R.S. Stricklin III

composer, oboist

October 30, 2013
by Trey Stricklin


This week I’m supposed to be thinking about the different skills that I have, what I lack and how I can improve these skills.  The biggest thing that I think I need to improve on is being able to collaborate and communicate with others.  In some situations I think I can work well and get my ideas across clearly, but in others I just feel really uncomfortable and hesitant to contribute.  Of course, to be a musician I need to be able to communicate and work with other people in most situations, even more so as a composer.  I think that one way that I can get better at this is by working with other students here on pieces that I’m writing; reading through, “rehearsing.”  There is such a wide variety of people here that I think this will help me become more comfortable in situations where I’m not right now.

I feel like I’m already doing pretty well in the other skill areas that were mentioned, except perhaps fundraising.  I think I can come up with imaginative ideas, and I try my best to be flexible and adaptable all of the time.

October 2, 2013
by Trey Stricklin

Elevator Pitch

Hi, I’m R.S. Stricklin III.  This is quite a strange situation; I’ve never been a person who is able to quickly describe myself or my work, to narrow it down to a few specific points.  Sure, I can give basic information.  I compose and am to some degree a multi-instrumentalist, with experience on oboe, piano and guitar.  That information is really meaningless, though, unless you know that I want to make music with you, with anyone.  I want to take you through writing a piece with me; I want you to be as involved, as creatively invested in the process as I am.  It doesn’t matter to me if you don’t play anything – all that matters is that you’re interested.  Here’s my card, send me an email if you want to work together.

September 25, 2013
by Trey Stricklin


This week we’ve looked at some materials concerning different types of motivation and how they influence performance.  We read about “strategic” and “deep” learners, two different ways of learning that I see in myself.  Depending on the time frame or material, I can be strategic.  I will forgo actual understanding in favor of memorizing stark facts.  I guess this means that sometimes I would rather make a good grade than really learn something, that I would rather be recognized in some sort of arbitrary point system than be satisfied with my own knowledge.  This may, on some levels be true.  I’ve been in schools all of my life that put emphasis on “academic performance,” or how successful you look on paper.  It’s only natural that I value this at least somewhat myself.  Of course, I say somewhat because I do not like learning this way.  I don’t like being forced by some deadline to glaze over materials instead of gaining an understanding of them.  I would much rather take the time to figure something out myself and be able to completely understand it.  I would rather satisfy myself with my own knowledge than try to cram for an exam, but in different circumstances I am forced to do both.

For FACE class we also watched a rather interesting video (  It’s about how people are more productive, produce better and more beneficial work not when they are payed more, but when they are doing something they find satisfying or that they believe in.  I can completely get behind this idea.  A great example of this would be my putting together of my composition portfolio to apply to different colleges.  Composing is supposed to be fun, right?  It’s supposed to be something you love to do, something that makes you happy no matter what.  But last year with ever approaching deadlines and potentially my entire future riding on how much I could get done, composing was anything but enjoyable.  Completing a piece for my portfolio became a sort of soul crushing task.  Is the piece good enough?  Will it get me into a good school?  Will it take me somewhere where I will learn to make a living doing what I’m supposed to love?  The questions came up every time I sat down to write, literally every day for almost six months.  I hated it.  I hated that what I so longed to enjoy had been turned into an almost menial task, akin to the boring and unfulfilling day jobs that I’m glad I’m going into music to avoid.  I was strategically composing, to meet a deadline, to impress an admissions board.  I find myself much happier and much more productive when I strive to have a deep understanding of what I do in my work, to make it meaningful not only to an audience, but also to myself.

