Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Therapy without the co-pay!

Say it isn’t so – February?

Big discovery of the day? Learning new music, or 20th century pieces we don’t know, is like couples’ therapy – or maybe triples’ therapy I suppose one should say. We are working our way through the very beautiful Between Tides, aka piano trio from 1986 of Toru Takemitsu, that quixotic epigrammist; two weeks ago we took part in the biennial New Music Festival at FSU, playing a piece by Alan Anderson; and have started on Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s trio. Anyhoo – the process of learning these things together, rather than each learning and then combining (as we do with 18th or 19th century works, for instance) has been the best thing we have done in terms of forming the group. Turns out that we find very different priorities – all about communicating and feeling each other, rather than having our 3 (sometimes disparate) ideas about how it should go. What we have done recently of more traditional stuff has felt quite different. It’s like those couples’ exercises where you just practice communicating – mirroring, for instance, where Person 1 says what s/he feels and Person 2 does not react, but just listens, repeats it back (to check that they got the message, and to allow P 1 to feel that s/he has really been heard), and then maybe verbalizes how s/he imagines that must be from the other Person’s point of view. Surprisingly powerful and effective by the way. But I digress – in the trio this also has been developing skills we didn’t even know we lacked. Really can’t speak highly enough of how much it helps the level of communication, listening, showing and responding to what is most important (rather than the distracting “ideas” one gets when the notes aren’t so concentration-consuming!)

We are starting our second attempt at personal assistant – the first left town, which we knew would happen, but then realized that actually he wouldn’t have time to put into our needs… So her first priority is the long-overdue web page! We do have an email list to start with (sign up! -, but obviously need SO much more!!

We played a concert in Jacksonville, trying out part of our NYC program; repeated it in Tallahassee the following weekend – discovered that Babajanian actually would be a good closer! Many of the folk in Tally (who are more forthcoming with their opinions…) liked that one a lot. So we will start in NYC with Ghost, finish with Baba, and put Ellen Taaffe Zwilich ( and Takemitsu ( in between – something for everybody! More later about these choices.

Our next project, equipped with these superb intrapersonal skill will be Paul Schoenfield Café-music at a Faculty Showcase concert (or Faculty Show-off as one of my Chinese students called it) preceding an audition day at FSU, then again at the CMS conference in Orlando -- Sat 11.15 ( Fun fun, and a reward for the hours of therapy we’ve been in!

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