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Tag Archive 'Mindfulness'

After a summer of relative blog quietude, the school year fast approaches – this year with the additional time pressure/terror from a summer more focused on moving into and fixing up a new home than on work. Inspired by Thoreau’s exhortation in ​Walden​ (originally from Confucius?) to “Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, […]

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Last Concert

I am writing on the morning of the Hamilton College Orchestra’s last concert of the year, and it seems like the right time to draft some thoughts on what I hope my students learned in working with me this year – or 2, 3, or 4. It would be presumptuous to say I successfully conveyed […]

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Mental Effortfulness

Zazen is for allowing a clear mind. – Shunyru Suzuki, quoted in Crooked Cucumber by David Chadwick It’s February, which means that everyone in academe (students and professors) is in the trenches, trying to make it to Spring Break.  It is easy to find oneself overwhelmed – and there are signs that a number of […]

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Snow Meditation

I offer a koan for winter – obviously a variation on a classic: What is the sound of snow falling? I came up with this last night, with the thought of listening to the sound of the snow while going to sleep.  But this morning it occurred that there may be something to it.  If […]

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Back from a long trip (sans instrument) over the holidays, I am taking notes while sitting at the piano playing scales for the first time in weeks, and anticipating doing the same in a couple days with long tones on trombone.  I am definitely starting over (again). Many people loathe this feeling of starting over […]

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On Being a Smart Athlete

A recurring theme this fall, for me and others: sooner or later many of us experience some degree of injury from the physical aspect of our work or training. I find it useful to think of this in terms of Being a Smart Athlete. In my case this applies to both my music and exercise habits. Some general observations:

1. Musicians are Athletes. Our bodies are our instruments, and we need to monitor and manage them as carefully as would an elite athlete.

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Like most holidays, Thanksgiving gives us a chance to be reflective, which of course I love.  Musicians think in musical terms – about relationships between pitches and harmonies, rhythmic patterns on various time scales, the big picture of musical form and of the ensemble, and where we fit into it.  So we are naturally inclined […]

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Shut up and play

There’s a lot of cross-talk in my life between music and sports, which I imagine is true for many musicians.  The first Sunday in April is the first local road race of the season, the Rome Fort to Fort 10k run.  This year I was excited for the new season, and even played some psych-up […]

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Zen Mind, Musician’s Mind

The inspiration for this blog is my favorite book, Shunyru Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.  Every time I pick up the baton or the trombone there is the feeling of starting over again from scratch.  Not completely, and not literally – but to some extent we are always beginning. There is, of course, a good […]

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