Planets from my house part 6

My night started off with thoughts of jazz and beer. Brother Thelonious is great for both.

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Eventually I stayed up long enough to keep up with my latest hobby… Looking up. My kid calls Jupiter “daddy’s planet”, which lets me know the level of my geek is strong.

This may potentially be the last time I post about which planets I can see from my house. In general I feel the pictures I take with my iPhone does no justice to how cool I think this event is. The idea that I get to watch this pattern unfold before my very eyes is simply awesome. I think I’ll start saving up for a telescope. Perhaps my kid and I will enjoy looking up.Planets from my house part 6

I Was Feeling This Way Also

Recently I listened to an NPR classical music podcast call Conducting Business. The subject of that talk was related to my blog post Faces At Concerts.

Naomi-LewinDuring the podcast the host Naomi Lewin facilitated a group discussion about the diversity of both audiences and members of major symphony orchestras in the United States. I’m glad to hear that these kinds of conversations are happening in public forums and encourage many to listen to the podcast American Orchestras Grapples With Lack of Diversity.

Still Nervous

I don’t claim to be the kind of person that has it all together. In fact anyone that really knows me, understand that the confidence they see is just a facade. So it may come as a surprise to many that even though I perform music often, I still get quite nervous.

Most performers or public speakers understand the kind of nervous I am referring to. The kind of uncomfortable that comes every once in a while, when you are put into an unfamiliar situation. Or worst, when you know exactly the position you will be in and you know it’s not going to be good. What ends up happening to some is well known as “The Shakes”.

There are ways of combatting this problem. First, is knowing what happening to you. Understanding that your body is flooding with adrenaline as part of your fight or flight reaction to stressful encounters. Second (at least for me) is to breathe, while the voice in my head is going through the task in front of me step by step. Third is understanding that I need to have experiences working in these environments to help reduce or cope with this kind of reaction. So try to put yourself in that position more often than you’d like, to teach yourself how to deal with the anxiety. The last option is to use medication.

Many people use propranolol to help deal with the physical aspects of performance anxiety. These beta blockers can be used to chemically resist our adrenaline from causing performers to shake uncontrollably. The New York Times has an article titled “Better Playing Through Chemistry” on the subject and WQXR also did a set of  radio interviews. Check them out, they give a wide perspective on the reasons for the use of medication for performers.

Please comment if you have other thoughts and suggestions. I think it’s a discussion we should not be afraid to have.

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Artist and Windmills

There are some of us who take opportunities when they come at us, and then there are those who make their own opportunities. I am in awe of the folks I’ve coined “thought entrepreneurs”, they seem to have a great idea for a project all the time.

Sometimes it’s an idea for a book they want to write, or a recital they need to put on. A project with visual art, music, dance and poetry. The ideas seem endless and some of those ideas are nothing more that tilting at windmills.

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However, there are those rare occasions when the grand idea becomes real, and your are forced to reckon with your own jealousy. After a moment of self reflection, you can only applaud the effort and vision made by those risk takers. True Artist….

Podcasts

There aren’t many ways to occupy your time while driving to and from work.  Especially with when you have a four year-old diva sitting in the back seat belting out the hits like she preparing for an audition to “the Voice”.  Before my kid, I had time to decompress after a long day, take long phone calls or just think in silence.

Now, I tend to listen to a myriad of podcasts, from the news to music and science.  I guess it’s a good representation of my level of geek.  Recently I marveled at the a podcast about music business and my immediate thought was “my students need to hear this…this is exactly what we’ve been talking about!” So I’ve made it a point to share these moments with my students as often as possible.

The reality is that I am really excited to be excited about things. I am interested in listening to interesting people talk about things they are into doing. Sometimes I feel like I am discovering something new that is only meant for me to observer at that very intersection of time and opportunity.

Here are just a few of the podcast I love listening to…

Radiolab from WNYCNPR_ Snap Judgment Podcast StarTalk RadioWTF with Marc Maron Podcastmza_3470970392302365376.170x170-75His & Hers