A Harmonic Minor, Eb Major, C# Harmonic Minor, etc.). Hah, you thought maybe I was talking about weight scales — never. You probably didn’t think that but I thought I’d try to make a joke of it anyway.

However, being me, I’m so bad at piano technique and keeping up with piano technique and even though I won’t be re-auditioning for Mason Gross as a piano major, I don’t want to lose my piano skills because I’m going to train in voice for awhile. I haven’t had a piano lesson since the week of my Mason Gross audition which if any of you were present for, that was March 7th 2015. It is September 5th right now.

So—on the fly, I decided to start my own 30 Day Scales Challenge where I’m going to try to learn and memorize all the correct fingerings for my scales with no mistakes at all! Don’t be fooled, it’s not as if I don’t know them but obviously it takes awhile and I don’t want to have to cheat on my fingering. I won’t be forgetting about the rest of my piano technique but focusing and concentrating myself on this one area will hopefully be beneficial. Sure it’s no party trick, but hey, knowing your scales backwards and forwards comes in handy as a musician. Trust me.

I’ll try to keep you all updated along this short journey. I’ve drawn myself up a calendar (literally) to put on my piano and keep up with things so hopefully we’ll have a white sheet of paper with lots of pencil and red pen markings!

Thanks for all your support, friends. I’ll be posting about the 2nd Annual SheepyPeep Birthday Week soon! I just have to add some photos and it’ll be up soon — I’ll probably post in Monday if I don’t procrastinate.

Hannah
September 5th 2015

30 Day Scales Challenge

My Summer Playlist 2015

Hi guys!

I’m always talking about how I’m such a big music person and how much I love it and how it’s all I do so I thought I’d share the playlist that’s been playing on my iPhone all summer!

In no particular order:

  1. Diane Young by Vampire Weekend
  2. Magic by Coldplay
  3. Moving Forward by Colony House
  4. Waiting For My Time To Come by Colony House
  5. Angels by The xx
  6. Pictures by Benjamin Francis Leftwich
  7. Beta Love by Ra Ra Riot
  8. Girls by The 1975
  9. Want to Want Me by Jason Derulo
  10. No Such Thing by John Mayer
  11. You Go Down Smooth by Lake Street Dive
  12. Little Secrets by Passion Pit
  13. Carried Away by Passon Pit
  14. Savannah by Relient K
  15. Warm Water by Banks
  16. Under The Table by Banks
  17. Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon
  18. You & I by Local Natives
  19. Ceilings by Local Natives
  20. Wide Eyes by Local Natives
  21. Sun Hands by Local Natives
  22. Who Knows Who Cares by Local Natives
  23. On Echo by Mree
  24. Monsters by Mree
  25. Against the Current by Mree
  26. Centuries by Fall Out Boy
  27. Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy
  28. Daft Punk Medley by Pentatonix
  29. Evolution of Michael Jackson by Pentatonix
    30. Bad Blood by Taylor Swift

So yeah! These songs have basically been my ultimate go-to’s for this summer–it’s a lengthy list but it’s a lot of good music and all of it was mostly introduced to me this summer so I’m introducing it to you too if you were looking for something new!

I hope you’re all having a good summer and enjoying the last moments of it just as I am! 🙂

Hannah
August 7 2015

Seeing Pentatonix and Kelly Clarkson!

I still can’t get over it!

Ah!

Hi everyone!

So on Tuesday July 14, 2015, I had the immense pleasure of meeting Pentatonix at a VIP meet-and-greet and seeing them and Kelly Clarkson live at the Piece by Piece Tour! It was honestly one of the highlights of my life so far–when you hear someone live who sounds pretty much exactly like they do on CDs and recordings, it’s kind of a surreal experience where you wonder if you’re actually listening to a live performance. And I’m not talking about lip syncing, I’m talking about pure, amazing talent! Ugh, they were so good!

I can’t continue to talk about this before thanking the person who made all of this possible though, so I’ll give you all a backstory real quickly. So my friend’s mom asked my high school a cappella group, “Noteriety” to sing a song at her Sweet 16 that happened on July 5th, and of course we agreed. However the biggest surprise for all of us was when she gifted not only my friend but all of Noteriety who could make it, tickets to the Piece by Piece Tour AND VIP meet-and-greet tickets. It was absolutely sweet and amazing of her to do that for all of us. She could have just gotten tickets for her daughter and their family but she surprised all of us too. Great mother. Great great great.

Anyways, on to the concert details! We went under a tent (it had been raining earlier that day so they had it up just in case) and were able to get 1 picture (2 shots) with them, get 1 item signed by them, meet them briefly in the signing line and a free tote bag which came with a PTX poster, PTX blue sunglasses, and a commemorative VIP ticket! That was a really long sentence sorry, it was so exciting. I brought my Pentatonix Christmas album and I’m going to keep it in my car and show it to every passenger that comes in my car, it’ll be wonderful.

After the meet-and-greet we got first look at the merchandise booth so of course I got myself some stuff. My checking account hates me but that’s ok because I didn’t have to pay for the concert so..haha (thank you again angel’s mom) (I bought french fries for like $6.25 though…really bad deal…jussayin’). We sat around and waited for a bit and then went down to the arena to our seats. So good, so good. I originally went to this concert thinking Pentatonix was headlining the tour but was sad to find out they were only openers for Kelly Clarkson. I was disappointed to be honest! But then Kelly sang and I wasn’t disappointed anymore. She was great. Sooooo great! The throwback songs were amazing, I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did! I still wish there was more Pentatonix but y’know, I met them and that’s all that matters right now in life.

I got to here Pentatonix perform their cover of Cheerleader for the first time ever which was exciting. I don’t like that song, but I like when they perform anything. I could tell you about their setlist but you could probably find it on social me–just kidding I’m going to tell you anyway. They started off with Problem, and then Telephone (<3), La La Latch, Cheerleader, Rather Be, Aha!, THE MICHAEL JACKSON MEDLEY (side note: I was talking to Arthur right before they did that and said “I wish they would do their Michael Jackson medley” and then they did. Best moment ever), On My Way Home, and then closed with the Daft Punk medley!! Love them love them love them. Ok I’m done rambling! This is one of my longest posts I think.

Apologizing as usual for my amateur photography and lighting 🙂

See you guys again soon! I’ll attach the photos below!

Hannah
July 17, 2015

(1- Tote Bag & Sunglasses. 2- Front of T-Shirt. 3-Snapback. 4-Ticket, Signed CD Case, VIP Pass, & VIP Commemorative Ticket)

PTX Tote & ShadesPTX Concert Shirt

PTX Snapback

PTX VIP