Hello, world!

Posted on July 21, 2010

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When you sign up for a blog with WordPress, “Hello, World!” is the default title of your first post. I erased it from my first post, but as I try and officially introduce myself to the blogosphere, I decided that there wasn’t a more appropriate title for a post about who I am, what I want to say, and why I think you should listen.

Who am I? You see, I was the poster child for musical underachievement in college (my former professors who are reading this are nodding their heads vigorously). Here’s why: what I was learning in music school felt so specialized and made me feel so far removed from reality that I felt like I needed to spend every possible moment outside of required class time doing more “normal” college things. You know…things like playing video games, throwing a frisbee around, taking tons of road trips, pulling pranks on people, gaining weight, etc.

I refused to leave music school as one of those musicians who had no life outside of music, who had no other interests, no other common ground with other human beings. My mission was not to “change the world” as my Alma Mater said it should be, but rather to not let the classical music world change me. For the most part, I succeeded in my mission, thought I didn’t reach my full musical potential. But being a music major did not change the core of who I was, so I was happy. However, I did manage to discover some incredible music along the way, and that’s I want to talk to you about.

Weekly.

What do I want to say?

-I want to say that while not all music is created equal- just like not all American Idol contestants are created equal- all genres and styles of music have value.

-I want to say that the Musical Pharisees need to stop treating popular culture like Clint Eastwood treats the Korean gang members in Gran Torino. With every “get off my lawn-”  type comment from a classical composer, performer,  or professor, the chasm that exists between the two worlds grows. I want to find ways to bridge that chasm and provide musicians and music-lovers alike opportunities to enjoy both worlds. Last I checked, it’s not against the law to have Brahms and Lady Gaga on the same iPod.

I want to cut through the crap and find ways to connect you to this incredible music that I will refer to as The Repertoire, but do it in a way that makes sense to you (and me). You won’t find any of the fancy, flowery language that typically comes with classical music here. Just simple conversational English, complete with run-on sentences and bad grammar.

-I want to say what’s on my mind about stuff going on in the world, sports, my faith, my life and who knows what else. I think that’s good for this blog because it gives me an opportunity to humanize myself; to prove to you/remind you that what I set out to accomplish in college is still true: that I am more than a walking music note, and that it is possible to enjoy some great classical music and still have a pulse.

Why should you listen to me? Two reasons.

1. I’m not that different from you. Sure I’m a professional choral conductor, but that skepticism you’re feeling about the ability of some piece of classical music to have something meaningful to say to you in 2010 is the same thing I still feel when I listen to something new, or someone tells me to listen to something new. Sure, the feelings are not as pronounced as they used to be, but the memory of those feelings is etched forever into my heart and mind. I sympathize with your musical predicament. And because so much of my musical experience is like yours, I think I have some pretty good guesses as to the kinds of classical music you might like.

2. I believe I can start this dialogue with you better than most of your local arts organizations can. It’s not because I’m better than them- I’m just very different. Most of them are older. They don’t like your music, your tattoos, or your constant quoting of movies and music. They don’t understand you, just like you don’t understand them. But I can talk about Beethoven and Ron Burgundy in the same sentence, which is sort of like Baxter pooping in the refrigerator AND eating the whole wheel of cheese. Don’t be mad. Just be amazed.

My dream for An Authentic Cadence

My dream is that this can be interactive. I say something on the blog, and you comment or you share with a friend. Or, you send an email to themusicalapologist@gmail.com with a question, a thought, or an idea that I can respond to, allowing me to further customize the blog’s content to what you, my readers, find meaningful. I hope to share music with you through MySpace, the near-miracle of Pandora, live concerts, and any other way you are open to, and I hope you do the same to me. I’d like to be a resource for those of you who have friends or kids that you’d like to see take a greater interest not just in classical music but in all kinds of music because you share links to this blog via Facebook/Twitter/email, allowing the scope of this discussion to grow. I plan to write once a week (usually posting on Wednesdays) for an entire year, and I hope to provide some random musical and non-musical thoughts via Twitter at @musicapologist nearly every day.  If I am unable to gain a solid core of readers/followers in one year, I’ll close up shop.

So clearly, at the start, I’m asking you for a favor. My dream is absolutely possible, but not without your help. Give me a chance. Give The Repertoire a chance. If you do, I believe the music will take it from there. Have a great week and enjoy your music. And until next Wednesday, you stay classy…planet Earth.

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Posted in: Misc.