Saturday, January 6, 2018

Fall 2017 - as L+M Duo and co-founder of PercussionMind

Premiering Reef, by Jason Haney, at the Contemporary Music Festival

This fall has been a completely new adventure.  Not necessarily the events within it, but managing them while going through the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy.  In most cases, it posed no extra challenges, but in others...phew!...more on that in a different post! 

L+M Duo

In addition to my teaching at JMU, L+M Duo had an active start to its second season, featuring a premiere at JMU's Contemporary Music Festival (CMF), a new program at Virginia Tech University, and a residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where we workshopped and recorded 8 student compositions.  

I also performed Christos Hatzis' Fertility Rites at CMF, a piece I booked long before having any inclination I'd be almost 8 months pregnant during the performance.  At this time I could still maneuver behind a marimba pretty well!

I also presented a masterclass at Virginia Tech for the entire School of Music, all about using personal observation as a means to prevent injury.  I think some are too quick to jump straight to manipulative methods to relieve symptoms without addressing the cause, so it's become a passion of mine to help guide young musicians to examine their playing with curiosity to find those causes. 


Revealed at PASIC 2017, PercussionMind is a project over a year in the making.  It's now live on the web:, and represents another interest and passion of mine - understanding one's self in order to make decisions and proceed in directions that are congruent with personal habits and natural tendencies.  Mike Cerreto, my co-founder, was instrumental in the success and validity of the project.  He even flew to Indianapolis to unveil the study with me in our session.

Even now, after revealing the results, we are still actively inspecting ways to make the study even more in-depth and personally meaningful to those who come in contact with it.  There's an exciting new development in the works with The Highlands Ability Battery, but that's all I can say about that for now! 


In the teaching and accompaniment realms, this semester (thankfully) fit expectations.  I taught the number of students needed for the percussion studio, but I did scale back accompaniment activities, simply because I had no idea how I'd be feeling towards December, which is when coachings and recitals always ramp up. 

Luckily, I haven't dealt with extreme wrist swelling or tendonitis as a result of pregnancy, something that women who aren't musicians often complain about! I figure this is because I practiced regularly and when technical demands of a piece did start to cause pain, I worked through them slowly or, in the case of Happy Tachyons by John Psathas, I had to admit that I needed to postpone performance.  A great amount of pride can be gleaned from pushing through for all obligations, but is it worth it if you injure yourself in the long run?

 This post seems so short, but in the midst of the semester it felt so busy!  Many pieces learned, lessons taught, and projects completed. The @ percussion podcast is still going strong; we just released our 126th episode!  We've managed to not miss a week in our 2 years of existence, and that's the goal for the immediate future.  

For now, the next big projects are completing arrangements for L+M, editing audio and video, and having a baby at some point in the first half of January. Standard fare. 

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