Monthly Archives: October 2015


“I love violin – electric, death metal violin.” – Becca Cala, whose violin is becoming her ROAR I’m a big proponent of educating a whole person – the more areas of a brain we can activate the more well-rounded and beautiful the brainpower of the learner.  Becca’s story includes a horrific dose of childhood trauma – sadly all […]

Two Arms Working Together

When teaching brand new students trying their first karate class we always work on formal basic blocking.  It’s hard.  To make a downward block with the left arm, the right arm punches down to cover the groin, while the fist of the left arm rises up to the right temple.  The center line of the […]

The Tempest and Tom Waits

It’s difficult to imagine what the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s current production of The Tempest would be like without the music of Tom Waits.  The production’s playbill features an interview with savvy Shakespeare Adapters/Directors Aaron Posner and Teller (Yes, the self-labeled “quieter” half of Penn and Teller), wherein they discuss a meeting with Waits to attempt to […]

One More Day

I’ve definitely been playing.  I wrote about my horrible Saturday session a few days ago, but I did play, so counting that day I think today will be my 11th or 12th day in a row playing – a record, perhaps.  Generally I skip Friday or Saturday, and it’s not uncommon for me to skip […]

Personality and Musical Aptitude

I ran across an interesting story yesterday on Huffington post by science editor Jacqueline Howard that looks at some new research showing links between personality traits and musical aptitude and appreciation.  She’s primarily reporting on a new study in the Journal of Research in Personality, by lead author David Greenburg, wherein Greenburg finds that “personality […]

I Heard the A, but Then…

Wherein Ryan goes on a roller coaster ride to a soaring high and a death-defying low (did it defy death?  Keep reading!). Wherein Ryan blames the weather. It started when I opened my case last night to find my A string unwound and loosened.  This has happened a couple of times before, so when I […]

No News Is Good News

It began with melodrama, and morphed to silent movies.  In the absence of the spoken word, music has long created interest and drama for all manner of entertainments.  The affected Big Emotion of the era before method acting took root was always greatly enhanced by a good score.  Music started it – we could have […]

The Terrific Twos: An Anniversary

Two years ago today – October 14, 2013 – I began this blog and started down a new musical path as an adult.  Of course it’s quite easy to start something like playing the violin or writing a blog, and it’s also quite easy to lose motivation just out of the gate.  On that October […]

A Little Bit Bawdy

Dvorak’s Humoresque is a catchy tune – the romantic composer worked in the last half of the 19th and early 20th centuries and was very famous, with many of his works garnering much attention in his lifetime.  He was even well-paid.  Of course popularity can sometimes mean imitation, but satirical variation isn’t necessarily what was […]

More than Notes: Humoresque

The music looks quite complicated, and maybe I’ll admit that at this point in my playing I think 32nd rests are a little silly.  But since discovering it, I’ve been quite taken with Dvorak’s famous Humoresque.  It’s the fourth piece in Book Three of the Suzuki repertoire, and Teacher started introducing me to it in […]