Friday, December 06, 2013

Colla Voce



A month or so ago I had one of those brief, polite conversations whose purpose and topic was meant to be polite, generic and brief, since we were on a short rehearsal break.  In mid "so what have you been up to" conversation, I was asked, "So, did you read any good books this summer?"

I don't know why this question caught me so off-guard, but it did.  And then I stood there for what seemed like a very long time and thought hard.  Hard like "solve this calculus problem" hard.  Embarrassingly, absolutely nothing came to mind, and so I blurted out, quite honestly, "Uhhh..No!!"  And then, before I engaged my brain, my mouth added, "but I bought a bunch!"

It was the total, unfiltered truth, and for a minute I felt like an idiot.

But then I forgave myself.  I mean, who cares?  I know for some, the summer months are reading months. For me, it's always a great idea, but oftentimes, I'm simply busy doing other things, including but not limited to working, teaching, gardening, organizing, cleaning, exercising, goofing around, going to plays and/or movies and/or concerts, and on occasion, sleeping.  Reading doesn't even rank high enough in importance to earn a spot on a to-do list.  The best it could muster would be a high ranking on a want-to-do list.  Along with about 250 other things.  

There are some who have a very set seasonal schedule.  No whites after Labor Day, holiday decorations up a solid month prior to the big day, Christmas Tree decorated and shopping completed by the end of Thanksgiving weekend, cards sent in a timely manner.  It all sounds wonderful and absolutely foreign to me.  If you asked me if my house was decorated, I'd laugh.  Oh, it's decorated, alright.  It's decorated with papers and binders, with books and music, with mail that needs to be attended to and laundry that needs to be folded.  There are plenty of decorations.  Just probably not the ones you're thinking of.

I think because so much of my life is extremely scheduled -- a necessity with two jobs plus private students, rehearsals and various gigs on the side -- I'm not inclined to commit the personal scraps of time I have left to anything in particular, unless it's absolutely necessary, which, it usually is not.  So have no fear.  I'll get to the holiday decorating, the shopping, the cooking and cleaning, the special TV shows and movies, and yes, even the books. Lucky for me I already have a stack waiting to be read, which I'll get to soon.  Or, eventually.  Or much, much later.  It will depend on one hundred different variables.

But it won't depend on someone else's schedule.


colla voce is a musical term meaning "with the voice".  This instruction is generally found in the piano accompaniment, and it serves as a warning to the pianist to pay special attention to the singer, because they're about to make some decisions and stylistic changes (generally relating to tempo) that aren't notated in the music.

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