Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Unbelievably, more than one transformer in the valley had blown, including the one supplying the local hotel with power, and so the electricity company made quick work of it, and by 21:00, we had power. It was with some amusement that I watched our neighbours, whose transformer was intact, barbeque their dinner, while waited plaintively for the power to come back on to microwave ours.
Monday, December 13, 2004
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
I never read horoscopes. I absolutely do not believe in them. But occasionally inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. I happened to read my horoscope this morning, and it said something about looking for happiness and not stability. I really had difficulty understanding that, because to me, happiness has always been synonymous with some level of stability. Funny how things change. I am unbelievably satisfied and just plain happy at present, and yet in some ways, my life is potentially very unstable right now. And yet, that instability is a large part of what is making me so happy. For once instability = potential. I have always thought that the concept of heaven must be epitomized by endless potential. Heaven has always been associated with timelessness, and the appeal of that is endless potential. There is so much that can happen in my life right now, and the personal space I am in makes that possible.
Ok, so enough with the out-of-character philosophizing. I just wanted some sort of permanent record of that to remind myself what its all about at some appropriate point in the future.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Anyway, the conference holds prospects of overseas travel and a publication, so aside from its intrinsic value, it provides even more direction and motivation for my honours project. This really has been a good year!
Monday, November 22, 2004
Will update you on the progress we make at the conference afterwards.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Yet another potentially useful bibliography. This one is specifically on education related matters, so I am not too sure how useful it will be, but it may contain something relevant. everything is very nicely grouped under titles
This journal requires a subscription to access the articles, but individual subscriptions for online access only are not expensive, and it looks useful. Just may subscribe here if I think there is enough of potential value available
Making some progress today. Did I mention that I am perticularly working on my proposal bibliography?
Anyway, this link is to a Journal described as "music-centered". I like to keep links to online journals as I find them so that I can find some of the most up-to-date information available. I have searched the archives of this one, and found a few potentially interesting articles. If I make use of any of them, I will post the links.
So this is the link found from the last blogged page that looks just great. There are so many well organised links here, that if I don't find something useful here, I will never find anything!
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Essays for practical exam, November 2004
Discuss Cassals’ first principle (12 min, 10%)
Lotte Lehmann defines the art of interpretation as the “individual understanding and reproduction,” and while this seems too general a description to really categorise what David Blum calls “the first principle,” it appears to deal with many of the same issues.
Breath motion. Breathing gives phrasing. Life-giving, finding what the music wants to do naturally. Making the music meaningful, finding what the music wants
Discuss Cassals’ natural rules (48 min, 40%)
Variety: a succession of rainbows, both in shape, and graduation of colour. Ebb and flow.
The dynamic follows the contour. Up=more, down=less
Generally, a long note means cresc, or dim. “a note has to say something”
Repetition = contrast.
Dynamics are flexible and relative
Discuss the four motivating factors for preparing for an exam or performance (1 hour, 50%)
The desire to perform great music, to do the music and composer justice, and to give our audiences the pleasure of great music played well should ultimately underlie all music-making experiences. Unfortunately, however, this internal motivation is not always present to encourage one to practice well. Instead, therefore, one often has to rely on other motivating factors to encourage effective and regular rehearsal.
Competition can act as effective motivation for performers to practice, as it can provide a broad based standard against which to measure one’s progress, and encourage one to persevere and aim to excel. Encouraging competition between performers in a group, or between specific groups within a larger group (such as voice groups in a choir) can build a healthy desire to excel, and can keep the performers on their toes. On the other hand, however, competition can create animosity between members of a group which should be working together, or can take the focus off musical integrity, and place it instead on individual prestige. Furthermore, some people find competition demotivating, as they may never feel adequate, and prefer to measure their performance against their own previous performances. On the other hand, some people become so driven to compete that they become demotivated when the competition is removed, and may well lose sight of the original purpose of performing beautiful music. This unhealthy competitive urge can even diminish the performer’s capacity for emotionally genuine performance, as virtuosity and technical efficiency overshadow intention and artistry. None the less, competition, when used sparingly, and with discression, can be a valuable motivation.
