Detour

For my 3rd album, I thought that I wanted to record an album of Classical and Romantic repertoire. I had the pieces planned out and started recording but the first few recording sessions were difficult for various reasons. Other important details for the project were really hard to work out too, so it made me rethink my plans. This was repertoire that I love but there were too many things that seemed to be working against me. 

It did not bode well that these were some of my recording studio companions on the first two days of recording.

It did not bode well that these were some of my recording studio companions on the first two days of recording.

Instead of continuing with the project, I decided to abort plans for the album and change directions. I hope that some of the material I recorded can be released in the future in different or smaller packages but, for now, it's mostly time and money wasted. I guess I could have planned more carefully or taken more time to think it through but that's not my style. 


I recently listened to some of the material I recorded earlier this year to see if I can do something with them and found this single (unedited) take from February 3, 2014.

Friedrich Kuhlau "Grand Duo" Op. 30, Nr. 2, Adagio lagrimoso with clarinetist Cory Tiffin:

(Stream it or download it for free at meerenai.bandcamp.com!)


I've started again on the 3rd album and it will contain only contemporary music. I feel better about it already. I hope to release it sometime in 2015. 

Cory Tiffin

Clarinetist, good friend, and collaborator, Cory Tiffin has been fabulously too busy to make a website or maintain a bio online anywhere so I took it upon myself to write up a short bio for him right here.

Cory Tiffin is the principal clarinetist of the Las Vegas Philharmonic. He splits his time between Las Vegas and Chicago. In Chicago he teaches at the Chicago High School for the Arts and holds adjunct positions at DePaul University and Loyola University. 

(Once I find a good, up-to-date bio for him, I will link to it from here. Also, I only have goofy photos of Cory on my phone so this will have to do for now!)

Carpe Diem

Today, one of the most beloved humans in the world died.

My favorite movie featuring Robin Williams is Dead Poets Society. Like many Americans of my generation, I didn't learn the meaning of the Latin phrase "carpe diem" until this movie came out. Every time I watched the movie I felt inspired and I could feel a little wind in my imaginary sails but this was always a temporary sensation. A couple hours later, I'd be back to my unremarkable existence doing my best to be responsible but not living life to the fullest. 

"Living my life to the fullest would be selfish, irresponsible, and foolish."

That's what I heard in my head for many years. The few years after college I also didn't know what would make me feel like I'm living life to the fullest. It took some experimentation with different jobs to figure out what kind of work would make life meaningful for me.

Now I know what I need to do to really carpe diem in my own way. This year I started to pretend that I would not live past the year. I asked myself the following: if I knew that I would die on December 31, 2014, what are the things that I would want to accomplish, attempt, or make before that date? 

This has been a really great way to help me prioritize the different people and things in my life. I ask myself, "is this something I want to accomplish or attempt before I die?" or "do I want to spend more time with this person/organization before I die?" If the answer to that previous question is YES, I do what I need to do in order to start or complete it. If the answer is NO, I find a way to stop or go a different direction. Maybes are put on the back burner.

I think that actually following one's dreams always seems impossible because there are so many perceived obstacles, including financial ones. I know that I have friends that say, "well of course I can seize the day and go on that dream trip around the world if I had a million dollars!" Or, "if were younger/older" or "if I didn't have responsibilities" etc. I think that most of those are just excuses. If traveling to 100 countries was an important thing I wanted to experience before death and I am not an oil tycoon, I can start by planning a shoestring budget trip to Canada or Mexico. One country at a time, one can live that dream. On December 30th I think that I would feel pretty good about my life by having gone on one small trip to Mexico rather than if I had worked every day that year trying to save thousands of dollars for fancy vacation that didn't happen.

Today, before I heard the sad news about Robin Williams, I got my first two tattoos. I wanted tattoos all my adult life and finally I got them. As I left the tattoo parlor I had a flash of panic that lasted about 1 second. My old self flinched but my new self is relieved that if I die at the end of this year, I would die having done one of the things I've wanted to do for a long time but never had the guts to do. 

There are many other things I want to do and I will keep chiseling away at those projects so that I can die happy knowing that I've earnestly made an attempt to seize the day, one thing or day at a time. 

I can seize the day as a compassionate, responsible, and sensible person.

Two must-read books for musicians

There are many excellent books written for musicians of course. I just want to mention two of them right now.

