Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Some of what I've done since Wellesley

Fantastic! A place to share! Wow! I think about my Wellesley days and am certain they shaped the course of my life so far...I was involved in music at Wellesley, and am still. I just got home from a rehearsal of second-year 6th grade band students. I conducted a piece called Haydn's Surprise, and wondered in my on-the-spot improvement as a conductor. I was able to be consistent (for the most part) in my count-offs, and the kids figured out how to follow me. Rewarding work, it is. I teach in public school and do my best every day, but I would like to not have to drive to work and am trying to build up enough courage to decide that I am going to teach locally. On the performing side, I have been playing in the Berkeley Symphony since 1982, with a couple of years and auditions in-between, but close to 27 years, including a long stint under super-star Grammy-winning Kent Nagano. I learned a lot about music from him and was blessed to enjoy rehearsal sets several times a year. I enjoy being semi-pro on the bass--physically it is demanding. I play probably 2 hours a day on some instrument or other, and am getting better on the violin, piano and guitar, respectively. I feel kind of awkward writing about myself like this, but I suppose it is good for me. I was young at Wellesley and have mellowed out a bit, become more mature. Teaching is important to me, as it is a way of sharing the passion I have for music... Last weekend I got to spend time and play music with some wonderful people. I have been teaching at California Coast Music Camp for the last 2 years and will be teaching during the first week this year: 7/11-7/18. A lot of professional tech-types (and many other kinds of folks, interested in a lot of different types of music) attended this retreat (85), and 2-300 will attend the camp. I have enjoyed attending many music camps since I have lived in California, since 1982. The Women's Philharmonic was just starting up when I arrived in Oakland, staying with Mary Watkins' friend for a couple of days and auditioning for the philharmonic (Women's Phil) before I had established a place to live. I was fired up! I am singing and developing a repertoire including a couple of Grateful Dead songs, a four-part canon, a couple of originals. I play in the Bolos with Don Burnham, who is in the Western Swing Hall of Fame, and whose music graces "Car Talk" on npr. It is a little ditty called "Apple, Google, and Gold", and I could have been in the video, but I had another gig...I have been developing my musical voice, still playing...I like organic and local and ride my bike a bit. My daughter is 23 now. That's it for now. Write to me, please. karenehorner@gmail.com

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wohlfahrt in Beginning Violin/strings Class

With what music will students most likely engage? Under what circumstances will they continue to desire to make music? And what opportunities will await them? Families make music together. Friends make music together. Friends are made playing music with other musicians. What is a musician? What are the rules of the road of the tribe of musicians? They exist, and are followed by most members of the tribe. Bad behavior is avoided. Musicians understand that we live on the ark of cooperation because it helps everybody. We live in a web, a matrix, and we rely on each other. Which brings me to orchestra class at the elementary school today.
I brought in the first pages of the Wolhlfahrt Easiest Elementary Method for Violin. In the first four pages of exercises, the following material is introduced:
1)reading all 4 strings in different rhythms
2)half-step and whole step above the open string
3)harmonic minor tonality
4)major tonality
6)balance of voices
7)a minor, d minor, and C and G major
High value package! More later....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Eroica by the Berkeley Symphony

Last night the BSO played a concert featuring a piece by Paul Dresher, and the Eroica Symphony. I felt the concert was successful, even strong, and I am enjoying playing the bass again. I want to begin playing some chamber music...