I am an unabashedly loyal fan of RadioLab, the monthly WNYC podcast that explores everything from blood and poop to colors, sounds, textures, and grand ideas, all through the lens of science and social humanism, and then filtered again through experimental sound and music techniques. They’ve introduced me to so many new ideas, and I can’t even begin to pick my favorite episodes (but you can start here: Colors, or a classic: Goat on a Cow).
They also use original music in their episodes, either from bands they’ve discovered or from composer’s who’ve contributed for a single purpose. They put on live shows and it was through one of those broadcasts that I discovered Glenn Kotche’s amazing solo percussion career (Kotche is better known as the drummer for indie rock pioneering band Wilco).
Recently they did a short about Dawn of Midi, a three-piece Brooklyn outfit that takes minimalist music (see: Steve Reich; Philip Glass) into this generation and has created mesmerizing, beautiful sounds with their latest album, Dysnomia.
Perfect for listening while drinking tea, cooking a pie, or just staring at the ceiling. Listen, support, and enjoy.
If there’s one thing I try to get across to my students as often as possible, it’s the concept of deep practice. Every one of you has worked this way in lessons with me. We pick out a passage, maybe it’s two lines long, maybe a bar, maybe it’s only three notes long but regardless, we slow it down, pluck it out on the keyboard, listen carefully, and play. Then we speed up- only a little bit- and play. We keep listening.
The end result is deep practice. You’ve trained your muscles to respond to what you hear by only telling them what something should sound like, and not how to do it. Ultimately you’ve got two lines or a bar or three notes of music that you’ll never forget how to play, and you’ll always play correctly, because you programmed in the right coordinates.
I want all my students to be accomplished, but more so than that I want your accomplishments to sound effortless despite the hours of work put into each passage. Because with deliberate practice, the end result is pure performance.
This one’s been making the rounds lately. All I can say is…well, duh. Of COURSE music makes you smarter. Ahem.
We think of orchestral concerts as well-mannered, upper class affairs these days. You get dressed up, you choke back your coughs during pieces, you hold your applause until the end of the entire piece.
But art music has a long history of back-stabbing, drama, cruel affairs, and dark enigmas to go along with its storied history. Here’s just a little taste of how composers, critics, and performers have thought of each other across history.
The ever brilliant and talented Mr David Byrne offers up some harsh realities in his latest piece for The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/oct/11/david-byrne-internet-content-world
Most of my students are younger than the internet, and so I’m particularly curious to get that generation’s take on Byrne’s thoughts. For me, the article brought up the larger issue of how we treat folks who make and distribute art in our culture. In general, there is an expectation that artists, and musicians in particular, are so inspired to create and perform that they love to do so regardless of receiving compensation for their work. So moved by the muse that guides them, artists put beauty into the world freely and gladly.
Those of us at work in the industry know better, and struggle against this misconception everyday. I wouldn’t give up the joy of performing for anything, and I am blessed to have chosen a career that makes me happy. But it is, ultimately, a career, and I need to be able to support myself using my hard-earning skills or I will founder.
To get back to Byrne’s point, though, we are very quick to snap up musical content when we can get it cheaply and easily. Services like Spotify and Pandora allow us to broaden our scope and tastes. I find them useful for that purpose, but whenever possible I purchase music, and preferably through a local agent or directly from the musician whenever possible.
And on another note, to my students who don’t know who David Byrne is, allow me to give you a little more education:
Most recently, Mr Byrne has been collaborating with the fantastic St. Vincent.
He’s had a long solo career.
But once upon a time he gained fame with the group Talking Heads.
Hello and welcome to my studio blog! This page is intended as a supplement to my professional webpage, http://laurenhusting.com. Gigs, media, and news will continue to update there, but this is a space for me to share knowledge with my students!
I’ll be posting relevant articles, videos, and links in hopes that students of all ages will find new wisdom into music-making.