1) The Musicians Way by Gerald Klickstein

This book should be handed out to all undergraduate music students along with their diplomas when they graduate. Or maybe during their junior year. This book is probably most suited to "classical" music performers but I'm sure it's a worthwhile read for all musicians. Mr. Klickstein also runs a fabulous website with many support materials and articles to help musicians navigate their careers. I highly recommend subscribing to his newsletter too. He covers topics such as how to practice, get started in your career, and maintain a musically satisfying career - including how to avoid injury. I can't imagine a better how-to book for the classical musician just starting out in their career.

Gerald Klickstein, is Director of the Music Entrepreneurship & Career Center at the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. (He's also an excellent public speaker. I met him at the 2014 Chamber Music America conference when he moderated a panel of concert presenters and artist managers.)

2) Making Your Life as an Artist by Andrew Simonet

This book resonated with me so strongly that I cried while reading the first three chapters. Andrew Simonet is a choreographer and is living the artists' life. He articulates our struggle and reasons for making art so clearly that it makes me completely trust him. So when he hit me over the head with practical and real-world advice about what I need to do to keep on making art, I kept reading carefully. None of his practical advice is new to me. I've heard them many times (manage your time, don't work 24/7, delegate, manage your money, etc.) but this time I think this advice will stick. [I seriously hope so...for my sake.] 

Even if your eyes glaze over at the thought of bookkeeping or time management, I hope you read the book for the first 3 chapters. If you're not an artist-type and want to know what it's like to be an artist, you should read this book too. 

And the best part: this book is available in paperback and as a FREE e-book. Get it!!

A Busy Summer!

I'm in Boscawen, NH right now on the last night of A/B Duo's two-week residency at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute. It has been a magical two weeks full of rehearsals and amazing food in a beautiful setting. (We are writing up a blog post about it soon so keep an eye out for it on the A/B Duo website or subscribe to our emails.)

(Of course I made friends with Snoozer and Jessie - the dogs at Avaloch)

As soon as I get home I will start working on learning (in earnest) three brand new pieces for flute, piano, and electronics written by Isaac Schankler, Emma O'Halloran, and Lachlan Hughes. My Australian pianist friend Jacob Abela will be staying with me for a few days and we will premiere these pieces on July 11, 2014 in San Francisco. Jake and I met while Fellows at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival last year. While Jake is in town, we will also be recording these works for my next "solo" CD project!

In August, my summer of non-stop practicing continues as I prepare for A/B Duo's first "serious" recording project at the Eastman School of Music. 

I'll be hanging out at the National Flute Association Annual Convention in Chicago in August too so please let me know if you are planning to be there as well!

And on August 30th, I get to play a solo piccolo piece called penes:grammes by Thomas Dempster at the Festival of Contemporary Music in San Francisco (also at the Center for New Music!). (Sat. Aug 30th, 7:30PM)

This summer is shaping up to be even more music-filled than the last - exactly what I hoped! 


A new A/B Duo video:

Performing Isla for flute, vibraphone and live audio processing (2012) by Ian Dicke at Avaloch Farm Music Institute on June 9th

Kong Must Dead: Follow Me

Ben Hjertmann, a Banglewood friend, has a band called Kong Must Dead. I recorded a few measures of music for this song on alto flute. Unfortunately I couldn't be there for this live performance but you can still hear my alto flute sounds in the opening of the song. Enjoy!

Kong Must Dead Live at Constellation Chicago, 1/26/14 from Psychopomp, CA music and lyrics by Ben Hjertmann Personnel (this song only) Live Band: Ben Hjertmann, voice Owen Davis, drums Stuart Seale, piano & keyboard Jessica Ling, violin Chris Fisher-Lochhead, viola Ben Willis, bass Brendon Randall-Myers, guitar Andy Junk, banjo & ukelele Pre-Recorded: Meerenai Shim, alto flute Luke Gullickson, piano Video courtesy of Peter Ferry. One thousand thanks, Peter!

Sandra Seefeld

Terrible and goofy photo of Sandy and I, but it's the only one I could find. My selfie-taking technique has come a long way since 2007, when this photo was taken.

Terrible and goofy photo of Sandy and I, but it's the only one I could find. My selfie-taking technique has come a long way since 2007, when this photo was taken.

I just found out that flutist Sandra Seefeld passed away on February 17th.  She was 69 years young. I didn't know her very well but I studied with her briefly for about a total of 2 weeks over a 3 year period from 2005-2008 at the Body Mapping, Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais course for flutists called Summerflute.

