Study projects
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,147
    For those who are riding out Holy Week without musical duties, has anyone thought about building skills during through their free time? What are some coronavirus-sized learning projects?
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 333
    I am not training anything specific to Church music, but in general musical training, I am continuing with the preparation of a set of sacred music by Bach, that was supposed to be presented (just in a secular recital) right before Holy Week. We've stopped rehearsals (we had a cello, violin and spinnet/harpsichord to accompany, and me (soprano) and my professor (baritone) on voices). That was really coming along well. We'd been rehearsing with the musicians since December. But in any case, we aren't doing the group rehearsals, but I'm continuing refining my parts via skype with my professor, working on phrasing and expression and general vocal quality.

    And I am breaking up music time by re-learning to play the recorder. I played for several years as a teen, including with amateur groups. I have a cheap wooden soprano recorder around the house (very sorry not to have my whole set of good recorders with me, but they are in storage in the US). So I'm practicing medieval music that I happen to have, which suits the instrument, and I sing them too, sometimes. I am enjoying listening to recorder music on youtube.

    And I continue working on learning the prayers and their chants for the Office, in particular Matins, which I don't know very well. The more of that that sticks in the memory, the easier it is to sing the Office, which is a lovely thing to do.
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 752
    I'm thinking about revisiting the 'cours elementarie du plain-chant gregorian to practice my clefs.
  • Well, to begin, I've gained eight pounds. Like so many people I tend to relieve anxiety with food. A certain politician opens his mouth and something reflexively goes into mine.

    I am filling my house confinement time by painting (watercolor) as well as returning to my first love, the piano. I rememorized a Schubert sonata first learned in 1962 and a good chunk of the Bunte Blätter of Robert Schumann performed as a young man in recital sometime in the 1970s. Both of these activities have been remarkably therapeutic.

    While some people may assume all Catholic married couples pray together at home that hasn't been the case in my household. My wife and I were just too busy with our separate demanding careers and just never disciplined ourselves for prayer outside of Mass. But that has changed since the coronavirus crisis. We've begun reading together the daily Mass prayers and readings from my old St. Andrew's Missal plus a few closing prayers printed from various sources as well as reciting the Angelus at noon. I expect these recent practices have become a permanent part of our daily life. Something good has come from this.

    Also, though I've distanced myself from church music since retiring this past summer I locked myself in a room yesterday and sang the Salve Regina, solemn tone. It felt good. Perhaps it's time to start chanting again.
  • ...Perhaps it's time to start chanting again.
    Ha! It's never too late to chant!

    Like Randolph, I am revisiting some youthful repertory. Bach's Italian concerto (which requires some contorted fingering the likes of which happen in but a few of his more complex organ works), the Schubert imprompus, some Brahms and Mozart and Beethoven - and Liszt. I do play my piano regularly, but our current 'stay at home' regimen provides me even more time.

    Also, I am composing the entire propers for the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (in Old Church English) in the style of Lassus's motets for two equal voices.

    Also, as I normally put off and put off correspondence, I now have plenty of time to 'catch up' - actual hand written letters (and the penmanship required to write them) have become an increasing rarity (a lost art, actually) in today's e-mail and computerised world. E-mail has even put all but a stop to genuine telephone conversation.

    I envy Randolph's water colouring. It has been decades since I made any art, though I'm doing some calligraphy these days - particularly of the psalter and proverbs - and certain verses from the Pauline epistles.
    Thanked by 2CCooze CHGiffen
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,543
    speaking of pens, this year i dove back into using a fountain pen, (yup, the one that sucks up ink from a bottle)... it is an extremely tactile experience that gives one an enjoyment where writing is an art... I also do a bit of sketching with it... My mom likes REAL mail, so I write letters to her on letter paper with flowers on it, and send them off with a stamp... imagine.
    3024 x 4032 - 12M
    3024 x 4032 - 11M
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,314
    Nice!
    Thanked by 1francis
  • Nice snow!
    Thank you.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 333
    My mom is a big fan of real letters, too, and we draw doodles to illustrate them. It takes 21 days for a letter to get from Brazil to the US in normal times...
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,543
    JMO... I did not make the snowflakes... lol. My pen has black ink.
  • Well, I did wonder just how you drew them so impeccably and without hint of the human hand. So? They were printed on the paper? Or woodcut perhaps?
  • My mom likes REAL mail, so I write letters to her on letter paper with flowers on it, and send them off with a stamp.


    I thought everyone sent real letters, with stamps. I can't find proper stationer's paper, so I make do with less. Wrote to my dad during his confinement -- and I hope I gave him a sense of 1) not being forgotten by the outside world; 2) the passage of time, since I sent them on a regular, mostly predictable basis.

    If you've fallen out of the habit of writing to people with pen and ink...... for your sake and theirs, take up the habit again.

    Thanked by 1francis
  • JonathanLCJonathanLC
    Posts: 58
    I have been in self-isolation for a while, as I work in China. I have been spending my time learning the Erhu. It finally no longer sounds like a cat having kittens, so I feel that my time has been well spent. I have always wanted to learn this instrument, and I have owned one for almost a year-and-a-half, I now have the opportunity to learn how to play it.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 248
    We’ve been learning about unemployment law and finding menial work on Craigslist.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,543
    MJO... that is the printed paper... you will see my little poem on the second sheet is a play on the printed graphic.