Monday, January 08, 2007

mishmash of musings

I read Jon's blog ( and it made me cry--lots of travails just trying to get home, and nothing working the way they intended it to, despite their best efforts to prevent problems, be aware of issues, and plan ahead. It just seemed like their entire trip was representative of life in general. Aren't we all on this journey, here for the people instead of for the destinations or the adventures, and it NEVER goes the way we plan? But if we get home with our families intact, it's all okay.

I've been watching Dan lately and realized once again that some talents "show" well, and some show up early (like Caleb's verbal skills) and make your kid look like a genius (and therefore you a good mother), and some don't. And the ones that don't are often the most important ones. For example, Daniel seems to have a gift for tuning in to what people need and providing it the best he can. Just yesterday, Tim lay down on the couch for a nap after church (and after an unusually bad night--he got 4 hours of sleep and I got about 3). When Tim had fallen asleep, little Daniel toddled over with his arms full of the biggest, softest blanket he could carry. He tucked it all over Tim's head and shoulders (that's the part that's "Daddy", right?), and then gave Tim a kiss and walked away. Anda fixed the blanket so Tim could breathe, and Dan, noticing his work had been adjusted, went back and tucked the blanket all around close to Tim and kissed him again. Then, for the next 2 hours until he himself fell asleep, he wandered back over to Tim every ten or fifteen minutes and checked on him, kissed him, and then went back to his games.

That's a lot of nurturing coming from a 15 month old, who usually think first of themselves and then of how you can help them. It's a gift--that will never show well but will bless countless lives.

On the news front, we've finally honed in more closely on what kind of career Tim wants. I think Tim wants to be what is alternately labeled an "Artistic Director" or "Music Director." If you're dealing with film, TV, or video, the same job is "Music Supervisor", and if you're into software design, the job is called "Sound Designer," but it's all about the same job. Technically, an "Artistic Director" is the person who decides what shows to do and who will direct them for arts that are presented in theaters, like opera, drama, and dance; a "Music Director" is the conductor of the orchestra or the person who is responsible for rehearsing the music of a play. In general use, however, all the terms become interchangeable. Essentially, the "Artistic/Music Director" determines everything art-related about a performance, including what the group will wear, what they will look like, what kind of movement there will be (choreography? by whom?), and what music will be performed and how it will be performed. The Artistic Director is then responsible for rehearsing the group and conducting during performances. They also "produce" all recordings the groups makes, sitting in the studio and supervising, giving the performers and audio engineers instructions as they go. The Artistic Director is the one with the "vision" of what the group really is, and the one responsible for making it happen.

Really, it's the same job that used to be called "Conductor," but conductors wanted people to know they do so much more than just wave their arms during a concert, so the term/terms were invented in the 1950s to express what the job is really about. We've been accused of making this all up before, but it's a legitimate job in the classical music world. And Tim wants it. And he specifically wants to work with all aspects of vocal music (choirs, a cappella groups, etc).

People actually hire other people to do this. It's not a "Far Out There" kind of job, like saying, "I want to be the next Mel Gibson." But it is a highly competetive job, and to get the really good positions, you have to have a DMA (musical equivalent of a PhD). Full-time jobs take a MM (Masters of Music), which is what Tim is working on. The rest of the people have to have experience (he does) and luck to get a part-time position, or a couple of part-time positions. This is what we're praying for, searching for, waiting for. There's actually a position open not far from here, but it's for an orchestra instead of a choral group, and Tim doesn't have the qualifications to conduct a youth symphony orchestra, I don't think.

Amazingly, you have to have a huge amount of musical talent in multiple areas to do this kind of job. The kind of broad array of experience nobody in their right mind collects. The kind of broad experience and talent Tim has. So he's on the right track. We're just waiting for the jobs to show up and pondering what we need to do to MAKE the jobs.

Tim's ultimate goal is to work in a University as a professor, do Artist/Music consulting on the side, keep performing (how could he not?!), and to take choral music to "disadvantaged populations"--prisoners, families in shelters (women's shelters or homeless shelters), children who are too poor for traditional "Arts" education, disabled people, etc. There are hundreds of programs that take choirs to these populations, but almost none that allow the disadvanted to make the art themselves--and that's what Tim wants to do. Not just take a choir of college kids into the prison to sing at Christmas. He wants the choir to be made up of prisoners.

But for now? We'll take whatever we can get, I think. Let us know if you hear of anything.....

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