December 2010

2010 Review

December 30, 2010 19:28

2010 has been an interesting and exciting year musically.  It has been a year of performances, attaining goals and setting new ones. 

First and foremost, I achieved my "Bach by 40" goal several months ahead of schedule.  It was the highlight of the decade, celebrated by me playing all of the Bach Cello Suites from beginning to end in one afternoon. It was a goal seven years int he making, starting in Malaysia, and traveling to California, Oregon and finally Texas.  Little did I know that this musical odyssey would lead to an interview with another violinist for the making of an e-book. 

Having achieved the "By 40" goal, the hunt was on for a "By 50" goal.  With help from a friend, a new goal was formed to work through the entire alphabet of composers who wrote something for viola starting at the letter "Z" and working backwards towards "A".  So far, this has been an adventure in and of itself simply finding composers who wrote something for viola at the tail end of the alphabet.  I've found everything except "Q" at this point and have worked my way from Z (Zelter), Y (Yun, Ysayse), X (Xiannias - but holding off on that one for now), W (RV Williams), and V (Vieuxtemps).

Performances... I can't believe how many times I've performed this year outside of the community orchestra.  I've been playing solo at church, small ensembles at church, pre-concert ensembles, retreat,s a funeral, pit orchestras, to outside concerts at the park.  I've played them prepared, not-so prepared, cold, hot, in high heels, bare-footed, dressed up, dressed down, and even dressed in costume.  One thing I learned for certain this year, I can play in just about any environment under just about any circumstance life can throw my way and live to tell the tale and even get a few compliments. It is a far cry from where I was just a year ago.

I bought a violin and learned how to play it.  It took a few months to get over what string to play on and get my left hand fingers to crunch up closer together, but I learned how to do so well enough to play publicly on the violin a few times.  As nice as the violin is, and how easy it is to play compared to the viola, the viola is still my first true love.

And finally, I'm back to playing in a quartet again.  Out of everything that I play, chamber music is what I love the most.  There is a great satisfaction in playing with other people in an intimate setting, learning to read their body language and breathing patterns to make beautiful music together.  There is nothing quite like that collective breath that happens between one phrase and the next.

Tomorrow or the next day, I'll ponder what 2011 will bring.

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Rock on Bach

December 22, 2010 20:15

 Tomorrow will be a real treat.  I will be visiting an old-time high school friend with the violin & viola in tow along with some not so traditional accessories: a pick-up, effects box, wah wah, and amp.  These will be meeting up with some high-tech devices to really mix things up a bit.  My favorite classical composer amped up is Bach, however Vivaldi kicks things up just as easily.  I'm interested to see what sort of things we can mix up in a day.  

It's not often that I let my hair down.

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Music in the Business World

December 10, 2010 20:04

Over the years I have read many articles about the benefits of music, from learning languages, to math and science.  One benefit that I've discovered recently is a bit of a surprise to me - navigating the corporate world.

In the corporate world there are interactions with completely different personalities, interpretations of policies, philosophies,  and approaches to solving one problem or another.  Sometimes the mix works well, and other times it doesn't.  Meetings can be harmonious or dissonant.  There are goals to be achieved in a certain time-frame using the skills of those who are available for the effort.  The people on the team must balance their own personal opinions with the what is required to obtain the results desired.

It is not so different than navigating the musical world.  If one replaces corporate policy and philosophy interpretation with musical interpretation, problem solving skills with group intonation and rhythm work, meetings with a performance; a nearly perfect cross-over of business and musical skills takes place.  

I have never been so thankful for having music introduced to me at a young age.  Though music is not my career, what I have learned is serving me well in the corporate world.

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