Stephanie Burgis
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links, recorders, life
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For everybody who's ever experienced (whether as a participant or as a horrified audience member) a Panel From Hell, Emma Bull's Convention Panel Etiquette is the perfect guide. I laughed out loud at several points. (And actually, a couple of them may sound very familiar to anyone who was at a certain panel at Wiscon this year...!) Alas, no upcoming cons in our near future, but I may re-read this list before the next one. (Maybe EasterCon next spring??)

I've been playing my recorder a lot lately and loving it completely. I'm particularly happy to have an alto recorder now instead of a soprano - the sweet, rich sound of the alto is totally swoon-worthy. (Well, except for when I get tired or try to play notes that are out of my range...then the sound gets a bit more cringe-worthy, unfortunately!)

It's such a joy to play music just for fun, after all those years of stressing through the performance degree. (It's why I've switched, at least for now, to playing the recorder, since playing the French horn makes me immediately revert to vicious self-critiquing mode.) After playing this morning, I did an online search for recorder teachers in the Leeds area - if I keep loving it this much, I might sign up for half-hour lessons at one of the local music colleges for at least one term, so that I can learn some of the technical stuff I'm missing right now. I love playing, I've taught myself the fingerings and can read through some of my favorite Vivaldi slow movements, but I have no idea how I'm really supposed to be articulating the notes or how to fix my tone or intonation when it goes wrong. Plus, it would be so much fun to find a way to play some chamber music again when I finally get good enough, oh, eons in the future - chamber music is what I miss more than anything else about my old conservatory days. I never enjoyed playing in orchestras, but I looooooved playing duets, quartets, quintets, you name it! So much fun. When I was a kid, I used to play recorder duets with my dad, and I fantasized about going to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music one day to play in their recorder ensemble. Of course, the weird turns of fate ensured that I did actually end up going to Oberlin but not playing the recorder there after all...It's been nice to re-discover the recorder over this past year.

Now I'm listening to an iTunes mix (Pink Martini's "Hang On Little Tomato", combined with Vivaldi's recorder concertoes and shuffled) while I sit on the kitchen floor next to Nika, keeping one hand on her shoulder to reassure her and also to restrain her from licking her wounds. (Licking her wounds is very, very bad for them, but she just doesn't get that. Sigh. She reminds me of myself on a psychological level...but I am trying not to let myself obsess over stress issues as much as my instincts lead me into wanting to. Must Focus on Positive Points. Like It Or Not!)

On Thursday we'll be going away for a long, long 5-1/2-day weekend with Nika to Patrick's mum's house, and I can't wait. This house is far too cramped and full of building works, and I can definitely do with time out of it. And mm, more time for recorder playing.

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