My passion is to help others in the community, young, old, and everyone in between, find relevance and joy in learning, performing or listening to classical music.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Keeping eyes, ears, and minds wide open

Wire sculpture by Roger Comfoot,
from Wikimedia Commons
Greg Sandow, a noted writer on the topic of classical music and its hopeful and I think inevitable rebirth, recently wrote a post that he titled "Inspiration" in response to a comment that a Juilliard student made in a class that he teaches.  The comment indicated the student's, and most likely other students', concerns and discouragement about continuing on in the field, especially after incidents like the Philadelphia Orchestra's declaring bankruptcy.  I understand the concerns and frustration but it pains me to think that people actually think classical music might fade away.  I don't believe that's going to happen, especially if we all, young and old...
  • hold tight onto why we do what we do
  • not be shy about who we are and why we play the music that we do
  • keep our eyes, ears, and minds wide open
Inspiration in the classical music world abounds, especially in the world of twitter. 

Twitter?  I'm going to talk about twitter again?  

Sorry, but I simply can't not bring up twitter.

In spite of the the dire stories that I hear about orchestras struggling financially and audiences dwindling, I am amazed daily by what is really going on in the trenches and by what individuals and groups of musicians are doing to ensure that they can continue to do what they love to do.  Twitter is the one place I find all of this inspiration.  I have met so many musicians there that are dreaming, thinking, and trying new things.  Performers, teachers, conductors, composers, audience development and public relations experts...they're all on there.  And we're all talking, we're all sharing notes, we're all supporting one another.  I see videos on there daily that inspire, read articles about what's going on in the classical music world, have conversations with folks that get me thinking, see listings or reviews for interesting projects and presentations, and I meet many wonderful, innovative musicians and others that work or have an interest in the classical music field.

"But doesn't it take time to do this twitter thing?"

Well, yes.  But it doesn't have to.  On average, I might spend an hour a day on twitter and there are ways to organize your twitter time so that you're not simply reading tweets about folks making peanut-butter sandwiches for lunch; you can make sure that you really are only following people that feed your inspiration bucket; you can lurk more than you interact.  But I strongly feel that musicians, especially young ones,  who want hope and encouragement should investigate this platform and should consider interacting with others there so that our pool of ideas and inspiration can continue to grow and feed off one another.  

I've written some other posts about how to get started on twitter, but here is a list of folks I regularly draw ideas and hope from.  If you're interested in checking them out, just type in their name as seen below into the search box at the very top of the screen and hit return.  A list of tweets about him or her should pop up and then if you want to follow them, click on their user name to get their profile page and then select to follow that particular twitterer.  And my apologies, in advance, to anyone I've left out.  And if you're a twitterer reading this and have any other suggestions for folks to follow, please do mention them by leaving a comment.  

  • @MazzaClarinet - clarinetist living in Spain who has recently returned to her musical career after years in the business world.  She is re-starting her career in a fresh, unique, and completely unpretentious way and often tweets links to relevant websites, articles, and blog posts.
  • @JRhodesPianist - pianist from London who has anything but a traditional story and is wonderfully just himself, often performing in more untraditional venues, not wearing a tux, performing from I-pads and the like.  
  • @AllPiano - pianist who has a refreshing, innovative way of approaching teaching piano.  She is constantly seeking new ways to get her students excited about piano and about performing.  She is very sensitive to how students in the younger generation learn and respond to the world around them.
  • @EmergeAlready & @JadeSimmons - pianist that has two twitter profiles and that has been busy putting together live shows on the web that address issues of interest to performers, especially.  She is one of those musicians that is heading in the direction of presenting herself in her performances, not just the music she plays.
  • @RbClassical - public relations-type twitterer who is helping professional musicians reach 21st century audiences.  I get a lot of wonderful articles here.
  • @AudienceDevSpec - another public relations twitterer, although she takes a different angle and calls it herself an "Audience Development Specialist."  She posts tons of fabulous articles and links daily, inspires many wonderful conversations via twitter about the field, and is a wonderfully supportive individual.
  • @GCComposer - composer who also has a wonderful website called "Killing Classical Music."  An active conversationalist when it comes to new ideas in the classical music world.
  • @ProperDiscord - twitterer that has a gutsy but thought-provoking blog.  
  • @GSandow - writer and blogger about the classical music world.  
  • @mlaffs - public relations twitterer and blogger who often has keen insight into the field.
  • @ClassicalRev - an organization of musicians that meets and performs in more informal settings 
  • @waynemcevilly - pianist who has a heart for providing classical music to everyone in libraries, in orphanages, you name it.  
  • @igudesmanandjoo - pianist and violinist comedy team who put together hilarious shows that bring some light-heartedness and laughter to classical music
  • @andersonroe - piano duo team who are exceedingly talented and that bring a classy sexiness to the world of classical music.  They put together incredible videos that are self-produced and edited.  A good role-model for the younger generation.
  • @musicapologist - choir conductor who came to classical music later in life.  He has a wonderful blog and is constantly writing posts that challenge and inspire me as a musician that has always grown up with classical music.

So there's a start.  Please don't be discouraged until you've taken the time to take a look at these folks for a week or so.  It's well worth it!  And do stay posted to this blog.  I plan on putting up some wonderful examples of musicians, ensembles, and performances that I find to be particularly inspiring.

Other blog posts about using twitter as a musician:

Twitter is not just for the birds
What to do with this thing called Twitter
Making heads or tails out of Twitter

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