Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Music Man


No politics today (yay!) because, unlike most days, I actually had professional work to do and it used up all my time and all my intelligence.  As I'm probably about to prove.

For the past several decades, I've made my living writing for the entertainment industry. Mind you, I'm in Texas and I'm a writer - so I don't have any wild tales of drug fueled parties, sexually defiled potted plants, or rings of pedophiles. I'm not saying that those things couldn't happen in Texas, I'm saying that no one invites writers to parties.

A lot of my writing has been on kid-friendly projects with a musical component, as was the case today.  Specifically, I'm collaborating with a very talented composer (and close friend) to create a live orchestral piece which will introduce kids to symphonic music without A) boring their socks off, or B) being "Peter and the Wolf" for the umpteenth time. The hope is that it will be performed by multiple orchestras across the nation, and that those orchestras will pay handsomely for the privilege of doing so. No government grants here, folks!

In essence, the production will feature humorous narration interspersed with delightfully bombastic music, while funny illustrations (several of which may be about farts) are projected onto a screen to keep the young audience laughing. Today's job was figuring out where those many illustrations should go in the script, and exactly what the images will be so we can communicate instructions to our Ukrainian artist.  A business arrangement which may land us a subpoena from the ever and overzealous Robert Mueller.

Overall, a fun and productive day. Who could ask for anything more?   -Stilt

22 comments:

Velveeta Processed Cheese Food said...

Wow! Good Luck!

Mike aka Proof said...

" I don't have any wild tales of...sexually defiled potted plants"
Ah, the advantage of keeping cacti!

REM1875 said...

Sometimes we fail to make time for fun, enjoy Doc.

Fritz Brohn said...

Hey! Competition for Benjamin Britten's, "Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra"

John T said...

Ukrainian artists? Not exactly a common thing, I'm guessing you hit the jackpot and are using Oleg A., who is also a writer, satarist, and internet guru running "The People's Cube". Your project sounds amazing, and will be a true collaboration of talents! All the best to you, and thanks for all you do...

Bobo the Hobo said...

Waaaay back in the day, I studied cello under Lillian Naruns and Robert Bobo in Miami so music in schools has always been dear to my heart. It absolutely kills me that music has been eliminated as being superfluous while football became so much more important being billed as the way out of poverty by providing scholarship opportunities for minorities.

Music assists in learning math, it requires timing, and it teaches patience and as far as I know no one ever developed CTE from music (well, unless you count el-Kabong theatrics but that’s another discussion.)

Don’t get me wrong, I love sports but there has to be room in a child’s education for music. Good luck with your endevour, Stilt and you are right - given the glorious history of music, Peter and the Wolf can be mind-numbingly dull.

Paging Mr Jones. Mr Spike Jones. Please pick up the white courtesy phone.

Tracy Evans said...

That's a brilliant idea..

Alan said...

I'm having visions of Lawrence Welk wearing a Stetson and a bolo tie.

Judi King said...

Good luck on a wonderful project. Good music is necessary for harmony in life. I've even heard of classical music being played for babies in the womb as being useful.
You are an amazing talent.

George Wilson said...

As a very young child I remember hearing Mozart, Chopin, Brahms for the "first" time and being struck with what I much later learned as something called deja-vu. As an old guy, looking back on a lifelong love of music, I think it started during my time in the womb. Thanks mom.

Jerome Boyle said...

There is NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!! wrong with Peter and the Wolf. (Pssst... my first exposure to "classical" music was Night on Bald Mountain with a very enthusiastic music teacher narrating on a cold winter's day. I was hooked.)

Geoff King said...

I have always enjoyed the more upbeat classical music.
When I was a teenager I had a recording of Wagner"s "Ride of the Valkyries" on a timer which served as my alarm clock every morning.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@John T- I love Oleg A's stuff, but the Ukrainian I refer to is a freelance artist whom we found online and is able to deliver at the right quality/price ratio (ie, good and cheap). Since this is a self-funded project so far, we're keeping an eye on expenses. Funny how that works when it's your own money (government, take note).

