30. June 2015 · Comments Off on Laura Ahlbeck · Categories: Losses

I just read of Laura Ahlbeck’s death here. She had had a lengthy illness (Frontotemporal degeneration) and passed away on June 11. I didn’t know her, but certainly knew the name. My sympathy to her family and friends.

Read more about Ms. Ahlbeck by going here. You can donate to the legacy campaign by going here.

28. June 2015 · Comments Off on Sunday Evening Music · Categories: Sunday Evening Music

Henry Purcell; An Evening Hymn
Robert Buckland, Tenor; Ricardo Rodriguez Miranda, Viola da Gamba; Simon Linne, Baroque Guitar; Anthony Romaniuk, Organ

28. June 2015 · Comments Off on Sunday Morning Music · Categories: Sunday Morning Music

Johann Ludwig Krebs: Schlage bald from “Jesu, meine Freude”
Brooklyn Baroque; Marguerite Krull, Soprano; Priscilla Herreid, Oboe

24. June 2015 · Comments Off on Dmitri Hvorostovsky · Categories: News, Opera

Oh my …

News regarding Dmitri’s summer engagements
It is with great regret that Dmitri must cancel all performances from now until the end of August. He has recently been suffering from serious health issues, and a brain tumor has just been diagnosed. Although his voice and vocal condition are normal, his sense of balance has been severely affected. Dmitri will begin treatment this week and remains very optimistic for the future.

I read it here.

My best wishes for good treatment and recovery to Mr. Hvorostovsky.

24. June 2015 · Comments Off on Tchaikovsky Competition · Categories: LiveStream

You can watch the Tchaikovsky Competition online, and it’s streaming live at certain times of day. Since it’s in Russia you can watch much of it in the morning here. Piano, violin, cello and voice … you choose! Just go here to start.

I love hearing such fine musicians. I’m not as thrilled with competition, but oh well! I guess it’s good for the winners.

21. June 2015 · Comments Off on Sunday Evening Music · Categories: Sunday Evening Music

Herbert Howells: Now Abideth Faith, Hope and Charity
Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble; Donald Nally, conductor; Eric Budzynski, organ; Kate Lee, soprano

21. June 2015 · Comments Off on Sunday Morning Music · Categories: Sunday Morning Music

John Blow: God Spake Sometime in Visions
Vox Luminis and Robert Buckland

15. June 2015 · Comments Off on Do It For The Music! · Categories: Ramble

I have students who are clearly taking oboe as a sort of magic ticket to top universities (or even top high schools). Yep, it really can help. But not usually. You have to be very good. You can’t just tell them, “I play oboe,” and expect them to come racing to your door. Rarely do I have students going to the very top schools.

Hm. I cringe at typing “top schools” to be honest: just go out and get a good education! You can do that nearly anywhere. It is more up to a student, really, than the school. Work hard. Study. Learn. Take advantage of a university and explore. Being at a university gives you the opportunity to investigate more than just the one area you think you might pursue as a career.

That being said, I do have an oboe student this year who is going to a “top university”, and was accepted to more than one.

Guess what?

He worked very hard. He practiced carefully. He attended lessons regularly. And … drum roll please … he loved playing the oboe! That last one is what I desire so much. If students have a true passion for something they very often will excel. If they are learning something as a magic ticket and nothing else, it’s less likely.

I also hear about students taking music because it’s “good for math” or it helps “raise test scores.” I’ve now run across an article about that. Good stuff there! It begins:

Today I ran across one more xeroxed handout touting the test-taking benefits of music education, defending music as a great tool for raising test scores and making students smarter. It was just one more example among many of the “keep music because it helps with other things” pieces out there.

I really wish people would stop “defending” music education like this.

I get that music programs are under intense pressure, that all across America they are sitting hunched over with one nervous eye on a hooded figure stalking the halls with a big budgetary ax. Music programs are watching administrators race by, frantically chasing test scores and ignoring music in schools. So it may seem like a natural step to go running after the testing crowd hollering, “Hey, I can help with that, too.”

Don’t. Just don’t.

First of all, it’s a tactical error. If your state gets swept up in the winds of test dumpage and suddenly tests are not driving your school, what will you say to the ax guy (because, tests or not, the ax guy is not going away any time soon)? If your big selling point for your program has been that it’s actually test prep with a horn, you’ve made yourself dependent on the future of testing. That’s a bad horse on which to bet the farm.

Second, it’s just sad. And it’s extra sad to hear it come from music teachers. Just as sad as if I started telling everyone that reading Shakespeare is a great idea only because it helps with math class.

There are so many reasons for music education. Soooooooo many. And “it helps with testing” or “makes you do better in other classes” belong near the bottom of that list. Here are just a few items that should be further up the list.

So go read the article and think about it when you decide your children (or yourselves) must take music for some other purpose. Take music because you love it. Take music because it hits your heart. Take music because you can’t imagine not having a world with music. Take music because it gets into your very soul.

14. June 2015 · Comments Off on Sunday Evening Music · Categories: Sunday Evening Music

Urmask Sisask: Gloria tibi Domine
Les Notes Fleuries du Grand Paradis

14. June 2015 · Comments Off on Sunday Morning Music · Categories: Sunday Morning Music

Saint-Saëns: Ave Verum Corpus
Les Notes Fleuries du Grand Paradis

(A bit of a mic issue in spots … but still, lovely piece!)