Taking stock at the end of a calendar year is a natural for most people, and I am certainly no exception. Things are moving pretty quickly for me in these early years of the 21st century, and I feel like this is doubly true for my blogging and podcasting activities.
Blogging has really introduced some interesting opportunities for me this past year. I’ve been featured in Double Bassist Magazine, gotten linked to in the New Yorker, had my articles published in journals, been asked to be on the board of directors for the International Society of Bassists, spoken about music and new media for various events, joined the Inside The Arts blogging network, and am getting profiled in International Musician for January 2008. Blogging has really opened some doors for me, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
First, the personal stuff from 2007:
Maybe I’ll put together a highlight reel like the above video for calendar year 2007 after all. If I do, I’d certainly include some photos from my time spent in Door County:
…..and, of course, my wedding and honeymoon on Kauai:
How was 2007 for the blog and the podcast? Well, nearly every article, gig story, and other such long-form work now on the blog was written in 2007, including:
- Road Warrior Without an Expense Account – This series chronicles my experiences as a freelance musician and offers thoughts and observations on the classical music orchestral business in general. Although focused on classical musicians and freelance musicians in general, much of the discussion has relevance to musicians from all disciplines. Part of this series was featured in Adjunct Advocate magazine.
- This Crazy Business – My newest multi-part series on the music business discusses various peculiarities associated with the profession of music performance and attempts to offer an explanation as to why musician subject themselves to these conditions.
- Basses, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – This is a series about the trials and tribulations of hauling an awkward and delicate piece of carpentry around the world. We bass players often have to get creative when transporting ourselves to gigs and locales, and this series (in process) documents experiences on all sorts of forms transportation.
- My Car Caught Fire and Exploded! – In what may quite possibly be the worst gig story ever, I attempt to recall a very surreal night several years ago in words and hand-drawn pictures. Sometimes you drive home from a gig listening to the radio and smiling. Sometimes your car starts on fire and exploded on the south side of Chicago as you run screaming down the Interstate. This story is about the latter.
- You Can’t Teach Professionally and Perform Professionally – Misperceptions on Both Sides of the Divide – Encouraging undergraduates to develop their instrumental craft to the highest degree possible is a value not shared by all educators. This article discusses common attitudes found among music educators and music performers and dissects problems resulting from these contrary viewpoints.
- Why Teach Music? – Why, indeed? Answering this seemingly innocuous three-word question is an ongoing process constantly revisited by music educators throughout their careers, the answer constantly shifting and evolving as teachers gain new insight and experience.
- Why I Teach – As my career has progressed, I have done progressively more teaching and less playing. This has been by choice for me, as opportunities to perform with major ensembles (Lyric Opera of Chicago, Grant Park Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony) continue to be offered to me on a regular basis. This article chronicles my experiences as a teacher, from initial trepidation to deep satisfaction.
This is only a sampling of the long-form writing produced in 2007. For a more complete list, check out www.doublebassblog.org/articles.
January 1, 2007 marked the launch of the Contrabass Conversations podcast, which I see as my major constructive activity for the bass world. I love writing, and I probably prefer putting together articles for the blog more than any other activity, but I am also really enjoying doing these audio and video episodes profiling bassists from all styles of music.
The material presented in these podcasts will hopefully help to educate future generations of double bassists and add to the general knowledge base. I already have plans to aggregate the data from these shows and create a general manual of advice for double bassists. But more on that later….
We’ve produced 55 audio episodes, plus a handful of recital showcases and a good deal of video content. Over the year, this podcast has evolved from an educational podcast focused on interviews into a more diverse set of offerings, including:
- musical performances
- orchestral excerpt breakdown
- video lessons
- video performances
- crazy gig stories – audio
- crazy gig stories – video
- ‘exploring chamber music’ series
These podcasts integrate with the blog, but they are their own thing as well, and they have gotten more and more popular over the past year. As of this writing, we’ve had over 100,000 downloads of Contrabass Conversations episodes, and we’re only getting started, so stay tuned for much more in 2008!
If you haven’t been to the Contrabass Conversations website recently, head on over and take a look around. It is truly double bass podcast central, and it is certainly the easiest way to explore this great content.
Happy new year, everybody, and I’m looking forward to another great year of blogging and podcasting in 2008!