Monthly Archives: January 2014

Concerts for a Cause

Chicago is a great place to be an amateur musician.  Many community choirs enrich the concert scene – they are generally organized around shared interests and/or a desire to sing while doing a little something for a good cause.  The ones I’ve attended have been benefit concerts – I think I’ve had three friends involved […]

Playing in G Major

The key of my new song – G major – takes one sharp: F#.  I’m used to first position, which, on the A string, has, to date, had me playing C# as well.  But this week’s song requires me to play C natural on the A string instead, meaning I have to do a low […]

Appreciating Appreciation in Atlas Shrugged

My father-in-law has just finished the two tomes of Ayn Rand.  I’m no fan of “Objectivism,” but I confess to remembering that the books were interesting enough.  Since I haven’t read them since I was 19 years old, failing memory and curiosity conspired against me, and I pulled Atlas Shrugged off the shelf and started reading […]

Christian Rock

Growing up, I thought I was supposed to like Christian Rock music.  I remember two band names – Petra and Avenue G, but mostly I was and remain completely ignorant about the genre.  I might even be wrong about Avenue G.  Petra was huge – the U2 of Christian Rock.  I think Avenue G performed […]

Music Proper

Teacher brought me music.  It’s book one of Suzuki for violin, and of course it confirms that that’s exactly what I’ve been learning.  I’m interested in the pedagogical notes – especially in the preface to the book, where Suzuki writes four principles for helping children learn the violin (paraphrased): Listen to the recordings Strive for […]

Returning the Rental

It’s time to turn my rental violin back into the shop.  I feel like I barely got to know it – I’ve been practicing on my new instrument for almost a month, so it was really only the first two months of coming back to the violin during which I played the rental.  I thought […]

Dancing to Remember

When I was younger I used to go out dancing a lot, but it’s been a long time.  In the past five years I’ve probably been twice.  I do still enjoy dancing; it’s just that it generally happens out in the world when I’d rather be sleeping.  Last night I went to a friend’s 60th […]

The Killers and Mika

I’m taking this cold and lazy Sunday morning to consider and learn more about the recording artists I have added to my list of favorites over the past ten years or so – since I moved to Chicago.  I’ve only been able to come up with two – The Killers and Mika.  I guess I’m […]

Music and Morality

“To suggest that people who live with a metric pulse as a constant background to their thoughts and movements are living in the same way, with the same kind of attention and the same pattern of challenges and rewards, as others who know music only from sitting down to listen to it, clearing their minds, […]


My mother told me about an old friend the other day. He’s an orchestra teacher at a suburban school in Kansas, and during his hour-long orchestra classes he spends the first fifteen minutes tuning instruments.  I can only imagine how tedious and what an assault on the ears that must be.  As I’ve just been […]