April 2009


April 25, 2009 01:01

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23 replies | Archive link

Bills, Taxes, Teaching

April 11, 2009 00:51

Was I dreading teaching, too?  If so, why?  Certainly, it wasn't the children.  Sometimes I worry whether they like me or not, but when I think about them, they still make me smile.  Still, every time the phone rings and a parent leaves a message, I cringe.  Cancellation?  Quitting?  Did I hurt someone's feelings?  Begin a lesson too late?  Forget to inspire someone's budding passion for music?  What is it this time?  So, I get done teaching, eat dinner, go to the gym, and then settle into the computer, paying bills and procrastinating my way out of practicing for another evening.  Then it occurs to me: 

When did the violin become such a paycheck?  Is this what it means to be a professional?  To book lessons in order to pay bills, to book gigs to pay bills, to log practice hours to pay bills?  To resent all the countless volunteer requests and empty tip jars that keep me from paying bills?  Yes, things can be tight when various unexpected expenses add up, and of course, the future is never certain, but this is the way it's always been.  What's different now is, I have no real goals for myself as a musician and artist.  I already obtained the ones I saw in front of me, and the ones that haven't materialized are beyond my control anyway.  How can I be excited about teaching when I have nothing new to share?

Back in the practice room, I dig through the file cabinet in search of a juicy bone to stew, perhaps some iconic piece I've been waiting to wrap my fingers around.  Nothing strikes me.  Of course, Bach is always on the horizon, ever receding as I approach.  Since it's good to keep your eyes pinned to the horizon, Bach will always have a use in my repertoire, elusive as he may be.  Then there's a decent concerto or two, but I've recently come to the conclusion that concertos are pointless with no orchestra to back you up.  The piano reductions they make for those things taste a lot like karaoke chicken. 

By default, I'm stuck with the caps lock on D major; long loud droning scales emit from my fiddle while I think of something better to do.  Now, with half an hour of D Major under my belt and my feet firmly planted on the ground, I'm all ready to take off into something.  But what?  Tell me, O Muse.  What should I play?  More importantly, why should I play it?  Who cares?  If not I, then who?  If nothing else, I will pick something to play that I don't have to care about.  Like hold music. 

Kreutzer Etude #2 plays in my ears as I wait for something to pick up.  With 40 more to go, I could be on hold all night.


10 replies | Archive link

Mount Redoubt Eruption, April 4th, 2009

April 5, 2009 03:08

3 replies | Archive link


April 4, 2009 04:11

Hawai'i really is a worthwhile diversion, especially after six months of snow.  We really liked the warm sand.


The warm pavement was nice, too. 

 Imagine, a land where coffee beans and guava grow on trees...

...and my, are the trees big!


So are the house plants.

What a nice vacation we had, the first 100% real, married-couple vacation we've taken the ten years we've known each other.  No special occasion, no reason except that we wanted to. 

Who wouldn't?

7 replies | Archive link

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