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Saturday, June 8 is a big day for L+M Duo!! Our visionary project titled Illuminating Wrigley comes to life at 8pm in a free concert just outside the Wrigley Building on iconic Michigan Avenue! This event marks the start of Wrigley's Centennial Celebration, so we commemorate important dates of the last 100 years in our programming. Our Collaborators Composer Steven Snowden was on board with this project from the beginning, and agreed in early 2017 to write a new work for L+M Duo inspired by the Wrigley Building.  Here we are in downtown Chicago - the first time the 3 of us met! Illuminating Wrigley closes with Steve's gorgeous new work for piano, marimba, and electronics titled 25 Million Candles , named for the amount of candlepower it took to light the building's exterior when it was completed in 1924.  The piece is alive with a rhythmic vitality that reminds us of the energy contained in a beam of light. Cadance Collective joined the Illuminating W
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Bellies, Sausage Fingers, and John Psathas (but not how you think)

Anxious me had a list of ways that pregnancy would completely mess with my playing and thus my self , proof that I expected the worst as the reason for the lack of photographic evidence of others performing while expecting.  Doesn't mean they didn't, but wondering about it did fuel my fears of the journey into motherhood.  (And explains why I intentionally posted videos of performances with a baby belly! Proof!!) I figured I'd have a belly that bumped bars from time to time, fingers that would be bigger than normal, and a back that would ache.  Spoiler alert: I did.  There was nothing to do but laugh and go with it as little boy decided to take up core real estate. 1. Bumper Belly This one I saw coming. It took about 7 months, but it definitely happened. Goodbye, accidentals; hello, surprise muffling of bars. But it was a great way to break awkward tension in lessons. So there's that.   2. Bye, Bye Balance They tell you that things like riding a bike

19 Summer Reading Ideas

Ah, summer. For those of us in academia it means time to work for yourself , and that includes feeding the mind literary goodness.  For when you're in the mood for word food, here are some ideas.  Hyperlinks will take you to an excerpt on Google Books, if there is one. About Percussion The Percussionist's Art , by Steven Schick Sticking it Out , by Patti Niemi When the Drummers were Women , by Layne Redmond Drumming at the Edge of Magic , by Mickey Hart and Jay Stevens The Girl in the Back: A Female Drummer's Life with Bowie, Blondie, and the 70's Rock Scene , by Laura Davis-Chanin Keiko Abe: A Virtuosic Life , by Rebecca Kite About Artistry Creativity , by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi Flow , by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi The Artist's Way , by Julia Cameron Walking in this World , by Julia Cameron Finding Water , by Julia Cameron Leonardo's Brain , by Leonard Shlain About the Self Seven Habits of Highly Effective People , by Stephen Covey

6 Ways to be Kind to Your Musical Self

Have a Project for You Amid everything else going on professionally, academically, and personally, have a passion project that is for you.  It's a project that you can pour your interest, creativity, and energy into when that uneasy feeling strikes.  You know the feeling - the one that says "you're doing a lot of things, and you're active, but we both know that it's not feeding  you." When that voice appears, it's time to dig in to your passion project. It could be performance related, maybe a new piece you want to pursue.   It could be a composition you've been drafting.   It could be reading about a composer you've discovered and want to know more about.   It could be your love of photography, videography, visual art...anything.   Chances are, you already have an idea and just haven't started.   Start. Have a YOU Practice There are certain fields that take an extraordinary amount of dedication to find success, and mu

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 S

Alignment: Body and Mind

Marimba Body: Aching Elbows

As we gear up for fall and the concert season ahead, whether as a student, professor, or touring artist, it's a good time to reflect on our technical habits.  For those that took time off over the summer, there's the process of re-integrating hours of practice. For those that are preparing entire new programs (ehhem...yours truly), there's the challenge of not rushing through the learning process, mentally and physically.  Throughout my time writing the Marimba Body series, folks have approached me with different questions of "do you have anything about ___?"  Coming up a few times is the issue of elbow pain - what it is, how we get it, and how to heal and then prevent it.  Here's what I've learned, experienced, and found. Three Common Pain Areas Most commonly, percussionists experience elbow pain: - on the outside of the elbow (lateral epicondylitis, aka: tennis elbow) - on the inside of the elbow (medial epicondylitis, aka: golfer's elb