Well, I’ve decided that I don’t want to go audition for an opera. I love to perform but I know that I don’t want to perform for my whole life. Instead, I plan on double majoring in Music and Advertising with a minor in Arts Entrepreneurship. I want to get an internship with a record label in Nashville or LA. I want to be involved in the business side of music. I want to go behind the scenes of popular mainstream music and work with the artists to help advertise and market themselves. I don’t have my plan laid out year by year. But I know that what I want to do is work in the music business with mainstream pop artists.
My Elevator Pitch!! <— click here to watch my Elevator Pitch!
Compared to everyone else here in Meadows, I feel like I don’t have that many outstanding or unique skills. I don’t think that I have any skills that set me ahead or apart from the rest of the Arts crowd. But, we aren’t supposed to compare ourselves, are we?
I’m really good at music theory. It clicks. It makes sense. It’s black and white. You are either right or you are wrong. Music Theory is definitely a skill of mine.
On the flip side of that excellent skill, is something I completely suck at. I have a horrible ear. I have the hardest time identifying the quality of a 7th chord. I can’t tell you a major or minor 6th interval from a major or minor 7th interval. And even though I’m a vocal performance major, don’t ask me to sing you an interval above a perfect 5th. Ear training is something that I struggle with hardcore. And sight reading with scale degree numbers? What? I’ve sight read with moveable “do” solfege my whole life, so this whole concept of singing scale degree numbers blows my mind. Also, I’m dyslexic, so singing the numbers backwards is mind blowing x 10. Musicianship class is kicking my butt. But I am so glad, because thats the only way I will ever improve. So thank you, Dr. Harder, for being tough and not accepting anything less that the best.
On the other hand, I am an excellent sight reader IF I am sight reading with “do re mi”. I started sight reading in 7th grade, and it is a skill that I was forced to practice every day in choir class for the last 6 years of my life.
General knowledge of music is also something I lack. I don’t know anything about the composers of classical music. I couldn’t tell you when the Romantic period was or what Baroque music means. I have to constantly remind myself that the 19th century was actually the 1800′s, not the 1900′s. And the 80′s was thirty years ago!! But yeah, I’m not savvy with famous composers, famous pianists, or famous percussionists. You could show me a cello and a stand up bass and I wouldn’t know which one was which.
I just realized how embarrassing the previous paragraph is.
Not to toot my own horn (buh dum ching), but I have excellent conversational skills. I don’t feel uncomfortable talking to parents or grandparents. I have no problem being thrown into a room full of kindergarteners and being told to entertain them. I just feel comfortable around people. You could put me in a room and I could carry on a great conversation with the wall. I’m friendly and outgoing. I love meeting and getting to know new people. One of the most rewarding things about new friends is when you learn something about yourself simply by being friends with someone. As an entrepreneur, I definitely have social skills on my side.
Since being at SMU and experiencing Meadows, I’ve realized that my talents are so minute compared to the other people here. Yeah, I’m a voice major and I can sing. So what? So can a lot of people. I haven’t found that thing that makes me stick out. Yet. I know we aren’t supposed to compare ourselves, but I’m using the comparison to push myself. I want to be one of those people who can sing, play piano, & play guitar. I’m surrounded by so many multi talented people and its making me want to improve my art. I am so thankful for being the small fish in the big pond, because it shows be how much I need to improve and how great I will be once I accomplish skills. I want to take a percussion class. I want to take ceramics. I want to be a badass musician who can do it all.
SMU and Meadows are here for me to achieve what I want, and I am so excited to see where I end up in a year, 2 years, 4 years, etc.
Music is a universal language, and I speak it fluently. I’m Juls Barns and I’m pleased to meet you. I’m a singer from the Dallas area, and I’ve always loved and valued music as a major part of my life. I use my musical voice to reach out to people that I normally wouldn’t connect with on any other level. I want people to feel empowered and inspired when they hear my music. I want people to feel like they can achieve anything. I want people to know that no dream is unreachable. I am interested in helping children get introduced to the arts and making sure that music is present in their lives. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything further, give me a call.
When it comes to singing, I love improving (Duh) and I get super excited when I accomplish something that I’ve been working on for a long time. Accomplishments lead to more confidence, and I’m the most motivated when I’m feeling confident. If everyone that heard me sing told me that I wasn’t very good, even if I knew they were wrong, I’d still become less and less motivated to keep singing. I’m motivated by people who believe in me. My voice teacher, Jared Schwartz, is one of my biggest motivators. His support and confidence in my abilities as a singer have driven me to work harder and improve every day.
