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Favorite Things?

MONDAY BYTES — March 2, 2015

It’s so great when someone turns you on to a new source of inspiration!

MSM alum pianist Eunbi Kim, (thank you, Eunbi!) pointed me to the current show, Maira Kalman Selects at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum and sent me a link to this terrific video (17:30) about Maira’s process and thinking about the show.

In the show, Maira has selected 40 pieces from the collection and positioned and designed our experience with these items in a way to change our thinking and how we see the world.

The video includes a portion on Maira’s partnering with composer Nico Muhly on the work Object Songs commissioned by the Cooper Hewitt as part of the show.

Maira’s show got me wondering: how are we curating what we have around us: what and who we associate with. How are we choosing our influences?

In the video, Maira asks, this question for the week:
“What do you look at to inspire you to go on to the future?”

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.

What’s Your Legacy?

MONDAY BYTES — February 23, 2015

The New York Times Media Critic David Carr died this week, I’m still reeling from this.

Online, I found his terrific Commencement address he gave to the 2014 class at  UC Berkeley School of Journalism. It’s 20 minutes of fabulous life stories and advice (and no, it’s not just for young folks: it’s great advice for all of us). Do yourself a favor this week and watch it.

A few highlights:

“If you stay in your comfort zone, you’ll never know what you’re capable of.

. . . you need to learn to experience frustration, and you need to experience that frustration as a teachable moment,

. . . you need to humble yourself and ask for help.

. . . do what’s in front of you. When you leave school, you’ve got your loans weighing down on you, you’ve got parents saying ‘What the hell are you going to do with all this?’ Just do what is in front of you.

Don’t worry about the plot to take over the world. Just do what is in front of you, and do it well. I think that if you concentrate on your plot to take over the world you’re going to miss things.

Journalism [and music] is like housekeeping. It’s a series of small, discrete acts performed over and over. It’s really the little things that make it better. So don’t think about the broad sweep of your journalism [music]. Just do a good job on what’s in front of you. Working on your grand plan is like shoveling snow that hasn’t fallen yet. Just do the next right thing.”

[my interpolations with music]

Question: How are you figuring out what the next right thing is in front of you this week?

PS: If you haven’t seen any of the Sweet Spot, it was a video series with David Carr and the NYT film critic A.O. Scott in lively short conversations on everything from the nature of criticism, to file sharingnostalgiaTimes Square, and high and low culture.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.

Just How Good Are You?

MONDAY BYTES — February 16, 2015

As I write this we’re experiencing the fourth snowstorm in three weeks and outside my windows in Boston is an unbelievable amount of the white stuff (7 ft total for 2015 so far).

Snow days can be a great time for reflecting. It’s gotten me thinking about the pesky (or paranoid) assessment question: just how good are you?

Musicians all too often answer with “you’re only as good as your last . . . [fill in the blank: performance, recording, lesson or class you taught, composition you wrote, etc.]”

1. How do we determine how good our own work is?
2. What exactly are we measuring and how?
3. Yes, we can and should use audio and video recordings to get an “objective” sense—but with these tools what are we specifically listening and looking for?
4. How do we factor in the responses we get from others?
5. How subjective is any of what we consider “quality”? After all, competition juries regularly disagree.

Question: How can you assess your own work with new eyes and new ears?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!For info on working with me: details are HERE.

Monday Bytes archived posts are HERE.