Finding a purpose

You would have thought that by now, I would have given up on posting updates on this "blog" page that approximately negative three people read. Alas, I haven't though, and if you are one of those -3 people, I apologize.

Anyways, so I'm posting here to share about a new personal triumph. I've started going back to church in the past few months, and I have been saved by Jesus Christ.

Now before I start sounding like a crazy street-corner preacher, I will admit that I felt directionless and purposeless for the longest time. For years, I felt like I was merely existing: going to class,  doing music stuff, and just getting by. When I got to college last semester, it was the first time I was mostly on my own. I could go wherever I wanted, spend my money however I chose, and hang out with whoever struck my fancy. So I decided that in all my loneliness (I never had many friends in school) I would give the whole party thing a whirl, and get on Tinder and try and get myself a boyfriend. Long story short, none of that worked, and I still felt empty and aimless. However, I started going to church back in Plymouth on weekends, with a close friend of mine from high school. A few months later, I was saved, and was going to Bible studies and church services four nights a week.

*SOAPBOX ALERT: I never intended to use this blog to be didactic towards my 0.2 followers, but I'm gonna go all Pastor Paige for a moment.* All of this self-discovery (I guess you could call it that) has led me to realize that God is the only one who can bring purpose to my life. He is the King of all Kings, and it is a huge honor to spend my life serving Him. I mean, who else would live in sinless humility, remain true to His word in the face of persecution, and die on a cross for you so that you could be forgiven and have eternal life?

Also, as a result of this, I have begun writing music for the glory of our one true King, as He has blessed me with a valuable gift, which I ought to use to serve Him and promote His perfect word. I will post some of the songs somewhere at some point.

"'All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.'" -1 Peter 24-25 (NIV)

KaaaaazzzzzooOOOooo it!

In my Intro to Music Ed class, my professor told us all that our final project was to write an essay on why we want to become a music teacher. The video below is why:

All joking aside, though Kazoo Kid is fire , he is hardly the reason I take almost 20 credits every semester and barely get any sleep. Also, I realize that my professor was absolutely right when she said that people shouldn't just go into music education as a fallback if their music performance degree doesn't work out. I can assure you I am not one of those people, and that I've known for a long ass time that I'm in it to empower and inspire people, not just so I can make a few extra bucks than I would with a vocal performance degree.

I have had teachers (not necessarily music teachers) whose methods I disagree with, but I have also had some wonderful teachers (again, not just music teachers) who have inspired me to become an educator and have the same impact on another student's life as they did on mine. Like my middle school chorus teacher, who made me realize that I wanted to go into music education in the first place, and helped me discover and develop my passion. Or my English teacher my senior year of high school, who went out of her way to make sure I was doing okay when I was having panic attacks nearly every day in class. And even my professor for Musical Practices last semester, who was so passionate about his subject that I became truly fascinated with the class and pushed me harder when he saw that I was doing well. I hope to have even a tenth of the impact that they have had on me, on my future students.

So now that I'm studying Music Education, in the words of Brett Ambler, I'm going to kaaaaazzzzzooOOOooOO it!!!


First of all, John Daker and Reva Cooper Unsicker are my new favorite pseudo-musicians on the World Wide Interwebs. Just watch this video; it'll brighten your day.

Second of all, I have no idea what I'm doing with my life anymore. It's that point in the semester where I'm having anxiety for no good reason, and I'm probably going to either explode, or break down to the point where I find it plausible and acceptable to shave my head and go streaking across campus wielding a broken umbrella.

But if Britney Spears got through 2007, I can get through the rest of this semester in one piece.

Musing on the thing I've been doing (see last post)

So now I've been in college for almost two months (holy crap!), and about 90% of the stuff that I'm doing revolves around music, so it's already SO MUCH BETTER than high school. Not to mention, my classmates aren't elitist douchepenguins, and I don't feel like I'm constantly being stacked up against everybody else. My choir director already wants me to try out for solos, and my classmates are honestly some of the chillest people I've ever met. It's still taking me a while to get over my insecurities, though. After years of comparing myself to others and never feeling like I was good enough, it's sort of weird being in a place where people think I am good enough and getting a chance to shine.

