Musical Marination

My dream of a manicure

Posted in music,Piano Lessons by Rivki Silver on 10/10/2010
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I’ve been a bit preoccupied with having a baby, so I haven’t kept up with trimming my nails.

What’s that all about, you may ask.  Well, with playing and teaching piano, it’s important that I keep my nails short.  As a performer, keeping my nails short is key for playing.  Once those nails get long, it’s click-click-click, and sometimes a nail will get caught in between two keys (ouch!).  As a teacher, it’s important to keep my nails short to be a good example to my students.  I can’t very well tell them to keep their nails short if I’m not doing it myself.

But these past couple weeks I haven’t had time to think about my nails and they have grown long.  Yesterday I was admiring them and fantasizing about french manicures.  Today they are just annoying me, and I remember why I don’t like them long.  I feel encumbered and awkward.

They will most likely get clipped today, and my dreams of elegantly manicured hands will remain just that:  dreams.

Acquisition: Flute!

I’d been meaning to buy a flute for quite some time.  Maybe even for over a year.  I had taken lessons in university and loved the portability, the sound, and most of all, the lack of reeds.  Occasionally I had a hankering to play, but alas, I did not own one.

Sometimes, when we had a little extra money in our pockets, I would roam through the listings on Craig’s List and dream about buying a flute.  However, the money was always spent on something practical (like food).  Then I had a birthday and got a big ol’ check from my mother-in-law, who instructed me that I was to use it on myself.  I love my mother-in-law.  A lot (and not only because she gave me money, mind you).

Also, now it wasn’t just a matter of me wanting to own a flute (which, on the whole, was a pretty impractical desire), but I could use it for In Harmony gigs.  Sweet.

Still, it took me a couple of months to get my act together and actually purchase a flute.  I knew I wanted a Gemeinhardt, and I discovered that there were better prices on ebay than on Craig’s List.  However, I kept forgetting to check on my items before the time ran out, and lost two opportunities. Eventually, I managed to spot a flute within my general price range which was close to the end of the auction.  And I totally won it.

It was kind of exciting.  Down to the wire, someone else bidding actively, upping my bid amount in return.  Cool.

A few days later, and here she is:

all bright and shiny

A match made in 5th grade

Posted in music by Rivki Silver on 08/13/2010
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My Bachelor’s Degree is in Music Performance, with clarinet as my primary instrument.  It was an extremely practical choice (sarcasm, lots and lots of sarcasm).  In my defense, it did make sense at the time.

Anyways, how I even came to play the clarinet is rather serendipitous.  It almost didn’t turn out that way…

In the region where I grew up, band programs generally started in 5th grade.   Students who were interested in learning an instrument were all shuffled down to the music room, where there were lots and lots of instruments to choose from.  I was really excited, because I wanted to be a percussionist.  I had already rented a snare drum and had spent much time hitting it with sticks.  It was fun, and it made a loud noise.  I was in love.

After locating the section for potential percussionists, I found that some adults were proctoring rhythm tests, exercises like tapping one rhythm on the left leg and another on the right.  Separating the wheat from the chaff, if you will.  I passed with flying colors.  Check and check.  However, it turned out that I wasn’t the only kid who thought hitting things and making loud noises was cool (shocking, I know).  I was informed that there were way too many kids interested in playing percussion, and that I should choose a different instrument.


So I thought that maybe I could play the flute.  It was pretty, and light (not like that snare drum I had been lugging around).  I found the area where they were testing aspiring flautists and discovered that I couldn’t make a sound come out of the darned thing.  Nothing.  Just some sad little air sounds.


The saxophone seemed promising.  It was also kind of loud, and there was a definite coolness factor.  However, I couldn’t find the area for saxophones.  I don’t know how easily I gave up (it was a long time ago, this whole adventure), but I do know that I moved on.

Last, but not least.

After so many dead ends, I finally found the clarinet.  A humble instrument.  Not all that exciting.  I thought I might as well try it.  It turns out that I could make some noise.  And that I was decent at it.  It was a match!

So that’s how I came to be a clarinet major.  I guess it’s a good lesson that we don’t always want what we’re meant to have, and that if you keep striking out at something, you should persevere.  Who knows where you’ll end up?

Any other stories of unlikely pairings?