I want to be a well rounded musician. I mean, who doesn’t? I’ve tried learning piano and guitar but I gave up early on, once it got difficult. When it comes to my other music abilities (piano, guitar, etc.), I go through phases of motivation. For example, if I go to a coffee shop and hear a super chill dude sing with his guitar, I usually get psyched & go home to practice some chords on the guitar. I’ll practice guitar intensely for a few days and then slowly practice less and less until the phase is over.
Most of all, in every aspect of my life, I’m motivated most by positive vibes and enthusiastic energy given off by the people I choose to surround myself. It’s really difficult for anyone to be motivated in an environment that’s negative and discouraging.
This screen has been blank for at least 30 minutes as I’ve tried to decide the best way to begin typing this blog.
Why is blogging about myself so difficult for me?
Why is blogging about my values something that I feel uncomfortable and uneasy about?
Maybe, because I’m still trying to figure out what my values are. Or maybe, because I know what my values are, but I don’t want to admit them. Or maybe, even worse, my values change depending on who I am around. I’d say it’s a combination of the three.
As I grew up, I was often told, “Juls, remember who you are, and what you represent.” Often followed by, “When you walk out of this house, you are not only representing yourself, you are a representing the whole family. You reflect each member of his household.” For some reason, hearing this terrified me. When we are young, we are told what is right and what is wrong. Our parents share with us the knowledge of good and evil. Some of us are thrown into a sunday school class at a young age where we learn about God and religion. Usually, these sunday school classes are of the religion that are parents believe. Does this necessarily mean that we as children have to believe the same ideas?Children’s minds are like sponges, soaking up everything they see and hear. So do the surroundings and environments we grow up in affect who we are and who we are becoming? Are our values as young adults a reflection of our parents and grandparents values? Or, do our parents show us exactly what values we don’t want to have?
Morally, I am a good person. I believe in doing good for others without expecting anything in return. I really try hard to be nice and friendly to everyone, and I accept people for who they are. I don’t want to form an opinon of someone based on the rumors I hear, but instead I would rather take the time to actually get to know the person. My kindness is genuine and I’m not trying to gain anything in return.
Religiously, I grew up in the Methodist church, but I always dreaded going. It was too early in the morning and I just wanted to sleep in. I also didn’t understand why we had to dress up for church. I figured that if God loved us so much, we didn’t need to impress him with our nice clothes. Church, inevitably, became a hassle and something I didn’t really look forward to. Up until the age of 14, my faith was basically nonexistent.
Then, a month before 8th grade started, one of my best friends, Lucas Cole, died of an enlarged heart. Lucas had an enlarged heart literally, but also metaphorically. To this very day, I have yet to meet another person like Lucas. He would walk in a room and instantly make friends with the few people he didn’t already know. He knew the majority of the community by name, and the community knew him as well. Lucas and I were best friends and we met in 6th grade church choir. Lucas, as sweet and positive as he was, was also extremely tone deaf. We became friends because he loved listening to me sing, and I enjoying trying to teach him the correct notes. Lucas was definitely one of a kind. His kindness radiated to those around him and whenever Lucas was around, things were just better. But when Lucas died, I felt like the world had ended. As a 14 year old girl who had just lost her best friend, I didn’t understand why or how this could even happen. I didn’t understand why God would take away one of the people I loved the most. Lucas was one of those people that everyone knew would make a difference in his world, and I just didn’t understand how God could take away someone like that.
Lucas’s death was a really dark and difficult time in my life. One of the only positive things that blossomed from losing Lucas was that it brought me closer to God. I started going to church a lot. Mostly because church was the only place where people knew the devastation I was going through and where people were sensitive to my emotions. After Lucas died I realized how short life is. Lucas taught me that we have such a tiny amount of time here, and there is no reason to be spending it being rude to others and putting each other down when we could be doing everything we can to help boost each other up.
The summer following Lucas’ death, I slowly started going to church less and less. I guess after Lucas died I went through what some might call a “church phase”. I think the reason is because church was comfortable for me while I was in mourning. As far as my religion goes, I’m not sure. I really hate saying that I’m not sure about my faith because I feel like I should know what I believe in. I mean, I should know if I believe in God or not, right? As far as this blog goes, I could just write what most people want to hear. Maybe I think I believe in God because that’s the “norm”, and I’m afraid of straying from the norm. But the truth is, I just don’t know. I’ve been on a quest for a stable belief and I have yet to find one. I’m still searching, & maybe I just haven’t found the right religion. Maybe I’m not trying hard enough. Or maybe those are all just excuses that I keep telling myself. Really, I think that I go back and forth about the presence of God because God can’t been seen or touched. So, I mainly struggle with the concept of loving something that I can’t see. But that leads me to my next point: I love music. I am in love with music.
