Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Back to teaching today, since I was home sick yesterday! And glad to get back to find out that not only did all of my students get top ratings at the middle school solo festival but some of them got the outstanding solo awards, which means that they were the top contestant in their room. Congrats and great job everyone!
It was also great that some of my students got to go to the Mozart Clarinet Concerto concert last weekend played by Greg Raden and The Dallas Symphony. I went on Sunday and it was fantastic! Especially the second movement, it gave me goosebumps!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I just finished reading Don Greene’s book, Fight You Fear and Win. Although this book is not targeted towards musicians as specifically as his other books (Audition Success and Performance Success), I actually like this book better than the others because it is much more specific on how to improve and empower yourself. The book focuses on seven main areas to help create a complete and confident person: Determination, Energy, Perspective, Courage, Focus, Poise, and Resilience. Each section includes a three week plan on how to improve in each area. I highly recommend this, it’s very relatable!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Last night’s concert went wonderfully! The pianist who was originally going to play the Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 had to cancel due to a hand injury, but Sergei Babayan stepped in and did a fantastic job. There’s a nice news article covering us and the concert here. Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 was very exciting to play and we received a very enthusiastic standing ovation at the end. I have to say, playing for the audience in Arkansas is fantastic. I’ve never seen such enthusiasm from a classical audience!
Of course we enjoyed our stay in Fayetteville once again, this city has some great places to eat. We revisited Damgoode Pies and got a marvelous stuffed pizza called “The Hog.”

And then headed over to Bliss Cupcakes for dessert!
For dinner before the concert, we went to Bordino’s.

After the concert, we topped it all off with coffee from The Common Grounds.
I’m still full from this trip! I need to definitely get a run in tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Mozart!

And what better way to celebrate than by hearing Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto this weekend? Greg Raden is playing it with the Dallas Symphony all weekend. I’m going on Sunday and really looking forward to the performance!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Good Morning from the Mountain!

Jason and I are hanging out at the Mount Sequoyah Retreat Center this morning where they house the musicians from out of town. It’s really beautiful scenery.

We’re getting ready to go to our final dress rehearsal for our SoNA concert tonight. Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 and Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3 are on the program!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Have Clarinet, Will Travel

We’re driving to Fayetteville for Symphony of Northwest Arkansas rehearsal.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Student Achievements

In other words, it’s time to brag about how awesome my students have been lately. Since we’re been back from break here’s what they’ve been up to.

-The middle school students who made All-Region had their concert last weekend. Despite the unexpected power outage, they had a successful concert!

-I had several high school students go to Area and advance to All-State. So proud!!!

-They all came back prepared from their holiday break ready to play their solo contest music. That displays a lot of maturity!

-One student surprised me with brownies and another with a belated Christmas gift! Okay, that’s not an achievement but they both really made my day!

Enough bragging, must go practice some more.
Currently playing on the iPod: Dances of Galanta, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Inspiration and the Art of Story Telling

The other day, one of my students reminded me how stories and background can really add an entirely different dimension to music.

The student came in and played a movement from one of the Brahms Sonatas. While it was technically correct (notes and rhythms), it lacked soul. After a few attempts at trying to get him to play more musically, I decided to tell him a little background information. I told him about Richard Mühlfeld, the clarinetist Brahms wrote the piece for. Brahms was so inspired by his playing that he came out of retirement towards the end of his life and wrote two clarinet sonatas, a trio, and a quintet for him. I asked the student if he could imagine the kind of playing that was so beautiful and inspirational that it could have that kind of power. He said, “It gives me chills just thinking about it!” His playing was so musical after that!

Classical music (or any music for that matter) is not just a bunch of notes, it’s the expression of emotion. It should give us chills, make us smile, make us cry! It’s just as relevant today as it was years ago, we just need to make it real.

I can relate, who knows if I would have played clarinet if I had not heard Peter and the Wolf as a child. This is why community outreach is so important. And one of my favorite pieces when I first started listening to classical music in middle school was Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. I have a great love of E-flat clarinet because it was so thrilling getting to play the part of the witch once I got to high school!

If you have a great love of music, share it and make it come alive. You never know how you might inspire someone.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Savvy Musician

One of the most practical books that I’ve read in a long time, I highly recommend this to all my musician friends! It also has a wonderful companion website. Check it out!