But that's not to say that I haven't had my moments of self-doubt. I've stayed up many a night seemingly having a full-blown existential crisis about why the hell I ever became a music major in the first place, after thinking I bombed a test or screwed up an assignment or otherwise made my professors think that I simply didn't care. My roommate, in fact, has told me that if I ever say I don't deserve to be a music major again, she'll punch me in the face. And that's what I need: a slap in the face to finally make me realize that I am smart enough, talented enough, and strong enough. I've just spent too much time trying to appease the haters that I've lost my soul, and I'm trying to get it back.

Okay. I'll shut up now.

I'm doing a thing!

Sup, y'all? I'm all moved into my dorm at UMass Lowell and doing college-y things like having panic attacks about spending all my money at Starbucks and blogging from my desk in my dorm room. Yeah, guys. That's right.

I'm in a DORM ROOM at COLLEGE, majoring in MUSIC. Shoutout to all you haters out there; h8rs make me famous. ;)

Anyways, so here I am, getting ready to do actual things, like go to class and compose real music and meet people who don't think I'm a total nerd (or a talentless hack, for that matter.) Maybe I'll actually get some inspiration from being outside of my house.

Also (this may or may not be a joke):

We are having a reunion show, 4 years in the making! Also, the mayonnaise packets are not intended for use as musical instruments or flotation devices.

Posted by Paige Burke on Friday, August 28, 2015

How to Write Children's Choral Pieces

Maybe I'm wrong, but an overwhelming majority of the choral pieces I sang in elementary and middle school were corny as anything. It seems like there's a formula to writing original children's choral music, and I think I've figured it out.

  • Start by writing corny, generic lyrics. They can be about any corny, generic topic you so desire: friendship, believing in oneself, the power of music, or how pretty nature is. Just keep it G-rated (i.e. friendship, believing in oneself, the power of music, or how pretty nature is.) Make sure the lyrics follow a very basic rhyme scheme; we don't want to confuse the kids too much. If you're feeling really extravagant, throw in random phrases in foreign languages. Nothing shows that you're culturally appreciative more than a sung "We are family" in Swahili, or a "The trees are green" in Russian.
  • Come up with a cute lil' melody that's really cute and singable and catchy. Did I mention cute? If you want to add an extra layer of awesome, throw in an alto/Treble II harmony part. You might also want to throw in a cute little descant at the end and some optional unnecessary high notes.
  • Write some piano accompaniment that imitates a popular style, i.e., like cheesy, second-rate '80s pop. You could also go the other route and write your accompaniment in a mock world-music style, with some bongos and maracas. Add in a really bad soprano sax solo somewhere, as desired. Or, if you want to go balls-to-the-wall, write a whole dang band or orchestra arrangement. Do what you want.
  • About now, you should have a nice little song about how everybody is BFF's to the tune of Chicago's "You're the Inspiration," complete with a sax solo, "Be my friend" repeated in 20 different languages, and a soaring high note at the very end for no reason except that it's the end. Be ready to make some bank.


So in my last post, I said that I started singing Soprano 2 in choir, since it turns out that I don't actually have a man voice. So now that I know I don't have a man voice, I keep thinking that I can sing actual high notes like a soprano. And I can't, really. Alas, that's just one of the struggles of being a mezzo-soprano. 

