Curating The Week: Drumming Instruction Books, Geoff Dyer, And Anna Thorvaldsdottir

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An article by John Colpitts about drumming instruction books.

“The student musician’s lot is a lonely one. Often these books are your only companions, outside of occasional meetings with an instructor. You hunger for some kind of contact, some wisdom beyond the mind-numbing exercises. Sometimes it feels as if you’re only engaging with the slog of the process instead of the transcendence that comes with deeper practice. These books are the key to understanding music as something beyond performance; at their best, they activate the empathy essential to collaborating with an ensemble. We’re all kind of insane to do this work. The justifications in method books, whether they’re awkwardly or fluently phrased, illuminate the practice and its practitioners—they point beyond the bandstand, maybe into the tangle of stories musicians tell ourselves daily to stay the course.”

The workflow of Geoff Dyer (who has written most excellently about music).

“I do a bit of work, the amount that a mum with a full-time job and two kids could have managed by 10 in the morning. Failing that, I contemplate the most remarkable thing about getting older: the sheer acceleration of time. Sometimes I just sit for an hour, feeling time almost as a physical force. Even sitting motionless at my desk I can feel it blowing back my hair as though I’m in an open-top car, careering towards oblivion.”

An in-depth interview with cellist-composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir about her creative process.

“Thorvaldsdottir’s creative process involves a lot of pre-compositional work that is about visualizing—both through fashioning visual representations of sound through graphs and other imagery, and through ‘inward listening and finding themes, materials, and textures’ in her mind, as she put it in our interview. The drawings are manifestations of this inner sound world. The sound comes first, and she added, ‘these pictures are entirely the way I hear the piece. The pictures are working tools, and that starts to feed you.'”

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