Thumbs strictly sideways

I have this student who usually gives ratings on music with her thumb, especially when she feels she feels shy or bashful about giving a piece she’s performing some sort of approval that’s less than stellar.  She sticks her thumb out sideways (versus up or down) to set her opinion on a strict middle-of-the-road option.  There’s so much good and so much unfortunate going on lately, that I find myself agreeing with her.  I would much prefer to live my life in the optimistic glow of seeing all the beauty in the world, but so much other stuff just keeps poking through.

Good things are definitely happening in our lives, however.  Hubbs and I bought ourselves a house, which included a separate detached garage that I think is going to make a killer studio once I’m done renovating.  (Pictures to be posted here soon – there’s some help I’ll need before I can really start teaching in there.) Dear friends of ours got married last weekend, and it was a supremely lovely affair.  And I do my best to take a second every day to remind myself that the Hubbs and I are gainfully employed, doing things we’re good at, and don’t have to worry about ourselves or our kitties going homeless.

Yet, there are other things that make me pause, because they hurt to feel.  The Atlanta Symphony musicians have just been subjected to yet another lockout by management who prefers to play that card rather than respond to requests to negotiate further.  (Story is here.  A beloved harp teacher of mine that can be completely credited with getting me to diversify my musical efforts (and recognize some multi-faceted potential I have in myself) has been given a month to live by her doctor.  My sister is recovering from (a successful!) surgery, and while I’ve been thinking about her hard, Portland is pretty far away from St. Louis, and I sometimes wonder if my good thoughts are doing any good or just getting lost in some random weather system between here and there.

These are the times I manage to get most invested in my music.  Because music offers a stable environment.  That phrase that I’ve found beautiful and amazing to play will always be so.  The double stops and left hand pizzicato that I’ve found so difficult in the Ysaye will always be difficult.  I appreciate the consistency, and I’m thankful for how it keeps the rest of my feelings calm and balanced.  I’m coming to realize that this is really how I’ve handled many emotional points in my life – it’s a retreat.  Music offers me something that nothing else can.  I’m lucky for having it in my life.

Tonight, however, is all about the Salem Chamber Orchestra.  It’s my first time playing with them, and I’m thrilled to do so… although the last time I played Beethoven’s second symphony was the final concert of the Linfield Chamber Orchestra.  There were lots of tears.  And while it might be painful to play some of those notes again, I look forward to adding the experience of the SCO into the soundscape of the symphony whenever I hear or play it.



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