Monday, May 25, 2009

This is Cool

If you see her spinning to the right, you're right brain is working. If to the left, your left brain. If you can see her spinning in one direction and then the other, you have an IQ of over 160.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ambiguous Thoughts Inspired by a Particular Event

Yesterday afternoon we were playing La Boutique Fantasque (a cool piece by Respighi/Rossini). And then the lights went out!

It was a nice moment. Especially because we had just arrived at this unison descending chromatic passage, and when the lights went out everyone just sort of extended it, kept going down in half steps, an instinctual musical response to the subito darkness. Aside from just being really funny (because music can be that, you know), it got me thinking. 80+ people from all kinds of backgrounds thrown together on a stage, and in that moment the majority of them made the same choice.

So, the moral of the story? We're all in this together. Like it or not, we are. If the basses miss their entrance, it's part of what I'm doing. If I blow a lick, it matters to the other 80+. And all the good things, which is actually most of what we're putting out, matter for everyone too. It's a nice feeling. And it also can be hard, and fucking scary.

Sometimes my friends ask me why musicians are "so crazy." I think it's because we're so vulnerable. So intimate. So together. You sit down, squeak out notes, and put yourself out there. It's a nice feeling. And hard. And fucking scary.

But those are the worthy things. To look someone in the eyes and tell them the truth, even if they don't want to hear it. To show up, even though you're dreading it all day. To stay calm, and trust, and stick to who you know yourself to be and know what you want, and remember that it will all be alright. To keep your mouth shut when it's the right thing to do. To see the bright side. To give or take space. To reach deep down and find the guts to do it. It's hard and it's exhilarating.

Everyone knows what I'm talking about- it's different for everyone, different specifics, but then it's the same. We're all in this together.

I'm working through some stuff lately, so please excuse the rambling. But it's worth it, and I've always enjoyed work, so it's not so bad. So I'm going to keep showing up, keep trusting, and keep reaching.

More to come...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Dream Come True

Last night my new landlord, AC, had a chamber music party. I've always wanted to have a chamber music party, but I've been waiting until I own a house with a piano. Since we all know that's not going to happen for a long time, I've done the next best thing--moved into a house with a piano. With a woman who gives chamber music parties.

For those of you who don't know, a chamber music party is just what it sounds like: food, wine, and people sight-reading chamber music. Amazing.

I got to play horn/bassoon duets, Jan Bach's 4 2-Bit Contraptions for flute and horn, an old friend's arrangement of the three Gershwin Piano Preludes for horn and piano, and some beginner jazz duets with a neighbor who started playing the trumpet two years ago. Cool.

It took a lot of effort to get back for the party. I woke up yesterday morning in Texcoco, the hometown of my bf. To get back to Guanajuato, JCHD drove me to the bus station in Texcoco, where I took a bus to the bus station in Mexico City, where I took a bus to Guanajuato, where I took a bus downtown, where I took a taxi home. I walked in around 9 and I couldn't really feel my lips, but I figured they'd come through eventually. I splashed some water on my face, changed shirts, and ran upstairs to a lovely atmosphere of colleagues and acquaintances singing along to a flutist playing famous arias.

As the evening progressed I heard some Dvorak, some Schumann, some Vivaldi, some Puccini and some jazz songs (Gerswhin, maybe? Not sure, even though I could sing along). But mostly I heard soul. I heard real phrases and risks. Yeah I heard some wrong notes and wrong rhythms but I heard smiles and tears, tenderness and passion, suspense and resolution. I heard and felt community and a shared love of self-expression through art. I heard what music is all about for me.

It was important for me to get back and proved to be well worth all six legs of the journey. And I think it's important to focus on these sorts of things lately, to remind myself to focus on the good stuff. Unfortunately in the profession of music there are a lot of things that just get in the way- some of which we must not avoid (auditions) and some of which we must avoid (gossip) in order to continue in the field. But every musical experience can be about the good stuff, if we buckle down, get focused, and let it be.

So, this is my spring break resolution. In the practice room, in the section, at the brass quintet gig, behind the screen- focus on the good stuff. Because there's enough of it to go around.

And thank you, AC, for your chamber music party, at which there was plenty.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Top 7 Things Not To Do If You Want a Successful Blog Post

1) Don't try to multi-task. You think that episode of 30 Rock playing in the background via won't distract you, but it will. You'll have no original ideas, save the post to a draft, and then feel bad later as you erase it.
2) Don't make promises. If you want to write, you'll write. If you won't, you won't. Guilt has no place in blog-land.
3) If you spend 6 weeks in another country and have this cool idea about changing the color/language scheme on your blog to reflect that, and then post a lot about all the amazing revelations you're having, don't not do it. It would have been cool. Oh well, next time, sigh...
4) Don't fall in love with a guy who a) doesn't have internet in his apartment, b) suggests taking a walk and seeing what's going on when you're bored, and c) doesn't know what a blog is. I do, however, recommend the former in terms of raising your quality of life. Just not your quality of blog.
5) Don't insist on being profound. Or minimum 500 words. Or witty. Or anything. Just blog it!
6) Don't name a post The Top " ." You'll always come up one short.