Category Living

Monday, October 23, 2023

What if we took a different approach to our curriculum in music training? What if we start with what our students are making with music–the repertoire they’re preparing–and base all other classes on that music?

In the spring semester, ensemble, opera, and chamber music directors select their repertoire for the coming year. Then, with that repertoire shared with those who teach core classes (theory, ear-training, keyboard harmony, conducting, history), the core classes can use that music to draw examples for study, analysis, exercises, etc.

Perhaps that might broaden the impact of the curriculum–all students in their early years (the “core” years) would be studying the same works of music, though at different levels of sophistication...

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Sunday, October 15, 2023

So much going on in our world, very little of it encouraging.

To find the elements of optimism, at least for me, I need to look at the smaller circles, the closer orbits. Two thriving grandsons, healthy, smart, loving, each mischievous in their own ways. And they’re fortunate to have two loving parents who’re effective at allowing their imaginations thrive, but also at providing clear limits. I found great energy and inspiration in my visit to their home last weekend, and in that house, there is nothing but optimism.

As I look at my own home, I am grateful that we’re all dealing with our various health situations effectively, and are in good shape. Thankfully, we’re all living with things that are treatable, and that puts us in a category of very fortunate people.

And Patti...

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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

I’ve been thinking alot about failure of late.

Nothing disastrous here, just an emphasis in my mind lately about the learning opportunities offered when we don’t meet or exceed expectations. I am thinking about elements of my career (first as a player, then as composer, conductor, teacher, administrator), elements of my personal life (husband, father, son, sibling, friend), and pursuits outside of my career (handyman, carpenter, scuba diving).

In so many ways I have not seen aspirations achieved, and in each of those cases I have learned so very much. And those lessons have offered me an opportunity to broaden and/or strengthen my understanding of both what things I want and how I want to do them.

Perhaps this comes from being, at base level, a teacher...

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Thursday, March 2, 2023

On the cusp of school’s spring break (next week), and almost caught up with everything so that the week can be a genuine break.

Then emails and texts arrive with work-fires to try to extinguish. In years past, this sort of thing would have really driven me a bit crazy. Now, having only a year of this “interim Chairperson” thing behind me, and knowing that my time at work is limited to only a few remaining semesters, I see these issues as irritants, rather than crises. I do question many things that come my way these days; and even more so the motivations of others who seem to have completely lost perspective on just plain getting their work done.

It seems clear that some folks only look to ask questions, and truly do not want to come to conclusions about how to move forward with ...

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Monday, June 27, 2022

We’ve enjoyed a few days at the beach in Surf CIty, and it’s been a welcome change of pace. I’ve loved it here since we were fortunate enough to get this place in ~2006, and it remains a place of retreat and refuge.

Through a renovation in ’17 which was wiped out by hurricane Florence in ’18, the 2-year rebuild then wiped out by Isaias in ’20, finally getting back in here this past winter, this place was really inaccessible for nearly 3 1/2 years. But when we are here, however briefly (this time for 3 days), we just settle in and relax. The space inside is limited but perfectly arranged by Pattie; the space outside is beyond expansive with its ocean view.

Every visit also involves some sort of home repair, of course...

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Saturday, June 25, 2022

The past few days in the U.S. seem to bring an already deeply frightening time to new, even more abysmal depths. As bad as the state of affairs in this country has been over the past years–many years, to be sure, and we could look back to our founding through devastating destruction of others for the start–since ’16 it’s just been a steady plummeting of ‘other’ in favor of a national narcissism.

Our ruling institutions–Executive, Legislative, and Judicial–have each taken their own dives over the decades. The trust in each of these, at different times, has seen a deterioration in the American mind each in their own way. The Vietnam war era saw an Executive branch so out of tune with the populace that our world exploded here, and elsewhere...

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

This past weekend brought almost all of my family together–for the first time since early December, 2019. Fabulous to see everyone, of course, and to celebrate my nephew’s wedding. Just a few pix of Joe, Cristin, Jackson (nearing 3), and Nathaniel (9 mos.)

Nate & Joe, 6.19.22
Jackson’s 1st wedding!
Cristin, Nate, Jackson, and Joe

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