Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Waking to a World of Music

Today marks the beginning of a new semester of music appreciation classes at MSCC in West Memphis, Arkansas.  I am really looking forward to this summer term as I am using it as an opportunity to try out some new approaches in a short-term setting.  If things go well, I will implement them into the regular course this fall.

As I reviewed my opening lecture last night, I was reminded of the concept that music is all around us.  I always look forward to showing the students a video recorded performance of 4'33".  It breaks the ice a little bit in this "super serious" class, but it also serves as a reminder that sounds are all around us -- just waiting to have their beauty discovered.

I suppose that is why I was so receptive to being awakened by a morning serenade.  Shortly after 6am this morning, work began outside my window.  The rhythmic banging of machinery provided an interesting accompaniment to the songs of two competing birds who have set up nests just outside my bedroom window.  Normally I would be horribly annoyed at such an early wake-up call, but this morning I found myself intrigued and strangely drawn to other musical sounds from my environment. 

I honestly hope that this pseudo-aleatory performance is a sign of how things will go for the next few weeks.  I really want to take a new look at music with fresh eyes and discover new treasures that had slipped into the background noise. 

When was the last time you stopped long enough to listen to the symphony of sounds playing all around you?  If you stop long enough, you just might be surprised at the masterpiece that will greet your spirit and your ears.

*Image by Vickie Warner - www.allaboutartgallery.com

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm Still Here.....

It's been way too long since I have found time to write.  Tornadoes, historic floods, recitals, teaching, family weddings, travels and work have demanded my time.  Despite my absence in the blogosphere, I have been a very busy pianist and look forward to sharing my thoughts with you once again.

Currently I am in the process of making a decision about my summer schedule.  I can definitely use the extra income associated with private lessons, but the summer is an intense time for the other areas of my life as well.  I am contemplating giving my students a "holiday" and returning to a regular teaching schedule in the fall.  I know it's not the ideal situation for their musical development, but I also know that I am a better teacher when I am rested and excited to see them on a weekly basis.  What are your personal experiences?  I'd welcome your input.