Monthly Archives: March 2014

When in Tejas

As a person who grew up speaking Spanish in a country that borders on Mexico, I’ve always loved Mexican culture – its lack of pretension, the food, the sounds of traditional Mexican music, the art, the tight-knit families, and the progressive sensibilities that govern the stewardship of resources. I was thrilled, then, to learn that […]

The Holy Syllable

I’m in Austin at an Anniversary celebration for a friend’s school, and yesterday I participated in a meditation circle to honor a woman who recently died.  Peg dedicated her life to empowering women, and I was honored to participate.  I did not know her personally, and the form of meditation was not one that I […]

Leaving a Minuet Behind

I’ve always loved travel, but there’s always the tug of the stuff you leave behind – like your bed, perhaps your family, and possibly your violin.  Wednesday’s lesson brought me the rest of my new minuet, and I am having a great time learning it.  It’s challenging, and my three days away beginning in an […]

Warming Up Is Playing

So far, I’m still starting all my practice sessions with Twinkle Twinkle.  I then play all the songs I’ve learned to date in succession, often repeating ones that aren’t coming out right that day.  I will throw in scales and arpeggios often, especially if I think I need to be more in tune.  I do […]

Playing and the Berimbau

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art descended from African slaves.  Inherent to the art is the use of music and dance; it was practiced and developed in secret, and the presence of music helped it appear to the powers that be that it was part of a harmless ceremony.  Music is such a part of […]

Party Quotes

“My book is about two women: musicians.” “Many composers – Mozart, Beethoven – wrote for flute and violin.” “I hear you’re really falling in love with opera.” “They call it ‘playing’ at Capoeira, because of the music, right?” “It seems like when you clap long enough people start clapping in unison.” “Are you going to […]

Relaxation and Grace

In Wednesday’s lesson, we returned to the issue of relaxing my bow hold.  Getting this hold right is an iterative process; the nuances are myriad, and as I improve I’m realizing that there’s definitely an art to it.  It’s more paintbrush than exact-o-knife.  Any unnecessary tension held in the hand and arm are reflected in […]

Jazzing up a Space

“Do you all want any music?”  I’m at a prestigious downtown law firm way up high in one of the most stunning spaces in Chicago getting ready for an event.  In an hour I’ll give a presentation about my school’s work, as well as travel safety for a crowd of about 60 well-heeled corporate folks.  Presently, […]

My Danny Boy

Yesterday’s post concluded with the promise that I was going to try to “pick out” Danny Boy on my violin.  I’ve done exactly that with some other songs I’ve wanted to play – Ode to Joy, It Is Well with My Soul, and Oh Holy Night.  But in all of those cases it was a […]

Danny Boy

Who doesn’t love the old Irish tune Danny Boy?  The most visceral rendition I’ve heard was actually live – I was privileged to be able to see renowned Irish flutist Sir James Galway play the classic with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra way back in high school.  Galway brought the house down. I’m always interested to […]