Where has the time gone?

I firmly believe that cultivating discipline and routine yields a stronger result than motivation. Motivation is that flaky friend that doesn’t really commit to plans until just before the hang; don’t rely on motivation. Working out, practicing your instrument/honing your craft, taking time to read, taking time to be outdoors, eating healthy, calling your parents on a regular basis, are all activities that can be greatly enhanced by creating a regiment of discipline into your daily/weekly lives. In contrast, it’s easy for said habits to fall by the wayside if they are not prioritized into your life’s routine.

When you do rely on motivation, however, you can make a lot of quick changes (but don’t expect them to stay consistent over time!). For instance, updating my website is something I am quite terrible at, but the prospect of a new masterclass, workshop, job, etc. can often motivate me to update. Of course, my web designing skills are next-to-terrible, which means that last week’s domain/server malfunction was probably my fault. In my defense, the case had to be escalated to my web hosting company’s higher-ups to restore the previous version of my website!  Three lessons learned:

  1. There is a reason I hired someone to create my initial website.  Any aesthetic changes really should be outsourced.
  2. The technology for creating websites is really phenomenal (weebly, wix, etc.).
  3. It’s time to upgrade to a .com address

While my server was down and I was waiting several days for the hosts to restore my website to its original state, I experimented with several prototypes for a new look.  Of course, I’ll be hiring out this project in the near future (in conjunction with my .com site upgrade), but it is fun to window shop.  Anyway, as is oft the case when i update my website, I thought of this old blog (“Colloquial Musings”), and I waxed nostalgic on how much I enjoyed blogging, and how I wish I could be motivated to find the time to blog again.  When I clicked on my blog, I realized it had been five years since my last post.  FIVE years?  Where has the time gone (roll credits!)?  So here we are.

Step one, wiggle your big toe.  The running will come later.

For me, blogging is something that brings me joy, but past iterations of my blogging soul have always relied on the motivation of acquiring joy to produce entries.  So, for the last few months of 2017, I am going to try to cultivate discipline in my blogging.

Assuredly most readers of this blog will know my backstory, though perhaps there may be a few stragglers in the future.  So, just in case, I’m a musician specializing in orchestra conducting and collaborative piano, with an affinity for board games, video games, current affairs, and cooking/fine eats.  I hope to blog about a wide range of topics, beyond music-centric posts.  It is my sincere belief that music is an expression of two truths:  who we are as a society/culture, and who we are in a greater sense of transcendence between generations.  It’s really profound that we can find bone flutes that are thousands of years old, and see that ancient civilizations sought to utilize music in a functional way in their societies.  To that end, I think expression of music as an artist is a summation of one’s life experiences, successes, failures, joys, sorrows, and other quirks and oddities along the way.  If we understand a person beyond the artistry, it provides depth to expression by an artist.

There are two basic approaches to being an artist in the 21st century, the age of Facebook, the age of Commander-in-Chief-Tweets, and the age of Infinite-Information-at-your-Fingertips.  The first approach is to play it “safe”: carefully craft your image, post about upcoming performances, events, be sure to stand in everyone’s good graces, avoid being offensive, and be ensured that your personal life does not affect your career in a negative way.  Honestly, this has been my approach for the last several years, and I think it has generally served me well.  The other approach is to air one’s thoughts and expressions of the world out, as an advocate for the culture in which we live, that a musical voice is a vehicle to promote social progress – this is a bolder road, and I applaud those who use their presence to try to make the world a better place.  At the end of the day, I want this blog to help me take small steps towards this bolder path, because I think in some small way the sincerity of my artistry can be enhanced through my whims expressed.  After all, what’s the point of being a musician if not to perpetually seek a greater sense of truth in our art?

I look forward to sharing upcoming projects with you all, rambling about random interests, and sharing thoughts and beliefs about music and society, with the hopes of becoming a better artist and individual.  Thanks for making it through this lengthy post, and I hope it won’t be another five years before the next one :).

-aat

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Daily Dose of Crumb

Good morning folks.  It’s 9:20 am, and I’m prepping for classes today by listening to both Bartok’s second string quartet and Crumb’s Black Angels (not simultaneously, of course, thought that might prove interesting!).  Those of you who know me personally are probably aware that I am not a morning person whatsoever, and being up in the 8:00 hour is a difficult endeavor for me.  Needless to say, coffee works wonders.  As do Bartok and Crumb to wake one up.

Speaking of coffee, I’ve begun writing a non-serious one act operetta called The Music School.  More to come later, but the basic plot line revolves around a certain number of stereotyped characters you might expect to find in the music school, professors and students alike.  The opening number for the operetta will feature a “Graduate Student” chorus singing about their addictions to coffee.  I’ve begun typing up some drafts, but I’ll post more as I do more with it.

Today’s agenda includes lecture/discussion on Bartok and Crumb (surprise!), a conducting lesson, rehearsal for the Brahms Clarinet Trio in a minor, Beethoven 9 (movements 3 and 4), then a coaching session with the string faculty for the Brahms.  Then, a bit of free time and helping a friend design a poster for her upcoming graduate recital.

Beethoven 9….What’s your favorite movement or part?

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