Category: Music and language

Singing in the rain -- with a neighbor, it's more fun

Singing in the rain -- with a neighbor, it's more fun
Our recent rainy days have me looking out for a little neighbor boy I encountered in similar weather last spring. I walked under the local bridge for the “L” train and was just ready to get out of the rain, but he walked under it and was singing to his mother. “Rain, rain, go away,”... Read more »

How my cello got here via the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

How my cello got here via the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
When I was a schoolgirl, I was Serious enough — and growing fast enough — to need a full-sized cello, not the smaller one I’d been practicing on. My parents, meanwhile, were in the church choir, where musical things got discussed even after rehearsals. The conductor turned out to have a friend who was ready... Read more »

The Harvard Dictionary of Music, but not biography

The Harvard Dictionary of Music, but not biography
I thought I’d have a set of posts ready to do about composers when I settled down with “The New Harvard Dictionary of Music.” Hey, I even had portraits of my favorites lined up — Tchaikovsky made it here, and Beethoven and Handel were waiting in my files. But there’s only one problem: The dictionary... Read more »
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Exotic words in 'The Harvard Dictionary of Music'

Exotic words in 'The Harvard Dictionary of Music'
“The New Harvard Dictionary of Music,” one of my father’s favorite reference books, is now one of my new favorites. Its sheer size means it would not be finished in one post (this one). Here are some of the more exotic things I’ve found in it — so far: Aliquot string: “A sympathetic string. The... Read more »

The value of music

The value of music
When it’s past time to work on arithmetic — from monthly bills to the figures for my taxes — there’s no use having a story on in the background. I know, I’ve tried. Music is precious then, for tuning my brain and distracting the parts that want to go off and play with something else... Read more »

What to learn from 'The New Harvard Dictionary of Music'

What to learn from 'The New Harvard Dictionary of Music'
One of the new additions (editions, too) to my library recently is my father’s copy of “The New Harvard Dictionary of Music,” edited by Don Randel (Cambridge, Mass., The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1986), It was one of Dad’s favorite reference books when anything musical came up — and it got a lot... Read more »
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The value of practice

The value of practice
During the time I worked at The Art Institute of Chicago, I loved working at the information desk just inside the Michigan Avenue doors. (OK, I loved it as long as the boys drumming on buckets weren’t nearby and sending pounding rhythm through the lobby.) I had all sorts of questions, even one man who... Read more »

The value of deadlines

I’ve been helping out the Chicago Now community — rather, I hope I have — by writing newsletter-style comments on our private Facebook page over the past few weeks. I picked out five different topics, and I write about a different one each day of the week. It didn’t take much more than a week... Read more »

The value of committing things to memory

The value of committing things to memory
When I was a student of other things — officially so, growing up — I was also a music student. It’s just something that happened at our house. These days, I enjoy getting to church early enough to hear choir practice; it reminds me of long-ago days when a sitter couldn’t come, so my sister and I... Read more »
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Speak slowly -- I can't listen any faster!

Speak slowly -- I can't listen any faster!
I keep thinking of the old, old joke about someone writing a letter: I’m writing this slowly because I know you can’t read very fast. How about the same consideration for listening? I’m speaking slowly because I know you can’t listen any faster. That would work for me, as both a speaker and a listener. So... Read more »