Thursday, February 26, 2004


From Janna's blog a few days ago:

Calvin, our Leader and Friend

I kind of have this Calvinist war going on with this mean violinist who's doctrinist. I mean, I guess I'm doctrinist too, but I'm RIGHT. So, to fuel the flames, I've decided the following things:

-my firstborn will be named Calvin (if male) and Calvina (if female- or maybe Calvinette- or maybe Cauvina or Jeana- or Gèneve- there're a lot of options)

-I'm going to try to write an editorial for my school newspaper in which I decisively prove that Calvinism and capitalism are absolute goods and inextricably co-dependent

-I'm going to develop some sort of clever sticker or stencil with a tulip on it and subversively spray it all over campus à la Twelve Monkeys (focusing on the area around a certain dorm and the music building)

-I'm will hire my handy-dandy Bible major (code-name: JoJo) to develop some Calvinist tracts which I will cleverly distribute by stuffing them in copies of praise CDs in the bookstore, and in Veggie Tales tapes

-I'm going to start an aggressive new campus ministry which kidnaps and reprograms Arminians via cult-breaking techniques (TULIP: Totally United in Liberating Ignorant Pseudo-Christians)

-I shall coerce my small but dedicated group of music major friends (hmm: note to self- make some music major friends who are not violently opposed to Calvinism) to write new, appropriately Reformed lyrics to the idiotic praise songs sung in chapel and get my smart compsci hacker friends to insert the new lyrics on the chapel overheads

¡Viva la revolución calvinista! ¡Muerte a los oppresores del Reform!

Comrades, if you have further ideas on how to further our great cause, please allow our God to predestine your click on the comments link. Persevere, Saints, persevere!

And my comments:

I CHOSE to click the comments button.

Yes, name your first son Calvin. Everyone will think you're naming him after Calvin a la Calvin and Hobbes, and he'll probably start behaving like that Calvin, too. I, meanwhile, will have named my charming, well-behaved firstborn son Jacob.

Oh, you're just doing the tulip stickers/stencils as a cheap version of my friends who carved tulips into all their furniture. If you're not committed enough to carve tulips into all your furniture and all of school property and pay the fines later, you must not really believe this Calvinism doctrine.

I'm stealing your new TULIP idea. It's really remarkably clever. See, it'll be even funnier when non-Calvinists have a group called TULIP. It's ironic! It's clever! It's fabulous! TULIP: Totally United in Liberating Ignorant Pseudo-Christians! That is, obviously, as much as to say... Liberating Ignorant Calvinists! Or we could even call it Totally United in Liberating Ignorant Predestinationalists... that works too.

Well, I thought that was funny.

You should all go read her blog; she's always making snide remarks about me! She's ill-mannered and obnoxious, but honestly, what would you expect of someone with her theological persuasions?!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Memento Homo

Memento homo quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.

You should all listen to Emendemus in Melius by Cristobal de Morales if you can possibly find a recording. It's a Renaissance-era bi-textual motet for the Lenten season.

I went to the Ash Wednesday service at Christ Church this evening with Story, Josiah, and Janna. It was good. It brought home to me yet again how much I need Jesus Christ as my Savior.

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
~ Book of Common Prayer

The choir at Christ Church sang Allegri's Miserere during the imposition of ashes. It's one of my favorite pieces. In some parts, the choir sounded pretty good. In other parts they weren't so good, and once when Story and I made the mistake of catching one anothers' eyes, we kind-of-almost giggled (terrible, I know... on such a sombre occasion!) because while the plainchant parts sounded okay, and the full choir parts sounded okay, sometimes the four- and five-voice parts were a bit painful. But I forgave them, because it's such a wonderful piece and it ought to be sung in churches and I'm glad they did it.

Miserere mei, Deus,
secundum magnam misericordiam tuam;
et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

Amplius lava me ab iniquitate mea,
et a peccato meo munda me.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognosco,
et peccatum meum contra me est semper.

Tibi soli peccavi
et malum coram te feci
ut iustificeris in sermonibus tuis
et vincas cum iudicaris.

Ecce enim in iniquitatibus conceptus sum,
et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti;
incerta, et occulta sapientiae tuae
manifestasti mihi

Asperges me hyssopo,
et mundabor;
lavabis me,
et super nivem dealbabor.

Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam'
et exultabunt ossa humiliata.
Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis,
et omnes iniquitates meas dele.

Cor mundum crea in me, Deus,
et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
Ne proiicias me a facie tua,
et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.

Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui,
et spiritu principali confirma me.
Docebo iniquos vias tuas,
et impii ad te convertentur.

Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus,
Deus salutis meae;
et exultabit lingua mea iustitiam tuam.
Domine, labia mea aperies,
et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.

Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium,
dedissem utique;
holocaustis non delectaberis.
Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus;
cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus,
non despicies.

Benigne fac, Domine,
in bona voluntate tua Sion,
ut aedificentur muri Hierusalem.
Tunc acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae,
oblationes, et holocausta;
tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.

~ Psalm 51, a Psalm of David


"Sweetie, don't you dare even dream of being discouraged, because I am so happy with the work you've been doing."

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Teacher Quotes

"Play that phrase with integrity and love."

"Play that note like you've just discovered the meaning of the universe."

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Thanks, Joe

You know how sometimes someone tells you exactly what you needed to hear at exactly the time you needed to hear it, only you didn't know you needed to hear it until just the moment they said it?

Tonight a guy named Joe told me exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the time I needed to hear it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I'm like so happy today, again.

I'm actually getting good grades in music theory this semester! And it's a nice cycle, because the better my grades, the more I like the subject / teacher / class time, and the more I like it all, the more I study, and the more I study, the better my grades are!