@Bobo the Hobo- I think music (which is to say "not rap or hip-hop") can have an enormous impact on kids, and I agree that it should still be part of basic education. It's funny how schools used to have time for such things, but now have sacrificed those programs so they can use the time teaching kids to put condoms on bananas.

And let me clarify one point: I'm not against "Peter and the Wolf" at all - it's a great piece of music! But it's one of the only pieces orchestras have access to for "introduction to instruments" concerts, and we fill there's an unfilled niche for additional compositions.

@Alan- Now we're ALL having that vision!

@Judi King- I sometimes refer to music as my favorite non-pharmaceutical medicine. Its effects on the brain are remarkable and undeniable.

@George Wilson- I think when you're exposed to music that early, it becomes part of your DNA.

@Jerome Boyle- As I said above, I'm not knocking "Peter and the Wolf" in any way, shape, or form. It's great - but orchestras would like some additional material to choose from. And I love Night on Bald Mountain - even now I can conjure the visuals from Fantasia while hearing the music in my noggin.

@Geoff King- When it comes to upbeat classical music, let me recommend the "Big Baroque Box" collections available from Amazon. Each volume (there are 3) is about 10 hours of sprightly music, and each volume only costs 99¢ (or free to stream if you have Amazon Prime).

John the Econ said...

I certainly can't blame you for practicing actual capitalism over keeping us entertained for free.

Also, kudos for your efforts at actual musical education. That's quite a challenge in an age of microsecond attention spans and where "musician" has been defined down to any boob with a beat and microphone. Future generations may thank you.

Colby Muenster said...

@Stilton,
Here's hoping that this venture will more than pay for the recent renovations, and maybe even that new Ferrari!

@Geoff King,
I always loved Elmer Fudd's singing, but what did that poor wabbit ever do to him?!

All six of my grandsons went to (some some are still going to) a charter school. All students are required to take either band or chorus. The school only goes through 8th grade, and the four that are now in public high school are all straight A students. I think the music was a big part of teaching them how to succeed.

Rod said...

I learned to play Clarinet as a kid at the age when most normal and substandard talents try something musical. I was not sufficiently interested to set band or orchestra in high school as a goal and eventually dropped it; doing a lot of other good things instead.

This was not all my musical failing. Had I been allowed to work on New Orleans jazz might have been more interested. Even back then: "Red Sails in the Sunset" just wasn't cutting it. After nearly putting myself as well as the audience to sleep at one "solo performance; that was the end of it. I still love music and only wish I could sing.

Alfonso Bedoya said...

Anything is better than "Red Sails in the Sunset," unless it is sung perfectly off-key on purpose. As a big-band jazz drummer, I've heard many singers who were decidely sharp or flat, yet had no idea how many ears in the audience were scorched. No, Julie Andrews didn't sing this for an AARP benefit, but the lyrics might provide a spring-board for your show:

Sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things"

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak,
When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets, and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heat pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinnin,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinin,
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache, when the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.
_____________________________

Doug M said...

Everything I know about classical music I learned from watching Bugs Bunny.
Turns out, he was an excellent pianist,
aaaand he did it shy one finger on each hand…
with gloves on!

John the Econ said...

Off-topic, but going in my you can't make this stuff up file:

Study: Sheep Can Recognize Obama’s Face

Well, duh. They voted for him twice.

Colby Muenster said...

@John the Econ,
Well, that certainly explains a lot, and I was pleased to see that, for a change, my hard earned money did not fund this particular totally useless study.

Colby Muenster said...

@Stilton,
I know you have likely already planned tomorrow's post, but something just occurred to me.

The Democrats are crowing loudly about the latest elections being a yuuuuge statement against Trump. Near as I can tell, none of these Democrat victories were in states that Trump carried.

Igor said...

@John the Econ,

> Well, duh. They voted for him twice.

And so did the dead, especially in Chicago and California and...