post strike post

So I mostly abstained from the internet all day yesterday in a small sympathetic response to the SOPA protest.

It wasn’t too hard since I spent a large part of the day sitting on a piano bench in a ballet classroom.

Actually improvised a few piano rags yesterday in class.

I found that my first 4.5 hour day of ballet accompaniment wasn’t too much for me. I’m not sure if this is because of my own increasing confidence about what this work expects of me or the high quality of the people for whom I am working.

I was struck with the irony that in the two situations in which I earn money these days I am perceived and treated in such different ways. In the ballet class, I feel that I am there by the seat of my pants. I am learning about ballet, but don’t really have a background in it. My work is to study the musical requirements I think the teacher needs for a given set of movements and then make something up that fits these.

In some ways it’s not too different from what I did as a 15 year old sitting alone at the piano bench of my father’s empty church goofing around with sounds.

On the other hand, I have spent a good deal of my life getting the expertise needed to be a quality church musician. Trained and credentialed in organ, choral conducting, and liturgy, I use these skills on a weekly basis.

I think this might have come to me during my lunch break yesterday. I spent part of the time reading a printed off scholarly article (printed off because I was abstaining from the internet…): Toward an Interp of the 16th c. Motet by Anthony M. Cummings ( Source: Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 34, No 1 (Spring, 1981), pp. 43 – 59).

I have been thinking about an ¬†upcoming choral anthem I am teaching to my choir, “Tu Solus” by Josquin DesPrez. It caught my attention that Josquin had made a motet which had a dual function in it’s original use: liturgical and devotional.

There are some interesting interpolations of non-Mass texts and use of previously composed material and I wanted to know a bit more about the context of the piece.

I was mildly surprised to find liturgical scholarly material that I studied quoted in this musical article. It reminded me the extent of my own training and skills such as they are.

So while I am treated with respect (which is pretty much protocol in the ballet classroom) and fondness (which is nice) by all of my co-workers in the Ballet department,  it is mildly ironic it is probably only my boss at church who understands my qualifications for my present work that I labored to obtain. To most of the rest of my co-workers I seem to be invisible and/or intimidating. The intimidating part is something I learned to deal with after grad school.

That was when I learned how to cope with people’s anxiety and bad behavior out of sheer survival. I did this by picking up some listening skills, assertiveness training and attempting to calm my own presence when others are flailing around me.

Before Ballet class, I took my Mom to her new neurologist. He seemed pretty competent. After Ballet class, I came home and madly set out the chicken dish I had put in the crockpot for Eileen to have for supper (I had a couple of veggie burgers). Then Scrabble and reading.

Do I need to say it?

Life is good.

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