Sunday, May 20, 2007

Something New Every Day

I have made it a practice to always listen to something I have never heard before (or haven't heard for so long that I don't remember anything about it) every day. It can be a piece I know by a new performer, it can be something old (from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque Period, the entire Classical Period, the Romantic Period, the Twentieth Century), or it can be something written more recently (from one of the great collections of recorded performances on line). It can also be something I find on YouTube, or something that I read through for the first time on the violin, the piano, the recorder, or whatever instrument I might have in my hands.

The whole point of this practice is to keep expanding my mind and my experiences and remind myself that music is vast and that there is infinitely more that I do not know than what I do know.

I'm lucky. I get most of my CDs for free because of my CD reviewing jobs, so I almost never actually buy one. One of the benefits of my work for the American Record Guide is that I get to pick "extra" recording (ones I don't have to review) from a list or mystery recordings of varying quality a few times a year.

I guess that If I weren't in this position I would go to the library and take out CDs or LPs. That's what libraries are there for. The under-use of the music section of our university library always amazes me.

One of my violin students, a college student who has been playing for a year and a half, showed me a method book (in facsimile) with a series of violin etudes by Geminiani that he was very excited about finding in the local university library. I told him that I took it out of the library some years ago and worked through it. The last check-out date was 1991. Yup, that was me. I was shocked that in the 15 or 16 years between 1991 and now nobody checked out this extremely valuable treatise.

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