Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Calm Down A Minute

I was driving Eustacia back to college yesterday after a brief Easter break, and I listed for her all the things that will take place between now and June—three orchestra concerts with related rehearsals, two band concerts with related rehearsals, Eustacia's band concert at college, a dinner I'll be catering (more on that later), planning a trip to Romania (more on that later, too), packing up of the lake house, writing eight weekly columns, visiting No. 1 in Berkeley, covering a few random stories for Small Town Newspaper as needed, moving Eustacia out of her dorm for the summer; not to mention the usual cooking, cleaning, laundry. Of course, none of this has to be done all at once, and plenty of people are far busier than I and under a lot more pressure. But when I verbalized this list, my heart started to beat a little faster, and I had to take big breath for sufficient oxygen. Having a cold doesn't help with proper breathing as it is.

In the interest of putting our tasks into perspective, here is a short piano piece I find restful—Dvorak's Humoreske. I first learned it in high school and used to play it with a lot of punch like it was a party song you could tap your foot to; but then I heard it played as a violin solo, and the music was nearly sorrowful or at least thoughtful. The soloist took liberties with tempos and poured a lot of heart into it.

So, I went back to the music and slowed it down, thought more about the notes and the notations and gave myself permission to take it off the page and let it breath a little. I've always found that steady tempos just get in the way anyway (ha). Odd about this one—most of it is written with six flats with only a few lines adjusted to three sharps. I am much more accurate with all the flats than in the mid-section—you'll see what I mean here because I'm presenting it as is, flaws and all. I hope it helps you calm down a little:

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