I'm sure that those closer to her can share more about her but I just needed to acknowledge that Sandy made a huge impact on my flute playing, teaching, and life even though I never spent that much time with her. Often we take a few lessons here and there with a teacher or go to a masterclass and learn things that we carry with us and pass on to our students for many years to come. I did tell Sandy that I learned a lot from her and thanked her in our few email exchanges since 2008 but I wish I had just sent her one more thank you note.

Sandy was a great teacher because she was an excellent listener. If she had an agenda or ego, I couldn't tell. She inspired me to take my first Qi Gong classes. She taught me to actively use my imagination while practicing and learning new pieces. She showed me how to have fun while practicing - something I had long lost in my college and post-college years - I'm not even sure that I *ever* knew that one could have fun while practicing. I'm sure that she would have given me excellent perspective on musical interpretation and technique, etc if that's what I needed at the time when I was working with her. She just knew what I needed at the time and that's why she is still such a huge influence on my playing and life. She didn't try to show me how she much she knew about everything (and I'm sure she knew pretty much everything!!) because she never made our interactions about her.

My last email exchange with Sandy was in March 2012 when she purchased my first CD and then emailed me to congratulate me. I should have sent her one when it came out to say thank you. 


Moral of my story:

If you have had teachers who you still think of fondly, tell them now how much you appreciate them and thank them every year in a card or email. Even if you just took a handful of lessons with them.  Don't just say, "oh, they won't remember me" and put it off.  Even if they don't remember you, I'm sure they'd like a note. They won't live forever, unfortunately.

If you are a teacher now, you may have long lasting influence on a student that you've only taught in one lesson. Just remember that. Even on days when you are tired from teaching 10 hours in a row... what you do matters. Some random student might think that you're the best thing since the Boehm system or Cooper scale [flute humor, sorry] even after a couple lessons.


I'm sure there will be an obituary written up about Sandy Seefeld soon but here's what I know:

Sandy Seefeld taught for many years at the Miami University of Ohio. She studied at the Eastman School of Music and at Northwestern University. She gave a Carnegie Hall debut in 1981 that I'm sure was so much better than this limp review in the New York Times.

Sandy Seefeld was an amazing human being and flute teacher that changed my life.

2012 Call for Scores Wrap Up

To the 172 composers who answered my 2012 call for scores and sent me compositions for one flutist, thank you very much! Also, thank you for waiting over 1 year for me to get back to you. I feel terrible that I wasn't able to get through all the scores until now. (I was expecting about 30 submissions so once I got over 70 or so, I could't keep up and sort of put my head in the sand for a while!)

I received many fantastic pieces. Almost all of the 172+ pieces (because many composers sent me more than 1 piece) were really great but I was looking for pieces that will fit certain types of programs and projects I had in mind. Numerous well-written compositions were not selected. Many worthy and excellent composers were not (yet) commissioned - mainly because I do not have the funds! I chose 45 composers/pieces to perform, commission, or record. Some composers I have put on my commission wish-list (for, you know, when I win the lottery...) Some notable outcomes from the call for scores:

  • I recorded Jay C. Batzner's "Mercurial" for flute and tape and David E. Farrell's "moonwave" for solo flute on my last album, The Art of Noise.
  • My flute and percussion duo (A/B Duo) is commissioning a piece from Andrea La Rose.
  • I am commissioning a piece for flute plus effects from Doug Laustsen
  • I am planning a solo flute and electronics tour of the US (6 cities, so far) for February 2015 with some of the pieces I received through this call for scores. I'm very excited about this tour.  I am working on finding funding for this right now so I hope it works out. (I may just take this show on tour no matter what! - you know, hitchhike from city to city and wash dishes in any restaurant that'll take me, busk/beg on street corners - until I slowly make it to the next show…)
  • I will slowly work in the rest of the pieces I chose into my repertoire and start performing them later this year. 

Thank you again composers for writing cool stuff for us performers! 

PS. A/B Duo has a call for scores going on right now (accepting scores until March 10, 2014) if you're interested. My percussionist Chris Jones is in charge of this one so I promise it will be run efficiently and on time!

Advice to composers just starting out

How to send unsolicited scores or make first contact with someone you don’t know.

