I’ve spent a ridiculous number of hours playing pool, mostly as a kid. I’m not proud of that fact. Almost any other activity would have been more useful. As a result of my wasted youth, years later I can beat 99% of the public at eight-ball. But I can’t enjoy that sort of so-called victory. It doesn’t feel like “winning” anything.
It feels as meaningful as if my opponent and I had kept logs of the hours we each had spent playing pool over our lifetimes and simply compared. It feels redundant to play the actual games.
I see the same thing with tennis, golf, music, and just about any other skill…
While there certainly are other factors that can affect a musician’s success, I do tend to think that a primary predictor of a musician’s ability level is the number of hours logged in quality, focused practice. With a challenging solo recital on the schedule for tomorrow night, there is a certain kind of appeal to the notion of walking on stage, displaying a log of the hours I’ve put in, taking a bow, and making my exit. But instead I’ll hope that the time I’ve put in practicing will make “victory” a sure thing.
I read and enjoy all of these, but I would also like to suggest a few others that are particular favorites of mine. These are ones that I think have a somewhat smaller readership, although there’s not a good way to know that without asking nosy questions. So I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that some of these may be new to you. Check them out, and let us know in the comments what else you’re reading.
Also, read to the bottom for a couple of tips on reading blogs like you know what you’re doing.
There are a number of criteria that go into these selections, but I mentioned one in particular back in the spring:
So far my two-semester tally, selecting recordings for four different instruments, is six white men and two white women. I’d like to improve on that in the future, though I do think that, ultimately, what comes through the earphones is more central to this project than the colors or genders represented on the CD covers.
I think I did manage to pick out two this semester that add a little diversity, and certainly without compromising one bit on quality: my oboe students are getting a fine recording by Brazilian oboist Alex Klein, and the saxophonists will be enjoying a new release by African-American saxophonist (and one of my teachers) Otis Murphy. On the other hand, I did end up with all men this time around.
One other victory this semester is that all these recordings are available for download on iTunes. I still like having the CD myself, but iTunes is a convenient and, more importantly, economical option for my students.
Here are the selections:
Oboe: Alex Klein, Oboe Concertos of the Classical Era
Well, it looks like we’re going to have to wait a while longer for a woodwind player on the US’s highest court. Oboist Diane Wood, previously a candidate for the Supreme Court vacancy, has been passed over in favor of newly-confirmed Elena Kagan. I’m sure that, despite her presumably total inability to play the oboe, she will serve her nation well.