Music saves people. Music changes people. Music moves people. There are countless times when music has had such an emotional impact on me that I broke down in tears. At the Lady Gaga concert, (Okay.. I know what y’all are thinking…) she came on stage & belted a note. Just one note. But that one note had the most beautiful and incredible tone and passion, that it made me start to cry. So there I was, crying at a Lady Gaga concert like an overemotional fool. Anyways, I love music and have such a passion for the way it makes me feel. Yet, music can’t been seen or touched. So why do I have such a difficult time feeling the love of Christ when I find it so easy to feel love in music?
I want my music to inspire people. I want people to listen to my music and feel empowered and confident. I want my music to answer people’s questions about themselves, or even pose new questions so they can delve deeper into finding out who they are. If my music ever interferes with my values and my character, then it would only be a result of me doing something incredibly wrong.
I value music. I value kind people. I value friendship. I value strangers who display random acts of kindness. I value a smile and “hello” when passing someone on the sidewalk. I value my family’s support. I value happiness. I value love. I value security. I value safety. I value comfort. I value respect. I value the unconditional love of my cats. I value Starbucks. I value my broken, messed up emotions. I value the talented people I am surrounded by day after day. I value good humor. I value wit. I value random knowledge of pop culture. I value my alone time. I value peanut butter. I value my future husband. I value people who express who they are without fear of judgement. I value people who go against the norm. I value the fact that even though I don’t have all the answers, I’m doing my best to be a good person and do good in the world.
Every day, I try to be the best me that I can be. At the end of the day, that’s all we can do.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t learn things quickly. My brain understands things completely, but just has a hard time remembering them. I don’t retain information well. I can’t watch a movie one or two times and then have the ability to perfectly quote it. (Some of my best guy friends can do this & it drives me insane.) I have a hard time remembering peoples names, so you can imagine how frustrating the first two weeks of SMU have been. When I have to memorize a song, I listen to it over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and…. you get the point. It takes time for something to become solid in my mind. I’m a big fan of flash cards. People make fun of me, but I make flash cards for everything. Major and minor key signatures… Italian verbs… music vocabulary, ex: andante, allegro, etc… Repetition, repetition, repetition. That’s my motto for learning.
Now I’m just going to be honest. In highschool I was a HORRIBLE student. I never studied. Ever. And in the rare occasion that i did study, was in the passing period on the way to the class I was studying for. I came out of high school with a good GPA and good SAT scores, but I did just enough to get by. And obviously just enough to get into SMU. I’m not a scholar, but sometimes I do wonder what would have happened if I had studied. I wonder how drastically different my grades would have been. My bad study habits carry over into my horrible work ethic as a musician. I procrastinate practicing till the last minute. I know that’s an awful quality to have, and I am trying to change, I promise! But sometimes after a voice lesson I would keep my music in my car and just… forget about it. Then a week passes by and I realize, shoot… I have a voice lesson today… I guess I’ll play my songs on repeat on my ipod and sing along to them on the way there. ….Horrible, right?
Another way I learn, and I guess this applies to learning anything really, is by trial and error. You can tell me the correct way to do something, and I’ll completely understand it. But I won’t fully accomplish it until I do it wrong first. Then I realize my mistakes and go from there, making appropriate corrections.
Basically to sum things up, I’ve never been a good student. I’ve never been studious. I have horrible work ethic and I lose track of time.. which often results in doing things at the last minute. Although, I have been writing this blog all week.. adding a new paragraph every day.. I’m pretty proud of myself since I didn’t procrastinate doing this. But hey, gotta start somewhere right? Okay okay, back to what I was saying. I don’t have a good work ethic. I openly admit that & I realize that I need to change. BUT I do have passion. And I work hard at the things that I am most passionate about. I made a promise to myself that my awful work and study habits WOULD NOT carry over from high school to college. And I can proudly say that 3 and a half weeks into SMU, I have not broken that promise, and I don’t plan to
How do you define success?
I define success as being happy and content with who you are, where you are, what you are doing, and where your life has led you. Success is unique to each individual, and can’t be measured by monetary value or material possessions. Success is, rather, an emotional state of contentment, joy, happiness, peace, and an over all state of well being. Success is when you look back at your life, and given the opportunity, you wouldn’t change a thing, because you know that you led your life the way you wanted to and you have no regrets. That, to me, is true success.
