Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chamber Music Intro

Earlier this week two of my young piano students, ages 9 and 10, spent a day at a chamber music festival in Blue Hill.  Based on an earlier audition tape, they received music about eight weeks ago which was to be thoroughly learned by festival day. I gulped when I saw what they were to learn-it was quite a challenge!  But we dove in, section by section, week by week, and they were ready.

Lily played two movements of a Mozart Serenade for strings and keyboard, while Mia performed a Purcell Chaconne for 2 violins and keyboard.  Oh my, was I ever a proud teacher.  Each group marched confidently upon the stage and took a professional bow together.  The girls played on a beautiful Steinway grand in one of the best halls for chamber music in Maine.  And afterwards I cheered for them as if I were at a rock concert.

I can never say what music has meant to me other than it is my life, whether performing, teaching or listening.  I see myself as a youngster in these two girls and take seriously my role in guiding them along this path. What a hopeful and inspiring afternoon, to hear them make music with others.

Bravo, Lily and Mia!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Call of the Wild

It’s back…that recurring and sometimes annoying desire to live in the country.  When I really think about it this wish has been ongoing for much of my adult life-it flares up now and then before I kick it under the bed.  You could say that my coming to Maine 20 years ago was the first acknowledgement, leaving Dallas, a city of a million people, to move to Monmouth, population 3,000.  But even then we lived right in the middle of the tiny downtown, across the street from the post office.

What I have dreamed of, all these years, is a 19th century farmhouse with a barn surrounded by several acres of fields and woods.  A stream bordering the property. A sunny garden space, some berry bushes and a few fruit trees. Chickens.  A cozy house with a woodstove that feels like home.  About half an hour drive to a small city. No mortgage.

Superficially you might think that I’m a city girl.  I love snobby cultural institutions such as art museums, symphonies and lecture series. In the past 20 years, though, I’ve discovered that I can do pretty well making my own culture-a few examples are my Proust group, my project with Bill of listening to all of the Beethoven string quartets, our own foreign movie festivals and many dinner parties with interesting company.  And of course there’s the New York Times.  I find periodic trips to a city gratifying and quite satisfactory, where I soak up all the culture I can muster before happily returning home.

Over the course of our time in Maine we’ve looked at several places just like the above.  Different reasons popped up not to take the plunge-bad timing, lack of courage, or just plain disagreement.

Well, I can dream, can’t I?