03. October 2006 · Comments Off on Improvise! C’mon, you can do it! · Categories: imported, Ramble

At a new site (to me) I found this entry:

So many of the students are so talented and I didn’t get the impression, speaking with them, that any of them are doing anything truly creative (improvising and composing) outside learning all this music by dead Europeans.

I have asked some of my students to do a little creating on the spot (improvising) during lessons. I know we classicaly trained folks are often too tied to what’s on the page. We think we can’t create. So I’m thinking I can maybe break students of that thought. I just say, “Give me something in G major, 12 bars,” or some such thing. It does freeze a good number of them up. Sometimes I’ll say, “Okay. I’ll go first,” and I’ll make something up. I’m sure if a composer heard it, or if a jazz musician were in the room, they’d see that I’m not all that creative, but hey … it’s something! And I’d like to free my students from thinking they can’t do anything on their own. “Classical” music can really take away freedome and creativity sometimes.

Or do readers disagree?

Anyone out there improvise at concerts? I’ve not done so for a professional concert, but I’ve done it at several weddings. I also improvise when I do sound checks for shows; it’s so much easier than doing what some of my colleagues do; they’ll play something everyone knows! I don’t like to do that … THAT is when I freeze up, because I’m afraid I’ll make a mistake. If you improvise, there are no mistakes. There are just random little detours that may happen, and you merely have to find your way back to the main path. Besides, those random side trips can be a whole lot of fun.

03. October 2006 · Comments Off on Back to who I am · Categories: A Musician's LIfe, imported, Ramble

I can’t tell you how good it feels to get back to everything! School. Private students. Opera. Symphony. Life is good.

It was wonderful to meet with the Santa Clara University oboists again today; what a delight you students are! It’s great, too, that we are in a much better room than we’ve had in the past, and I’m hoping we can hang on to it.

I look forward to my very early mornings with UCSC students. I actually don’t mind the early start; it gets my day going in a very fine way.

Now that I’ve had both an opera and and symphony set, and I’ve taught at both SCU and UCSC, and all my private students have returned, I feel as if my music making life is back to normal. As normal, of course, as a musician’s life can be. Which is abnormal. And all of this makes me feel more like me: abnormally normal … or is that normally abnormal? I am thinking the latter makes more sense.

In the summer I sort of feel as if part of who I am has left the building.

Guess it’s sort of like Sweeney Todd, when he declares, “At last, my arm is complete again!”

But I promise I won’t be making any meat pies. Although I do have sharp knives and razor blades.