  • Singing alto sucks just as much as singing soprano, since the alto part is 90% crappy chest voice but the soprano part has insanely high notes that I can only hit on Tuesdays. This would be less of a problem if every choral piece had divisis so I could just pick Alto 1 or Soprano 2, but not every piece has divisis in the soprano and/or alto parts. 
  • Additionally, I was *supposed* to sing Alto 2 in choir. And I sang Alto 2 in Districts. Oof.
  • In operas and musical theatre, sopranos get all the guys. That probably explains why I'm 18 and have never had a boyfriend, even a fake middle school scene kid boyfriend.
  • I keep trying to be a soprano and thinking I can sing crazy stuff like "Climb Every Mountain" and stuff from Phantom of the Opera and Whitney and Beyonce and Mariah. But a) I can't sing pop for crap because I can't belt for beans, and 2) I can't hit those notes anyways. I'm probably going to destroy my vocal cords by constantly singing stuff that's grossly out of my range.
  • Sometimes I had the voice now that I had when I was 14, when I was the highest soprano in the high school chorus and could get E-flat above soprano C. Yuck. (Fun factoid: I used to be exactly what I hate about sopranos: obnoxiously loud and high.)
  • If the first note of the piece is higher than a B-flat, forget about it. My voice will crack. (Just like it did on the first note of Vaughan Williams' "I Got Me Flowers" at my college audition.)

I did a thing!

So in the past few months, I have...

  • Had about 900,000 panic attacks over school.
  • Had over 9,000 panic attacks about whether I'll get into college and have a future.
  • Had over 9,000 existential crises. 
  • Started singing second soprano in choir. My man voice is gone!
  • Spent countless hours watching cat videos and/or composing when I should be doing more important things, like applying for scholarships and doing homework.

But, amid all this pointless procrastination and anxiety, I auditioned at UMass Lowell as a music studies major in voice. And I got in. And I'm pretty pumped because I honestly didn't think I would get in. So guess what I'm doing next year? 

I'm going to college! Woohoo!

#TBT: I was in this, yo; also, Eric Whitacre is bae

Look for me in the credits under Alto 2 because I did this sophomore year when I had a man voice :)

 "I believe in the faith that grows...and the four right chords can make me cry."

First of all, that's from one of my favorite songs, "Semi-Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind.

Second of all, I've been wanting to write some songs for the longest time now, but I can't think of lyrics. Not even really sad ones, which usually I'm really good.

But this is what I wanted to do:
  • Write a grungy love song, not much unlike the song I wrote about Brad Feeney (if you're reading this, Brad, please don't ask me about it) in eighth grade. It actually wasn't too bad and I still like it now (probably one of the only things I did back then that I still like. Except for the fact that it's about Brad, I've moved on since then.)
  • A depressing emo piano ballad that makes ppl crey evritim. (When will I stahp with the Dolan references?)
  • A cheesy pop song that sounds like the fake "emo-punk" crap Avril Lavigne sings. (Hey, she was my jam in like 5th grade. I rocked it to "Sk8er Boi"  at that gosh-darned "Girl Scout Idol" karaoke contest when I was like 11.) If my music education career doesn't work out, I can always write songs for terrible pop singers who appear onstage naked and twerking all over people.
Also, I have to mention that Comic Sans makes everything funny and/or not serious.

Perfect Pitch Probs!!!!!


 Behold the beauty of this song for a moment.

I first heard this freshman year (when I was wicked depressed and stuff) and I just rediscovered it. I almost cried.
Rt dis if u crey evritim <69
Warning: Some NSFW language is used in this song, but it's used in good taste. It isn't like this dumb crap you hear on the radio where they say the F-word every other word to sound tough and swaggy. EDIT: Front Porch Step is a child molester. Forget I ever posted this song.

 I'm Bach again.
So it's three days into junior year and I'm already stressed out as all heck. This weekend I'm writing some beautiful essays and gittin' r' done so my grades don't suck as much as they did last year (at least I had a 3.8). I'm still a little pissed I didn't get put in Music Theory II so I can take AP theory senior year, and this year I have to be part of every extracurricular known to mankind in order for me to not get stuck going to community college or working at McDonald's for the rest of my life. 

