Dangerous tootling

Submitted by Lee Nielsen – Flute

This evening while playing outside near a lovely hanging plant, I was buzzed by a bee. He ? circled me several times then landed on my flute. Yikes. Next he headed straight for my lips. I turned away quickly but dropped a beat on the last note. Key learning: Flowers attract bees, expect to get stung. Duh!

When Your “Have Tos “ are Gone

Submitted by Marilyn Katzmark – Violin

I have to be honest with you, between work, music obligations, and grandchildren, I normally have next to no free time. Although practicing is a “want to”, it’s on my “have to” list. Even though I’m medical, my outpatient center closed. I spent a month feeling very lost without a schedule. All my “have tos” were gone. I couldn’t even follow through with practicing for private lessons.

Anyway, I did slowly adjust. As far as music, I tried to concentrate on the things I normally don’t have time to do. I’ve had a music theory book/workbook sitting on my dresser for a year. I started working on that – my weakest area. And I found out there’s no reason why I can’t do this before I go to sleep when I go back to work.

I love to let my mind think of music and lyrics. I was able to put a song I wrote in the computer. This normally takes me forever. I have little ditties (maybe 8-16 measures)in my phone that I’ve recorded so I won’t forget them- for when I have time. I was able to take one of those ditties and work on it from beginning to end. Eventually I started lessons and NH again. My teacher gave me an awesome song to work on ,“Meditation” from the opera Thais.

My favorite memory though will be my granddaughter asking for help on some music her trumpet teacher had given her. She’s too shy to practice in front of her family but she felt comfortable enough to have me play with her and listen to her. I felt truly honored. I can’t wait til she can play “What a Wonderful World” with me.

So I’m glad I’ve had this time with no “have tos”. It gave me some much needed respite so I can deal with my last 3 years of work. And when I retire I want to do some more of these projects.

More Control over My Schedule

Submitted by Iskinder Arsano – Saxophone

The most outstanding thing for me should be the fact I can now sit for practice during a regular daily time window. Often I do serious practicing but sometimes I just fiddle with my alto sax even if the particular day’s attention span is limited to a few minutes.

Following Janet Scarry’s example I recommend the book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear for inspirations on how small intentional actions build into useful habits.

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Submitted by Janet Scarry – Flute

No more hustle and bustle since the lockdown has given me more free time to do a lot of things, including practicing. So, I decided to get out a book I used to practice in roughly three years ago. The book is by Marcel Moyse and it has excellent practice drills. One of the things I like about it is, the same drill will be in different time signatures. I highly recommend it.

Everyone be safe and stay healthy.

Learning during the lock-down

Submitted by Lee Nielsen (Flute)

Since late March I have been playing a five minute concert on my front porch every evening at 7 pm in solidarity with many musicians all over the world to recognize our front line workers; health care, food, delivery, police, etc. who are taking care of us everyday. My audience often consists of squirrels, chipmunks, crows and the occasional neighbor waving from their yard.

One night the wind blew my music off my stand…couldn’t play what I couldn’t see…so I had to stop, retrieve my music and start again. Not good!

The challenge of being ready to perform EVERY NIGHT has forced me to pay close attention to the music, yes, but also the music stand, the wind speed, clipping my music down, the outside temperature, my barking dog and whatever. I need to learn to prepare to play, not simply play. Big, big learning for me.

Thanks, Lee, for stepping-up to share your introduction to porch performances during these COVID-19 times.

We welcome others to post their strategies to explore “new normal” activities.  Anyone taking advantage of this time to try-out a new instrument?  Perhaps you have videoed your pets as they enjoy your impromptu concerts?  Or, maybe viewing some online concerts have inspired you to put some swing and more smiles into your practices (while no one is looking).  🙂

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