The New Year has always been for me a time of reflection and a time for new action based on that reflection. This year will be no exception.
On my altar sits my father’s conducting baton. It has now been joined by a pen.
2010 has been a year to move to a leadership position as a musician, inspired by my father’s example, and to connect my commitment as a teaching artist to my work as a performing artist.
2011 is the year for the writer in me to emerge, inspired by my mother.
How does musical leadership, writing, teaching and performing all fit together in my head?
• Working with musicians in Lille, France and in Los Angeles, stepping up to lead the band, to feel my father’s conducting baton in my hand, so to speak. It was thanks to my Music Director, Dr. Jason Martineau, that I developed the skill to count off a band, and learning from the challenge of having DONE so infuses my Master Class teaching with a commitment to teach singers to count off a tempo.
• My past work as a performer of Musical Theatre helps me to create and deliver a class in Musical Theatre History and Practice to 150 4th and 5th Graders in the Albany Schools, weekly, collaborating for performances with Berkeley pianist Dave Miotke. Dave also performs jazz accordion in my band, TWIST.
• My erstwhile training as an opera singer and language geek allows me to bring material of several languages into my band’s jazz without borders songlist. I work also as a teaching artist with San Francisco Opera Education. This spring I am set to create mini-operas with 5 classes at Rooftop Alternative School in San Francisco Unified District. This will require me to become stronger in my skills as a songwriter.
I sit here, on December 31, still waiting for the results of the French American Jazz Exchange Grant application I made in October. I realize that in the act of making that application, envisioning the project and falling in love with the idea of creating a new French-American Jazz Suite in collaboration with Albin Suffys, Candace Forest and Jason Martineau — I realize that the envisioning of it has made me want to commit to more writing, also on this blog.
So whether or not the grant comes through, that is my commitment for 2011, my gift to myself, and my challenge.
In the photo: the Balinese goddess of Art and Education: Saraswati
Happy New Year to all and a victorious 2011!