So other than hating myself for being a talentless piece of crap, I was thinking of some ideas for new pieces. 
  • A multi-movement concert band piece using themes from "butt rock" classics (stuff like Nickelback and Creed and Puddle of Mudd.) It would be called "Bowel Movements".
  • Finding some really pretty poem in a foreign language and setting it as a choral piece.
  • Writing an original choral/band piece--my dream is to have a piece I composed performed at my school district's "Opening Day" thing.
  • Or maybe I could try and write a musical. A musical with a really comedic yet tragic plot, funky music, and funky costumes. 
  • I also still have that vision for "Songs to Stay Strong"--I should do some more pieces about anti-bullying/suicide/self-harm awareness kind of stuff. If anybody wants to contribute something--music or lyrics or what not--hit me up (the email address is
Really sad news 9/5/13 :(
I think I have nodules. My voice teacher said something about it before when I was singing like a high E (the one a tenth above middle C) and my voice was cracking and sounding really gross, but I sang it a bit lighter and it didn't sound gross. (Mind you, I used to be able to nail soprano C a couple of years ago.) But in chorus today, when the teacher was putting us in voice parts, he had us sing this round ("Jubilate Deo", if you're familiar with the tune) in a whole bunch of different keys. When he had us sing it in C (with the top note being the E in the fourth space of the staff) my voice sounded all creaky and nasty on the high note. Then he transposed it up to D, and the F-sharp sounded grosser, but I could just squeak out the E without cracking like a bitch. Anyways, this makes me really sad because then I can't sing and I'll have to get surgery. I almost cried in Chemistry class thinking about it. :(

 I'm back in the saddle again!

^Notice my use of awesome Aerosmith lyrics in the title. See what I did there? No? Nevermind, I'll go crey nao.

I haven't been on here in a while, I was bogged down with schoolwork and finals and all that fun stuff until June 26th, and last week I spent at symphonic band camp at UMass Lowell, and I'm finna go to school there. In that time when I was supposedly doing nothing but school crap I actually composed/arranged some stuff, which will be posted on the Compositions page soon. 

I have a little project for you guys. I wanna know what songs mek u crey evritim. There are so many songs that are so hopelessly cheesy and sad and sappy that you can't help but tear up, like the musical equivalent of a Hallmark Channel special. I got some for you guys:
  • "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan. Every time I hear this I think of those awful ASPCA commercials with dying puppies and kittens and I can't handle it because I feel like the world's biggest douchenozzle when I don't donate over $9000 to them.
  • "The Christmas Shoes" song that's about the kid who buys a pair of shoes for his dying mom. WHY DOES CHRISTMAS HAVE TO BE DEPRESSING? I WANNA THINK ABOUT SUGAR PLUM FAIRIES AND SANTA CLAUS, not some poor kid whose mom is dying. (Although if I were dying, I'd want my kids to buy me my favorite shoes and give a flying poop about me rather than think about sugar plums and Santa and "YO I'MA GET SUM SWEQ 4 CRISTMUSSS #YOLO".)
  • "You Are So Beautiful". The guy who sings it (I forget his name) is even crying in the song. It sounds like a post-breakup song about some guy who regrets breaking up with his girlfriend and is desperately trying to get her back. 
  • "Adam's Song" by Blink-182. I love this song, but it's so sad. It reminds me of the dark times about a year and a half ago when I had suicidal thoughts and wanted to die. The personal connection is probably why it makes me cri evritiem. I've also had to talk friends out of suicide kind of recently and that's also really awful and sad. (Sorry, I just got really personal. I'll stop now.)
  • "Rack City", "Thrift Shop", "Shine Bright Like a Diamond", "We Can't Stop", along with 98% of the other crap they play on the radio. AWFUL AWFUL TERRIBLE BAD WHY IS THIS EVEN CLASSIFIED AS MUSIC I DON'T WANT TO LIVE ON THIS PLANET.
  • "You Found Me" by The Fray. I picture dying alone in New York City when I hear this song. I don't know why. 

 Moar Crappy Music!

