Saturday, December 24, 2011

John Lennon - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Happy Holidays, Everyone. Thank you for reading my blog and sharing your thoughts with me. 2011 was a pretty incredible year. I wish all of you a peace and music filled 2012. Remember:
"War is over if you want it." 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

End of an Era

What a crazy, crazy year. We lost the greatest innovator of our time, Steve Jobs, as well as one of our bravest intellectual thinkers, Christopher Hitchens. Terrorists were captured, dictators died, and we watched as the courageous activist Julian Assange was hunted down which showed the public that you best keep your mouth shut. The Senate passed a bill allowing the military to arrest U.S. citizens without a warrant and to even kill them if necessary. Our way of life is shifting completely, and no one can predict what will happen next. Groundbreaking music helped raise the bar thanks to Arcade Fire, Adele, Cold Play, and Florence and the Machine. We saw countries reclaimed by it's people and our own country did something it hasn't done since the sixties by showing it's frustration with Wall Street and forming the Occupy movement. I feel like I spent at least one moment each day shaking my head in disbelief. It was a crazy year.

What does this mean for music? The only era I can think to reference this time to is the 1960's and what followed in the 1970's. Fans often credit the turbulent period of the 60's as being the fuel for both musicians and fans. Music became the only outlet for expression. We have many outlets for expression, so that isn't good enough these days. What we need now is high quality music that transforms us. We live in an unpredictable time period. Everyone I know agrees that now is the most important time to stay focused on the present. You have no idea what this crazy country will do next and you have no idea if your house will still be yours or if you will still have a job. All you have is now. Music suspends time, and a good musician can make you feel like you have travelled to another plane.

This year I committed to 2-4 hours of music playing a day. Most days I did 3. What happened to me recently is I graduated to a different "zone." After being sick for almost 2 weeks, I lost the ability to sing and it made me desperately appreciate it more. When I was able to sing again, I was more focused than ever. The world outside myself stopped, and time was suspended. For the rest of the day, I was calm and focused. Music changed my life.

Everyone needs music, and I predict what you will see is music that is higher quality than what we have experienced over the past 2 decades. I am hoping for something like the emotion of the 60's and 70's with the high quality sound of the 30's Jazz era. Please people, give me something good.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Quiet Time

I am finally well after feeling sick for over a week. I can't remember the last time nature silenced me like for such a long time. I was finally able to sing in a San Francisco shower on Sunday morning as I prepared to fly home from a visit with an old childhood friend. The high notes no longer stabbed my throat and the line from note to note was almost fluid rather that interrupted by crackling sounds. I felt grateful. I realize now that I can't take my voice for granted. People always say "I can't sing. No really. I CAN'T sing." And I admit I didn't believe them, but last week I also literally could not sing. It just wouldn't work. I could talk, but even though I tried, music would not come out of me. It was sad.

I spent the week listening to a lot of instrumental classical music, because singing of any kind made me burn with jealousy. Is it possible that my ear has become more sensitive after only one week of this? It seems that my singing notes are more in tune that usual. Perhaps my body needed a little vacation time from all the practice I have been doing to process all of the information. During the week, I played the piano as if I couldn't sing. Every instrumentalist really wants to sing with their voice, but that is not always biologically possible, so they put that energy into the instrument. I finally understood this.

I can't promise a blog post tomorrow, because I feel I need to continue my quiet time to myself. But I am still playing music. That will never stop.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Still Playing

Just wanted to post an update. I am still sick, but I am playing the piano everyday. I still can't sing, which is unfortunate, but I am putting that energy into my piano playing. The encouraging thing is that my piano voice is getting stronger. I will post more when I am better.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 18: Bad Girl

I was a very bad girl yesterday. I sang on a sore throat. Bad bad bad. Now I am paying the price. I can't sing. I really had no choice. I had my student's piano recital at the retirement home and I always lead sing-alongs at the end. My sickly voice has a real chesty quality. I liked it. It reminded me of the "Friends" episode when Pheobe gets sick and develops this really sexy singing voice. She keeps trying to get sick again so that she can get that great voice back. I admit, the sick voice is kinda cool, but I know better. It's important to rest a tired voice. So today, I didn't sing. Oh I tried, and the sound that came out was sad, sad, sad. So I played piano for 3 hours. It was nice. I played all Christmas songs, because I am less than 15 days away from my first holiday gig. Losing my voice made me put that expressive energy into my playing. A blessing in disguise, I guess.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

No Power & Sick

I know... it wasn't really "stormy" but if you had been here, you would know what I mean.

The Santa Ana winds came two nights ago, and I swear, it was like a hurricane without the rain. So weird and scary! I kept waiting for the moment when a tree would just break through one of my windows. I had a canopy in the backyard that just disappeared before the night was through. The winds blew up to 100 mph where I live, and 145 mph in Pasadena! Trees were uprooted and debris was everywhere. Just got power back last night, and I am still trying to beat a nasty cold. Haven't sung because my throat is sore. Terrible. Today, I feel up for practicing again.