greek and chopin

Written by jupiterj. Posted in Uncategorized


Turning to Greek and Chopin for some non-churchy/non-ballet distraction. I hesitate to put the idea that I am studying Greek in my blog, since sometimes talking about projects in an initial stage tend to sabotage them for me. But I have been looking at Greek for the past couple of mornings trying to reorient myself to my studies.

I have been looking at Chopin polonaises for a week or so. Chopin has always hovered over my piano playing. I have memories of my Dad popping off Chopin pieces (such at the Polonaise in A major and other pieces). I’ve been thinking that my truncated formal piano study may contribute to my lack of confidence in my Chopin. I’ve always been a bit confused at how to approach those tiny notes he sometimes writes that are supposed to fit into a steady rhythm in sort of a free wheeling way.

Yesterday, I googled this idea and came across a video by Dr. Cory Hall on YouTube. He posts many teaching videos there.

I was looking at one on the Fantasie Impromptu by Chopin and he said before viewing it he recommended working through his video on playing fours against threes.


Sounded like a good idea for a day off. So I did. I have played pieces with this kind of cross rhythm but I admired the thoroughness of Hall’s approach. I am beginning to adapt and rehearse it. I will probably Paypal this dude some money after some use of his videos.

All of this was to make an attempt to take an entire day away from my usual stuff. Eileen helped by taking my Mom to the Miracle Ear appointment. I kept resisting tasks other than reading and studying. It seemed to work. I am feeling a bit more refreshed this morning.

I am planning to use the time I would have had to play my 8:30 class to do some church work. Then final classes for the semester at 11 AM and Noon. I meet with my boss then I have no more tasks for the day (assuming I get everything done before my 11 AM class that I would like to. This is not a given.

This evening Eileen and I are jumping in the car and drive to the Grand Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids. I have weirdly been invited to a dinner for former National Pastoral Musicians Chapter directors. This should also be pretty distracting.

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It is so easy to be blind to our own cultural preferences. Seems to me there are some pretty obvious compromises available to this quandry.


day off

Written by jupiterj. Posted in Uncategorized


I am desperate to take at least one day this week and do very little. I’m hoping it’s today. I am avoiding doing church work and practicing organ at church. I need to submit the bulletin information for a week from this Sunday (psalm, anthem, prelude, postlude, hymns). I try to keep the office informed a week ahead. But I’m going to do that tomorrow morning in the time I usually have a dance class since my 8:30 class doesn’t require my presence.

In fact I only have two afternoon classes left tomorrow and then I am completely done with ballet. It’s weird because I am craving time off, but at the same time the way I fill my time is satisfying. I enjoy improvising and playing for ballet. I like preparing singers at church and learning and performing organ music. But I’m pretty sure I’m not far from burn out right now and would like to continue these activities with a more refreshed and relaxed mind.

I continue to receive surprising comments about my performing. The way my colleagues connect with me varies wildly. This last week has shown this. Sunday one colleague after church allowed me to shake his hand (he seems to prefer a wimpy non American hand shake and I comply). We wished each other “Happy Easter” and that was that. Other colleagues were more forthcoming, complimenting me on my work at church and making a real effort to see me (invisible jupe, remember?).

Strikingly two less academic feeling colleagues reached out to me yesterday.  The art teacher at the high school also plays bass. He regularly performed with the man we buried last Wednesday. Yesterday out of the blue he “messaged” me on Facebooger telling me I did a “great job” at the funeral.  Wow.

The dance department staff drummer stopped me in the halls yesterday and complimented me on my playing at the funeral. Wow #2!

What struck me about this was how easily and graciously these men connected to me. Refreshing.

Since I’m kind of bragging here this morning,  here’s another cool thing. Yesterday at the 8:30 class, the teacher taped the final exam combinations. The dancers have been learning these combinations since last week. I try to use the same music for these tests so that dancers know exactly what to expect.

There were three parts to the taping  yesterday, a slow combination (adag) and two more quick ones (petite and grand allegro). For the adag I used the “Orientale” by Cui transcribed for piano. After four or five consecutive tapings, the teacher told me that my tempos must have been pretty consistent since she had glanced at the time and noted that I was coming in at 2 minutes, sometimes exactly, sometimes within a second.

Surprised me. I don’t think of myself as that precise especially in tempos though I do think a lot about tempos and spend time with mister metronome in my usual music prep.