Thursday, December 15, 2005
I stand by my position that Planet Blackdogred can make up her own mind whether to be a musician or not, but it occurs to me that someone here can tell me: what IS a fine living as an accompanist? And I don't mean just $$$wise, though what $$$ are we talking about? Living out of a suitcase? Indulging divas? Contempt of the divas? Little artistic freedom? High satisfaction? I just was over at Jack Reilly's website where I am almost as abashed by how much I don't know as I am impressed by how much he does. I've been very seriously considering restarting, after 30 years, piano lessons. I want to understand chord theory first and foremost - Jack's comment about the 2000+ constructions on one tone fascinates me, and a comment he made about training the ear sounds like exactly what I'd like.
When I approach possible teachers (and does anyone know of one in the DC area? I don't want to have the same teacher as Planet: that'd be intruding into her space) what books, what programs, what methods should I be asking for if I'm more interested in learning theory than honing performance (understanding they're not mutually exclusive)?
Any thoughts on this?
Oh, and what is a D-D-Sch chord? (It's mentioned in a novel I'm reading - about which more later.)
Planet Claire Blackdogred, my 12 and a half year old daughter, had her Fall recital yesterday. Her piano teacher has two recitals each year. The second one is always solo. The first, in the Fall semester, is a duet with a string player; the piano teacher's bestfriend and bitterest rival is a string teacher. The piano teacher calls her business Herlastname Studios, the string teacher calls her business Herlastname Studios. D, the piano teacher, just bought a house and had a large, fabulously beautiful and tasteful studio/performance mini-hall addition added. It is bigger, by about 10%, than the addition the string teacher put on her house three years ago.
They match up students of roughly equal ability as well as they can from the rosters they have available, trying, when possible, to get similar ages and genders. In drawing up the order of performers they reasonably rank them in order of ability. In six years I've watched Planet go from one of the first to, now, second to last, though I hasten to add that the piano teacher had a large graduating class last Spring so Planet's rank is partially due to attrition. Planet and a sweet kid named Leah played a piece called "Sarabande" by somebody named Bohn (mit eine umlaut, I guessing) and aced it.
Afterwards, I was approached by the piano teacher, the string teacher, and the parents of Leah, all of whom urged me to commit Planet to a competition for duets later this coming Spring. They hadn't asked Planet first whether or not SHE would be interested before asking ME to commit her to the competition. When I asked Leah's parents whether they had asked THEIR daughter before enlisting her, the father said, No, no, why would I? Both teachers and both parents were clearly annoyed that I would even consider asking my child her opinion before committing her to something she may or may not have any interest in and may, in fact, have an active disinterest in doing. "She's not still playing soccer, is she?" sniffed the violin teacher.
Planet is not a prodigy, but she's talented and composed and has great technique (so I'm told). The piano teacher has told me often that Planet could possibly, with dedication and practice and the eschewing of a normal teenage life, make a very fine living as an accompanist. Her soccer coach says that with dedication and practice and the eschewing of a normal teenage life, Planet could possibly get herself a college scholarship as an attacking midfielder. The piano teacher wants her to quit soccer, the soccer coach wants her to quit piano, Planet doesn't want to quit either. I know this because I asked her.
Planet has been told that she WILL be taking piano lessons until she graduates high school. I don't want her to be like me, another one of a gegazillion who wishes as an adult they hadn't stopped playing as an adolescent. And there's the whole discipline and keeping teenagers occupied thingee. And she's genuinely talented, so I want to keep her engaged as much as possible when she doesn't want to be engaged so she can be ready to be good if and when she decides she wants to pursue music professionally. Which will be her call. I'll handle the teachers and coaches.
Far be it from me to say "get your groove on," but if you wanted to "get your groove on" and you asked me for music that would help you "get your groove on," I'd recommend Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Zuco 103 (and do check on Zuco's website for tastes). Not that I'd use the phrase "get your groove on," mind you, though it'd be a serious groove I'd suggest.
The Wedding Present's most famous album is called *George Best*, and since George died a couple of weeks ago and the World Cup draw was last Friday and since this is a terrific album, well, there you are. The Wedding Present broke up (or went on long hiatus, depending on who you read) and in the interim between then and now David Gedge formed Cinerama, and to be honest, I prefer Cinerama to The Wedding Present, which is to take nothing away from *Take Fountain."
The bottom two Rhino boxsets are offered as great last minute holiday presents for anyone you know who loved music of that era. I have a bit of a problem with *No Thanks:* anyone who considers Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out with Him" a punk song deserves slapping, and the collection is not all that punk in general. It's still got lotsa good stuff on it, just don't expect lotsa punk.
*Left of the Dial,* however, is very well thought out, and the compilators did a great job of picking representative songs of the bands. I've given it to seven people who came of age in that period and been offered plentiful thanks by all. Goodness, remember Beat Happening?