Saxophone& Composing



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Electronic Music: Final

I have a week to finish (or start) my final piece for my class. I think I'm leaning toward a simple percussion ensemble piece featuring piano; however, I think I'm going to feature piano as the groove - not the melody and harmony. I want to use it in the "ugliest" way possible - smashing keys to create rhythm without thinking about chords or analysis.

I think that musicians take notes too seriously - that because we all are formally trained with so much music theory that we forget that there are other parts of music that we don't talk about. Like emotion. I think that I want to use rhythm as a primary focus to create emotions and feelings.

-- Flashback --

In high school, my choir director and theory teacher always stressed the ten elements of music: notes, rhythm, articulation, tone, emotion-slash-feel, space, technique, dynamics, phrasing, and listening.

He always defined everything in words we (high school students) could understand. He would relate them to things we understood so that we could integrate them into all parts of our lives - music or otherwise.

Quiet Goodness

On On the Side of the Good

January is a quiet month. The gathering, the giving, and the goodies are behind us. And we are left with the quietest month of the year. We hunker down on the cold nights, and we see the gray stillness. Does quiet bother you? Do you fill your quiet with noises: drama, contention, a constant need to be busy? Or can you be quiet? Can you be alone in the quiet? Or do you fear it? How long can you go without checking your Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram? Can you put your phone in another room and walk away from it, and the “noise” it brings? I learned a new acronym lately: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Do you have that fear?

Quiet denotes respect. Hospitals, Holy Spaces, Libraries, and Museums are all quiet places. We respect that they are places of healing, reverence, thinking, and wonder. And we go out of our way to adhere to the agreed upon silence to respect these things.

Yet we are so quick to disrespect ourselves by filling our lives with unnecessary noise. Life comes with enough pain and noise, yet it is so easy to fill it with unnecessary clamor that detracts from our happiness. In little and big ways we find a means to add noise instead of taking it away. I am a big fan of music, but I worry when my kids constantly have to have iBuds in their ears and claim “its just white noise…”

Noise tends to make us believe we have a place, a purpose, and a mission. This time last year I interacted with 1500 people a day in a very busy, noisy environment of teaching young children how to speak English. Everything I did was about making noise and getting them to make noise. I loved it, and I thrived doing it. But I was very, very sick. And healing meant that I had to learn to control my autoimmune disease. Lupus is very loud, oppressive disease; I needed to tame it. My only choice was to discipline it. That entailed me having to leave my job, and the constant interaction. And things got quiet in a hurry.

It’s been almost a year since my firm diagnosis. And I’ve learned that the quiet forced me to focus on critical issues. As long as I was focused on the responsibility of working and productivity, I was avoiding the fact that my autoimmune disease was getting much, much worse. The combination of everything was a cacophony. And the Good I have found is that my Lupus has been silenced for now. I am better able to create Good for other people.

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