This weekend I was lucky enough to sing a lot, and all of it was good music-- with Palm Sunday, things start to get exciting. I also had the chance to listen to Joe play in a recital with a violinist, which was so much fun for me. When I was growing up, and in school, I spent so much time listening to all sorts of instrumental and orchestral music, and now it feels like I rarely do. I pretty much only listen to music that I’m learning, with the exception of my walks to two and from work each day. And during that time, I’ve committed to listening only to things that I won’t have to think about or consider: Fergie, Rihanna, Akon, Elton John, you get the idea. There’s really a lot we can learn from other instruments, things we can appreciate in the way they think about and interpret music that is so different from our way of thinking. I noted how very sensitive both pianist and violinist were with ensemble—they were perfectly together. I guess I don’t think about this as much as I should when I am singing—I’m just expecting the pianist to follow me. Which is kind of selfish, especially when I noticed how seriously this duo took it. I love the opportunity, also, to hear rep that is outside my norm. There are so many areas of the art music repertoire that I feel vastly under-educated about. The string quartet and trio and piano trio repertoire, Shostakovich and Haydn, and the rep for woodwinds especially—I feel like I could learn a lot from a wind instrument being played well, in terms of breath management and phrasing.
I actually think I am going to make a goal for myself to hear something new every week. If I can keep up with that I’ll be proud. But even if I listen to a twenty minute piece while I’m getting ready in the morning, that’s got to be better for me in the long run than watching DVRed Real Housewives. I guess it would make sense to start with the Beethoven string quartets, no?