Kicked In The Pants

I feel like I was kicked in the pants yesterday– in a good way. I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately, and I don’t really know why. I just haven’t been performing or writing much, partly because of school, and partly because I’m lazy. Yesterday, though, a realization came over me. I’m not going to get anywhere if I don’t do anything. It seems obvious, but sometimes I start to fall asleep in the co pilot seat, and I just wait for good things to happen instead of making them happen.

Yesterday, though, I decided I was going to change. I’m going to more actively seek out gigs and opportunities to play music, and I’m going to make sure I have my cards with me so I can promote myself wherever I go, and I’m going to try and put myself out there one the internet more; i.e. set up a Twitter account (even though Twitter is stupid).

I also decided to dedicate a portion of every day to music; whether it’s practicing, or writing, or networking, or what have you. I contacted a few venues yesterday, and practiced my songs for a while, and today I sent out a craigslist add for band members. I’ve done that once before, and I didn’t get much of a response, but this time I was much more specific about what I was looking for, so I’m hoping I’ll get some takers. I’m also going to make sure I pray about it too.

I’ve also written a to-do list for myself with what I need to do once my album gets really close to being finished. My thinking is that in this order I need to: Form a band, find a venue for the album release party, get my album copyrighted, and get it on iTunes. Those seem to be the most important things to get done in the near future.

I’m really hoping this random kicked-in-the-pants feeling doesn’t wear off, because I’ve been awfully productive in the past two days.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Super Happy Obsession Type Things

I looked at my music page on Facebook a minute ago, and realized that I am now up to 70 “likes.” Of course a large percentage of these people are close friends and family, but you know what? 29 of them are people I don’t even know, which is super cool! Since a lot of you guys who follow my blog are interested in my musical shenanigans, I thought I’d ask a favor: if you’re on Facebook, would you mind going to my music page and hitting the “like” button? You can totally ignore anything I say, but sometimes I post pictures or YouTube videos or random happy things that you might be interested in.

Here is the link:
Katie Rose Curtis Music

In other news…

I played an open mic on Friday (Valentine’s Day), and I met a very nice young man by the name of Nate. We got talking during intermission, and we’ve decided that we’re going to do a musical duo! Last night Nate came to my recording session and put a viola track on my song “Passenger,” which can be heard (without the viola, unfortunately) here:

We’ve actually done quite a lot of work on it since I’ve uploaded this video, but at least you’ll be able to get a sense of the song.

Nearly all the tracking is done for my album, but there’s still quite a bit of mixing to be done. It’s almost time to start planning for the CD release party, which I’m very excited about. I’m thinking about having it possibly in Portsmouth New Hampshire since a large percentage of my fans are Maineiacs. Then again, it could end up being anywhere between Portland and Boston.

In terms of actual work that still needs to be done, almost all of the songs are finished or close to finished, but they need a little extra help from Brian, who works at the studio and plays keys, or Nate on strings.

I’m really hoping at some point to have a music video made for my song “One,” which is essentially a love peace and harmony manifesto. I don’t really have any great ideas for it yet, but if I get it professionally done (which would be ideal) I’ll probably have to save up for a while first. Hopefully I’ll make a bit of money from the CD release and iTunes sales.

I also really need to look into copyrighting this stuff as soon as it’s finished.

Realistically, though, getting out and performing more will be the most difficult part of this whole package at first. I don’t drive, and I can’t have my parents drive me all over creation all the time. Hopefully that problem will be somewhat solved if Nate and I end up performing a lot together, but getting from point “A” to point “B” is less of a problem than having help with the restroom once I get to wherever it is I’m going.

Another concern is balancing my last year of college with making sure I get out there and perform as much as possible. Ideally I’d like to get signed to a label because that should be a help with expenses and could help solve the travel problem. I have a lot of research to be doing in the next few months, but it’s all very exciting.