DO:

  1. Research. Does this person/group perform new music and do they enjoy learning new music? (You can still send scores to folks who don’t specialize or perform new music but set realistic expectations)
  2. Be professional and honest.
  3. Ask in your first email (or first meeting/tweet/contact) if you can send them a score or mp3 link, etc. Or include detailed links to pdfs or recordings in the first email. (If you don’t get a response, try a different method like facebook or twitter. Stalk performer/group in a non-creepy way by networking in person at concerts or via social networks…or ask a mutual acquaintance for an introduction. After you make first contact, go to #5, then #3.)
  4. Send a score/mp3 if requested.
  5. Keep in touch. Follow up with an email once a year or once every 6 months (but not too often) with your upcoming concerts. (It can be a personal email or mass 
    email.) Make friends with them using social media if appropriate. Network in person if possible.
  6. Be patient and think long term. It may take a while for someone to actually look at your score and consider it for performance. If you do a good job with points 2 and 5, your music will get considered at some point.
  7. Be a nice person. Unless you’re such an incredible genius that others don’t mind that you have no social skills, you will need to be a pleasant person. If you’re not already a pleasant person to be around, learn how to become one without being fake.

DO NOT:

  1. Burn bridges. It’s a small, small music world. If you don’t know how this works, ask a friend.
  2. Send an unsolicited score to a stranger and then send follow up email demanding a reply. (“Um, I never asked for this score. Why am I being scolded by this stranger?”) Your piece will never be considered.
  3. Be dishonest. It’s a small world, people will find out….and then they will talk about it.

EXAMPLE of a highly effective first email (this is an actual email with identifying info left out):

Hi Meerenai,
I am a composer at [institution name] and have noticed that you are active as a performer of contemporary music. I have several works for flute that might interest you. You can listen to them at the link below by double clicking on the title of the piece. All of the works below are available for you to listen to. You can go to
[composer’s web site] for more info on me.

[link to files]

Works that might be of interest are:
[name of composition] for flute and computer-generated sounds (on CD)9 minutes
[name of composition] for flute and piano (8.5 min)
[name of composition] for flute, violin, cello, and computer generated sounds (on CD) 8.5 min
[name of composition] for flute, viola, and piano (12 min)
[name of composition] for flute, violin, cello, and percussion (one player on hand instruments) 17 min
[name of composition] for flute and percussion ensemble (12 min)
Let me know if you are interested in getting any music and thanks for listening.

Best,
[composer]

RESULT:
I emailed this person back and am definitely looking for a reason to program some of this music. FYI, it’s December 2011 now and I received this email in June 2011, I still don’t know when I will get to program some of this music even though I want to play them. But if a colleague asks me for recommendations for cool new stuff, I can forward this email to them. 

[Update - January 1, 2014 - My flute and percussion duo has commissioned this composer. To find out who it is, check out our blog post about this composer.]

WHY THIS EMAIL IS GOOD:
This composer made my life easier by listing every composition (and details like instrumentation/duration) and offering a link to where the pieces can be found. This email was successful because I was not asked to do more work. Everything was laid out and I could just listen to the pieces that interested me. (Also, the tone of the email made me feel like they meant to send this to me specifically, and they weren’t just sending emails to every flutist on earth.)

Please don’t make someone you’ve never met before spend 10 minutes searching for stuff on your website because they won’t. Best case scenario: the performer/group will just never get around to going to your website and they will forget that you sent an email that did not help them at all. Worst case scenario: you will make them feel obligated to go on a wild score chase around your website and they will refuse to do this or put it off until later…and when you email to follow up, you might make them feel guilty or obligated. No one wants to feel like a jerk. Please don’t make me feel like the bad guy because I didn’t have time to look at your website when I didn’t request any music from you in the first place.

AFTER DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT, you may still not hear back from the performer or ensemble. This sucks and I’m sorry. We have to trust that the performer/ensemble means well but just did not get around to looking at your stuff. Everyone is busy. Or they can’t find a way to make your piece work with their current projects. Or they just don’t like it. In any case, it’s highly likely that they just didn’t get around to emailing you back. This is why doing a good job with “DO #2 #5 and #7” are important – they will know who you are and will either give you a chance, or feedback, or recommend your piece to another performer/group at some point.

GENERAL ADVICE: The most successful people I know in composition or performance are all genuinely nice people. If you are just starting out, do not forget this.

(if you have other good advice I should add to this list, please email me at flutemusic@gmail.com and I will add it if it might be helpful for composers making their first contact with performers/groups.)

