January 2010

A Little Extra for My Students

January 26, 2010 21:35

There is so much fascinating and useful information about the violin that I can't squeeze into 45 minute lessons.  If I were teaching a one semester course, I could begin to do the subject justice.  I asked myself what I can do with my limited time to extend the teaching and learning experience, and I thought of a fairly quick and easy activity:  Write and send occasional, brief newsletters to my students and their parents.  I want my newsletters to be short and fun to read, or else they will get buried in people's clogged email inboxes.   I want something in each issue to appeal to each of my students.  Even though my students are all beginners, they are diverse.  They range in age from 8 to 60.  Some are rank beginners, and some are re-beginners.  Some currently know how to play another instrument, but most don't.  Many are interested in fiddle music, a few in classical music, and many in all kinds of music.  They vary in the amount of time they've been with me, ranging from a few weeks to a few years.

Although the goal I set for myself was challenging, I accomplished it. What's more, it was fun to do. The feedback I got on my first newsletter was good, so I wrote a second one. I invite you to read it here. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

 

 

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RIP

January 15, 2010 09:19


I wrote about him in my blog of November 17, 2009.

"I met him at a jam session and fell in love with him at first sight. Within a few weeks, he fell in love with me, too. It was wonderful having someone I loved, who also loved me, to play music with. We always had music playing on CDs or Internet radio. We had violins (my primary instrument) and mandolins (his primary instrument) scattered around the living room, and whenever one or both of us liked the music that was playing, we'd pick up an instrument and jam."

[...]
 
"Then we broke up and lost contact with each other. Several years went by. Sometimes I'd get some news about him from a mutual friend. Sometimes it was sad news:  lung cancer."

Today I got sadder news:  Cancer took his life on December 31, 2009.  This evening I've been looking at photos of him and reading people's comments about him on Facebook.  I've been listening to recordings of bluegrass gospel songs and playing along.  Here is one we both loved to listen to and play along with.


RIP, my beloved friend.  You never knew how many people's lives you enriched with your love and your music.



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RIP

January 13, 2010 22:38

I wrote about a man who was very special to me in my blog of November 17, 2009.

"I met him at a jam session and fell in love with him at first sight. Within a few weeks, he fell in love with me, too. It was wonderful having someone I loved, who also loved me, to play music with. We always had music playing on CDs or Internet radio. We had violins (my primary instrument) and mandolins (his primary instrument) scattered around the living room, and whenever one or both of us liked the music that was playing, we'd pick up an instrument and jam."

[...]


"Then we broke up and lost contact with each other. Several years went by. Sometimes I'd get some news about him from a mutual friend. Sometimes it was sad news:  lung cancer."


Today I got sadder news:  Cancer took his life on December 31, 2009.  This evening I've been looking at photos of him and reading people's comments about him on Facebook.  I've been listening to recordings of bluegrass gospel songs and playing along.  Here is one we both loved to listen to and play along with.

 

RIP, my beloved friend.  You never knew how many people's lives you enriched with your love and your music.

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Happy New Year 2010

January 2, 2010 19:12


Happy New Year!
A litany of good wishes from Stanley Kubrick (1968), Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic (1987), and me (2010)

One of the ways the Viennese traditionally celebrate New Years is to listen to Strauss waltzes, especially "The Blue Danube," and dance. Here is Herbert van Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in their 1987 New Year's concert.  The dancers are from the Ballet of the Vienna State Opera.

 

P.S. A personal note: A few years ago, I played this waltz with my community symphony orchestra. Our conductor told us to stop listening to recordings of this piece until after the concert. Otherwise, he said, we would each play the version that we were most familiar with instead of our own collective version. During one of the rehearsals, he burst into laughter and had to stop conducting briefly. He was making the same association I was:  The movie "2001: A Space Odyssey, which featured the Blue Danube Waltz.  The film's producer, Stanley Kubrick, was one of the most innovative film makers in history, and the film was revolutionary for its time. It used the Blue Danube Waltz as the background music for the dance of the Earth and extraterrestrial bodies as seen by human  explorers in space.  This film has very little dialogue but a lot of classical music.  As Kubrick explained, "There are certain areas of feeling and reality—or unreality or innermost yearning, whatever you want to call it—which are notably inaccessible to words. Music can get into these areas." (source, Wikipedia).  I still get excited every time I see and hear "2001," so I just have to share part of it with you here.

 

I've noticed that 2010 is an anagram of 2001, so this seems a particularly auspicious time to wish everyone

Happy New Year!

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