Something that I always have to keep in mind is that I’m doing this project for God, and I’ve been praying that he leads me through it and leads me with it. I also hope he will use it to lead other people to him. A long time ago, when I was just learning to play guitar, I asked God to help me have success with music and in return I would use it to glorify him. That deal seems to be working out quite well, so I’m thankful for that.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

The Bystander Effect

Yesterday in my philosophy class we talked about the bystander effect. We talked about how a group of people will stand and watch a child drown purely because there are other people there. People seem to have a mentality of “no one else is helping, why should I?” It’s why the genocide of the Jews in Germany was even possible.

It’s also why there are millions of starving children in the wold. We talked about how it seems that a person who is able to help should be morally obligated to from an egalitarian viewpoint. We talked about how people act based on social norms and an innate sense of self preservation and how this does not  seem to correlate with egalitarianism or a common sense of compassion.

It disturbed me a little in class, but we have talked about this kind of thing numerous times before in other classes mainly on a theoretical level. It sunk in however when I read an add in the school bulletin that gets sent out once a day via email. A girl was asking for help with a public speaking project she had coming up and I almost replied, but then I thought, “Well, she probably already has several other people offering to help her and I’m busy.” It is midterms. What if everyone else was “too busy” as well? I most likely have a few hours to spare some time this week. Am I morally obligated to help that girl?

Something else struck me today. I remembered that Jesus said, “The poor will always be with you.” Why? Is it because people aren’t helping? Is it because of economic or social structures, as some would argue? Do they bring poverty upon themselves? Is it forced upon them? What bothers me most is that word always. Is there nothing we can do to stop it? Is poverty an undying force that can’t be stopped?

A question that plenty of people deal with all the time is; why, if God is good does he allow suffering? I don’t have an answer to that. Everyone suffers in one way or another. It’s because we live in an imperfect world. What I really don’t get is why some people suffer WAY more than others. What’s more is that often times, the more people suffer, the stronger their faith is. In fact, many people bring suffering upon themselves to strengthen their spiritual life. The thing about our God is that he suffered for us, and he suffers with us. I know that, but I don’t entirely know what it means. God is with us and he is with us in our suffering, but what does it mean that he suffers too? I think if I could figure that out I would understand a lot of other things as well.

Last semester in my creative nonfiction writing class I read a short piece called “Being Christ to the Traveler.” In short it was about a guy who offers to hold a drunk guy’s flowers while he pees out the door of a train (the guy had evidently just broken up with his girlfriend). We can help anyone by doing little things like that, but it takes so much more to help the poor or the people dying of AIDS over in Africa.

The thing is, I basically don’t have anything saved. If it weren’t for my parents I’d be dead on the street somewhere, but as it stands I live in an awesome house in a nice, safe neighborhood, I go to a super nice college and took guitar lessons for five years. I personally am very poor. I have a part time job, but because of school and music I don’t work much and I make peanuts; actually less than peanuts.

All the money I’ve saved or that I make goes to recording my first album, and that’s where I’m conflicted. My plan/hope is to be able to live off of music and have a little extra to send to charities, etc. What we talked about in my philosophy class was this; is it more morally right to take the money one spends on college/recording/whatever and just give that to charity, or should one wait, go through college/recording/gigging/whatever and ultimately be able to do much more and help many more people? I don’t know.

I guess a good compromise is to help who you can when you can, how you can, but I don’t think it’s quite as satisfying as being able to say you got a kid out of poverty. I guess we’re not supposed to look for satisfaction out of helping people. Again, I’m probably thinking about this too much.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

My Old Man

Well guys, “Replace My Empty Spaces” just became a family project! I was talking to my mom in the car a couple days ago about how the album is coming along because I’m going to need to bring in some backup for “Nostalgia.” My friend, Nate played Piano on “You Answered” for me, but now I need someone to play strings. As much as I hate spending money, whether it’s my own or my parents’, I’m going to have to hire one of the other guys from the studio.

I also mentioned that I would like to have a male harmony singer on “Nostalgia,” so my mom started going through the list of people we know. We don’t know too many singers. Nate is away at college, and Nick has a weird voice; great for choir music, not so much for Folk-Rock. Then she started going through the list of family members who would be willing to learn to sing. The only person we could think of was my dad. I’m setting him up with a few lessons with the guy who taught me.