UPDATE: Here’s a great article called “Composition Applications for Beginners” written by Jen Wang of the new music collective Wild Rumpus.

 

Useful Flute Accessories

Here are some of my favorite flute gadgets.  I don’t have any connection to or interest in these companies, except that I love the products and hope they stay in production for a long time so that I can use and recommend them to my students.

Scroll down to see reviews of:

  • Piccolo Flag
  • Thumbalina/Thumbport
  • Case Closed Flute Cases
  • Altieri Flute and Laptop Bag
  • Zonda Woodwind Drying Papers
  • BG Pad Dryer

The one accessory that is essential for anyone with a piccolo is a Piccolo Flag. The piccolo flag is a thin microfiber cloth glued onto a skinny rod used to absorb the condensation from inside the piccolo.  I love that the cloth does not bunch up or get caught in the piccolo and I don’t have to take the piccolo apart to dry it.  The small size of the piccolo means that a little bead of condensation inside can make a big difference in how it plays.  It is also very easy to clean (I use a gel-like hand soap or dish washing liquid, rinse and air dry).  I have a one-piece piccolo flag that I leave out at home and a two-piece flag that came with my Burkart piccolo that I keep in the piccolo case.

The Thumbalina and Thumbport are devices used to aid in balancing the flute.  Both of these devices help the flutist balance the flute on the right thumb.  This prevents the flutist from developing a death-grip on the flute with the right hand.  And it frees the fingers to move easily for quick technique.  (Just try tensing your Thumb now and then try to move the other 4 fingers quickly.  Now relax your thumb and move your fingers.  See?  Easy thumb = easy technique!)  The Thumbalina is made of cork and it is attached to the flute via double-sided tape.  It creates a kind of shelf so that the flute can rest on the thumb without rolling backwards for easy balancing.  The Thumbport is a plastic device that can be removed and repositioned quickly and easily.  It also assists in balancing the flute on the thumb.  The Thumbalina is easy to use but it’s not as easy to move around and once you attach it to your flute, you don’t want to take it off.  But once you find that perfect spot for the Thumbalina, it’s great.  The Thumbport can be easily removed and moved around but it’s not as easy to figure out how to use them.  It takes some patience and experimentation.   Depending on which device you get, some modification to your flute case may be required if you want to keep one of these attached to your flute while in the case.

Once of my favorite flute cases is made by Case Closed Flute Cases.  It’s very rugged and protects my flute very well.  But the most attractive part is that it can be locked.  At airports, I have had to let airport security inspect my flute case.  I have heard horror stories of regular flute cases being opened upside down, etc.  With my Case Closed case, I lock the compartment that contains the flute.  If they want to open it, they have to wait for me to give them the key.  I then have time to calmly explain that I can unlock it,  it’s a flute, very valuable and I’d like a supervisor there, etc.

My current flute bag is the Altieri Flute and Laptop Bag (#100). It’s has backpack straps and comes with a shoulder strap. The backpack straps can be tucked away if you don’t want to use it as a backpack but the backpack straps are so comfortable that I only use it as a backpack. There is a compartment for sheetmusic and a laptop. The main compartment has two pouches: one for the flute and another that can fit a piccolo (I use it to hold my water bottle sometimes).

Zonda woodwind drying papers are one of my favorites for absorbing condensation from flute/piccolo keys.  They are thicker than cigarette papers and absorbs water very well without falling apart.

Another excellent way to keep flute pads dry is the BG Pad Dryer. The reusable microfiber cloth wedges are washable and last almost forever. I would not use the these on piccolos because the cloth is a bit too thick to make it easy to use on piccolos.

I’ll be sure to add more of my favorite gadgets soon!

Call for scores update part 2

Last summer I asked composers to send me cool stuff for one flutist/performer.  I thought I would get maybe 30 responses but I had over 100. I was supposed to respond by October to let everyone know if I would play their piece or not.  Well it’s now mid-January and I’m only half-way through the scores. A part of me is tempted to just go through the list really quickly (and likely just saying no to most) just so I can get through them – especially since I feel so ashamed at how ridiculously behind I am – but I will continue at my tortoise-esque pace.

Dear Composers who sent me scores,

I honestly did not know how much time it would take.  I’m sincerely so sorry for the delay. If you have not heard from me since my email acknowledging receipt of your score, I did not forget about you. Thank you for your patience!

