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Friday, January 09, 2009
Things to be excited about
Today marks the end of the first "week" of school (three days doesn't really count as a week....does it?). I have decided not to look at my student account on the new system as it continues to see-saw back and forth almost hourly......and I value my blood pressure too much.

By this point in the year, all of the applications to various grad schools/other programs have been sent off and my future is currently out of my hands. As you might expect, it's not something I really deal well with. I did have some good advice from former teacher--Every time you get obsessed about it, go learn a tune.

I foresee learning a lot of new tunes this semester.

Fortunately, there are other things to think about, enjoy, or obsess over: the thesis, a masterclass/concert in Feb for a small flute studio, good classes on topics of which I know fairly little, the Lama who gave me refuge vows coming back for a month, not to mention that I hope to run, knit, and cook more.

I'm really excited about the masterclass/concert in Feb. It's the first time I've been invited to give one of these things, and even though I'm a little concerned that all of the details haven't been taken care of (ie they're supposed to buy the plane ticket and I have yet to get any type of flight details...so I guess I'll believe I'm going when I get that stuff) the opportunity to share the music is one that I'm happy about. I was a little concerned when I was asked, because you often find people who don't really understand that you're not going to go in and play Danny Boy from sheet music with piano accompaniment. Often both students and teachers have a misconception that if they can play Mozart or French Conservatory repertoire that they'll be able to magically play like Matt Molloy in a matter of minutes. Often you have to deal with condescending comments and you have to resist the urge to scream, "Just because it's 'folk music' doesn't mean it's easy to play." This masterclass has the ability to be different. The teacher in question has a student who has taught himself to play. He owns a trad flute and when I asked who his favorite trad players were listed Cathal MacConnell, Seamus Egan, and Alan Doherty.

I remember being that kid. The one in the small town in the small college surrounded by people who thought what I did was "neat" (an incredibly insufficient word for what I felt when I listened to the music) but nothing more. And I remember when Skip Healy came and played a concert, and for the first time someone could show me HOW to make the sounds I kept hearing. And I remember that after all of that classical training, I was flabbergasted by how open the tradition was in terms of teaching. The great players want to pass the tradition on.....and they are (for the most part) accessible! And until you feel that moment of, "Oh thank God I'm not a freak!" it's hard to understand how powerful that first moment of connection with the living tradition actually is.

And now I get to pass it forward.....how cool is that?

Peace, Love, and Tunes,

posted by Mac Tíre at 12:16 PM ¤ Permalink ¤