Anne Midgette, who writes The Classical Beat blog at the Washington Post, has a posting today about the large number of orchestras in the Washington, D.C. area. In her post, she writes:
“I’d submit that orchestras also offer a more participatory experience than, at least, opera; more people have had enough music lessons to make their way through some symphonic repertory than are able to sing “Don Giovanni” on stage.”
Indeed. The full post is worth a read, and is inspiring to look at.
I spent a couple of hours this weekend playing string quartets with a group of people who get together every week just to have fun with music. These long-time friends have been meeting regularly for several years, ever since a child’s wedding surfaced a sudden need for a string quartet to play.
One of the regular first violins was away on vacation, so I sat in to fill the spot, sight-reading all along the way. (Mozart at first glance – now THAT’s a mental workout!). Continue reading
This past week, 60 Minutes did a piece on the new artistic director of the Los Angeles Symphony and his drive to bring more music into urban schools. There were a lot of claims made about music providing discipline, hope, and a way out for children who live in seemingly hopeless situations.
A quick search on the web turns up a lot of studies about the effect of music on older adults. One, published a few years ago jointly by professors at the University of Miami and Michigan State University, found that participating in group keyboard lessons caused Human Growth Hormone levels to skyrocket in older adults. HGH is one of the new “wonder compounds”, given credit for making people feel better, have better muscle tone, and fighting the visible signs of aging. Check it out at http://www.amc-music.com/musicmaking/wellness/hormone.htm. Now that’s a cheap alternative to plastic surgery!
If you are looking for more incentive, check out www.WannaPlayMusic.com, a website that defines midlife musicians like me as “recreational music makers” or people who enjoy “playing musical instruments alone or in a group without the goals of mastery or performance.” They have links to teachers and other resources to get your juices running.
The site is affiliated with Making Music Magazine, which has a pretty nifty website of its own at www.MakingMusicMag.com. Southeast Michigan’s own Mitch Albom is featured on this month’s cover. Be sure to check out their interactive map of summer music camps. Also, check out the Hollywood stars who are also “recreational musicians.”
And keep playing. The weather is better — so take it outdoors!