Sometimes people are awesome. They catch your vision and run with it. They go the extra mile to figure out how to make that vision a reality. They completely buy that your motivations are pure. Because their motivation is, too.
And then, when it's a modest success and other people come to experience and learn and grow, more people get excited. and the visions start flying and creative spirits see each other for the first time (and I mean really see each other) through the work and in the work. And gently, tentatively, a community comes together with shared values that transcend competition and ego. And I got a front row seat.
Yesterday, alongside 20+ horn players and music educators, Cally, Ken and I had the privilege of moving, teaching and learning about horn playing, horn maintenance and repair, practicing and ensemble playing. There were people with 50 years of experience helping beginner's with a months under their belts with fingerings and pitch matching. There were intrepid hornists re-stringing valves in front of an audience (no pressure!) and asking questions about oils and remembering why we all chose this instrument in the first place (spoiler alert: it's the sound!). There were long-time music educators brainstorming about making and expanding opportunities like this for other instrument families. And supporting these high-wire artists (also known as horn players) by their presence and approval.
To my chagrin, in recent years I've developed a pretty misanthropic streak amongst my generally positive outlook and yesterday, I couldn't have been found it for looking. I am so, so grateful for and impressed by these participants, leaders and supporters. You are all a lovely bunch of risk-taking coconuts.
So, as of tonight, registration is open for Howard county's newest creative community - Horn Works!
Horn Works is my newest project for up and coming horn players in the area to put their faces back together at the end of summer break and meet new members of their musical tribe. I'm so excited that local players and teachers, Ken Bell and Cally Messick, will be joining me on this new adventure. And yes, we're starting small but I've got ALL the plans for this little get together/bootcamp.
Check out the header for more information on Horn Works - what it is, who we are, how to register - and spread the word to horn players near and far. The care and feeding of horn players is super important to world peace and stuff.
I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. I really think they exist to set us up for failure. Thankfully(?) this year I don't even need to think about resolutions because my agenda is set for the next few months:
1. Write dissertation.
2. Practice a lot.
3. Plan Lecture Recital.
4. Practice some more
5. Play some great shows
6. Practice some more
7. Present Lecture Recital and Final Defense ( it really does sound final, doesn't it?)
8. Remember to breathe.
As I wrote this, I realised that the most important thing for me to do is the last thing on my list - Breathe. Because in taking just a little time to breathe, I can remember why I'm doing this, why I'm upending my life for the next 3 months, savour some small moments with my partner and children. And yet, that's the hardest thing for me to do. To make that one tiny priority, that biological and emotional necessity happen.
As a brass player, I talk a lot about breathing to my students, amongst my colleagues. But I haven't been talking to myself about it much. At least not lately. So if I do have a resolution this year, it's to breathe and to allow this to happen. Because no matter what goes on in the next few months or how hard this academic stuff gets, my success rate at getting through these things is actually 100%. If I breathe.
After much hemming and hawing, I've got two beginning piano group lesson slots open for enrollment.
Monday - 10am (1-2 slots available)
Tuesdays - 5:15pm (1 slot available)
The class will run for 14 sessions, from September 5 to December 19. Tuition is $350 or $87.50 per month. For more info,
just fill out the form below and I'll get back to you in a jiffy!
So after much thought and soul searching, I've decided to add some group lessons to my roster of individual lessons and studio classes. I'm really excited about this: it's time for me to do something that I haven't done in a while and take it to the next level.
Ideally, I'd love to get a group of students together (max. 4) that can grow and learn together as they learn the beginner elements of piano playing. And to do it in a format that's a little longer than normal beginner lessons with some fun group activities thrown in. I'll also be adding monthly private check-in lessons with each of my group members, just to make sure they're on track and getting everything they need. So a little of my past meets a little of my present.
Now, I already offer studio classes for all my students to play for one another so this is a totally different thing. Studio class time is a chance for my students to perform for others and learn how to comment helpfully and appropriately on other's work. Group lessons gets more into the nitty gritty of piano basics and we'll be learning pieces, doing theory, singing and doing rhythmic exercises as we move back and forth between the piano and our circle time.
Can't wait to switch things up! Change is good!
This is so important and I talk with my students about this all the time. I'm still working on this as a professional but I wish I'd understood it better when I was a kid. And it doesn't only apply to music.
The studio got a new friend in August. A muse, confidante, BFF, if you will.
So, that's not bad, right? It's a Yamaha in spit spot shape, other than a zillion fingerprints from students and the little people running around the house. I was fortunate enough to have some help to bring it down from my parents' place last summer and it's been a wonderful addition to my teaching, my playing and my sanity.
I almost feel bad for the upright sitting in the corner. Almost.
So, we moved.
So apparently this blog was never going to write itself.
I had every intention of using this space as a place to journal, muse and generally work things out. Instead it's become another task to be dropped, forgotten or covered up, with a healthy dose of guilty conscience for not checking off yet another thing on the to-do list.
I start a lot of things with the best of intentions and then it seems that life gets in the way a lot of the time. Some of that is my doing. Some of that is children, work, family, house, tours, travel humanity, dirty bathrooms, ringing doorbells. I'm pretty sure I'm not unique in my situation. It's just that the fill in the blank portion may contain other nouns and verbs.
So I'm going to commit to showing up here from time to time, if only to get a little time writing again to to get back in the swing of writing again.
Because apparently, my dissertation isn't going to write itself either...