What specifically do you love about music?
I love that music is not just something you can hear, but also something that you feel within. Music isn’t just a nice sound for your ears, but a tool that can turn your whole day around. Music can not been seen, touched, or tasted. Music is abstract, and can be interpreted differently for each individual. That is what I specifically love about music
What specifically do you love about being a musician?
The reason I love being a musician is because it gives me the ability to make a difference in someone’s life. With my music I can put a smile on the face of someone who has had a rough day, or give hope to someone who has lost it. Music gives people the opportunity to connect on a completely different level. I can connect with someone through music, even if we speak different languages. I love that music brings people of all backgrounds together, and I love that, as a musician, I can be held responsible for improving a person’s quality of life.
What is your long-term goal?
I can honestly say that as of right now the only long-term goal I have is to be happy with what I am doing with my talent. I don’t know exactly what I want to end up doing with music, but I know that even though my long-term goal is a bit blurry right now, music will be there in clear view. I just hope that I am able to look back at my life and be able to smile and say “I did everything that I wanted to do.”
What is your short-term goal?
My short-term goal is to grow as an artist, as a singer, and as an individual. I want to find out who I am and I want to be completely confident with myself. I plan to surround myself with people who lift me up and give me hope, not people who constantly add negativity to my life. I want to improve my craft while gaining insight into who I am. I believe that I will work and function to the best of my musical ability if I am being the best me that I can be.
What do you want to accomplish this month that will advance you toward your short-term goal?
This month, I want to work on managing my time better and figuring out a schedule that works well. I want to plan time to practice, study, but I also want time to explore the people and things around me. This week I want to try and learn something new from each person in my Studio Voice class.
What’s on your to-do list this week?
This week I need to practice, practice, practice. I am notorious for not practicing, and that just isn’t going to fly at SMU. This week I also want to venture over to the Fine Arts Community dorms and meet some people who are a different fine arts major than I am. I also want to meet some of the other music majors who aren’t studying voice. I think that a singer can learn a lot from a saxophone player, as well as a piano player could learn a lot from a percussionist. So, this week I want to broaden my horizons and introduce myself to the other music majors and get to know them.
What are your strengths?
My strengths are that I have an incredibly huge voice. I have a very wide range, and I learn quickly. I take musical direction easily and I’m a good listener. I am also very social and outgoing and I love to talk to people.
What needs improving?
Musically, I need to improve my support and breathing. I also need to remember to keep my mouth open tall in the back while singing high notes so it doesn’t become breathy. As an artist I need to improve my time management, and spend more time in the practice room. I need to realize that practice sometimes take priority over napping, and that I won’t have the pleasure of napping every afternoon.
Music and singing was something that I just kind of stumbled into. I don’t really remember exactly when I got into music and singing, but I think it was through my church. In kindergarden, I was given a solo in one of the cliche Sunday School class Christmas musicals. Though the memories are vague, my mom says that after I sang, I came up to her and said “This is what I want to do, Mommy.”
I’m not going to sit here and type out some life changing event that sparked my interest in music. I’m not going to tell you that I had a calling from God and now I know that singing is my purpose and that I’m supposed to do this. I’m not going to make up a story about my passion, because really it’s quite simple to me: I know that music is what I’m supposed to do, because there is nothing else on earth that makes me happier. If I didn’t have music in my life, I would be unfulfilled.
I don’t know if I’ll end up performing for a career, or if I’ll end up teaching. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up being the manager for a mainstream pop boy band, or the publicist for a reality music TV show. Maybe I’ll date the drummer of a punk rock band and travel on tour, or lead the choir Sunday mornings at church. The beautiful thing about life and being human, is that we don’t know. We don’t always have to know exactly what’s going to happen and exactly how things are going to turn out. I don’t have my career planned out to the tee, because it could always change in the blink of an eye. I don’t know what obstacles and opportunities will be thrown in my path along the way, but I do know one glorious and constant thing. I have a love for music in my life, and whatever happens and where ever I end up, music will be there some way, some how.
I am extremely thrilled to be studying Voice Performance at SMU. Honestly, if I wasn’t studying music, I would be studying something I don’t really like and I would never truly be happy. I am thankful for where I am today as a performer, creator, and musician. I am thankful for where I am as a human being. Furthermore, I am thankful for every person who has helped me get to where I am today.
*** I am not an English major. Please don’t judge me on my grammar. K cool.***