Friday, October 06, 2006

Me and Gilderoy

First of all, for anyone who's actually reading this, sorry that my posts have come to a standstill. There's a reason which I'll get to in a moment.

I had an interesting chat at the end of a private student's lesson Wednesday. She had bought my clef studies book and I was thinking about recommending the lip slurs book as well. She related her mother's comment, "Oh those professors just want you to go out and buy all their books so that can get their name out there." She meant it in good humor but it brought up a valid point.

Thus far I have two books and am working on at least two more. If I succeed, this could create a situation where a student coming to study with me would need to buy 4 (count them, "four") of my books.

This reminds me of Gilderoy Lockhart from the Harry Potter series. Gilderoy was on a blatant ego trip about himself and his books. Am I?

I hope not. So, why do I write these things?

Some of it comes from years of frustration: I've been teaching quite a few private students since about 1990 and I'm always looking for the right tool for the job. I tried the Blazhevich clef studies (and the Fink and the Uber and the Sauer). Maybe I'm just too picky but none of these quite did the trick so I wrote my own.

Some of it comes from creative drive. You know, when a little kid is proud of a picture he has drawn and wants mom and dad to like it. I'm proud of these two books and want other people to like them. I love being creative and I love teaching. These books combine the two and are extremely satisfying to write.

Some of it comes from wanting to build a better mousetrap. Just like the satisfaction in solving a crossword puzzle, I find it intriguing to look at a problem (the flawed materials we end up using) and see if I can come up with a better solution. I just can't help tinkering.

Ultimately, I feel like the stuff I write is "out there" waiting to come in for a landing. I look at the etudes I've written and I don't feel like I was the one who wrote them.

Oh yes, why no posts lately? I'm trying to write a new set of pieces for either bass or low tenor trombone: 4 Impromptus for Low Bone Alone. I'm performing them in two weeks so I guess I'd better finish. Here's the kicker: I have already submitted the program info complete with movement titles even the music isn't finished. The second through 4th impromptus are done but the first one is still giving me fits. I can see how it starts and how it ends but haven't connected the dots yet. So, that is eating up brain power and time later at night when I might normally do a blog entry.