Making music because I can.
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Making music because I can.
I spend a few minutes preparing an Ableton Live set with a variety of sounds then I hit record and start tapping pads on Push. The result is five to twenty minutes of improvised composition. I enjoy listening to the recordings, but not quite as much as I enjoy making them. The process is stream-of-consciousness and meditative; I am listening and responding in the moment, which means I cease to think about anything else and become entranced by my creation. It is a journey and it is, temporarily, the sole focus of my existence. In many ways, these recordings are more honest and true than anything I do or say in my life, and I strive to do everything in my life by those pure standards. Music embodies the soul more than words ever can; I aspire to capture a little of that indescribable beauty and magic every time I play.
Despite the many forces I am powerless to, I am still in charge of my music! It is my greatest non-human interaction and every day I continue my quest to produce the best aural art I possibly can. I have certainly enjoyed creating these cathartic and therapeutic spontaneous compositions over the past month and will dedicate myself to making more out of pure love for the process.
Adios, Papi. As the Red Sox’ season ended in a sweep by the Orioles, it was a meek exit to one of the best careers, but when the pain subsides and we step back and get some perspective, we will see the incredible impact on the team and the city of Boston. Three World Series victories in nine years is a pretty good run and I don’t think they would claim any of those without him. One of my favorite moments in all of sports watching came in game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, with the Sox facing elimination against the Yankees. After Dave Roberts’ steal and Bill Mueller’s single to drive him home to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th, I was grateful we were still alive but also wary of staying up indefinitely. I watched extra innings with one eye open from bed and vividly remember the warm comfort I received watching Ortiz homer in the 12th to win it. Being down 3-1 in the series shouldn’t afford any relief to a longtime suffering fan, but it somehow felt bigger than just one game and indeed, it was! The very next night, Ortiz hit a walk-off single in the 14th as I watched half-asleep again, and a few nights later the Red Sox completed the most incredible series win in the history of sports on their way to reclaiming the World Series trophy after 86 years. If there is any consolation in this year’s early exit, it is that we will not stand in the way of the Chicago Cubs, who finally seem ready to hoist the trophy again after a 108-year drought. Every fan should get to experience what we did in 2004, and I know there are plenty of people who will appreciate a Cubs win. Fly the W!
School commences! After three months of reduced work commitments and one month of none whatsoever, I was obligated to report to Poly Prep Lower School at 9:00 am on Monday for orientation. Today was the introduction for the new Head of School at the upper campus, and after a few rocky years within the board and administration, it felt like a greatly needed fresh start for the faculty. Audrius Barzdukas delivered a passionate and inspiring speech on the nobility of teaching and moved an audience that has been bracing for this transition with deserved skepticism. Hopefully, as he put it, we can get back “to making the main thing, the main thing”. Teaching truly is a joyful and inspiring occupation, and our institution is filled with amazing faculty who love their work immensely and wonderful students and families who offer everything to the community. I am grateful to be a part of it and look forward to sharing music with kids next week.
But wow, just hanging out with my family is pretty much the greatest time I’ll ever spend. It has been quite a Summer, Miles’ first, and we enjoyed having him along on all our adventures. Ivy is an incredible sister, and we have what I would consider to be the most perfect family in human history!
Summer is accelerating quickly! We have been Capeside for our annual 4th of July family weekend, bigger and greater than ever with the two newest Taylors, Miles and Julian. We spent a weekend camping in Vermont, had some friends to The Land, and enjoyed some pool and beach time in Bellport. We are headed up to Lake George on Thursday for a reprise of last year’s raucous weekend with 20 of our closest friends, then a wedding and a week in Maine. And so soon, in a short paragraph, my Summer is complete.
But these few sentences don’t really do it justice. It has been a phenomenally deep and textured few months, and it is the details within these days that make it so incredibly rich. Taking Ivy to watch her first fireworks, assisting in the construction of a tree-house, playing our first multi-day festival with Land Band, and seeing Miles instantly love swimming are just a few of the moments that may have been brief, but will never be forgotten.
I was also excited to perform some Supergood improvisation for an audience for the first time, which was recorded and will live here for interneternity!
These Summer weekends are extraordinarily delightful! Friday night was a rare mommy & daddy date night, seeing a musical we have been anticipating for years, Anais Mitchell’s “Hadestown”, which delivered a powerful and haunting score to accompany the myth of Orpheus’ journey to the Underworld to save his love, Eurydice. Amazing performances and universal themes always make great art.
Saturday morning we headed out to Bellport for some high-quality R&R with family and friends. Farm strolling, pool swimming, sailing, beaching, BBQ, and civil discussions about politics and futurism are all excellent ways to while away my weekends and I look forward to more of that over the next three months!
I got five harmonicas recently and remembered what a fun and easy instrument it is. I learned the basics about 20 years ago with a Klutz book and tape (!), and have just rediscovered why I love it so much. Straight from the lungs and always in key makes it a powerful complement to any piece.
Summer is here! Memorial Day weekend ushered in a period of less work and more play for me. Many of the hours I devoted to teaching from September-May will be spent with my family now and this past weekend was the kickoff, driving North to spend time with Maine Taylors, including my newest nephew, Julian, while taking in a Portland Sea Dogs baseball game, eating at The Honey Paw, playing on swingsets, jungle gyms and running through sprinklers. We stayed one night in Newton with my parents in my always comforting childhood home and one night with my sister in her beautiful new Brookline home. It was too short but deeply meaningful to spend any time at all with these people I love the most.