I'm not providing links for these. Just Google them.
  • Holwager Karaoke: Cover of "Love Shack" by the B-52's: I've mentioned the Bonnie and Clyde of horrible singing before. 
  • Cheeky Girls: "Touch My Bum": Engrish prease. 
  • T-baby: "It's So Cold in the D": First off, what is "the D"? Secondly, this is dedicated to your friend that passed away, from apparently being involved in "the D"? I'm in need of a translation.
Also enjoy my Nickelcage picture. 

 Just click the link.

So I've been out of school sick for the past few days, and you know how I usually entertain myself: by looking up the worst of the worst music out there. This one here is actually a legit song. The guy wrote it and sent it into Columbia Records via some thing in a tabloid magazine and they actually had some dude sing it and record it. The lyrics almost made me piss myself; I guess he was going for a Kurt Cobain-on-acid sort of thing. If you don't believe me, click this. Want to hear the song? Click this.

 Back in the saddle again!

Get it? Like the Aerosmith song? No? Okay. I'll go curl up and cry in a corner.

But yeah, my musical humor has run a bit dry, and I apologize. I've been focusing on more serious stuff, such as looking at colleges and composing and arranging and accompanying and fun stuff like that. (It might not sound fun to you, but I'm a girl who hangs out with her piano on Friday nights, okey?)

So since I've been a bit deficient in the musical humor department lately, I present to you What Paige Genevieve Burke Expects In Her Potential Future Boyfriend/Husband/whatever.
  • He must have perfect pitch, if not really really good relative pitch. How I'll find this out: I'll sing a note and ask him to identify the pitch. If he's like, "Deeerrrppp, is it a F-flat?", then I'm immediately dumping him. Unless it actually is an F-flat. But I'd prefer if he kept it simple and just said E. 
  • He must love cats. If he doesn't love my billions of cats I'll have, then We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.
  • He must love weird geeky TV shows like The First 48, Storage Wars, Too Cute, The Middle, and Adventure Time. Doctor Who and old stuff like MASH and Twilight Zone are also acceptable. If not, then he's dumped like the wilted soggy salad they serve at school lunch.
  • He must like going on what I call "fun" outings, such as visiting dead malls, shopping in random little hippie shops, venturing into sketchy parts of town to take pictures, and causing lulz in Walmart. If he doesn't at least like going to Walmart to act like a white trash couple, then he's a no.
  • He must like some sort of hardcore music and not think I'm an emo scene kid for listening to Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens.OH GOD NO
  • He must compose sexy choral pieces with me. We'll be that awesome husband/wife duo that composes and arranges choral pieces that every choral director makes their choir perform over 9000 of.

 In The Wake of the Beyonce Lip-Syncing at the Presidential Inauguration Controversy:

See the difference, guys? This one doesn't have like 74636936 unnecessary notes.

Also kind of a throwback to Christina Aguilera's  blundering of the National Anthem at the Superbowl (I think it was the Superbowl, if not some other big sporting event) a few years ago. What's wrong with just singing it like it was written, without all these ornaments and accaciaturas and crap. I mean, I don't mind like a little modulation up on the high note (like up to an A if you were singing it in C major), but making one syllable sound like five kazillion words? Just no. Check out these other butchered performances of our National Anthem:

Harper Gruzins: I know this girl's only 11, but come on. This is horrible. Learn how to sing vowels properly and stop trying too hard to sound like Adele.

Christina Aguilera:  Come on, Christina. Not only do you screw up the lyrics, you CLEARLY go off key, shifting up a half-step during the song. The word "wa-yay-ay-ay-ay-ayaaaaaayyyyyyyvvveee" is about 300 syllables in itself.

Patti LaBelle: At least it's on-key, but each syllable lasts about 10 seconds with all the ornamentations and fermatissimas (see what I did there? nevermind.) when the whole song should take less than a minute.

