Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Time of Blessing

The blessings of the Lord have been flowing down upon me the last couple of weeks!  I'll begin with the language side of my life.  Yesterday I finished the Michel Thomas course I have been working on for the last five months.  This is significant for a number of reasons.  First, I feel that I have a strong base in German now and can comfortably hold my own in basic, day to day conversation.  Second, this means that I can now move on to Assimil, picking up where I left off at lesson 24.  Additionally, tomorrow I will cross over the 2,000 known word milestone on LingQ.  This has taken me a lot longer than I anticipated, however it is ultimately of my own doing.  I took a small hiatus earlier in the year from LingQ and in general I am lax about doing LingQ if I am lacking motivation on a given day.  This puts me at about the same level on LingQ as my Italian says I am.  Although Italian was the "first" foreign language I brought to a significant level it has quickly become my lowest level language, besides my high school level Spanish.  At some point I will come back and bring all of my languages to higher levels, but for now I am content with where it is.

Based on where I am in the Assimil program, I have approximately 126 days of work ahead of me, which equates 25 weeks of study based on a 5 day study schedule.  That should bring me to about December, which allows me to focus solely and intensively on LingQ for the final month, where I hope to really increase my known words.  The nice thing about known words is that they grow exponentially.  In French I learned approximately 5500 words in 8 months.  If I follow a similar pace from here on out in German that would bring me to about 7500 known words by the end of the year, give or take a few hundred.  If I stay on course and hit all of my goals for the rest of the year I should have no problem speaking German coming January 1st.

The real exciting news comes on the vocal front.  I went down to New York to have a lesson with JRL and had a very productive lesson.  Towards the end of the lesson I was assigned the role of Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi for a sing-through later in the summer.  This will be my first time singing a role as a tenor!  On top of this, I am also looking ahead to doing my first round of auditions for some summer programs in the autumn.  After three arduous years of struggle and hard work I am beginning to come out on the other side of this process and am confident about my prospects.

Another important part of my trip to New York was my coaching with Susan Morton.  During the coaching I was recommended a book called The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.  While I am still just barely scratching the surface of this book, it has transformed my approach to nearly every important aspect of my life.  The concept of "deep practicing" discussed in the tome has made learning a much more intense and rewarding experience.  I have witnessed the benefits in my singing while learning this role, in my running as I have determined to beat my chronic shin splints this summer, and even my language work as I near an intermediate level of German.  I highly recommend that anyone who is attempting to gain a skill find this book and give it a read.

Overall, the last two weeks have seen many prayers beginning to be answered and many goals in their infancy of being realized.  I look forward to where these new opportunities and experiences take me and glorify the Lord for granting me the patience to see these things through to their fulfillment according to his will!

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