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!
This is the BYSO library I’ve been organizing and cataologing!Alas, I’ve only done about one and a half shelves, but it’s going! I won’t be able to get that much further (I leave for Interlochen June 11!), but I’m hoping that post-Interlochen, I will have an abundance of ideas and way to tackle it even more effectively. For me, the most difficult part is not being able to throw things away. In general, it is hard for me to throw things away, but this is a case of seeing everything we have and seeing what’s in good condition, what we should keep just to have, etc. Anyways, hope to have a great after photo one of these days!
Forewarning: This post has nothing to do with basketball. Although, I do know the favorite team of the librarian of the Boston Symphony. Juicy tidbit, I know. March has been…well, up and down. Highs and lows. Lulls and… storms (?). Library-wise, I’ve learned a lot.
1) That preservation (as a class and a concept) is very fascinating and probably should be a requirement for every MLIS program. I don’t know if this is because I’m geared more towards a “special” library, but we want to keep our things! We want to keep our things the way they are AND let people access them. This is a must.
2) Libraries in other countries are vastly different. Granted, this is no surprise, but the question is: should they be? Should there be some sort of international standard? Given the plethora of variables (governments, customs, social norms, digital/technology/internet access, etc.) I don’t think this is a viable option, although it would be nice to think there could be a baseline of sorts. At least a collection of relevant reference and fiction/pleasure reading materials, a computer or two, with reasonable internet (sans dial up, if possible) to access information and the ability to communicate with people who have more resources on hand who can share ’em with you. Promotion of said communication/resources and actual acceptance of these things needs to also happen.
3) Even though libraries sometimes get a bad rap (shocking, I know), the library community is one of the most helpful and giving ones I know of. Everyone is helpful and willing to lend a hand, regardless of where you are or if you’re affiliated with them or not (usually you’re not!). I guess I’ve known this all along, but it’s really sinking in now. This is definitely something that has drawn me in and something that excites me. It’s wonderful knowing you have a responsive community to brainstorm with and an even better feeling when you’re the one helping someone else out.
Well, more concrete things later: the youth, practicing a brass instrument as a form as retaliation and that live music feeling.
Gasp! Shock! THE TERROR! I’m grossly overdue in discussing the MLA conference I attended in Dallas a few weeks ago. But, like most things, better late than never!
February 19, 2012
I’m on the plane back from the MLA (that’s the Music Library Association) annual conference in Dallas (yeehaw!). My first professional conference and my first time in Dallas! I really had no idea what to expect: I took a look at the sessions and talks to see what appealed to me, as well as signed up to receive a mentor and took advantage of the resume/cover letter advisory service. The first event to go to was the first-time attendees’ dinner, where some 40 first-time attendees got a chance to be introduced to the chairs, committees and general MLA-workings (as well as eat some delicious pasta, which I was very thankful for after not eating since 7AM that day!). We also introduced ourselves to each other and got a chance to mingle a bit. After dinner, there was the opening reception in the exhibitor’s hall. It was a little overwhelming: though I had just met 40 people in the same situation as myself, I felt like I didn’t know anyone there. Throughout the whole conference, I made an effort to step out of my somewhat shy shell and really meet as many people as possible. Longstanding MLA members are very friendly though; more than once when I was awkwardly standing alone, they just came up, introduced themselves and asked questions about me!
Throughout the conference, I met a lot of interesting people, almost all who had a job that I would love to have one day! There were music librarians from Library of Congress, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and museums as well as university/college librarians that have a music or arts library. There were informative plenary sessions, presentations and round-table meetings. One thing that really struck me was the complexity of MLA as an organization—it has a constitution, a board of chairs, as well as many committees and subcommittees. This was my first time dealing with an institution like this that wasn’t a school or university I was attending/working for.
I loved meeting fellow library science students who had a passion for music and wanted to be music librarians – just like me! Simmons doesn’t have a music librarianship specialization and I’ve only met a couple of other students who are interested in music librarianship. Now I feel part of a larger community that has similar interests and a place to seek advice. A lot of the library students I met had already earned their master’s in musicology or ethnomusicology, which is something I’m considering after graduating from Simmons (more school?! Am I nuts?!) so it was good to hear what their experience was. And, now I have MLA friends I can look forward to catching up with at the next conference!
I attended some really interesting sessions/presentations and am going to be posting more on them soon! Simmons has spring break next week, so that will give me time to sift through my notes and recall the glory of MLA.
Just a quick link to some really great tumblr sets…Samm Bennett grouped together some amazing photos of musicians from all over the world; mostly early 20th century, but a few older (and newer!) ones mixed in. Now that the end of my MLIS degree is on the horizon (okay, still very distant, but it’s there! visible!) I’m toying more and more with another degree in musicology or ethnomusicology. But for now, the links to the photo sets: http://www.flickr.com/photos/flapjax_at_midnite/galleries/72157622284815163/#photo_2746975078
P.S. I leave for MLA tomorrow! More on that soon…
I’m taking a class on international and comparative libraries, which has been really eye opening and informative so far. I love travelling and libraries, so the option of combining the two would be ideal! IREX stands for the International Research and Exchanges Board and is basically an organization that provides funding for various projects around the world that support/improve education, independent media and community development. They have one project, the Global Libraries Initiative [http://irex.ua/en/internet], that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helped fund. The Global Libraries project provides internet access, computer stations and librarian training to 1,000 libraries all over the Ukraine. This program provides invaluable services and resources to Ukrainians and is also training librarians so they can better serve their communities. It’s truly a win-win situation. Anyways, this video is the story of one woman who benefited from the program. I think it’s really inspiring and indicative of how powerful libraries and information can be.