burnout and more on the etudes


I finished typing out my reading notes from stickies for Antigones by George Steiner this morning. The book is a few days overdue but I have kept it out in order to do this. This book has had an immense impact on me and not just about Greek Drama.

I had email exchanges with one of the ballet teachers at Hope yesterday. She asked me for recommendations for other pianists to play in the fall. For the umpteenth time I engaged with one of these people about how little they pay.

I am finding this very tiring. They want to discuss professional engagement and neglect to mention fees. When I asked if they were still paying the same amount, the teacher did not answer me (!) only asked what would be a good amount.

I told her that I thought if they could match the Music Department at Hope they might be able to attract some of those players. I thought they were paying around $40 an hour  (Last time I had information, Hope Ballet Department was paying its pianists $25 an hour).I said that in my opinion, $50 an hour was more fair.


I also skipped the AGO meeting last night. The organ teacher at Hope was giving the AGO chapter a look at the new organ. I found the prospect of facing people more than I could muster energy for.

I also am not terribly interested in electro pneumatic organs hidden behind a wall. I’m actually not all that interested in fine tracker organs. I just like them.

It has probably already occurred to any regular readers of this blog that I am burned out these days. It only occurred to me recently. It’s good information for me because it changes my self expectations. Dreaming about rehearsing the church choir a week and a half after it has disbanded for the year is a sign. As is dreaming of holding a guitar (did I mention that?) and performing when I haven’t done so for several years. I would like to find a mental space where I could begin composing again. It’s coming. it’s coming.


In the meantime, I finished reading through the Glass etudes on piano yesterday. After having played all 20 carefully, some up to tempo, I noticed that my cross rhythms have significantly improved. How about that? It might not help my Brahms piano music but it definitely is working in the Glass piano etudes. Cool.

Philip Glass’s Etudes: the sound of a lifetime | Music | The Guardian

I found this 2014 review interesting. The reviewer is an enthusiastic Glassophile which is mildly annoying. But the event seems very interesting. 10 pianists performed the entire Etudes together including Glass himself on nos. 1 and 2. In 2014, Glass was apparently approaching the age of 78. I find his interest in this form at this point in his life fascinating.

More good news on the Jenkins front: we received an automatic deposit of our tax refund which was more substantial than I ever remember it being.

Eileen is quite worried about to how to sustain world travel to see our children and grandchildren in the face of retirement. She has been talking to her CPA brother, Dave, about when we should apply for social security. For my part, I am grateful that she is addressing these issues. I’m only interested in being able to continue to live with her and make music as long as I can.

Leaked Questions Rekindle Debate Over Common Core Tests – The New York Times

I didn’t click to see if they had linked in the questions. I find it interesting to think about mixing up copyright concerns with educational ones. Weird stuff.

Mega-Tsunamis Wiped Away Shoreline of a Martian Ocean – The New York Times

Speculation about oceans on Mars. What’s not to like about that?

The Hiroshima Mushroom Cloud That Wasn’t – The New York Times

Cloud or not. Doesn’t much matter to all the people this thing killed. It’s interesting to hear this bit of history being revisited and the government propaganda echoing the propaganda then that this terrible moment in human history “saved lives.”

Republicans block stricter rules on retirement savings – The Washington Post

Big surprise. Democrats have misbehaved as well. See the last paragraph of this article.


2 thoughts on “burnout and more on the etudes

  1. I am finding that the CPA side of the family has been very fair and most helpful (not to mention patient with my non-knowledge in this area). Yay for positive comments about family!!

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