January 26, 2012
I used to work in the violin shop. My favorite part of the job was when parents and their kids would come in and get fitted for violins, violas and cellos according to which instrument tickled their fancy.
It is a process fitting instruments to kids and families are usually in there for more than a few minutes to say the least, leaving plenty of time to talk to the parents. More often than not, they would say, “my daughter (or son) is the musical one, I’ve never been very musical.”
This always makes me giggle because there are very few musicians who wake up one morning and realize they can play an instrument brilliantly. Most of us just spend hours upon hours practicing to get there.
I remember though, there was this one woman in particular who bought what I thought was one of the most beautiful cellos I’ve ever seen. She was buying it for her daughter who was going off to college and was just picking it up the day I was working.
While she was waiting to pick it up I said “this is the most beautiful cello, your daughter is going to love it.” She told me that her daughter was in college out of state and that she was tempted to start playing the cello herself. She always dreamed of playing but thought she was too old to pick it up now. I told her that was nonsense and that you’re never too old to learn something new. I gave her the name of a great cello teacher and encouraged her to give him a call.
Months later the same woman showed up in the shop to get a tune-up on the cello. She told me that she had taken my advice and started cello lessons. She loved her teacher and loved playing so much she was going to buy her own instrument. She also found others her age and ability to play with and though she’ll never be the next Yo Yo Ma, she was having the time of her life.
Playing music isn’t about being the best. It’s about enjoying the process. There are very few people in which music comes easy. Playing any instrument takes time, practice and perseverance. And really, anyone can do it if they have the drive. It doesn’t matter what age you are, it’ never to late to try.
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January 18, 2012
There isn’t one traditional musician I can think of, that knows the name of every single tune they play, never mind every tune they hear.
In the old days (you know, like a couple of years ago) you would probably have to play a tune to your friends, family, neighbors and your friends’ family and neighbors, just to find the name of the tune.
These days, now all you have to do is to play the tune into an iPhone app called Tunepal and voila, the name of the tunes is revealed. Seriously what did we do before the iPhone?
I use my iPhone to record sessions, check my email, update my Facebook status and oh yeah, make calls. And now, I can figure out what tunes are being played by the mere click of a button. Does it get any better?
Here’s a little about the app:
January 9, 2012
Once, while waiting for a session to begin, I overheard someone at the table sitting next to me explaining to her friend what a session was. “It’s where a bunch of musicians get together and practice,” she said. Practice, hmm…Interesting observation.
If you’re an avid reader of my blog, chances are you not only know what a session is, but you get why this explanation of it is so funny.
It did get me thinking though. I may take for granted that people just know what a session is all about. But in reality, unless you’re a traditional Irish musician, you probably don’t understand the true essence of a real Irish session.
I was reminded myself this weekend at the session at Bagitos when just about every top-notch player I know showed up to share some tunes. Tunes were played with precision and with the quality of music the session could easily have been situated in the heart of Ireland. This was no practice session.
Though there are a lot of different types of sessions, the thing that always remains the same is that the hosts and musicians want to maintain a certain caliber of music. Both for the audience as well as for the players.
Yes, random musicians show up and no one ever really rehearses together. We all just sort of sit down and play tunes. So I can understand the perception of it looking like practice time. However, there are hours and hours of practice and tune learning going on long before a session ever takes place.
What is an Irish Session?
Session Obsession – Seven Days
January 2, 2012
Thanks to all who read, commented and shared my blog in 2011. I had fun writing for you and am looking forward to writing more in 2012. To receive email updates every time I post fill in your email address on the right (I won’t share your email address with anyone). Thanks for making 2011 a great year. I’m looking forward to 2012!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.
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