Do Re Mi
I've been gearing up for another gig with the Ana Barbara group. This time, we are destined for Guatemala. We land in Guatemala City, but that's basically all I know about the show. That is generally how these gigs work; I get the plane itinerary and a rehearsal schedule. It will be a fun weekend, I'm sure.

I've gotten more comfortable using Ableton and my Novation Launchpad Mini as a controller for cycling through synth presets, and performing with a double keyboard rig. When I'm practicing for the gig, I can tell that I'm ready when I'm playing along with the track and I don't notice myself. The strings blend perfectly with the ensemble, or the synth lines are totally disguised with the recorded lines, or the organ sounds mellow but not pronounced. My goal is to sound exactly like the recording (that means voicings, rhythms, and also timbre). Rehearsal is Wednesday.

I recently picked up a new student from one of my schools, teaching music theory and a splash of vocal coaching. There is something about teaching music theory that I find very logical, like teaching math. It is a study of systems, relationships, values, formulas, symbols and codes. I liken studying music theory to studying the grammar rules of a new language (not quite the practice of speaking that new language, but certainly learning the rules that govern it).

When I teach piano to my students, I find myself sight-singing the music before they play it, sort of as a read-through and indicator to the pupil "this is what it's supposed to sound like." In college, I dreaded sight-singing as the most challenging discipline where mastery was required before graduation would be permitted. But now I see that those skills were among the most valuable that I attained in school.

With my new student, I have taken to teaching him solfege. I remember studying solfege with my TA, Kathleen, during freshman year. I really do enjoy the way solfege sounds, and it definitely helped me improve my sight-singing by associating certain vocalizations with different pitches. It somehow reminds of Gregorian Chant as well.