After seven weeks of orchestral playing (plus ongoing rehearsals and performances with the Blythwood Winds) things are suddenly much quieter, in a figurative and literal sense. I’m not needed for this weekend’s Messiah with the Grand Philharmonic Choir. My ears are asking me for a rest and I’m obliging them with a week off of music listening. This comes hard to me after so many years of being desperately afraid that there was too much repertoire out there that I did not know well enough. Fear sometimes helps in a pinch, but in general it’s a pretty lame motivator.

Listening has given way to old pursuits that I once loved and gave up to the bassoon in a fear-driven effort to be better. I am reading again, entranced by tales of the evolution of the conducting profession, spy thrillers and horticultural treatises. With the latter I hope to nurse my begonia back to its former glory – it looks sad and defeated right now and the only advice my past experience has taught me is to instruct the plant to do more long tones. My gardening adventures are probably going to end up with me like Simon Pegg in Hot Fuzz dragging a peace lilly from gig to gig, rambling on to colleagues about the meditative benefits of plant ownership. But that’s beside the point. My point is that books are wonderful. Having intellectual pursuits outside of music again is wonderful.


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