Coming Up: Lecture on Certification for San Francisco Chapter

I am excited to be a speaker for the San Francisco Chapter’s November “Hone Your Skills” event, where I will present my practical perspective about how to prepare for the Associate Certificate from the AGO.  If you are in the Bay Area, it is a great time to visit Berkeley and be encouraged in the practical arts of accompanying, sight-reading, and service playing.

Help Yourself: Filing Templates

I struggle with keeping all my music in order and knowing how to file it.  Should I combine hymn arrangements and free harmonizations?  Should Leo Sowerby’s arrangements go under ‘art music’ or ‘hymn settings’?  If I am not careful, I am going to waste one of my five questions when I get to heaven on something like, “Where should I file an anthology that has some hymn arrangements, some art music, and is mostly Christmas repertoire, but has a few Easter pieces in there as well?”

At any rate, I’ve settled on the following categories for my music filing.  Using this system, I can file and access all of my library with ease.  It takes a while to get things organized, but it streamlines the process of being music librarian.  The following link is a pdf of my labels that can be printed out on a standard mailing label (1″ x 2 5/8′) sheet.  Hope it helps!


Happy Halloween

Every Halloween, my heart always breaks a little bit.  Somehow, the organ has been established as a Halloween instrument, evoking images of gaunt hunchbacks with pasty skin and fanged teeth flinging back a cape to break into the Bach d-minor toccata.  <sigh>  Yet, each year, I hop on the bandwagon and play the organ for the trick-or-treat festivities with the nursery school hosted by CathedralLite.

This year, I tried a few other pieces to avoid getting trapped into a one-hit wonder Halloween.  I had a group of about 15 four-year-olds, and after the obligatory spooky stuff, I tried out some other pieces that evoked costumes.  I played a pirate song and asked if there were pirates in the group (there were).  I played a ballerina song and asked if there was a ballerina in the group (a princess sufficed).  I am full of ideas for next year: the bridal march, Star Wars theme, spiderman theme and fairy sounds (hello zymbelstern) would round out a program for that age group.  Four-year-olds have an attention span of 45 seconds, and I can play any theme from any action movie for just that long.

So, hook them with the d-minor toccata and then switch to show everything else that the instrument can do.  The best kind of bait-and-switch, and take every opportunity to have some show and tell time with the instrument.