Wednesday, January 28, 2009

VI - IV - I - V :II

Now for your listening pleasure, Take on Me shows up again. Along with 30+ other songs. 
I have to think more about this ... does it demonstrate 
1) genius? 
2) the ignorance of the music-listening public? 
3) that humans as listeners are easily satisfied with this simple chord progression? 
4) that there is something innately beautiful and logical in its make-up (perhaps due to the overtone series), analogous to the golden section, which is why we are so attracted to it? 
I need more than 30 seconds to think about this, but that may come at a later time, since I have to run off and play the pianer for $$$ right now. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I haven't read this yet, but I'm putting it here so I don't forget that I want to read it. (The once faithful steel trap has been eroding lately ...) Don't have time to read it now! Must continue the new semester's discipline* and begin practicing! On to the scale marathon, Liszt, and Prokofiev! 

*I've gotten up before 8 a.m. and done yoga for two consecutive days now! Yes, you should be proud of me. 

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Insomniac grumblings from the bed (which is in a different room than the piano)


I have my doubts. This evening one of my little piano students, Daniel, from the Suzuki music school where I teach*, had his book 1 play-through party. Congratulations, Daniel! He did a great job, as I knew he would. Afterwards, his family had a dinner with lots of their friends over, as many people often do for play-through parties. After the beer, food, wine, and dessert, there was tea. It was very good tea, as Daniel's family is Chinese, they served Pu-erh from China. They assured me it was caffeine free. 4 cups and several hours later, I'm not so sure it was ...

*I have a lot of good students at this school. I had a lot of good students at the other school where I taught, but there were a fair share of, uh, mediocre and less-than-highly enthusiastic students there too. The ones that think that when I wave my magic wand that they'll instantly be able to play Linus and Lucy, or Für Elise, or whatever is the rage of the day. Anyway, I am quite pleased with my students at my current school. Now if only I didn't teach in the basement ...


After Daniel played, the family's friend Audrey asked me if I would play something. Uh .... ok. Let's see, I have the Prokofiev 3rd concerto memorized* and some brand-spankin'-new Liszt. As in I just finished memorizing it about two days ago. Since it wasn't a very intimidating crowd, I played it. [It = Sonetto del Petrarca, 47 from Deuxieme Annees de Pelerinage, forgive the lack of accents.] It went ok for the first time out, now I know what I have to work on. ** When I finished, Daniel handed me a card that said (this is his seven-year old spelling): "Your a super star." 

*On an upright and with no second piano, I'm not sure anyone would want to hear it (ok, really I wouldn't want to play it). 

**Since I'm playing it in about three weeks for the Franz Liszt festival our university is holding. Alan Walker is going to be here!  Yes, this Alan Walker. He is going to be here! And I am playing in a festival that he will be part of! And I'll get to meet him! So! Cool! 


You would probably be shocked to know that EVERY DAY I think about coming here and writing. I do. I think, "I should take a little jaunt over to blogger and write something interesting, or at the very least, show these three or eight or nineteen interesting links that I have recently come across." Obviously this does not happen. I think, in part, this is because I feel sort of identity-less here. In some ways, that's good, I mean, I like the level or non-level of anonymity I can choose and thus create. What I mean about my particular space being identity-less is that most blogs or online diaries or what have you seem to have some sort of purpose. You know, this person's blog is about ... (stealing my friends' topics as examples) wine. This person's blog is about photography. This person's blog is about new music. Sometimes you get someone like Mimi Smartypants* whose blog isn't about anything specific per se, but it's an interesting and humorous online diary that is worth reading. I have been wrestling (have I really been wrestling with this? ok, perhaps I'm getting too dramatic because it is in fact so late and I do in fact have too much caffeine rushing through the bloodstream) with the purpose, or more precisely, lack thereof, for this cyberspace entity. I think it's because whatever product that I put out there and ends up here, I want it to be articulate and interesting, and whatever shoddy showing I've done recently fails to accomplish even that. So. Here's to a new year** and a new resolution. 

*Yes, I know I've linked to her before. Her comic genius has made me laugh aloud several times. This is why she gets the multiple links, even though she trashed blogs that start with "Random thoughts ..." I defend my title. They're random entries that generally have no particular threads linking them. Also, I still consider myself a neophyte to some of the more, um, I don't know how to say this ... the internet phenomena that used to be real geeky and somewhere around five years ago turned normal/cool, so it's not like I'm even aware of these other blogs that evidently share my name. (Am I always this late jumping on the band wagon? Maybe I'm so late it's not so common anymore.) Also I'm not creative enough to come up with a different title for my sporadic entries. So there. The end. 

**It's still a new year, right? It's January. Also it's Chinese New Year next weekend. 


This has been a great break. I'd classify it as the most restful vacation I've had for two years. Here's what I've been doing:

Yoga, occasionally.
Practicing, 3-5 hours a day.
Little organizing projects around my house (I would have liked to accomplish more in this arena, but sleeping in on many occasions took care of that).
Eating out (Fair Grounds coffee house, Bluebird Diner, Devotay, Oyama Sushi). 
Borrowing DVDs from the public library and watching them on my MacBook.

Here's what I've watched, roughly in chronological order:

There Will Be Blood
The Book of Life
Maxed Out
The Manchurian Candidate
The Yes Men
Kilowatt Ours
Curse of the Golden Flower
The End of Suburbia
Everything is Illuminated

I think I will spare you my opinions and commentary this time around, but I will say this: The Yes Men made me laugh out loud. Zoo made me cringe. 


I hope it was as good for you as it was for me. 


For quite some time, I've been a little ... hmm, not sure "worried" is the right word ... how about preoccupied with the notion that my hearing has suffered some sort of a loss. Mostly because if I'm in a loud place and I'm trying to hold a conversation, it's all but impossible for me to discern what the other person is saying to me. Thursday I got my hearing tested (yup! I braved the -55 windchill for the sake of my hearing. I am a true musician) and I am happy to report that my hearing falls within the normal range. Although my right ear hears better than my left ear -- at some frequencies, by as much as 20 or 30 decibels (I guess this is kind of weird). I did notice during the testing that I am definitely right-ear dominant -- to listen to sounds in speakers, I leaned in with my right ear. Here's why I have a hard time in a loud place: the normal range for people is to be able to hear -2 to -5 decibels below the "noise", and I hear -1.6 decibels below the noise. Interesting. Whew, glad I'm not going deaf.