Category: Philosophizing

“Nice” Is Overrated: Farewell, Randi

On Monday I attended the memorial services that marked, in a sense, the last goodbye to my friend and colleague Randi Brandt. One conclusion is that Randi was not a nice person – and I mean that in the best way possible, for reasons I’ll explain here.

Whose Burden Should This Be?

If you saw somebody carrying a heavy load, would you take your knapsack and put it on his or her back? Of course not. Should a healthy person walking up hill ask for a ride from someone in a hand-cranked wheelchair? Of course not. In situations that concrete, it’s pretty easy to assess who can handle more burden and who could stand to be relieved of some. So why do we so often do this with our words and our actions? Why do we take people already burdened by trauma or oppression and unload our own comparatively manageable burdens upon them? The “Love Wins” mantra to which I and so many others have clung for the last three years is predicated on compassion, and we mustn’t lose sight of that amidst philosophical arguments that ring hollow without it.

Is Music Enough?

In times of turbulence (or, I should say, times when for whatever reasons we are acutely aware of turbulence) I and many in my line of work contemplate the big question of whether music is a sufficiently “important” pursuit. My honest answer is “yes and no.”

Farewell to Tennis and Lessons Learned

It’s now been a year and 17 days since my last ever time hitting a tennis ball. Not that I’m keeping track. I miss it tremendously, but I was also determined when I began my “comeback” in earnest to have a different experience when I eventually hung up the racquet than I did the first time that happened. And indeed, the overarching sense is one of gratitude. Gratitude not only for the great experiences, but for what being on the tennis court has taught me about life outside the lines.

40 for 40: Highlights of my work with Henry Lugo

A 40th birthday tribute to a great man and musician with whom I’ve been privileged to share the stage, studio, classroom and car on hundreds of occasions . . .

EDS Awareness Month 2015: Professional Coping Skills

I really appreciate the sentiment when people praise me for overcoming Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. But let’s be clear, I haven’t “overcome” anything. Every day and every time I so much as consider a venture to the piano (or other such instrument), EDS and the corresponding obstacles are central to my consciousness. What is true, however, is [...]

Every Day I Push: Sisyphus as Role Model

What if the notion of failure lost its context? What if the seemingly paradoxical pursuit of the unattainable became, in and of itself, the ultimate goal? Welcome to my life.

Whiplash and Ted Dunbar: Tough Love in Education

One of the most important things I offer as an educator is honesty. While I like to think I am a kind person, I feel I am doing no favors if I allow a musician, especially a young musician, to delude him or herself. It was in that spirit that I went into watching the [...]

Love: Savor Every Moment

We all know that life and just about everything else we see are impermanent. We all know that we need to savor what we have because it may not last. This is especially true of love, that most precious of elements in our universe. We all know this, and yet it is so easy to forget. As the dust settles a bit (hopefully) after a few years marked by loss, I have become more determined to incorporate this awareness into my own life and consciousness.

Are You Sure? MLK, Thich Nhat Hanh and Self-Reflection

Thich Nhat Hanh keeps breathing, MLK lives on and we all can take lessons from both of them to help us learn to question what is real. Whoa.