a little set back


This is weird. Last Wednesday and Thursday, my Google Analytics tells me I had over a hundred hits here each day. Very odd.

I haven’t been blogging because I am using all my extra time to work on my composition.

On the up side, I sent a pdf and wav file of my first movement to Rhonda and Jordan. I was inspired to do so because Jordan emailed me to ask how it was going with the composition. He also told me he enjoys reading my blog (Hi Jordan!). He and Rhonda quickly responded to my first movement. I was very encouraged that Jordan seems to take my work so seriously and is so encouraging. At this time of my life, there are few people in that camp and it is flattering that Jordan is so supportive. This is especially true since I think he is an excellent musician.

On the down side, I hit a bit of snag with my second movement. I decided to dedicate it to Miles Davis, whom I admire greatly. I thought it would be cool to have  a section in it where the trumpet player uses a harmon mute. This is something Davis was known to do.

Word of the week: sourdine — Song Bar

I had the second movement mostly done and needed one more section for it. Sometime last week, I came up with some ideas utilizing trumpet with a harmon mute that I was very happy with. After sending off the first movement to my colleagues, I returned to the second movement, thinking I could tidy it up quickly.

Unfortunately, it seemed that the sections I had previously developed didn’t fit together very well. One of these sections is one that I think works very well. The bad news was that I liked the new section better. So I winnowed the piece down to just the new section, discarding the original parts that I liked but didn’t fit with the newer ideas.

This decision rattled me. It reminded me of writing prose. Sometimes I end up discarding the first paragraph or first page after i get going. I’m pretty sure the new section is the one i want to develop. This sets me back a bit. I’m now pondering coming up with a new B section to the second movement.

There seem to be stages of composition for me. The initial conceiving of ideas is one stage. This is a hard one to prime. The spinning out of ideas into more elaborate development and treatment is a completely different stage. The final stage is one of polishing, adding details like articulations and adjusting the notation to be more clear. The last two stages are much easier than the first and respond to discipline and energy.

My set back throws the second movement all the way back to the initial conceiving stage of coming up with ideas for that B section. it’s not quite starting from go, but it definitely requires different energy.

I have some ideas for that section but I’m trying to let them gestate for a while. I’m not planning on working on the piece at all this afternoon. The third movement is close to being done, but I’m feeling less secure about the whole thing.

It helps greatly that my colleagues are willing to put in there two cents. Thank you, Jordan and Rhonda!


animal crackers and talking to England


Elizabeth and Alex do quite a bit of cooking together. Recently, they wanted to make animal crackers from scratch. They had a recipe for the cookie but no animal shaped cookie cutters.

So they innovated. The result was very charming. Elizabeth came up with some simple designs based on circles and portions of circles.

Then they got to work. I found the results charming.

Yesterday’s church streaming service went much better. I plugged headphones into the fancy mic I have been using. Since Rev Jen is on vacation, she had arranged to have someone co-ordinate the streaming. It was the first time he had done it, so it was very helpful that the headphones allowed me to hear him and  the stream on my computer. This enabled us to touch base beforehand.

This has not been the case for weeks. Rev Jen and I have been working together with me being unable to hear her at all through  my computer. Eileen would stream what we were doing live on her phone in the next room. I would run into that room to hear what was happening and then come back quickly when it was my turn to play. Unfortunately there was about a ten second delay between Eileen’s phone and the actual stream which was happening (silently) on my computer.

Anyway, yesterday was much better.

I came home and immediately video chatted with my lovely daughter Sarah in England.

I haven’t worked on my composition today. I had a video doctor visit this morning. It was my annual check up. The doctor had tech problems with the interface. I was able to go through the usual pre-appointment interview with the nurse, but when Fuentes came on, she was pixilated and silent. We did manage to get it to sort of work. She was understanding about me not wanted to come in person. She said that the Covid 19 thing was not working out great for her. I suspect Spectrum Health (where she works) didn’t give their doctors a choice about being open during the virus. So far she hasn’t gotten sick.

My health is about what it was. I have gained weight since my last check up. And although my BP went down for a few months, it has been higher in the last week. I’m wondering if this is connected to my composition project which is weighing on me heavily.

I am making progress  on the piece, but I’m planning on taking today off.  Time to rest up a bit from yesterday and, of course, get some more reading in.

My life is good.