Today, I was laid off. I am a classically trained bassoonist, but my daytime job for the last seven years had been as a Teaching Artist. I worked with kindergartners a class at a time, twice a week with one or two partners, to teach curriculum using music. An ingenious thing, as the best lessons were always the ones where the kids just learned and did amazing things without even knowing how amazing they were or how difficult these things were. Do you know the word “crescendo”? My kindergartners do, and they can DO it, too!
I hardly thought my job could continue as it was, seeing as about 300 classroom teachers and staff in the district were laid off this year. I may be hired back as a part time employee, and I do hope I am. The five dozen egg shakers and play parachute I bought this year hope I am, too! For the time being, I’ll be free to figure out what I want to do next, something much more easily coped with in the afternoon than in the late hours of a sleepless night.
Need: At least 1 musical performance monthly.
Why: Sanity, relevance, and growth.
How: Will begin with duos, asking colleagues for interest.
Where: Doesn’t matter much. The goal is to play.
Books abandoned are sad vestiges of misplaced trust. This ocurred to me today, or perhaps I only remembered something I’d read. How deeply a reader-author relationship is based upon trust. There have been a number of books which I have read and while reading, have only elicited a lukewarm response in me. I soldier on, hoping and trusting that this author will not let me down. That somewhere between this part and the end is the thing that will make worthy the hours I’ve spent immersed in this person’s brain. So, too, does the author trust the reader to go on, to finish, to try to understand the vision that put ink to paper and began a new world within these covers. Without this trust, this daring of both parties, there can be no exploration. For it IS daring to open a book, to dive into another’s mind, not knowing what will be discovered, shared, imparted, impressed, distorted, illuminated. And it IS courageous to take the wheelings and turnings of one’s own mind down for others to scamper about in. Where were will we go? What will we think and feel on the other side? Through what madness might we travel, caves might we delve, fears might we learn anew?
I love musicals. I do. But not just any musicals. I love Stephen Sondheim and Claude-Michel Schönberg. And whomever made Wicked, I loved that! Having just recently seen “Company”, with Patti LuPone (and others), I was excited when I heard that she was coming to town!
So we went....
It is of no great significance that I do most of my thinking in the shower. At about 10-15 minutes, they are fairly quick showers by most standards though perhaps not by the drought-ridden standards of the American Southwest. Still, my head clears in there. My thoughts and dreams and wishes and ambitions (sometimes) make themselves known. Today's shower was a clinker.
Here's what I want:
I want an ensemble that is not just a Reed Trio, or a Bassoon Quartet, or a Wind Quintet. No! I want an ensemble that is entirely new to Tucson. Something that transcends these boundaries of composition and tradition to create something new (again, to Tucson) and surprising! Something where the audience isn't always sure what it's going to find but always knows it is going to find at least some little morsel of wonderful. Always beautiful, moving music. And no, I don't mean always moving beautiful classical music.. No! All music. Whether we stodgy classically-trained musicians like it or not, popular music is here to stay. It is what this generation listens to and loves, myself included. It is not the enemy and it does not need to replace the greatness that came before. It is up to us to transform, to adjust, to makeover. To make this genre part of our own traditional identities in a way that still adheres to our own taste and creative standards but invites these lost generations back. AND, it is up to us to make our music, the music we've spent years studying and refining and loving and touting, part of today's musical landscape in ways it just has not been. More innovation, more shattering of those boundaries we so love to enforce in our halls and performances. Today is all about the removal of boundaries and obstacles and the music scene, all of the music scene and not just the industry, needs to be a part of that.
Maybe my next shower will show me HOW.
Freelance bassoonist and carpenter of the reedy persuasion in Tucson, AZ.
Habits of Musicians
Have Bassoon Will Cook
The Pedantic Bassoonist
Double Reed Ltd.