It’s more or less official: I am done with my master’s! Exciting stuff, though I’ll only feel the real thrill when I’ve got that fancy schmancy diploma in hand. Actually, completing my last paper and giving my last presentation seemed anticlimactic; where were the fireworks, the dousing of champagne and jewels? Perhaps it was because I’ve only been going to school part time and still have a full time job to go back to that it seemed less exciting. In college, I had some freedom and rest to look forward to. 50 days until Tanglewood; now that’s definitely something to look forward to.
Eventually I’ll cull all the interesting and informative bits I’ve learned while getting my master’s and working…but for now, I’m going to try to bask in the sun.
I stole that from my comrade and colleague, Jason Gottsacker (Web Technologies Officer of Music Library Student Group, aka MusLibKids, aka MLSG, etc. etc.). Upon further research (like any good librarian), it’s also an ice-skating move and a type of insurance plan. Great! But that’s basically how I’m feeling, with intermittent bursts of life! Spring! Graduation! Summer! Everything seems to be happening all at once, as it usually does.
I literally have two weeks until I am done with my MLIS. Graduation isn’t until May 10, but I’m not walking. I’ve decided to use the money I would have spent on the cap/gown/hood ridiculous-ness on a nice frame for my diploma (and do my undergrad one while I’m at it). My final project = print music vs. digital music…who wins? Wouldn’t want it to give it all away now (especially since I’m not quite finished, ahem), but I think in the end, we all win! Sounds cliche, but we can make informed decisions that work best for our respective situations (and wallets).
Onto the most exciting news: I’m a Tanglewood Library Fellow! This is super exciting and I’m SO jazzed and honored. I know a few previous fellows and they’ve all given rave reviews. Let me see, 8 weeks of classic and contemporary music, made by amazing musicians from all over the world, conducted by world class maestros/maestri (I think both are correct, but please let me know!), coached by principal BSO players…oh you know, no biggie.
So, death spiral be damned! You will be over briefly and a music/libraries/summer spiral will commence. Hopefully some swimming will also ensue.
In my last post, I began with “Hiatus, over!” Well, as you can see, it continued into the new year. But, since we all escaped the Mayan apocalypse, I’m here, I’m a musician, I’m a library student and I’m writing!
Not too much has changed; I finished my penultimate semester and am now ready to tackle my last class: music librarianship. How fitting! Since starting at the music library at Boston University (a timely change from the law library) I’m learning more and more about music: how it’s cataloged, how students search for it, how they use it, how librarians can make it easier to find and all those kinds of good things. I’ve also [finally] gotten my horn cleaned (by the illustrious and fabulous Ken Pope, no less), so I’m hoping to start back up and take some lessons. I’m also gearing up to go to MLA San Jose! I’ll be meeting with fellow MLSG members, as well as some summer friends from Interlochen! I think it’s going to be a great opportunity and really round out my spring of music. Musical spring? Either way, on y va!
Hiatus, over! Well, it was never officially taken, but that’s how life goes. After a fairly uneventful end of summer, the semester steams ahead. Projects and deadlines are looming ahead and I’m trying to stay on top of things and get ‘em done. (I’m tragically trying to recreate the post I had half way finished, but didn’t save, since there’s no option in the “quick” post module…grrrr.)
