This past week, after Friends Music Camp ended, I traveled to Dayton, Ohio to make a recording that launches a project with New River Ensemble and Minnita Daniel-Cox, a singer who teaches at University of Dayton. I enjoyed the process of discovering the music of a British-African composer, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, who collaborated with the Black American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar (author of the words “I know why the caged bird sings” that Maya Angelou borrowed). I find a deep satisfaction in using the voice of the cello to illustrate the marriage of words and music. Also, learning the musical language of a composer I have not encountered before proves to be a fine adventure. When NRE rehearsed the instrumental lines alone in preparation for meeting with the soprano, I was afraid the composition of this reputed “Black Mahler” was actually second-rate. Only when the beautiful vocal line was added in did the magic appear.
jetwhistleThis sort of musical exploration provides the reason for playing an instrument, and I hope to help bring that fresh excitement to your own musical path this year. I return from summer travels more convinced than ever that the key to even wanting to find that path, much less wanting to put in the daily practice to find each new step, comes from a steady diet of listening to music for your instrument. The listening illuminates the path. Youtube and Spotify are our great allies in making this easy. When you come to lessons, tell me about your listening discoveries, and share them with the studio. When you find what you love, the path opens before you. (Thank you, Rumi, and countless other philosophers and poets!)