Sunday, February 28, 2010

Landscaping

     Music elicits various responses from listeners.  Many years ago I learned in a class that some people respond visually to music.  It is a natural response.  Such listeners might imagine colors or pictures, perhaps even a story.  Others are focused on the music alone.  A poll was taken in my class, all of whom were musicians; most of us were not visual listeners.
     I have never been a visual listener, but something unusual has happened a few times while listening or performing within the last year.  About a year ago, while  playing viola during the third (slow) movement of Symphony # 5 by Shostakovich, I began to visualize a beautiful but bleak, icy landscape. At times I saw dripping icicles.  Since then I have added some other images, including sunshine peeking through at the very end.
     While practicing the opening of Brahms' fourth symphony I suddenly imagined a stream busily cascading over, under and around rocks.  From that moment I began to more fully understand the viola part and how to play it. I began to fall in love with this symphony again.
     Recently I played section viola in a performance of the Schumann Piano Concerto. During a section of the opening movement, which included an exquisitely performed clarinet solo, I felt I was sitting in the shade of a huge tree on a cool, sunny, and breezy spring day.  It was so strong I could almost feel the soft wind.
     This has been a wonderful experience.  I has deepened my enjoyment and comprehension of each of these pieces.  I do not know what triggered this, but I think I know one thing that has contributed.
     Many days I walk our dog along a wooded parkway while listening to my IPOD.  Sometimes I listen to music I am practicing. It was while doing this that I visualized streams to Brahms.  I have listened to Brahms and Beethoven during these walks and have felt intuitively that their music complements nature.
     I suppose one reason for this is that these composers loved nature and spent time immersed in it (Beethoven for sure).  It permeates their music.  One of the marvels of our technology is that I can listen to an entire symphony while walking in the woods. It is a marvelous experience; I highly recommend it!!



 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Raggedy Ann

     When I try to imagine what grows in Dashee's Garden I reflect on my childhood memories.  Among these is the songbook Raggedy Ann's Sunny Songs.  My mother played the piano and sang these songs frequently when my sister and I were young.  I loved these songs!  A few of them are Fredericka, Snoop Wiggy, and The Cookie Bush.  We did not read the Raggedy Ann books but my sister and I loved the songs.  I can not find them on the internet so no link....
     The Cookie Bush song described milkshake fountains, candy growing, and  bushes covered with various kinds of cookies.  YUM!!  I often hoped I would have dreams about visiting Cookie Bush Land.  When I was old enough to bake I began baking my own cookies, a bad  but yummy habit.  I especially enjoy brownies, chocolate chip cookies and variations thereof, pecan squares and lemon bars. I had better stop before the baking bug bites me.  Perhaps I will post a recipe sometime....I am a good cookie baker!
     I suppose my Dashee lamb goes with this songbook and the melodies therein.  And cookies.  And lollipops. And milkshakes.  And lemonade.......and so on and so on.........oh my!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Perks of Aging

     Aging has its benefits!  I decided to list some of the better things that I have observed..........

1.     I am more able to focus on the big picture rather than details.  I LOVE this....and it has been so unexpected! 

2.     I am starting to "get it".....to have a better and broader understanding of life.  VERY cool.

3.     I worry less about what people think...... but I think I always will to some extent.  I am too self-conscious!

4.     I am wiser.

5.     I am more patient (still working on this, though!).

6.     I notice the small and simple more often and find enjoyment therein.  I think this is due in part to a slower pace.  For example, I really enjoy birds.  I love to hear them sing in early spring, especially the finches and our neighborhood catbird (heavens--I sound like my mother!!!!).  I love trees and their variety.

7.     Strong emotions affect my health....so I "cool it" more!!  Control and calm are good...........  the tempermental fits of a frustrated musician are just not worth it!!!!

8.     I am less concerned with stuff and what is popular.  Fashion---not on this bod.  Political correctness--never did get that, and especially now.  Who cooked up all of that nonsense??!!  Lots of color on my walls and "mod" flowers......I have already lived through the 60s and 70s and I ask myself why anyone would ever want to do that again!!!!   Enough already!

9.     I am old enough that the styles of my childhood years are retro "in".  Guess style does have its perks.

10.   I am beginning to experience the "fruits of my labors" and sometimes they are wonderful.  Doing what is right pays well.

     Hopefully I will have something more interesting to blog about soon.........Bye







 




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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cure for February Blahs

     February is the worst month of the year......well, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if it was warm and sunny.  Dream on, I say!  Yesterday we finally received one of our winter heavenly gifts, which have been sparse this year.  Ten inches of snow to cover up the uglies.  And school as usual because in Wisconsin there are ARMIES OF SNOWPLOWS.  Today is the aftermath--sunny and cold.  Maybe the sunshine is inspiring me to write in this blog..  I just have not had much to say lately.  Until today.........when I saw.....the perfect antidote to the BLAHS.
     This is what my life has deteriorated to since Christmas...........the joy of DORITOS COMMERCIALS.  So bad!!  On You Tube I found my favorite.......Samurai Snack Attack commercial from the Superbowl.  You must understand that all the males in my house love Samurai stuff and DORITOS.  This ad is ha ha ha ha ha.  If you have not seen it, go to You Tube and type in Samurai Snack Attack.  The lovely orange color of Doritos is sunshine itself.....sort-of.......HA HA HA HA!!!!!
     

  

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Numbers

     Did you have a favorite number when you were young?  I did--it was 24.  Why I do not know; I just liked it.  Perhaps I liked the evenness of it.  Maybe I thought 2 and 4 were pretty!  Who knows..........
     My mother drove my sister and me to Fort Wayne, Indiana a few times every year before we could drive ourselves.  Most of my extended family lived there.  When we were children we usually stopped and ate breakfast at an eatery called the Pixie Diner.  It was off of State Road 3, the most direct route to Fort Wayne from our home.  At that time Road 3 was a two lane highway which ran through a few towns on the way, including the home of Pixie, which I think was Muncie (I have ABS today...Aging Brain Syndrome!).
     Pixie was a classic diner.  I remember a long trailer-like building, a silverish color, and a sign with Pixie Diner in red (how accurate I do not know.....ABS!!). We sat in a booth and were supplied with classic 1950's glass containers of sugar, salt and pepper.  There were sugar packets and paper placemats (we played with both of these). AND there was a jukebox at every booth.
     I think my sister and I played some kind of game with the jukebox keys; they were fun to push (hmmmmm...I guess all kids like to push buttons, whether from a jukebox, a phone, TV, or texting!). Maybe we each picked a lucky number and hoped a good song was on it.  Mine was 24. In any number game 24 was it.  I still like that number!
     In a few years road 3 gained some extra lanes, a great improvement.  More exciting was the development of the Interstate highway, and Interstate 69 changed our route to Fort Wayne.  No more driving through all those towns and stopping at the Pixie Diner. At some point the diner disappeared.  No more jukeboxes either!  My lucky number was 24, but 3 was starting to look just as good if not better.
     I find it fun to see the occurrences of 24 in my life.  I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 24 (both 24 and 3...); the most convenient day just happened to be that one.  My middle son was just "called" to be a missionary and he reports to training on March 24.  After choosing my latest blog decor I noticed that it has 24 on it!  Silly but fun, I guess.
     I suppose there are more stories about 24 which my ABS brain does not remember today.  Maybe tomorrow!



    


    

   

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In addition to being a violist, I am a wife and mother (three sons). I dabble in writing, handwork, sewing and photography.