I’ve been back from horn camp for a couple weeks now. KBHC was wonderful – small bits of sleep sandwiching large amounts of all kinds of horn, playing, listening, teaching. My only regret is because I teach I can’t go to hear all my colleagues deliver their wisdom, though catching up in off hours makes up a good bit of that. It’s possible that the high point for me (although it was all a high point) was when the Moose Drool Quartet (me, Doug Hill, Lin Foulk, Jesse McCormick) did some improvised quartets on faculty night (well-received, but they should have heard us during our one ‘rehearsal’ the night before…). KBHC was a wonderful, exhausting-in-the-head time, and I can’t wait for next year.

Most of the rest of the summer is taken up with fitting the countless pieces of that  jigsaw known as a New Course together. “Creativity in Music” will be about how music is created – improvisation and composition. How do you generate ideas? How do you translate those ideas into music? Lots of reading, note taking, audio listening, video watching. Lots of work, but fascinating. I suspect that bits of it will show up here after I’ve had a chance to chew on them a while.

As counterpoint to all the reading for that course, I make forays into the links suggested by the ArtsJournal, that sterling compendium of ideation that appears magically in my inbox every day (like beachcombing, sometimes nothing catches your eye, but sometimes there are real finds), but which I only get around to catching up on about as often as I do all my ironing, say, every three months or so – and then: a marathon. For those of you innocent of ArtsJournal experience, hie thee to the site posthaste and anon.

Here’s a vertical list of the horizontal menu list. Read and gape:









Visual [Arts]




AJ Blogs



AJ really shines in its blog offerings, many of which you can see on the right side of this page in the blogroll. There are many, many, too many to list. Under Culture, there are 22; 2 under Dance, 2 under media, 11 under Music, 2 under Publishing, 1 under theater (why only one?) and 4 under Visual. Remember that old dictum: read the New York Times for a year cover to cover and it will be like going to college? I think the same could be said for dipping deep into the blog offerings here. Much tasty, piquant, and tremendously varied erudition and thinking going on here, folks, served up (mostly) in pro prose.

Following are some articles (links) that caught my attention as I wade though back “issues” of the AJ:

Talkin’ ‘Bout i(Pod) Generation by Matthew Cmiel in the San Francisco Classical Voice. We used to listen to one thing. Now we listen to ‘shuffled’ lists of wildly different kinds of music – and the juxtaposition changes how we hear the music. Also: the MashUp, the Playlist (the end of albums, which always had a lot of music we weren’t interested in).

WTF Dept.: The California Budget: A World Without Libraries. A post by Judith Dobrzynski on her blog Real Clear Arts. She passes on a report from the L.A. Times that CA Gov. Jerry Brown doesn’t just cut library spending in his new budget – he eliminates it entirely. Yikes.

Richard Kessler in his blog Dewey21C on arts education posted about author “Malcolm Gladwell on Creative Types: Embrace Chaos.” . Creativity is messy. Creative minds are messy – they don’t want to throw anything out because there might be useful stuff in there. Noncreative types focus (perhaps by necessity in their job) on the job at hand.

 Behind the music: Why music education cuts could be a dumb move. Article in the Guardian (UK). Lead-in: “The coalition government clearly sees music lessons as a luxury we can do without. But evidence suggests music can be beneficial to both overall academic performance and well-being.

Danger: America is losing its edge in innovation. Forbes magazine. They should read the preceding article…

The Improvisational Brain– feature in Seed Magazine by Amanda Rose Martinez. “Watching a musician in the throes of an improvisational solo can be like witnessing an act of divine intervention. But embedded memories and conspiring brain regions, scientists now believe, are the true source of ad-hoc creativity.”

The Brave New World of Today’s Music Professional – article on getting a gig as a classical musician

The Voice as Instrument – you can’t listen to horn all the time. Richard Kessler in Dewey21C posts videos of four very different vocalists “who create their own worlds of sounds with their voice, in ways truly extraordinary.” Karl Denver, Joan LaBarbara, Meredith Monk, Jack Teagarden.

Why We Screw Up When the Heat Is On

Football players and opera – NYT feature.

How Genius Works – 12 genuises explain. Article in the Atlantic.

Taking Liberties: Reviving the Art of Classical Improvisation – New Yorker article by Alex Ross

When She Blows the Alphorn, It’s Not All Mountain Music

Cambridge Union declares classical music not irrelevant after all

When Mahler Took New York

Sensory Deprivation Boosts Musicians’ Skill Level

Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops

18 Attributes of Highly Effective Liars