Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What's in a Name

Welcome to the first Wednesday edition of Pianonoise :the blog. As of today, my diabolical three-part plan is complete.

What diabolical three-part plan, you ask?

Why, my master plan to take over the world by blogging it to death. On Mondays, I routinely assault it with piano music (and sometimes organ music). Besides a recording, there is information about the piece. I am generally less interested in the history or colorful anecdotes surrounding a piece than the much more elusive quest to refine our ears and get more out of listening to the music itself. although I hope we're entertained and enjoying ourselves along the way. On Wednesdays, we'll discuss issues of importance to people who make music, from the standpoint of making it better. As a composer, improviser, teacher, accompanist, and soloist, I may have accumulated some useful advice for other musicians; at any rate, we can have discussions about it. On Fridays, I post music and commentary related to my post as a church musician. Mondays and Wednesdays are generally "secular"--persons of all faiths or lack thereof are welcome on Fridays as well, but if you have the vampirical tendency to shrivel up whenever you see or hear any mentions of religious material, you'll want to avoid Fridays.

Now then, the Wednesday edition. You'll note that I mentioned quite a few categories of music making above. That's because I have a lot of ways of making music. I am a product of both the conservatory (music school) with advanced degrees, a concert musician, and a creative goof-off who has learned a lot of things not on the syllabus. I make music by myself and in groups large and small, and I continue to be interested in teaching persons, young and old, what I think I know about the music making process. That means there is a lot to discuss, which leaves the scope of this blog wild and free, but also makes it a little hard to organize. What exactly are we going to discuss today, and just who will be interested?

I've given each section of the blog names. The Monday edition is called "Listen up!" because its primary focus is on listening to music and its primary audience is anybody with ears who wants to use them more effectively. The Friday edition is called "The Visible Organist" because I plan to not only share music but discuss issues related to church music as an organist (and pianist) as if I were not hidden behind a screen, up in a balcony, or absent from a congregation's notice, and had the effrontery to speak to anyone interested as a friendly, and perhaps knowledgeable voice from the organ bench; hopefully we will all learn something in the process, as well as experiencing some great music.

But the Wednesday title still bothers me a little. Tentatively I'm calling it "Musicianship for Smart People" because the same title for "dummies" was already taken, and, although I don't mind a little self-deprecating humor, never mind a little realism (large numbers of consumers don't seem to mind it either; it is a successful series), I thought perhaps we could use a little bit of an affirmation once in a while, and as a professional musician, I'm afraid the amateurs with whom I work and for whom this blog is mainly intended will think they are too dumb to get what I'm talking about anyway, or worse, that I think they are too dumb to get it. Hence the uplift. You all get to be smart people when you log on here. Don't get too carried away, though. We are (all) smart people in progress. Is that a good way to look at it?

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