Meet our Staff: Music Director, Michael Pickering

Michael PickeringWhere did your love affair with music start?

Music saved my life. My mom’s side of the family was very musical. Her brother, Les Strandt, was one of the original jazz be-bop organists of his day. I was immersed in music as a child, everything from Bach to the Beatles. It was jr. high, however, where music became very personal for me. My parents were going through a divorce, which meant my sister and I also were going through the pain of divorce. There were a lot of unhealthy pain-numbing options available I could have turned to, but by the grace of God I discovered a gift for music as my drug of choice.

I heard a song my Uncle Les had recorded for a close family friend who died in a car accident. The song was an original composition and deeply moving. I thought, “If my Uncle can write a song then so can I!” So I went to my junior high band room, sat down at a piano and composed a piece of music. I went back the next day and wrote another song. The following day I decided I wanted to write a symphony so I went to Wells Music at Cinderella City, bought some score paper and began writing the first movement of my symphony. I titled it, “Symphony of the Storms.” I would get my concert band mates together to play through what I was writing. I learned a lot about scoring and arranging through those, often painful, rehearsals. In the end, I showed my score to Don Shupe, my Jr. High band director. He asked, “How did you do this?” I said, “I don’t know… I just want to know if I’m doing it right.” He said, “Just don’t stop.” And I haven’t. Continue reading »

Posted in Music

Four tips to amp up your motivation

motivation on a piece of paper in front of a person wearing glassesAs the semester moves forward, motivation often wanes; this can lead to procrastination and ultimately result in poor grades. Don’t fall victim to the mid-semester slump – reinvigorate your enthusiasm by following these simple, but effective tips.

Take it One Step at a Time

Don’t start your semester with procrastination. Things seem much more manageable when you have a smaller to-do list. When projects get put off and that to-do list of yours starts getting bigger, it’s easy for panic to set in. Make yourself tackle at least one project or one task each day. Starting with the easier, quicker tasks will get them out of the way while helping to build your confidence. The semester will go much more smoothly if you’re not cramming it all in during finals week.

Reward Yourself

If you’re having trouble getting started on your schoolwork, promise yourself a reward once you’ve completed it. For example, you could reward an hour of studying with 15 minutes of an activity you find enjoyable, like video games, TV, or reading your latest page-turning novel. If you finish a project or paper, take yourself out for a treat before starting your revisions.  Promise yourself some sort of reward each time you complete a step or task, and you’ll be much more relaxed, happy and motivated.

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Posted in Academic Support

OneSearch: Research Simplified

Education school concept. Clever female student girl sitting on floor in college library with stack books reading. Indoor

Many college courses require some research during the semester, and some will assign full-blown research projects. Learning how to properly conduct research is a tool that will help in many areas of your college career and professional life as well.

Community College of Aurora just adopted a new tool that allows students to access million of items in one place. OneSearch is a reference resource that searches through databases of books, journals, eBooks, newspapers, magazines and other sources all in one search bar. Whether you’re looking for up-to-date business news, environmental research, psychology data, science facts or more, OneSearch will scour the databases to deliver results. The tool allows for both simple or advanced search options, ensuring that if there’s information out there, you can find it.

OneSearch does a lot of the legwork for you, but there are several other ways to ensure that you have all the skills you need to ace your next research project. Continue reading »

Posted in Academic Support

A CCA Welcome Back Guide

Welcome Students with fall leaves on wood deckWhether you’re a new student or an old pro, the first few days of a new semester can be a whirlwind of activity and have the potential to cause some pretty major stress. Rather than wasting precious time and energy worrying about the details, we want students to focus on their studies, so below is some helpful information that should ease your transition into the new semester.

Campus Resources

There are many resources available to assist CCA students during every step of their educational journey. It’s good to be aware of these options in case you find that you need a little extra help.

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Posted in Student Life

Everything you need to prepare for fall semester

Well-read girl with many books and suitcase outdoorsAs we enter the dog days of summer, it’s time to get your mind in gear for the new school year. CCA’s fall semester starts on August 24, 2015, and for new and returning students alike, there are several ways to get prepared.

Where to go

You may be planning a trip to campus to speak with an admissions specialist, advisor or financial aid specialist; but did you know that all of these services are available on our Lowry campus? The next few weeks are going to be extremely busy at CentreTech, often with long lines and wait times, but you can avoid this by going to the Lowry West Quad for all your needs! Continue reading »

Posted in Student