Sincerely,

Meerenai

Flute Makers and Instrument Dealers

Just a few notable flute makers and dealers.  This is, of course, not a complete list. I’m just listing a few that I support.

Flute makers:

Instrument dealers:

Interview: Composer Noah Luna

Noah Luna

Noah Luna

When I met Noah Luna, several years ago, he was a college student at CSUEB. He was working at a local music store at the time so I ran into him quite often. By the time he was a masters student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he won some composition competitions, started Beauty in Cacophony Press, and wrote a short flute and guitar piece for me. When I was ready to embark on a series of commissioning projects, he was on top of my list.

Thank you Noah, for participating in my first composer-collaborator interview:

M: How and when did you decide to become a composer?

Noah Luna: I decided to be a composer at the ripe old age of 16. I was in love with the game Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, particularly the music. I thought to myself: “Whose job is it to write the music to a video game? I wanna be that guy…” After finding out that there is SO much more than that out there, I fell in love with studying and writing music of all genres. Any job that allows me to write concert music, rock, jazz, and hip-hop, and still pay my bills was a dream come true.

M: Where did you get the idea or inspiration for Entrometido?

Noah Luna: Entrometido was a unique scenario. I heard cellist Jerry Liu practicing a piece he wrote which included cello percussion and I was flabbergasted. I had to write something that included those sounds alongside more traditional playing. I decided to write a piece that explored the two instruments as two separate and timberally diverse instruments, but the thing they had in common was this thunky percussive quality they could achieve when not played traditionally. I didn’t want it to be gimmicky – I wanted it to just show that the instruments were capable of so much more than they are given credit for. And, that that could be the basis for a programatic coupling: two instruments, under-appreciated, finding each other despite all their differences, and making beautiful music.

M: One of the many things that impress me about your work is how quickly you are able to complete your compositions. It seems to me that you completed Entrometido in less than one month. Is there a secret to your process? Do you have special brain food or routine that helps you write so quickly?

Noah Luna: My teacher, Rafael Hernandez, taught me the value of streamlined compositional technique, as well as the importance of meeting deadlines. He gave me the idea for the Sumi-e Competition that my company sponsored a few years back: a 24 hour composition competition. It got composers to just get to business and crank out their best stuff in a day. You know, get over themselves and just make great music. I loved that. But, the idea became so much more to me with regard to my technique overall: just get over myself, get out of the way of the music, and let it come. Once you get out of the way, music comes much more naturally, and much more quickly. Commissioning parties, and the ensembles they contract, are very appreciative of a composer that can meet deadlines. That’s a big part of why I have been commissioned repeatedly and that all the ensembles I work with are likely to do so again. Not enough composers are aware of how much deadlines matter.

Brainfood? Mexican food – I live by the stuff. Oh, and a good craft beer to wash it down. Ask anyone I know and they will tell you that I swear by Brother Thelonious by North Coast Brewery. Inspiration in a glass…

M: You are writing a piece for the Berkeley Symphony for their Under Construction Composers Program right now. What is it like to work with such a great organization, composer Gabriela Lena Frank and music director Joana Carneiro?

Noah Luna: Berkeley Symphony, Gabriela, and that whole program are a dream come true. No exaggeration: Gabriela is one of the most helpful, nurturing, and brilliant composers I have ever known. PLUS, the Berkeley Symphony musicians are top-notch in every regard. I cannot imagine a better program for a young composer to be a part of. I plan to get a lot out of this program and use it to make as big a splash as I can in the New Orchestral Music community.

M: When can we hear your piece performed by the Berkeley Symphony?

Noah Luna: April 29th. Visit http://www.berkeleysymphony.org/ for more information.

M: You have a baby named Violet and I hear that you have “morning music time with Violet and daddy” every morning. What kind of music do you listen to together? Does Violet have a favorite composer, other than her daddy?

Noah Luna: Morning Music Time is the highlight of my day, every day, no question. She loves old vocal standards: Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, etc. That’s the music I love as well. But, I’m not just projecting (I swear!) When she hears a trumpet or a saxophone tooting out the opening bars to “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” or “I Should Care” she freaks out and starts giggling uncontrollably. As for classical music she likes, she digs the big Romantics: Rachmaninoff, Wagner, Brahms. I think she just likes anything loud so she can Ooh and Aah and squeal along and not have it drown out the music.