church musicians and money and links


My organist friend, Ken Thevenet, who suffered a severe coronary “incident” the Saturday after Christmas is recovering nicely according to Facebook updates posted by his Dad. At first I passed on his updates to my teacher, Craig Cramer, who then published them to his list of organist emails (which he manages to block so that I couldn’t do so myself). After a few days he ceased to respond so I figure he was losing interest or something and quit emailing him.

Ken has insurance. But apparently he has high deductibles and his hospital stay (which is is continuing) is incurring costs not covered. His Dad has said donations can be made to a local bank, but I’m hoping he will publish info on how to donate via Paypal. It makes  me a little crazy that health care is so hit and miss in the US. But church musicians are notorious for their lack of benefits and low salaries so I guess it makes sense that we sort of have to kick in and help each other.

I hate money.

And I have difficulty believing in it.

I’m enjoying a second day off today in a row. I am scheduled to accompany a Blue Lakes Fine Arts ballet audtion/masterclass this evening at 6 PM. I wonder if it will be canceled due to weather. Hope College closed down early yesterday. It is pretty nasty out there.

8 Things Top Practicers Do Differently

I am constantly on the lookout to improve my practice techniques. This link was put up on Facebooger by another musician. It contradicts some of my recent adaptation of repetition (four times for anything), except if one factors in accurate repetition which is usually my goal.

The Problem With Men Explaining Things | Mother Jones

Daughter Sarah put this link up on Facebooger. I read it and understand the problems of gender power described in it. I asked Eileen if I do this to her. She said I did but qualified a little bit that I often sound like God. Nice. I am aware of this attribute and do try to temper it. But just as women in the article feel shut down by Men Who Know, I also have the opposite experience of being short changed and not just from men. I wonder what it all means. At this stage of my life I am much more likely to demur silently when contradicted or ignored.

Bess Myerson, New Yorker of Beauty, Wit, Service and Scandal, Dies at 90 – NYT

Another amazing obit. Reads like a novel.

Brain Freeze –

First person account of becoming an invalid. Seems well written to me.

Dish Unveils Internet Pay-TV Service, Sling TV, Starting at $20 Per Month | Variety

TV cable people keep farting around trying to understand and “monetize” the internet.


6 thoughts on “church musicians and money and links

  1. I wasn’t talking about you, silly.
    I have a feeling this is more prevalent here in the uk… Along with general classism and blatant shallow judgemental crap. I don’t remember feeling it quite so strongly in america.

    1. It’s definitely here. Eileen mentioned that she experienced it when she took the AutoCad course. I find gender issues confusing and often have difficulty identifying with one.

  2. Barry sent me that link for the practicing blog awhile back, and I’m not sure I buy it either. It also contradicted what I think are some fairly basic assumptions about practicing, and my experiences.

    1. I was thinking about this article. I find something very different about practice techniques for piano and those for organ. There is a physicality to piano playing that I don’t cultivate in my organ technique. In my organ technique I sometimes feel the cleanest notion of touch when I am moving much less and attempting a different kind of sympathy with the instrument. By the way, I’m curious what “basic assumptions” pop to your mind about practicing as well as your experiences.

      1. Had to read it again to remember. It was the part about hands together, and about number of repetitions. A couple commentors had the point that certain aspects of how the best players practiced might have more to do with the fact that they were highly skilled players – especially with the hands together. It doesn’t make sense to me to devaule hands separate practice, though maybe the point is more to not keep practicing with hands separate longer than necessary. Obviously, for organ playing, separating hands is really important and useful. Also, I wondered about the number of times of repetition being irrelevant. Though when I went back and read it, it occurred to me that bad practicers will just repeat and repeat, ad nauseum (perhaps even mindlessly), where as good practicers are intentional about what they are doing and why.
        I did think the part about how they approached mistakes and tricky passages was interesting and helpful, and meshed with my views on that, and liked the part about the top three stratigies.
        It makes sense to say, these are techniques the best players used in practicing, but not as much to say, these things didn’t seem to play a part in how they practiced, because the why of that might be due to a whole bunch of different things.
        since you asked…

        1. Thanks for talking a bit more about this. I am curious about practice habits, that’s for sure. I find practicing more and more for me about understanding the music. Thus hands separately helps me see stuff happening in the music more clearly for some reason. I put aside some of the execution problems to review the meaning of the parts or something like that. For me it’s also a question of building my own confidence in my ability. The number of times I repeat a section helps me do this. And of course the repetition cannot be mindless treadmilling to be helpful. My brain stops this and points out inconsistencies and slight errors. Of course thinking too much in performance is not helpful. Yesterday I was doing final prep on today’s prelude. I sort of a have a rule of thumb of four repetitions lately. For me this is a confidence thing. Did I prepare sufficiently? I did it a minimum of four times everyday for the past two weeks. That’s something, right? But yesterday I was fiddling with tempo and accuracy and interp. One of my run throughs (which I timed) I deliberately pushed the tempo a bit. Accuracy went down. Then I played through at a bit slower tempo. Higher accuracy. After all this I did the piece one more time slowly. This is something I do with repetition anyway. The last time through something, my goal is accuracy usually a bit slower. In my mind, I am leaving the piece intact until I visit it again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.