I've decided that I'm really going to make an effort to update this on a daily basis, now. But would really help is if people actually read it, follow it, and even leave comments occasionally. Sounds good, right?
The semester is now coming to a close, and I might have a little more free time on my hands over the Summer to actually do things I want to do. I'm pretty excited as I'm fairly certain that I may have bagged a 4.0 for this semester. And I have worked hard for that 4.0. Let's talk about this for a bit, in regards to the recent accusations of one Robert Montgomery Knight to the University of Men's basketball team. Aside from the fact that these accusations are false, Knight may have been on to something. Don't pay attention to sports? Well, its pretty much the same song that's been going on for decades now.
Basketball Star goes to school on full scholarship.
Basketball Star never goes to classes.
Basketball Star is in bad academic standing.
Basketball Star doesnt care because he enters the draft his first year.
OK, so according to Mitch Barnhart, the Athletic Director at UK, these students passed with high GPAS and good academic standing (i.e. John Wall had a 3.5.). First of all, am I an idiot? Even when I worked 75% hard as I should have it was ridiculously hard for me to achieve a 3.0. I've put every amount of effort I have into this semester, and I may be getting a 4.0. I'm not saying that it isn't true that John Wall's GPA is high, but I have also attended school with LOTS of athletes. RARELY have they ever attended class on a 'passable' basis. And further more, the speech projects and assigns they tend to turn in are done in a fashion where you are pretty sure they spent very little time in their construction. So, ok.....they have a 3.5. But does it occur to people that perhaps they have the 3.5 because they get special favors from professors because of who they are and how much money they bring in for the University? THAT is the REAL crime. I'm sorry....but I will NEVER admit that a college basketball player works as hard at academics as I do, mainly because they don't have nearly the time that I have to focus towards my studies.
OK, done with my soapbox speech. I went to see the Indiana University Southeast Orchestra perform Mahler Symphony No. 1 last weekend. It was the first time I've ever seen a Mahler symphony performed lived, and that is pretty exciting. If you aren't familiar with Mahler....GET FAMILIAR with his music. As far as the performance goes, it was less-than perfect but still a successful performance. The problems were that it was somewhat thin, particular because of the variety of musicianship. You had anywhere from high school students (or first year college, maybe)to professional musicians performing together. I'm sure there were some tense moments in rehearsal....
....but I did really enjoy the concert as a whole. I mean, its Mahler....as long as its not a disaster, it sounds awesome. And fortunately, I was asked by the director Dr. Goldstein if I could play trombone for the Summer Pops concert, and most likely the fall semester. I haven't played trombone in well over six years.....thus meaning the next three weeks will be similar to basic training only in trying to re-learn a musical instrument for me.
The Louisville Orchestra, who many of the instrumentalists that played during the Mahler hail from, is under the threat of being reduced to the size of 45 musicians. To summarize what this means according to Dr. Joanna Goldstein, that's ok if you don't mind going to concerts where nothing but Mozart and Haydn is played...and pretty much anything prior to the 1830's. You can forget Shostakovich, Respighi, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Dvorak, and pretty much anything written in the 20th century. This is a pretty big outrage, but also a wake up call that we have officially entered a new era of cultural music. People prefer Lady Gaga over the works of composers that actually put countless hours of manuscript writing and organized hundreds of musicians to premier their new works. People think a 15 year old singing 4 minute pop songs with enhanced electronical sounds and overabundant light shows is more impressive than a 7 year old writing a 20 minute piano sonata using nothing but paper and an out of tune piano. But hey...what do I know? Don't get me wrong.....I'm not saying that pop singers should be abolished (although that would be a pleasant little christmas gift), but I think people should not allow the foundations of music and our society die without a good solid fight...and that's what is happening.
Alas, I intend to keep writing music and hopefully there will be orchestras and bands still around when I am dead so my music won't die away like many composers. Incidentally, I am nearing the completion of my first ever concert band work. It's an aggrivating process, but as I mentioned earlier....I am using a computer with perfect notation that plays the music back for me. Centuries ahead of what Beethoven had.....and he didnt even have ears!
If you are reading this, please do me a favor and do what you can to support professional orchestras. They are a dying breed, and if we have people out there creating human barricades from machines intending to chop down a single tree......perhaps it shouldn't be that difficult to prevent the impending destruction of the foundations of music.