21. August 2007 · Comments Off on Nobody Likes Our Music · Categories: Ramble

Or do they?

“The Metropolitan Opera has a new record — in opening-day sales.”

21. August 2007 · Comments Off on Words of Wisdom · Categories: Quotes

Well it’s better to be silent than to be a fool.

-Harper Lee (read here)

(But will I ever learn?)

21. August 2007 · Comments Off on emusic · Categories: Ramble

As many readers know, I subscribe to emusic.com. It’s quite handy. When I need to study something I’ve not played before I often find recordings there. I also “discover” new composers and new groups. (That’s where I found Andrew Bird, for one. Yeah. I do listen to other “stuff” too.)

But boy, does emusic.com get annoying and even funny sometimes.

I just did a search on Elgar, selecting just “classical composer”, and this is what they give me for the composer:
Edward Elgar
Sir Edward Elgar
Elgar, Edward
Sir Edward William Elgar

Do they think these are four different composers? Hmmm. The first and third names give me 167 albums. The second gives me nine. The last gives me one. Weird.

Searching just generally on Stravinksy, leads me to more.
For artists I get:
Igor Stravinsky (4 Albums and 9 Compilations)
Igor Stravinsky w/ Woody Herman (1 CD link: Everest’s Jazz Digest)
Igor Feodorovic Stravinsky (1 CD link: Masters of the Roll, Vol. 3: Piano Music of Stravinsky)

and for composers I get:
Igor Stravinsky (99 albums)
Igor Feodorovic Stravinsky (1 CD, The Silver Swan, by someone named Matthew Barley
Stravinsky, Igor (99 albums, just like above, but why have both?)

Okay, maybe I’m just being picky. (Who? … ME?!)

But … BEETHOVEN? Well … for composer I’m taken to these:
Beethoven
Ludwig Van Beethoven
Beethoven, Ludwig Van
Beethoven, Arranger: Mancini
L. van Beethoven
Ludvig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Ludwig van Beethoven

But, best of all, I’m also given these, with Beethoven listed as … drum roll … classical conductor!:
L. van Beethoven
Ludwig Van Beethoven

Who’da thunk it?

So I think emusic needs some classical folk to help them. Don’t you? ;-)

I’d offer my services for … well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? … free downloads. I’m nice that way.

21. August 2007 · Comments Off on Music and Brains · Categories: Ramble

In 2005, students taking the SAT with prior coursework in music appreciation scored 60 points higher on the verbal and 39 points higher on the math portion of the test.

RTWT

Hmmm. There are a number of questions one could ask about this, though, don’t you think? Where are music appreciation classes offered, and to whom? Which students are drawn toward a course like that? Are those high scoring students the same ones who take the SAT improvement classes? And, most importantly, don’t you think the SAT is just a pain in the neck?

Well, okay, you can leave off that last question if you’d like, but I sure hate those tests, and I hate the competition and stress they sometimes cause.

I do think going out to schools is a great idea if one has a creative plan that works. San Jose Symphony (RIP) had a program that most of the orchestra participated in. We chose our project (the program was called, if I remember correctly, Project Music) which was usually affiliated with a school or schools. For a couple of years I gave oboe lessons to students at a local arts magnet high school. Later I chose just to coach a woodwind quintet. That didn’t go over terribly well; the oboist was happy to be there, but the other students, as it became clearer by the week, really didn’t want to play. It was not a pleasant time. But some of my colleagues connected with teachers and worked around their curriculum. I thought what they did was excellent, and I was not only impressed, but humbled by their thoughtfulness and creativity.

Anyway, does music appreciation really make a person smarter?

If so, why do I feel as if I’m somehow faking my way through so much? Hmmm.

21. August 2007 · Comments Off on Dreaming · Categories: Dreams, Ramble

Sometimes I dream with a soundtrack. Sometimes I dream as a musical. I just woke up after dealing with both.

The first dream was something sad. I can’t even remember what it was, but the soundtrack was quite weepy. These kinds of dreams always exhaust me, and tend to make me start the day in a rather melancholy way, even when I can’t remember what the dream was about.

The second was a musical. Or at least part of it was—it began without music, so maybe the “musical” part is only because I was attending some sort of production.

Who knows how the dream began (it’s all a blur), but I do remember a pastor of a church I used to attend coming in with an oboe he wanted to show me. A very ODD oboe! It was metal (for some reason this didn’t shock me at first), and each section sat on metal platforms with wheels … together they formed a train, which you could run with a remote. Um. Okay. I played around with it, and managed to run it into some kind of little building. (I guess it also came with the rest of the train oboe set.) I then explained to him that it wasn’t a bad oboe (I had apparently played it) but that I preferred wood. He was somewhat defensive. Kelsey, our daughter, was there. I can’t even remember why now.

After that I was at a restaurant. Brandon, our older son, was also there. I was eating alone, but watching him. I got up, finally to leave, and the waitress had to chase after me to pay. So I sat back down (I hadn’t tried to cheat her; I simply forgot!) Suddenly Brandon and a bunch of friends were dancing … as in STOMP kind of dancing, with brooms. And kind of rapping as well. I kept trying to take pictures with my phone, but couldn’t remember how.

Eventually I wound up somewhere else and a girl Jameson, our younger son, knows was singing in some sort of bizarre musical. (I still have the song in my head as I type.) Then there were a bunch of children surrounding her, and she and the children sang … but we couldn’t hear them because they were using a recording and the cranked it up. All we could hear were the singers in the recording. (Was this a tie-in to the church part of the dream? Maybe: my old church used recordings for their “musicals” and we could always hear the recorded voices.) Jameson—looking nothing like himself but, rather, like my brother Greg—got up and stood right next to his friend to hear her.

I remember nothing else. I think I woke up.

Thankfully.

Why post these? Well, just because I can. And they are about music. Sort of.

Anyone else dream with soundtracks?