September 18, 2013
by Trey Stricklin
1 Comment


My assignment this week is to write about my values and which of them I value the most.  I don’t even really know what that means.  I guess I’m supposed to say something like “I’m humble and I think that really makes me a good person,” but saying things like that seems strange to me.  I guess I can just list things that I like about myself, though.  I think I’m able to work really well without outside pressure, and I think that sometimes I can even do better work without anyone trying to help me.  Of course, that isn’t in every situation, only certain ones where people tend to just get in the way.  I guess I should rephrase my initial thought to something like “I’m self motivated” to make it sound like I don’t crash under pressure.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.  It all really depends on other pressures.  I think that I’m also sometimes able to be as critical of myself as I am of others and their work.  I don’t often get complacent about where I am in any activity; I usually try to move myself forward by questioning myself and my own actions a lot.

I guess something else that’s “valuable” about me is that I am studying both writing and playing music to the same degree right now.  I guess that’s something that could potentially be “marketable,” as a lot of performers I know feel very disconnected with composers (especially when they write near impossible parts for their instrument).  I would also say that my experience on instruments other than oboe is an asset, since I can to some degree be versatile as a performer.

That seems to be everything.  bye

September 11, 2013
by Trey Stricklin

Blogging more.

This week for my FACE class I read a few articles on work habits, and we’re planning to discuss them this week during class.  I thought this was interesting when I saw it on the syllabus; people always tell me that I work really hard.  But as I studied these readings, I realized that hard work is a lot more time consuming than it’s counterpart — efficient work.

I don’t mean to say that I’ll never do “hard” work again (assuming that I already have done some).  What I do mean to say is that what most consider “hard” work is merely superfluous work, and that work that is truly hard can be done effectively only by working efficiently.

A lot of the things emphasized in these readings are things that I have been told of before in various settings.  There are a few points that I think I should give careful consideration to this year, though, as I haven’t excelled at them in the past.  One article talks about how actually testing your knowledge and abilities on your own allows your brain to make stronger and deeper connections to the concepts that you are trying to study.  I wish that I had done more of this in my high school classes instead of searching for an answer in a textbook or online resource and then trying to simply arrive at that answer in a similar manner to how I arrived on that page in the book(hello Physics C): finding out what I do know at a given time by testing myself, then reviewing more material and testing myself again.  This, for me, applies more to a class room setting than a musical environment as in music each lesson, each rehearsal, each presentation of a piece is a sort of test.  There is another point in the material about exercising, but I take the stairs to my room once or twice a day so I should be good for that.  To be honest I wonder how intense the exercise is supposed to be, as I’m not really the type of person who wants to “hit the gym” every day.

One of the other articles actually has something that I take issue with.  All of the content that we were to read is helpful, but the title of this article irritates me enough to have to restrain myself from rating too much on the internet because apparently that is a bad thing.  The title of the article is “The Twitter Generation: Teaching Deferred Gratification to College Students.”  That title makes me as angry as seeing someone in their forties double park their Cowboys-vanity-plated car, pull several cases of beer out and then tailgate on a college campus (I did not key them I promise).

“The Twitter Generation: Teaching Deferred Gratification to College Students.”  Deferred gratification is, of course, the concept of putting a good feeling off until later to perhaps make it better, to make an achievement more satisfying.  Do college students lack that?  Are we all living from second to second, constantly deciding things like which food truck will taste the best to us today?  I won’t be frank, but I think this is an obscene generalization.  I know many people who are working on top of strenuous college schedules so that they can actually pay for their education.  These people lack the concept of deferred gratification?  I know many others (myself included) who sacrifice the mythical fantastic social life of college students in favor of devotion to their discipline.  Are we not delaying gratification?  The people who make such absurd assertions would surely say that these groups are minorities, by my experience so far doesn’t agree with that.  They would point to people who party a lot or spend a lot of time with friends as the majority.  I honestly see very little in general wrong with these two groups — one values the company of other people, something given validity in another reading, and the other values release, the letting go of the stresses of everyday life in order to grasp for some life-affirming moment to make trudging through weeks of busywork or jobs that someone isn’t invested in worth it.  Even if many students do either of these two things, I see no reason for either of them to be a problem if done correctly.