Two weeks ago, I went to a really interesting discussion at Harvard. The panel was: Joseph Horowitz, Mark Volpe, Jeremy Eichler, and Lloyd Schwartz. Respectively, they are a historian, managing director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and two music critics. The alarmist title to the discussion was <<Classical Music in Crisis.>> Don’t worry, the panelists and hosts also denounced it as such. The biggest point that all the panelists could agree upon was that classical music is NOT for the privileged or hyper educated crowd—it needs to be, as Eichler stated, “more things to more people.” Bingo! However, the steps to make it such are somewhat nebulous. Horowitz is a promoter of combining performances and education simultaneously. He has led very successful and engaging programs that fuse literature and visual art with music. His big push is for an interdisciplinary approach of spreading classical music around. Schwartz, one of the music critics, is also for education, but doesn’t want “learning thrown at him.” An interesting take on the situation for sure…how much do we need to be extolling the virtues of classical music? It should be self evident, but it’s not, in many cases. I’m don’t think it’s from lack of interest, but from lack of exposure and opportunities. But creating those opportunities isn’t easy either…
Basically, it boils down to how music affects people, how it changes people, how it’s all about relationships. Horowitz said the orchestra’s circle needs to expand—how to do it it is the big question. This presents a lot of food for thought. One interesting and interdisciplinary (or inter-genre) approach is an album of remixed Philip Glass compositions. More information can be found here (http://philipglassrework.com/). I really liked the two sample tracks, so much that I even splurged and bought the special “glass” LP! This is more of a commercial/popular approach to spreading classical music, but it’s a start. I don’t think there’s one solid answer: solutions will be fluid, personal and localized. Suggest a favorite symphony to someone who’s never explored classical music, or drag (er, invite) friends to an afternoon concert. A lot of universities and conservatories give free/donation based/very reasonably priced recitals and concerts. Take advantage of what your city/local schools/youth orchestras are offering—it’ll always be more than expected!
Namely, I miss session one. This is…Donovan, from NC, wearing my horn’s bell as a hat.
Whoa, August 1…what?! This past weekend, I was able to play with one of the high school orchestras on the fourth movement of Mahler’s 1st symphony. It was an amazing experience; not only did I get to play Mahler, I was able to play with a fantastic conductor and I rediscovered why I love playing horn! Mahler for horns is somewhat of a holy grail and while it was super challenging (on top of my extremely out of shape chops), it reminded me of how rewarding it is to work on something, loathe yourself for the majority of the process and then finally end with a great performance. Just because all the notes don’t make it doesn’t mean it’s not worth credit; if you, your orchestra members and audience feel exhilarated afterwards, that’s what matters. You can use that exact feeling to fuel your next practice session/rehearsal/performance. Ah, music, you feel so good to make. Once you get out of that cycle, it’s hard to remember the feeling, but when you do remember it, BAM! Now hopefully the feeling will linger, so I can keep it going when back in Boston.
My ensemble manager extraordinaire recently begun a music series in his college town. That’s an incredible feat, especially considering he’s been working on everything from afar and managing four performing groups alongside it all. I really wish I was going to be in Iowa (probably one of the few times I will write that!) but I’d love to see his hard work in action. More information and tickets can be found here: www.wsmsdecorah.org and www.facebook.com/WaterStreetMusicSeries. Look! They even have a snazzy logo:
I’m really fortunate to have worked with Dan and I’m sure when we meet in the future (it’s happening!), he’ll regale me in tales of WSMS success, maybe some even involving Mahler or Interlochen alumni or…both!
The greatest thing I’ve learned so far during my internship is: remain flexible. Jumping to your first conclusion (here and anywhere else for that matter) is bad, bad, bad. Usually, a solution (or option of sorts, if you want) will present itself in the problem or things will be very easily remedied. I freaked out the first few times I couldn’t find music or thought I had “lost” something, when really, it was just under that other pile or with that stack of music. I’d rush to my manager/conductor/boss: “I can’t find it! I had it in my hands ten seconds ago and it just up and walked out!,” I’d cry, feeling like the rotation of the world depended on me having this music right now. Of course, they would offer up a sensible solution (or hand me the very music I was looking for) and I’d walk away, embarrassed and feeling defeated. Of course, this was a personal problem before I came to this internship, but the internship has really helped me identify and work on the problem. Also, as with many jobs/situations/LIFE in general: things change. You can’t predict it and you most likely can’t change the change, so you just have to go with it. Repertoire changes, seatings change, rehearsal times/spaces change…what can you do? You can bitch and moan about it (believe me, I have) or you can just say “Well, I can do everything I can do to get x,y and z to you by a reasonable time.” And usually, most people are just fine with that because hopefully, they’ve been in that situation before. And if not, then it gives you good practice to deal with the people who apparently have had everything handed to them.
So, to being flexible and willing to keep things rolling when you’ve got the proverbial kink in the wheel. Also, to Mahler 1. More on that later!