I know, I'm an idiot... most people figure all this out very early in life and work hard and do their best in things. Well, I am generally lazy and distracted and a daydreamer, so I am entitled to be very pleased with myself for my small successes... like As in theory.

I had a sociology midterm this morning, and I think (I hope?) that I did pretty well on it, too.

I'm generally liking my classes and professors right now. This is good... much better than the watch-the-seconds-tick-by-until-class-ends moods in which I generally find myself.

Orchestra yesterday was good, my lesson today was okay, and chamber music today was okay. Stravinsky is pretty cool.

I bought a book today... How Now Shall We Live by Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey. I probably shouldn't have spent the money, but ohh... it's one of those must-have-on-your-shelf sorts of books! So I don't really feel bad about it. I also bought The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis... it was only $5.99, so after buying the Colson book, I felt that a few dollars more wasn't anything to worry about.

I am listening to a recording of Mozart Horn Concertos 1-4... Barry Tuckwell with Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Oh, Mozart! Dvorak was right... "Mozart is sweet sunshine." (Well, this Mozart is anyway. I don't suppose I'd call something like the c minor Mass, or the Requiem for that matter, "sweet sunshine.")

By the way, my teacher's recital on Sunday was super-magnificent. I think he's just fantastic. So his recital was great, and it was also great that I got to see a bunch of friends from Musicorda! I sat next to Hsiao-Ling, and I got to see Wei-Che and lots of other people! I also saw Emily and talked to her briefly. And, seeing her for the first time since summer, I took the opportunity to admit that I totally blog-stalk her. I really didn't even know her very well at Musicorda this summer, but I happened upon her blog at some point and I've been a frequent reader ever since.

Monday, February 2, 2004

Upset, upset, upset! ... A definite "case of the Mondays."

Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Barber, Wieniawski, Bach... it's all too much.

My first lesson of the semester was a few weeks ago, and my teacher calmly laid out goals for me -- which just so happened to seem immensely unreachable. Oh, and he knew it was more than had ever been expected of me before... later he laughed about it... "sweetie, you looked shocked!" So after that, I spent the two weeks until my next lesson practicing the most I'd ever practiced, and hopefully the best I'd ever practiced, too. I'm really trying to practice intelligently... but sometimes I think I'm just not smart enough or focused enough to cut it as a violinist. Wait, sometimes I think that? No, all the time I think that.

In the midst of my burst of diligence, I got yelled at and humiliated in front of everyone at our string sectional rehearsal a week ago Thursday.

And then, after orchestra rehearsal last Tuesday, as my teacher was shaking my hand and complimenting me on my work and my progress, his wife interrupted by telling him that his compliments weren't accurate and explaining all my faults and shortcomings. With me standing right there. Already painfully aware that I'm apparently not doing anything right, or at least not right enough.

I could have cried.

Oh wait... I did cry. I even called my parents later that evening and bawled.

And then my lesson the next day... it was a giant disappointment. Or perhaps I am just a giant disappointment. Anyway. I don't think my teacher even noticed that I'd put in almost twice as much work as I'd ever done before. I'd learned the third mvt. of the Barber (that piece is insane!) and memorized most of it and actually gotten it to a reasonably decent tempo. I'd learned the Wieniawski Scherzo-Tarantella in two weeks, memorized most of it, and gotten it to a decent tempo as well. And of course, I'd also been working on Stravinsky a bit (L'Histoire du Soldat... I am the stupidest creature in the world. WHY did I agree to play that piece?! I can't do it! It's too hard!), and the Prokofiev duo I'm supposed to be doing with Melissa, and I'd been starting the Bach g minor, etc. All that work, and still my lesson was a giant disappointment.

Go back to the beginning. Start over. Intonation - inconsistent and not up to standard. Spiccato - too short and pecky, not enough bow or enough bow speed, and too forced instead of natural. Left hand - too square. Etc.

I am a big fat loser.

And now, this past week, I just haven't felt the same kind of motivation.

I know... I am being childish. This kind of thing shouldn't affect me this much. I know they're pushing me because they think I can do it. Somehow it just crossed the line from being motivating to being really depressing during this past week.

Of course, I need to figure out who I'm doing this for. My teacher? Myself? God? All of the above? I don't know. And who should I be doing it for?

Story says I seem unhappy about music. Trying too hard to please people, taking myself too seriously, stressing out too much. The sparkle is not quite in my life right now. I'm just tired. Not inspired or curious or alert or really alive. Well... sometimes I am all those things. I guess life comes down to working hard even when you don't feel that way, which is probably most of the time.

And now I have a lesson again on Wednesday, and I am woefully unprepared. The discouragement and depression and "It-doesn't-even-make-a-difference-if-I-practice-or-not" mood has been replaced with terror. The Stravinsky is terrible! I'll be ripped apart in chamber music class! Wieniawski and Barber are no better than they were at my last lesson! And when on earth am I supposed to learn this Beethoven sonata?

So tonight I cried while I was trying to practice. Not just a few little tears, but really crying, the sort of crying that I usually only do once a semester.

I'm a loser... I miss being a kid and having the security of being special even if I never did anything to merit it... My sister is more diligent and successful and intelligent... my brothers are also both more diligent and successful and intelligent... I wanted to do this one thing well, but I am terrible... I'll never be able to make a career in music... It's too hard, too hard, too hard... I'm letting everyone down, and most of all myself... I'm stupid... I'm lazy... my intonation is terrible, my left hand hasn't improved at all, my fourth finger is being wretchedly horrid...

It's bedtime. Goodnight.