It’s so perfect because “Nostalgia” is about growing up and feeling old. I call my dad “Old One” too his face and he’s totally cool with it. My dad and I are like two peas in a pod, as lame as that expression is. Neither of us have any intention of actually growing up. It might mean holding off on finishing the song for a little while, but It would be really cool to have my dad sing on my record.


Apparently this is my 100th post! 🙂

Plans For Teaching Songwriting

I started writing my plans for teaching a songwriting class today. My teacher hasn’t officially given me the “ok, we’re going to do this,” but I plan on pestering him. He’s given one of the other teachers who works at the studio the ok to start a sort of “side project” that’s backed by the studio, and he said that if Kue takes care of it, he will give him the space and whatever that he needs. I figure if I just take control of this project he might let me do it no problem. I just need to figure out how to get the word out there. I figured putting my initial idea on my blog is one way. Once I have a more definite plan he’ll probably let me put it on the studio’s blog.

If we decide that we’re definitely doing this, Ken will shoot out an email to all the current clients of the studio. We’ll also have to figure out other ways of spreading the word to peeps who currently don’t go to the studio.

I have a few different ideas of how I’m actually going to teach the class. I want to teach it in two different sections, “basic” and “advanced.” The “basic” class will be for people who have little or no experience with music. The other class will be for people who can play music but maybe have never written any original material. That way the groups could stay smaller and everyone will be on the same-ish page. I will also be able to start in different places for the two groups, which will be good. I may or may not bother with music theory in either group because it’s kind of boring, but I’ve found it helpful and depending on where people are at I might teach a little bit in the “advanced” group. I will definitely work on singing more with the “basic” group since it’s more likely that their voices will be their only instruments.

I’m thinking these two classes will be geared towards the general populous, but we were also thinking about doing something for stay-at-home parents, seniors or other more specific groups. I would prefer to do the less specific classes, but one idea I had was to do a program once a week for X number of weeks and have that be the all inclusive one, and then the “old people” classes could be a once a week thing.

Being Helpful

Being helpful is one of the most rewarding things in the world. It doesn’t matter what you do to be helpful; big or small, when someone thanks you and tells you you’re helpful, it feels so good! I’m a little bit of a workaholic, but I can honestly say that most of the time I’d rather be helpful than productive, if I had to choose.

I read a post in October by a blogger who calls himself Marcel. It was his first post and he said that he wasn’t expecting anyone to read for a very long time. Well, I’m sometimes an overly friendly, sentimental nuisance, so I left him a comment to say “hi” and give a little advice. He thanked me and said he hoped I’d keep reading. So I’ve been reading and commenting on some of his posts, but I realized that sometimes trying to be helpful can be kind of annoying to people. I asked him if I was in fact being annoying, and he said that I wasn’t and that he appreciated me reading and commenting. Not only that, but he said my comments were helpful!

When that’s exactly what you’re hoping to hear and you’re easily excitable (I’m so easily excitable), it can kind of make your day.

Throughout high school, I wanted to “save the world.” I’m sure there are many 14 year old girls who think they can do that, but it’s ridiculous, nonetheless. Of course I’ve learned about all kinds of different organizations that seek to help people overseas and in third world countries, but I also think that saving the world can start at home. I like the idea of the movie “Pay It Forward.” If you’re nice/helpful to someone, they’ll be be nice/helpful to someone else. If you’re nice/helpful to a few people, it will grow exponentially.

Lately, since I’m almost halfway done with my sophomore year of college, I’ve been thinking about what I want or could be doing with my life.More importantly however, I’ve been trying to figure out where I “fit in” to God’s plan. I figure if I can understand that, it will help me to decide what I should do as a career. Because of things that have been going on lately, I’m starting to think that it has something to do with “doing big things in a small way.” I think of it sort of as a movie. There’s the actors on camera, and then there’s the “tech” crew behind the scenes helping with costumes, special effects, script, props and everything else that goes into a good movie.

This blog is actually an attempt at “doing big things in a small way.” I’m hoping that what I write is helpful to whomever reads it and that maybe it will make people think if not do something to make the world a better place. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but nobody said I couldn’t dream, and this is my internet bubble!