So it’s only been, you know, three months since I last posted. NBD, right?! Wrong. I owe you all a LOT of information, especially several Family Fridays, but I’ll get to those later. Right now you get to hear about the Vocal Literature class I’m taking as part of my coursework for the first semester of graduate school. Oh, I forgot to mention I’m in grad school as of a little less than a month ago? Sorry. Anyway, back to Vocal Lit. It’s a really great class and one of the first assignments we received says “Vocal Literature Library Assignment” at the top. I’m definitely not opposed to spending time in the library, especially after I missed the initial tour for the new grad students, so I popped up to the library the day after we received this assignment and started wandering around. I really enjoy libraries, but a library like this plus digging around to figure out what’s in the open stacks at ML48? LOVE IT. The assignment required us to go to various areas of the open stacks and reference sections to find out what’s what in specific sections. As for ML48? I’m sure many of you can guess at my absolute delight when I saw volumes of Nico Castel’s Complete Opera Libretti sitting on those shelves. I somehow managed to keep my excitement to myself and simply used lots of block letters and exclamation points when recording what I found in my notebook. Let me stop and add that we were in the first full week of classes when we received the assignment. I had survived the overwhelming blur that was the actual first week of classes and had been wondering a little to myself, “What am I doing?!” Yes, it’s a dream come true to finally be in graduate school working towards my Masters in Music but taking classes and teaching undergraduate students? Let’s just say I had my fair share of doubtful thoughts before we received this assignment. So, back to the library. As I’m wandering through the stacks finding Coffin’s Word by Word Translations of Songs and Arias, Brahms Complete Song Texts, McTyre’s Library Resources for Singers, Coaches, and Accompanists, and many other texts I’ve only ever been told about the excitement hit me. Not only to I FINALLY get to practice singing every day but I get to drink up as much knowledge as I possibly can while I’m here (and hopefully after too!). Besides the Castel Libretti books and Coffin’s Translations, both of which I knew existed, there were a few other things I found in the library that I did not know were available. The first was the NATS Journal, which was retitled as the Journal of Singing in 1995. I had heard all sorts of things about NATS (National Association for Teachers of Singing) from my previous voice teacher and had perused their website once or twice but that was about it. The journal is published six times a year and has four main sections: Features, Departments, Reviews and Information. The articles in each section cover every topic and aspect of singing that you could possibly think of from technique and breathing issues to what is appropriate to wear for an audition to what technology aspiring singers should be paying attention to and taking advantage of. Believe me when I say I will be reading every single issue for now on as it becomes available. The second thing that I discovered was more of a section of the library as opposed to a specific item within the library. It was everything in the M1-M23 portion of the open stacks. You know what I found? Anthologies. Anthologies from every time period of music history as far back as the 1200s including vocal and instrumental aspects. There are even anthologies as specific as The Chanson Albums of Marguerite of Austria, which covers the music performed in Marguerite of Austria’s Court at Malines from 1480-1530. Isn’t that fantastic? There were other anthologies covering periods and specific types of music such as Mass, the Florentine Renaissance and, wait for it, the works of Handel. (You know I was super excited to see that one.) The final section of the library I discovered that I wanted to share with you all are the different areas where I found books about repertoire. One of my biggest concerns with being a graduate teaching assistant, and as a result having private voice students I needed to teach, was knowing what repertoire to give them to learn. I knew when I got the teaching assignment that I would have an advisor, as well as any of the other faculty, that I could go to for help in this area but I also started wondering what information is available to me for when I don’t have these teachers? It was a huge sigh of relief for me as well of excitement when I started seeing titles like Solo Vocal Repertoire for Young Singers and Songs for Young Singers. I found books and annotated bibliographies that not only would aid me in picking out repertoire for students but repertoire for myself as well! I spent an hour in the library that first day after we received this assignment and I’ve been back almost every day since. Reading through NATS articles, looking up repertoire and grabbing sheet music off the shelves just for the sake of a few moments study. I’m so incredibly excited for the next two years of study and all the information that is available to me during that time. This project was a great start to help me hit the ground running and give me a glimpse of all the resources available for study. I’ll be back in the next day or so, hopefully, with a life/school update and a Family Friday or two, in the mean time I’ll either be in class or the library!