Monthly Archives: November 2013

Dr. Suzuki Said Never Be Lazy

Wikipedia has its detractors, but I think it’s a great place to start an exploration. I’ve just read the article on Shinichi Suzuki, the namesake and creator of the Suzuki method of music instruction. He led an interesting life, and his philosophical disposition seems to match up with a lot of my own views on […]

The High Life

Life in a high rise is great – we feel very secure, the view is extraordinary, and the rest of Chicago is 17 stories down, which makes it a quiet escape.  But it has some downsides, sometimes including the necessary courtesy we extend our neighbors.  Along those lines, I’ve decided I cannot practice before 9:00 […]

Little Voice

In my lesson yesterday, I realized I was relaxing and becoming more comfortable playing in front of my teacher.  It might seem strange, but I did not consider the performance aspect of taking up the violin before I did so.  But now, every week I stand in front of a great violin player and play […]

The Grand Schema of Things

The first time around, I played the violin for three years – the fourth through sixth grades, though there’s some chance I played in seventh grade.  Strangely, I don’t remember it much at all.  As I hold the violin and move the bow now, over 25 years later, it comes naturally enough – clearly I […]


About five minutes into my karate practice yesterday, I realized I needed to sweep the floor; little bits of who knows what were accumulating on my feet – it was dirty and distracting. My karate tradition has given me the concept of Soji, which means cleaning, or maintenance, in Japanese.  Like many Japanese concepts it’s […]

Fifths and Starts

I don’t really know what “The Consonance of The Fifth” means; I’m working on it.  I realized yesterday that I know very little about why the Western seven-note scale exists, so I started to explore it via Wikipedia and other online sources, and learned that fifths and eighths – the octave – are especially consonant, […]

Pulling the Voice Box out of Storage

I used to sing.  I was never the best vocal talent, but I could carry a tune – in some ways it was what I was supposed to do, so I did.  Mostly I loved it. I sang in more church musicals than I can remember, often with a leading role.  I sang in church […]