Thursdays for me are the day of the week I find myself the most exhausted. Yesterday was long but pretty productive. I eased myself through the day and even had time and energy to exercise on the treadmill something I rarely can pull off on Wednesdays with so much else on my plate.
I am finding a sense of calm and perspective coming over me a bit. I’m not sure where it’s coming from but I am grateful for it. Church doesn’t seem near as important to me as it has in my more burnt out moments this year. I have scheduled sensible music for me to play and conduct for the next four days. No big projects. Some small ones like continuing to rehearse the Erik Thiman anthem I am playing and conducting from the organ which has a pretty involved accompaniment.
I skipped practicing organ on Monday and Tuesday and that seems to have been a good thing. I didn’t have to go to church.
My practice yesterday and the rehearsal last night left me confident that I will acquit myself just fine in the upcoming services.
I have been working on the infamous Widor Toccata for postludes for the Vigil and Easter Sunday. I have been working at a fairly slow pace paying attention to playing all the staccato markings. Yesterday after doing this, I played the first few pages up to performance tempo. It sounded clean. I stopped. I have been thinking seriously about the research that shows that the important part of rehearsing is not making mistakes or if one makes them to immediately work on correcting them.
This leads me to think that it’s better not to fling myself at rehearsing for it’s own sake. Better to rehearse smarter and emphasize accuracy. I know this probably sounds simplistic. But to me, it feels like a new insight.
I think my rehearsing techniques have been improving over the last fifteen years and that they weren’t bad before.
Maybe some of my calm is coming from understanding myself better. I am realizing that my relationship to music makes sense. It’s hard to convey this exactly, but some of it is letting go of some stereotypical educated musical prejudices that I don’t share. At the same time embracing my own understandings and love of music.
My improvisations have been showing this to me. I routinely think about genre and style as I improvise. And I have been including even more popular music style in my improvs. But at the same time I will switch to clear motivic and almost classical sounds (at least to my ears).
This ranging over styles combined with coming up with melodies on the spot that I think are interesting in the moment may be part of my recent perspective.
It doesn’t hurt that I have reading and thinking about writers like Les Beck, Ed Friedman, and bell hook.
I have begun outlines of the two versions of Friedman’s A Failure of Nerve. It has occurred to me to offer to the priests at work to read through this book with them this summer sometime. I’m not entirely sure I’m up to this. But I know it would help us, especially the curates. We’ll see. Right now I’m on survival until next Monday afternoon.
This is a little project I have been helping a student with. I think she is going to use this video for an audition with a ballet company. At any rate, I put it up on Facebooger and am posting it here as well.
I’m so glad that Linda Greenhouse continues to write an article one in a while in retirement. I think she is excellent.
Probably moot, but still sort of interesting.
If we all vote on it we can change science.