1st of 10 Obvious Inaudibles: Fear

In this series I’ll be presenting the qualities we experience in performance that go beyond the audible. 1. Fear (including worry and anxiety) Although fear can be heard in your sound from shaky hands or breath, some scientists say that

What’s the Greatest Service of Music?

I’m performing a recital on Wednesday. How do I best serve the audience? My life is a search for that answer. At first I focused on trying to fulfill the wants and desires of parents, teachers, and audiences. Approaching the task from the outside-in,

What Is Beautiful in Your Music?

On Tuesday I was a panelist for a philosophy of music class on “What Makes Music Beautiful?” at Lewis & Clark College. Dynamic discussion! Is it structure? Is it emotion? Is it context and memory? Is it tone? For 90 minutes we

What’s behind inspired music?

Something weird about me: In the midst of glorious music, my breath often stops on its own. I’m not purposefully holding my breath—I’m just moved to stillness. I feel a resonance that would rather not be disturbed by breath. My body doesn’t seem to

How to Make Sacred Music Truly Sacred

It was hot—really hot as I wound my way up the Historic Columbia River Highway to the Royal School of Church Music Retreat. The river glistened in the evening light as I entered the beautiful grounds of the Menucha Retreat Center in Corbett,

What legacies are YOU carrying?

I was caught red handed—the huge serving spoon had disappeared completely into my mouth. “You’re just like your father!” “Thank you!” I love my dad.  But then I had to wonder…. If I’m carrying stuff from my dad, and he is carrying stuff from his dad, how

I’m a recovering clock-watcher

My daughter finally turned 10 today. Sitting at the table before the festivities, she showed herself worthy of Olympic clock-watching potential: “Only 1 hour and forty….THREE minutes ’til my party!” Of course she gets her talents from me. I vividly remember a few Pittsburgh Youth

How to counterbalance hate crime

I was deeply discouraged when I read the news about the hate-crime tragedy in South Carolina that left 9 dead yesterday. I feel deeply for those who mourn. In sending thoughts and prayers to the families, I’m frustrated that life isn’t balancing out like it is

How do I know if I am inspired?

For me, it all comes down to three things: A deep enjoyable stillness in my breathing and heart that continually invites me deeper. A presence of clarity and energy that keeps me going without fatigue. A concentrated energy in the prefrontal

Does Your Audience Resonate with You?

Certain ideas, stories, and music resonate with us. They move us. They make us feel good when we hear or read them. Why? Because they VALIDATE our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Resonance is validation. Something inside us stands up and says “YES! I know