Monday, February 28, 2011

Stray Strands - From sAmaveda to Contemporary Culture

When I consider the present state of affairs with the species into which I was born, and then turn my mind toward the consideration of the state of affairs which had to have prevailed with the same species during the time of the production of the exquisitely crafted poetic utterances of sAmaveda, I am drawn to the conclusion that there is more of a case for the devolution of mental life on our planet than for its evolution.
Before the written word poets devoted to the eternal meaning of the songs the cosmos sings took the music of the spheres, of the birds, of the trees, of the singing wind and the surging surf, of the coursing of their blood within their mortal frames, of the longing desire of the cell to multiply and become ever more complex, of the cries and howls of lonely wolves, of the cawing of crows and the scrapings of feet upon the earth's varied textures, of the cricket chirp and roar of lion, of the resonant tones of conch and flute, and sang immortal poetry measured by the feeling heart.
I propose that the debate upon the issue of creation versus evolution be abandoned. The sAmaveda proposes that the Creator made an evolving universe for us to delight in, enjoy, and worship in song. As humans we have been given the choice to evolve with the rest of creation. Have we chosen to devolve instead?
Please deliver your thoughts right here. Thank you.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"The Ear Is The Door To The Soul" - On "Staying Young With Mozart"

One of my jobs as a performing musician is to remind audiences of all ages that the music they listen to has a profound influence on their minds, spirits, souls-Aristotle noted that "The ear is the door to the soul."-In my "Stay Young With Mozart" program, attended by audiences ages 1 to 101 in public libraries, this is the central focus.

Staying Young With Mozart

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When Your Child Wants To Learn A Musical Instrument

An open letter to one parent:
Parents will ask such questions as "My child is five and wants to learn the violin. Is that too early?"
This is a profound question.
The place to begin is with you. Consider this. You can give your child her very first introduction to music by passing on a technique I learned from Bhimsen Joshi - it is childlike in its simplicity. First, you must become very quiet with your child. Then you hum a tone and invite your child to hum that same tone with you. Then you invite your child to join you in closing your eyes. You then hum that tone in varying ways-You can fill the space with that tone.
Next, you invite your child to plug both ears with the tips of index fingers, pushing the little ear flaps gently into make a closure. Again, the hum. Ah! A discovery! The sound has become big! It fills space within.
There is the beginning of the first violin lesson.
Then, when the child approaches the violin it is with the awareness that the great good thing, the thing that makes music, is within and the tone becomes intimate, warm, personal.
But the teacher must be versed in the meditative nature of all music.
So, five is not too young to start.
There is so much more to say.
Did any of this make any sense to you?
Please let me know right here what you think.
Thank you.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Become The Buzzing Reed - A Response to David Thomas Clarinetist

It is with a sense of rather profound excitement that I come upon this post. Although I play the piano, all of what you have to say not only “applies” – it is at the very center of my methodology in practice.
For one year I studied techniques of practice with musicians in India, among whom were Vamanrau Deshpande and Bhimsen Joshi. I was not studying Indian music, but rather the transfer process by which the inner sourcing of the sound might be applied to Mozart and other great masters.
I believe the introduction to these basic, indeed primal, attitudes, techniques, and approaches can be offered to any student of music from day one.
Very inspiring post.
Thank you.

Here is the Post:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mozart's Genius Is In His Complex Simplicity

Yesterday while driving I became aware that I was listening within to the opening of the C Major Rondo from Mozart's 7th Piano Sonata (the one he wrote for Rosa Cannabich while he and his Mother were on the road to Paris seeking some sort of post to which a living wage would be attached) - While this Rondo opens with a tender, expressive theme I also, in an analytic moment, became aware that it's nothing more (nor less) than a five finger exercize from dominant to tonic (sol-fa-mi-re-do) - How does a composer do that? How does a composer take a simple thing and make it into a moment of transcendental magic? Simple - the composer must be Mozart.
All my life I have heard the hollow echoings of the traditional wisdom that Mozart Piano Sonatas are somehow lesser members of the family...I could list dozens of insipid quotes from those in positions of "influence" that I have been stunned to hear over the course of decades-This one stands out somehow (from a piano teacher who had amassed a flock of students all of whom she told-"Don't bother with the Mozart Piano Sonatas. There is SO much more music in his concertos.) I had the good fortune to fall in love with the Sonatas in 1942 so my love affair has been a long one. In 1949 I began studying them with Nadia Reisenberg, whose broadcast performances of the complete Mozart Concerti are still legendary) - Her emphasis was that in every single note, in every turn of phrase, Mozart's genius is to reveal his full genius.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Writing With a Start From Nothing Beginning Nowhere

Take notes. Even from the lofty perch of Henry James we learn this trick of the trade. What use is “Observe constantly!” without taking note of your observations? And by taking note it is important to take note of the fact that this means putting words on white pages.

Start with anything – Right! or Write! Anais Nin asked me to substitute for her Writing Workshops at the Mann Ranch in California during her illness in 1972. We joked about “getting started” – “Suggest they open the icebox door and start with a list of what they see. A bottle of ketchup become poetic if you begin to relate it to your percept, noting the stream of blood-red trickle down it’s side….” Go into the garden and list what you see. Some of the best writers have made such lists and they stand in the midst of the finished “product”-Rabelais, Samuel Beckett.
chocolate & caffeine always good, for any reason or no reason.

On Selling - by Dave Carpenter

An Eloquent Statement On Selling by Dave Carpenter

All of us may not have the vocation of being a "salesperson," but all of us must be able to sell.

We have to "sell" our ideas. We have to "sell" our value to others, whether an employer, partner, or customer. Even the President of the United States must sell to be succesful as a President. He (or God willing some day, "she") must be able to "sell" to Congress and to his constituency, the voters.

And beyond our vocation, we must be able to "sell" in order to prosper. For example, I have been married to an angel for 37+ years. Every day, I must "sell" her on the idea of wanting to stay married to me.

For me, selling isn't about persuading someone to buy something they don't need or want. Selling is understanding the needs, hopes and dreams of another person and helping them to get what they want.

PS, readers who know I teach high-end lawyers, consultants, investment bankers etc. to "sell" understand that I am more than a little biased about this issue. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

One Little Tweet - A Tribute to Dave Carpenter

People dismiss Twitter all too readily, never having experienced it.
But one little tweet can shift a life-perspective and have significant implications on a person's world view.
One morning I dipped into my TwitterStream and began what has become a daily ritual of discovery.
These three words appeared-a tiny tweet from @dave_carpenter
"Stop the judging."
I said- "What judging?"
That got me, as we say here in Oklahoma, to thinking.
Now, we have all heard "Judge Not!" a thousand thousand times.
What made this tweet different?
I do not know.
All I know is I'm still a thinkin'-
Thanks Dave!