09. April 2007 · Comments Off on Well Okay, Then … · Categories: imported, Ramble

So my research request isn’t totally out of line, but of course I’m also reminded, by this article, from the Arizona State University paper, that what we do is a bit “different” than what many are used to. Take this, for example:

You don’t realize this when you’re on the inside, but when you try to enter a new artistic realm, you find that music isn’t a sound or a style or a scene. It’s a culture. And I don’t need to remind you of the significance of cultural sensitivity.

If, like me, you can’t tell the difference between C flat and a G – and I’m not really sure if those are even notes – the least you can do is try to be respectful of the atmosphere and enjoy the aesthetic content, even if it is guided by emotion and not technical knowledge.

I have no authority to tell you what you should listen to, but if you are branching out, do some research first.

So at least I’m not entirely out of line. Maybe.

So the SJSU writer who reported on last week’s concert writes this:

Gwendolyn Mok, the coordinator of keyboard studies at SJSU, performed three pieces on the piano, accompanied by the symphony under the direction of George Cleve.

We played Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. It is one piece. Three movements.

I blogged earlier about the applause issue. But … really! … did the audience honestly think these were three separate works? Say it ain’t so, Joe! I’m guessing … hoping … dreaming (?) that it was only that one writer.

I realize that a staff writer from the SJSU Spartan Daily might not know about classical music and movements off the top of his or her head (I don’t know if Kyle Hansen is male or female), but c’mon, a little research? Or just read the darn program. PLEASE.

If one reports on something might one do a bit of study? I think so. Maybe I’m wrong …? I don’t expect every audience member to do homework, but I would expect a writer to do so. If only not to humiliate himself or herself.

I won’t even bother with the glaring typo easily found in the article. Especially since every time I point out a typo I have one in my own writing!

Yes, SJSU is my alma mater. Yes, I’m embarrassed. Sigh.

Okay, okay … this is what give us classical folks a bad name I guess; we expect people to know things or at least study up before writing about what we do. But is that asking too much? Am I being too picky?

Oh probably. Double sigh.

09. April 2007 · Comments Off on Rehearsing and a New Gadget · Categories: imported, Ramble

Hugh Sung will like this, I think! (Hmmm. I can’t get his blog to load. Here is his my space page.)

This article tells a bit about a San Diego Chamber Orchestra rehearsal. (An HOUR on the first 10 minutes of the Mendelssohn. Sigh. Been there, done that. Not, mind you, with that group. But I don’t care to do it again.) It includes a bit about MusicPad Pro, what I think of as “computer screen music” rather than sheet music. I have mixed feelings, but I’d sure love to give it a go!

Keep Music@Menlo in mind for this summer. It seems the South Bay (where I live) believes that all arts should end when summer rolls around (thus, I’m unemployed for nearly 3 long, sad months, aside from teaching my private students), but Music@Menlo is a happening thing that has succeeded from it’s very start. Read about it here and visit the Music@Menlo website.

09. April 2007 · Comments Off on More Power To Him · Categories: imported, Ramble


They don’t often happen, it seems. Especially in instances like this one: a school’s band schedules a trip. To that Great Educational Theme Park™, Disneyland. Grades are important, and there is a clause (our school has it too) about not allowing anyone to go on the trip if grades are too low. And now grades are too low for one school band … for a total of 8 students.

The band director seems ready to cancel the whole trip, since those 8 musicians include a lot of the low brass section.

This article talks of the compromise. The big questions are 1) can the students improve enough and 2) will the school follow through if they don’t?

I’m not a big supporter of these “educational” trips. The tours are often (always?) run by a profit making group. The instructors who sign on get perks. (This I know, as Dan received a mailer about doing trips and I was astounded at what the teachers are given if they hop on board. Quite enticing!) A free trip for the instructor may follow later. Or a cruise. So is this really for the students, or is it giving instructors free vacations? What is the motivation behind these tours? Some of them are extremely expensive. We’ve paid well over $1,000 (or was it $2,000) for a D.C. tour, and of course the Scotland trip cost over $4,000. Sigh. (We didn’t know it was to be that expensive when we signed on; things changed after the fact, and of course what we’d paid in so far was non-refundable. Go figure.) And does anyone other than the director get to see the contract, how the funds are distributed, and where all our money goes? (Yes, I’m distrustful!)

But I say, “Stick to your guns!” to this band director. I’m sorry other students have to suffer, and I would hope that they would still be allowed the trip even if their performance suffered, but if students don’t have the grades, so be it. They should have to stay home.

That’s life.

(Yeah, I’m a great big meanie that way.)

09. April 2007 · Comments Off on Buy That Music! · Categories: imported, Ramble

My students know they are supposed to play off of originals; copies will not do! Support your local music store … if you have one. Many are going out of business. I know our local place did. (I have to add, though, that the place knew next to nothing about oboe, carried junk, and the place reeked of cigarettes, yet had a huge sign on the door saying “NO SMOKING!” as if they followed that rule themselves. Hmmm. Can you tell I hate the smell of cigarette smoke? If I’m in the car and someon nearby is smoking I actually have to close the vents and do the recycled air thing until I drive away. Call my picky. Or peculiar.)

But I ramble (as usual) … Here’s an article about a music store attempting to stay in business. It included this:

She also sells fresh eggs, $4 a dozen, from the 68 chickens she keeps at her weekend home in Delaware County. As she put it, “Why be in one dying profession when you can be in two: music dealer and farmer?”

Heh. Why is it that we in these not-so-high paying professions are often attracted to other not-so-high paying professions, I wonder?! I know I thought about writing articles for mags a while back. (Yeah, I know … I’m not good enough to do that. I was blind to that back then. I know better now.) And I thought about attempting to publish poetry for a time.

See what I mean?

09. April 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

I have this theory that I share with (Art Institute of Chicago president) Jim Cuno. It’s that nothing great was ever produced in isolation.

The guitar and the sitar are obviously related – even linguistically. The oud moves west from Persia to become the lute; it moves east to become the pipa. And a European hears an erhu and says it’s purely Chinese, a Chinese violin, but in Chinese the word ‘erhu’ means ‘two-stringed foreign instrument.’

-Yo-Yo Ma (read here)