Frequent required performances can be an excellent motivation to practice, as they give one specific goals with a timeframe to encourage frequent and effective practice. The less time one has to practice, the more efficiently one has to use what practice time one has. Furthermore, when a performance is impending, fear, pride, or anticipation will often encourage one to practice frequently, while the habit of performing can diminish performance anxiety, thus acting as general encouragement to a student who may otherwise be discouraged from performing, or even pursuing music.
The next two motivating factors, pride and fear are closely linked to the former two. Performers who have a standard to live up to are frequently motivated by pride to maintain it, while others may be motivated by fear of embarrassment to prepare thoroughly. The driving force behind competition or preparation for required performances is usually the desire not to embarrass onself, whether motivated by fear, or pride.
Once again, however, both factors can prove as debilitating as motivating. A timid performer excessively plagued by fear may find performance nearly impossible, and may be discouraged from pursuing a musical education for precisely this reason. In a case like this, regular required performances could be demotivating. Excessive pride, however, could lead a performer to become overly competitive, as mentioned before, and could diminish the natural motivation to perform good music well for its own sake.
In general, all external motivating factors should be used with discression, in order to encourage sincere, high quality performance.
Practice accuracy. Plan in order to achieve an accurate first play-through. Play slowly enough to avoid mistakes, and increase the tempo gradually only when the piece is secure at the slower tempo.
Competition: accountability and incentive. Someone or something to measure yourself against.
Required performance: motivation to practice happens instinctively
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Anyway, back to the laptop, I have a choir practice for the concert later this evening, but that needn't interfere too much with my studying, because now I can just take my laptop with me, and continue my studying during the breaks! technomuso is feeling rather smug. So excuse me while I log onto the internet, and retrieve my email, and post this blog entry from the most comfortable chair in the house. Next post, when I have stopped playing with my new toy for long enough to actually get some worthwhile work done!
Monday, October 25, 2004
Saturday, October 23, 2004
And something on the side, I have the most beautiful tri-colour nasturtium smiling at me from my desk. Its mostly yellow, with an orange stain down the centre of each petal, and a deep red blush near the centre on the top two petals. I don’t have a favourite colour, but this mixture is certainly high up on my list of favourites.
BibTeX may be worth investigating. An online bibliography? Will keep you informed.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
I really want to feel like I am doing some good, and contributing to my society in a valuable way, and when my research turns up results as interesting as it has been recently, I feel like I am. Tell you what, though, I hate the publishing process, and yet I can think of few other ways of making what I do accessible to the broader public. Perhaps this is the way to do it. Maybe blogs are the ultimate way of getting what I do out into the public sphere. And yet, with absolutely no traffic up to this point, I am beginning to wonder...
Still, if this all falls down around me, at least I can conduct choirs. I'm really getting quite good at that. And what makes me particularly smug about it is that someone who offered to help me learn that spent half a year trying to convince me that I was useless at it. well ha, ha, miss embittered school teacher, I will not be trod on! positive thinking, naively romantic do-gooders still get it right more of the time.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
By the way, if you are in Johannesburg at present, watch out for details of the Johannesburg Bach Choir's upcoming concert: Buxtehude and Vivaldi! I am singing, and my conducting mentor is conducting. More details to follow.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Any way, here goes.
I am working on, at present, a small research project, which I hope to grow into a much larger PhD and beyond over the next seven years. For now, it is called "Singing South African-ness" (a pilot study of which is about to be published in a new Journal: Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa) and deals with the construction of identities among youth choirs in South Africa.
I am therefore interested in just about anything to do with identity, Sub-culture, race and the construction of whiteness, and choral music. Keep adding to this list as appropriate, I think, because I keep discovering new interests (blogs, for example)
first couple of links:
Inter-cultural relationships work best when both sides treat each other as equals http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-04/ps-irw043003.php
Postmodern Approaches to Gender, Sex, and Sexuality - A Critique
both from Anthroblog, who I was reading when I finally decided this could be useful.
so... Here's to possibilities