Sunday, September 20, 2009

I am an amateur musician.

Amateur has a negative connotation: It is often used to describe someone or something lacking in training and skill. I like to think of it more in the original sense: A person who does something for the pleasure of it.

In that sense, I am an amateur musician.

I do have a lot of training. I attended music schools over a period of almost 20 years, eventually earning a DMA in cello from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (an awfully long name for a school; just call it CCM for short).

I have played for money, and still do, though I certainly need to keep my day job. I'm in a chamber orchestra (TCO), and I also play occasionally for the English country dances at Glen Echo. The photo I've posted shows me playing for a local opera company a few years ago.

Over the past five years, I also have rekindled my childhood interest in the piano. In that, I definitely am an amateur in both senses. My playing makes up in musical understanding what it lacks in technical expertise, at least, or so I'd like to think. Here's an example (recorded in my practice room at home -- almost a year ago, I'm sorry to realize now):

Chopin, Etude Op. 25, No. 7

I've had some periods of time when I did not play. After all those years in music school, I felt kind of like "if a teacher doesn't hear you play, are you really playing?" I have realized, though, that music is a major part of my life. I have a visceral need to keep at it, to play every day, to set goals and continue to work on my playing. That sounds grim, but the ongoing process gives me great satisfaction. It's fun -- for me, anyway.

I hope to write in this blog about my musical experiences, both past and present, and share thoughts, recordings, and other items of interest. At least, I hope they are of interest to someone!

Thanks for reading.

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