What kind of generation are we?  The “Twitter Generation.”  What does that mean?  Usually the mention of social media by someone who considers themselves “enlightened” or “educated” is immediately followed by a denunciation of these new (sort of) technologies so loved by “the young people.”  I see no reason to write social networking off as some sort of meaningless and time wasting activity.  In fact, there have been studies showing that the 140 character limit of Twitter forces young minds to be able to communicate more concisely, to be able to gain large amounts of information from a small amount of text.  I have heard of studies relating this to the ability to read critically, claiming that things like Twitter and Facebook actually force us at an earlier age to be able to read on a higher level, regardless of the linguistic conventions that are sometimes forgone in the process.  The negative connotation associated with social media by “older people” (sorry, but it’s true) is completely unfounded and I will of course hold to this belief until convinced otherwise.  Also, for anyone interested, I do tweet AND consider myself a somewhat deep and complex person, or at least as much as anyone can consider themselves to be either of those things.

I just kind of vomited all of that onto the page and I don’t feel inclined to go back and edit/reread right now.  I’m sorry if it’s incoherent, and I’m especially sorry if you wasted your time reading it.  I did not start this post meaning to write around one thousand words.  I’m fine with people posting opinions contradictory to mine, so long as they understand that a response is not guaranteed because sometimes I really don’t want to put energy towards arguing with people.  Don’t assume that you’re right because I don’t respond.  If you make a valid point I’ll probably acknowledge it.

I guess that’s all.  Bye.

September 4, 2013
by Trey Stricklin

Hello all,

This past week in my First Year Arts Community Experience class here at SMU, we talked a lot about personal effectiveness.  What it is, what it means to be (or not to be) effective as a person and what several different facets of personal effectiveness are.  We were each given a rubric and asked to evaluate our own personal effectiveness up to this point, and this post is meant to be a sort of follow up to that.  On said rubric, we were able to give ourselves a score from zero to four in eight different categories: Courage, Resilience, Adaptability to New Approaches, Innovation, Communication, Growth-mindedness, Response to Feedback and Self Awareness.  Overall I think I was a bit too easy on myself when doing this assignment, but regardless, here are the scores that I gave myself and short explanations of each one.

Courage (Takes Risks) – 2.  Right now I feel as though I’m not really incredibly willing to try to change many situations that I’m not happy with.  By this I mean that if there is a teacher or class that I am frustrated with it is currently very likely that instead of speaking to said teacher about it I will instead shut down and not work very much to improve the things I’m not happy with.

Resilience (Remains Optimistic) – 2.  This in a way goes along with the last point.  If I am overwhelmed, oftentimes I will simply drown myself in thoughts of how difficult it will be to get back on track and not be able to get work done.

Entrepreneurial (Adopts New Approaches) – 3.  Currently I feel that I have a lot to bring to any sort of group project in terms of simple ideas to solve problems and accomplish things.  However, depending on the situation, I am sometimes unable or unwilling to actually share my ideas.

Entrepreneurial (Innovates to get Results) – 3.  This is fairly self explanatory.  I am often manipulating my schedule or practice/study hours to get better results.

Reflection and Communication (Communicates Effectively) – 3.  This is slightly related to “Adopts New Approaches.”  When I have ideas, I am able to communicate them well, but there us usually a question of whether or not I am willing to do so.

Reflection and Communication (Growth-minded) – 4.  One of my biggest strengths from the different areas that I’ve been involved in is my ability to evaluate myself and others objectively.

Reflection (Respond to Feedback) – 4.  This is also one of my biggest strengths.  No matter how much information you give me in a private lesson or practically any other environment, I can guarantee that at least 95% of it will be thought about and perhaps put into practice by our next meeting.

Reflection and Communication (Self-aware and Able to Adjust) – 3.  Though I can objectively view myself, I sometimes have trouble making changes based on my own observations.


Lately I’ve been listening to:

Various string quartets (Mozart’s “Dissonance,” Bartok’s six quartets)

The Unanswered Question – Ives

SCRAMBLES – Bomb the Music Industry!