The movement of classical music into non-traditional venues has been a major trend over the past few decades — initiated by groups like the Kronos Quartet and accelerated by Classical Revolution, Knight Arts, and, somewhat famously, members of the Cleveland Orchestra. Chloe Veltman’s latest blog post points out that, at least in San Francisco, these have become “run of the mill.” Exciting! Maybe San Fran and other cultural epicenters are finally driving a collective, societal shift towards a more expansive display of classical music.
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(for those you whose devices are not flash enabled, the above music can be heard here)
(for those of you unfamiliar with the music of the Smiths, a brief overview can be found here)

Keeping in mind Monday’s thoughts regarding the need to honor the talents, skills, and resources we already have at our disposal, I’d like to share with you the music of Janice Whaley, a new artist who, I think, presents a powerful model of music making that will be of interest to many of us here in the IPAP community. To my mind, it is a blueprint for what classically-informed performance can be in the twenty-first century. Read the rest of this entry »

Free fluteboxing workbook

NEA’s article on Innovation

Talent or Practice, which matters more?

Little Free Libraries Popping Up

Gordon Music Learning Theory Workshops, Buffalo, NY

Kickstarter expects to provide more funding to arts than NEA

Sir Ken Robinson on leading the learning revolution

Phillip Glass turns 75

A musical tour of Mexico‘s last 200 years

Love to learn?

Go Easy on Yourself, New Research Urges

Community Supported Agriculture, I mean Arts

Support your locally grown artists!

Quote of the week:
“To find out what one is fitted to do and to secure an opportunity to do it is key to happiness.”
John Dewey

Image from:

Wednesday, I’ll be posting about Janice Whaley, a San Francisco based musician whose work I think will be of great interest to the IPAP community.  Since she deserves not to follow my customary preamble, I’m posting that today.

In honor of IPAP’s first anniversary, Laura asked me to compose a short piece that encapsulates some of the themes that have developed on our blog over the past year. If you’ve spent any time here, you already know that we have a tremendous staff of writers, each of whom has their own set of interests, styles, and ways of working.  It’s been a real growing experience for me to get a more intimate perspective on the different approaches and ideas that each of us bring to our practice of music. In particular, I’ve relearned valuable lessons about two of our key buzzwords: innovation and creativity:

  • Being creative doesn’t only involve the ideas that you have but also the actions that you take.
  • Asking yourself “What can I do today to be innovative?” isn’t usually the best way to be innovative. Instead, ask “What can I do today to be productive?”  The difficulties that arise from your desire to produce will lead you, by necessity, to innovate.

(As a corollary to the above, if you don’t come across stumbling blocks in your creative activity,
it’s probably a sign that you need to be more ambitious in how you challenge yourself.)

  • It’s just as, if not more, important to discover new ways to employ the skills and interests you’ve already won rather than trying to continually re-invent the proverbial wheel in search of the next shiny trend or technique. It’s ok to be guided by your expertise. The fact that we never want to stop learning doesn’t mean that we haven’t already learned much of what we need to know.

Due to life circumstances, the weekly digest needed a vacation this week.

See you next week!


Set Your Goals, Set Your Life

February 21, 2012

“In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.”

— Robert Heinlein

I think this is a brilliant quote – so obvious and yet, how many of us get caught up in the minutiae of day-to-day living saying we wish we could do this or that or go here or there or get this or that done, but it never happens?  Then we look around and suddenly 5 years have gone by?

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This is Your Brain on Music

February 17, 2012

I usually don’t pay attention to fitness magazines, but I flipped through this one the other day and came across some information I thought would be good to share.  This came from Self Magazine September 2011 and is copied verbatim.

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This is my 7 year old son, Luca, who has been studying piano for three years. He LOVES playing piano.  Practicing?  Not so much.

