What if I wrote a new post every day? (This thought inspired by a recent viewing of Julie and Julia.) Even if I didn’t have much to say? Maybe I’d turn out to have something to say.
State of the Union: watched 2 minutes and turned it off. Actions speak louder than words and I haven’t seen much action when it comes to LGBT issues, and Obama and the Democrats haven’t been able to do anything about the absolutely ridiculous medical insurance issues in this country. So I’m not interested in speeches. Show me the gays in the military! My son is considering a military career after he graduates from college. I’m proud of him. If we were gay, what the hell difference would it make? He’s brilliant and speaks Chinese. Right now my feeling towards Obama is, well, unpritntable. But I would vote for him over Sarah Palin no matter what.
The Future (?) of Classical Music: Greg Sandow’s having another go at his book. This time it looks like he’s going to make it. (“This time I know our side will win,” Henried to Bogart in Casablanca. Mainstream classical music institutions? Not so sure.) Absolutely fascinating stuff. Read it.
My Big Gay Ears: Mine are big, but not as unabashedly gay, or hearing as much, as Jody Dalton’s. His blog on LGBT musicians just came into my life. It’s great. Sometimes I’m tempted to degay my punlic presence a bit in case some prospective student or student’s parent is put off. Really, though, I don’t give a fuck. Have a problem with gay people? Then you really should study with some0ne else. I’ll be around once you come out.
I knew Jody slightly through a mutual friend years ago, and am delighted to have reconnected. It’s been 20 years or so.
I once heard Harold Best, for many years the Dean of Music at Wheaton College, say “a degree in music is the best preparation for anything.” There is often a lot of legitimate hand-wringing and sleepless nights experienced by would-be music majors and their parents. Same thing applies to theater majors and anyone else in the arts. (Or Classical Studies or English Literature or you name it.)
A long time ago, I read that over 70% of people end up having a career in something other than their major in college. It was in an article by a syndicated columnist, so I can probably track it down (although it was pre-interwebs). The statistics would be easy to find. It was the columnists advice: study what you find most intellectually stimulating.
These thoughts are prompted by my recent discovery (via Google Alerts) of cellist and emergency-medicine physician Eric Roter (“E.R.”), who attended both Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music. He’s made videos of himself playing all 36 movements of the Bach Suites as a fundraising project for various medical charities. He calls it the Bach to Health project.
My advice to young people with artistic talent and passion who are worried about making a living is this: get the best training you can. Commit yourself to using your artistic abilities to making a difference in the world. You may or may not make your living (or all of it, anyway) from a traditional job in that field. How many full-time cello jobs are there? (Even fewer if you play, say, the oboe, as a friend with one of the few full0time oboe symphony jobs pointed out to me the other night.)
But who cares? I don’t think “E.R.” sees his years studying the cello as a waste of time. They prepared him not just to play the cello, but also to be the person he is.