more musician shop talk and links

Whew! After only four evenings of playing for a visiting prof I find that I am pretty exhausted.  I am scheduled to play five nights a week for the next two visiting profs and am wondering how I will do it energy wise.

I managed to do a good job for my final two classes last night.  I accomplished this by trying to not only play the way I thought the teacher wanted me too but also putting a little creativity back in the melodies I was improvising. This made the evening a bit less stressful for me.

I have a gig this evening but playing with a little jazz quartet will be a breeze after four nights of intense concentration and molding my music to fit the needs of a demanding ballet expert.

I went out and bought some equipment for tonight. I purchased another battery only to come home and find that after many days of charging one of my batteries was showing that it was finally fully charged. Just as well because the new battery takes 28 hours for its first charge. That means it will be fully charged just about in the middle of this evening’s gig.

I also purchased a power converter so that I can use the battery like a household outlet. I have one of these but I can’t find it.  These two items set me back about 70 bucks. As I understand it this evening we are getting paid $50 for the whole group. I guess that means it’s a $12.50 gig.  I never cease to marvel how under valued my work as a musician is money wise. Fortunately I’m a wild-eyed idealist who loves what he does even though so many people either under-value it or think it’s simply not all that good.  Whippy skippy.

In all fairness, no one asked me to purchase equipment for this particular gig. And these silly people are even providing me with a keyboard so I don’t have to bring anything but the batteries, my Real Books and some spare instrument cables.  I still can’t get over being flattered about the fact that these musicians have asked me to play with them. It will be fun.

I continue to work on the string quartet arrangement I am doing of “Yellow” by Coldplay. I discovered that I had omitted a couple of sections of it. It helps to listen to the recording all the way through, I guess. Ahem.

Tulip Time is truly a nutty time in Holland. I spent about fifteen minutes trying to go two or three blocks yesterday.

I also had my first piano lesson of the season with my student, Rudy Prudens. He spends half the year here and half in DC home. When he’s here he studies with me. Came home and pulled out piano scores of Scriabin and Faure that Rudy is learning. It’s helpful to me to have him for a student because he pulls me into piano literature I would probably otherwise not be so interested in.

Today’s goal is to rest up for this evening. Eileen and I recently broke down and bought a gas grill. She is talking about cooking out today since she has the whole day off. That would be fun.


Links today are all over the place. I listened to Bob McChesney interview founder Jeff Cohen. (link to MP3) Cohen recommended a bunch of news sources that he thinks are more fact based than anything else out there. I got up and bookmarked them:

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

Truthout | Fearless, Independent News and Opinion

Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines

Glenn Greenwald –


Then there’s Angry Birds.

Chrome has just released a free version of this for use with their browser. I emailed this link to Eileen and when I came home last night she was playing it. Later we watched John Stewart’s show taped from the night before and there was a reference to it.  The night before we wouldn’t have had any idea what they were talking about.

It’s basically a phone app, I guess (link to site)

And it also appears to be an addictive way to waste time.


Catholic Professors Criticize Boehner in Letter –

Boy is this one tricky. I personally abhor both the authoritarianism of the Catholic church and most of the the political stands of Boehner. At least the profs weren’t calling for him not to speak at the upcoming commencement.


Texas Passes Bill to Make Some Fish Tales a Crime –



Coal Curriculum Called Unfit for 4th Graders –

It blows my mind how vapid and biased commercialization of education gets a foot hold like this.  God help our kids.


Mr. Gingrich’s Intolerant History –

Nice little run down of Gringrich’s weird history.  It’s my first bookmark for the Election of 2014.


A Rite of Torture for Girls –

More excellent stuff from Nicholas Kristof. This is a wrenching update about female circumcision.

“Is it cultural imperialism for Westerners to oppose genital mutilation? Yes, perhaps, but it’s also justified.”


New Roles for Callista Gingrich and Maria Shriver –

This is a column by Connie Schultz, a columnist for The Plain Dealer, is the author of “… And His Lovely Wife: A Memoir From the Woman Beside the Man.” It’s encouraging to find out that Shriver called Schultz to encourage her not to quit her day job for her senator husband.


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