A few days ago I learned about the Pomodoro Technique from Angela Beeching and Alexis Del Palazzo, and to them both I am eternally grateful.  I love the idea that this was designed by an Italian (who are not always known for being punctual).  I spent eight years living in Italy, with eight years of eating.  Eating and everything about food pretty much dominates much of Italian living, and I came to love kitchen timers that are in all shapes and sizes, in various fruits and vegetables, that keep the food churning out in every Italian home.  The Pomodoro Technique takes its name from one of those timers, in this case, ones that are shaped like tomatoes (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato).  So of course the Pomodoro Technique immediately appealed to me. Read the rest of this entry »

Fabulous flute warmups from Jen Cluff, free downloads!

9 essential skills kids should learn

Highlights from this week’s ArtsJournal:

The latest from Astrid Baumgardner, Why You Need to Plan and and Why The Result Isn’t Important!

And the latest  from the Savvy Musician, the mistake that topples careers and industries

Seth Godin being clever on Spouting and Scouting (talking about what we care about and looking at what others are talking about)

From Angela Beeching’s Monday Bytes:  check out author Brad Meltzer and this inspirational 16 minute video and consider writing your own obituary

Want to be more creative? Be nice to yourself

So you think you know?  More on Alexander Technique at Cello Bello

Some upcoming professional development opportunities:

Quote of the week, from Improv Insights:

Removing the musician’s eyes from the process of making music can produce truly astonishing results. You can use a blindfold, turn off the lights, play by candlelight, or ask everyone to close their eyes. Whichever method you use, you will hear a dramatic increase in the group’s musicianship almost immediately. Members of the ensemble will listen more carefully and be more aware of how they use their bodies to produce sound.

Learning by ear, rather than by eye, utilizes the brain in a completely different manner: one that is more consistent with the mental hierarchy we need to be truly great musicians.

–Julie Lyonn Lieberman, The Creative Band & Orchestra

And, speaking of learning by ear…Read about an innovative project with Grade 7 beginning band students at Southridge School in British Columbia (Canada).  They worked collaboratively in groups, learned songs by ear and arranged them for performances, based on Musical Futures out of the UK.

Students at Southridge School in British Columbia

Images from×1024.jpg

Some ideas about how to practice color

Any Promising Students?  From the Eclectic Musician, a new blog I discovered this week

Seth Godin asks:  Who is Your Customer?

And, ever seen a timid trapeze artist?

Get a Feel for Fees and see how musicians can use technology to their advantage

From Angela Beeching’s Monday Bytes….I’m using the Pomodoro technique to write this week’s Weekly Digest!

Five minute intro video–

More Pomodoro– here’s a free pdf and the Pomodoro website

Laura’s favorite Pomodoro timer

Five emerging chamber groups discuss programming, publicity, and life on the road

Music Entrepreneurship Retreat, June 3-9!

Arts Enterprise 2012 Summit:  The Creative Economy and You,  March 23-25!

Visualizing classical music as a roller coaster ride

Want To Improve Your Technical Facility? Pay Attention To Your Sound

Improv Game, Substitution (it’s fun AND easy!!)

Traits and Abilities of Creative Thinkers

Why French Parents are Superior (some ideas for parenting and teaching)

Best Practices for Grant Seekers


Gustavo Dudamel and Elmo on Sesame Street


Extended application deadline for 2012 – 2013 Fellows Program at NEC

The “Take A Stand” Symposium in LA prompted many inquiries about the Fellows Program, after the original deadline passed.  NEC has generously extended the deadline to February 17, 2012.  It’s not to late to apply for this life-changing, tuition-free, executive leadership program that advances the El Sistema movement in the U.S.  For further information, visit:


“It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive. ”  –C.W. Leadbeater

“Associate with people who are likely to improve you.”  –Seneca

“The huge spiritual world that music produces in itself, ends up overcoming material poverty. From the minute a child’s taught how to play an instrument, he’s no longer poor. He becomes a child in progress, heading for a professional level, who’ll later become a citizen.”  –Dr. José Antonio Abreu


And, lastly, IPAP celebrates ONE YEAR this month!  Happy Birthday to us!

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