Elizabeth Hughes: This is the only one I'm posting that's not bad. This poor kid, she was doing so well and singing so beautifully until the microphone crapped out on her. And then some asshole laughs when the mic divides itself by zero and little Elizabeth continues singing with back-up vocals from the rest of the audience. Moral of the story: Make sure your mic batteries are fully charged. And don't laugh at little kids for things they can't control, it's just mean.

 Bad Cover Bands

Following my theme of bad Youtube music videos, here are some awful cover bands I've found on there.

  1. The Final Countdown: This video is full of suck. I can't even get through the first line the vocalist "sings" because it's about a half-step flat from the accompaniment, which also sucks.
  2. Comfortably Numb: I bet you all 10 bucks that the frontman is drunk. The lead guitarist is awful, too. What's up with the off-key screech from the singer at 2:52?
  3. Smells Like Teen Spirit: These kids are worse than my former band (Wilted ROSES!) I mean, at least I played the guitar solo in the right key. This "band" consists of three prepubescent children: an Avril Lavigne-wannabe singer, a crappy n00b guitarist, and a drummer that has about as much emotion as that chick from Twilight.
  4. Elementary School "Metal" Concert: Startin' them young. But everything about this is terrible. Awful musicianship, random kids dancing around on the stage (why?) and the poor kids are probably going to have to go through decades and decades of therapy.
  5. In My Head by Jason Derulo: This video is no longer on Youtube (probably due to the vast amount of people trashing the band) so I'll just describe it. It was a band of high school students performing at a school lunch break. The drumming and guitar was pretty rancid, but the singing (as it usually is in bad cover bands) was even worse. To say the least, this short chubby kid in Toms sounded like a dying cat as he yowled "IN MAH HEA-YEH-YEEEEDD!" Ugh. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard. 
  6. Wilted Roses: While not exactly a cover band (this song was an original called "You Stole Our Show") this was my former "band" if you could call it that, and we sucked. Cut us some slack though, we were in 8th grade and I thought I looked like a Victoria's Secret model and Alex (the singer/screamer) thought he was Marilyn Manson. 
Let me know if you find anything else notably horrible.

 Music Memedump: January 21, 2013

 'Nuff said. *facepalm*

'Nuff said.

 Adam Buckley is my new husband. 

 This is why. (There is some NSFW language in the video, both in the crappy songs and in his commentary. Check out his other diatribes of crappy music as well.)

 Some Hilariously Awful Music Videos You Should Check Out

  1. Holwager Karaoke: Call Me Maybe (and others)
While I do appreciate that this lovely husband-and-wife duo have the guts to post videos of their karaoke singing for all the Interwebs to see, and I do love the fact that they don't take crap from trolls, this poor woman has literally no sense of pitch. Her husband is slightly better pitch- and tone-wise. Check out their other stuff, including the wife's cover of "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green loving memory of their dog. (Oh, isn't it ironic...)

Second-rate '90s music video, crappy lyrics I could have wrote as a ten-year-old budding singer-songwriter, and really, really pitchy. Also, this woman looks like a grown-up Honey Boo Boo. The funniest part about it is that she's 100% legit. Watch her even worse video for "Excuse My Christmas": the singing still sucks, and the "video" is a montage of crappy clip art graphics.

Wut. The violin guy just makes the whole video, though. This is also the reason why you shouldn't wear Toms with socks. This is actually from a crappy disturbing '80s low-budget film called Creating Rem Lezar. Someday I will make a stage adaptation of it and it will be the biggest hit on Broadway.

Nice choreography. And crappy vaguely space-themed love song lyrics. Or vaguely love-song themed space lyrics. I don't know.

Just warning you, this one's inappropriate. As much as I try to refrain from posting inappropriate things on the Interwebs, this one's definitely worth it. This guy's pelvic thrusting in his Speedo is so gross that it's entertaining. Also note at the end when an audience member hurls a racist slur: "Play the ****** song!"

If you find any other hilariously horrible music videos, email me the links at

 Music Memedump: January 15, 2013

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