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Choral Conducting Book Video Clips Now Available Online

Choral Conducting book coverAs I reported recently, both my books have been reissued in paperback. This is great news for anyone who was interested in them but put off by the cost of academic hardcovers.

However, the new print run hasn't included the DVD that accompanied the original publication of the second book, the one on choral conducting. This included footage of four conductors in action, each working in a different choral tradition, and formed the primary material for the detailed discussions in Part III of the book.

In order that new purchasers don't have to miss out on the full experience, I have uploaded all the clips to a youtube playlist. I have left this unlisted - so you can't just find it by searching - as the original filming was done for the purpose of accompanying the book, not general distribution. But I'll be more than happy to send a link to the playlist to anyone who has bought the book and doesn't have access to the video clips - just drop me an email to ask.

Look! Look! Book! Book!

Paperbacks: though without the lovely cover pic on the barbershop one...Paperbacks: though without the lovely cover pic on the barbershop one...

The repetition in my title is for two reasons. First, because *both* of my books are now out in paperback. And second, because this was a surprise to me. The copies just arrived by post, without any prior communication from the publishers.

But a very pleasant surprise, I have to say. Both books came out originally in hardback, produced by an academic publisher which mostly focused on specialised material printed in small numbers and marketed primarily to libraries. As as an academic reader, this seemed perfectly normal to me. Most of my reading of specialist material takes place in (or from) libraries too. They are very useful amenities.

Brief hiatus...

Just to let you know not to expect new blog posts for a couple of weeks. My attention is going to be on other things for a goodly chunk of August, and I am taking the opportunity for a proper digital detox while I'm at it.

Normal service will resume later in the month. I'm reasonably confident that you won't run out of stuff to browse in my archives in the meantime...

On Bullies, Power, and Politicians

Some years ago I was walking in the park and met a group of children from a local nursery. One of them looked me in the eye and said, ‘You are wee-wee and poo-poo’. I confess I did not have an adequate reply to this; I was struck dumb by a combination of surprise to be so accosted, and the dawning revelations that followed on the nature of insults and their function in human relationships. The impasse was broken by one of the nursery staff who remarked, accurately, ‘That’s not very nice, Leon,’ and led him away.

Forgive me if I write a post that looks rather political, and therefore off-topic. Though it’s really about trying to understand human beings, and to process some things I’ve learned through the process of the UK’s recent general election. Helping us harmonise in the wider sense, so to speak.

Seasonal Harmonious Wishes

As is my wont at this time of year, dear reader, I am going to neglect you for a week or so while I go off and do holiday-season things with Real Life People. I imagine you are doing exactly the same, so I hope you won’t feel too abandoned. Indeed, I hope you are feeling snug and loved-up (Northern hemisphere)/ carefree and summery (Southern hemisphere) with geographically-appropriate seasonal joys.

I wrote back in January about goal-setting, and found myself framing my aspirations for 2014 in terms of the qualities of experience I wished it to contain rather than a concrete to-do list. And I guess now is a good moment to check back in and see how that worked.

Testing the waters...

As long-term readers will know, for some years I ran a Mutual Mentoring Scheme for Arrangers. This initially emerged as the number of requests I was getting for help grew unmanageable, combined with a realisation about how much I had learned about arranging from helping others. I could have dealt with the first factor just by starting to charge for my time (which I also do if you are still interested in getting my help), but that wouldn't give everyone else the educational benefit of analysing other people's work in progress.

A Christmas Thank You

mag13

Like many choirs, Magenta has had a busy Christmas season, and I always find myself heading into the holiday replete with the satisfaction of how the ensemble consolidates the year’s achievements through this intensive period of activity. I am sure every director feels this wonderful mixture of gratitude and pride when plans come together and the hours of rehearsal translate into delight on the faces of those to whom we sing.

So my Christmas eve post this year is to say thank you. Specifically to the collection of people who form Magenta, and generally, on behalf of choir directors to the singers without whom we could not make music.

...And Thanks for All the Cake....

Just before the recent LABBS convention, I came to the decision that I would stand down from the role of barbershop contest judge at the end of 2013. I have told my judging colleagues, and I am choosing to tell you in my blog so that it won’t be too much of a surprise to you next time we meet at a barbershop event and I’m not on duty. With any luck we may even get to talk about something other than this when we next meet!

It is simply that I have been serving as a registered judge for 13 years and feel like that's enough for now, thank you.

You know how it is when somebody gives you a piece of cake, and you think, 'Ooh how exciting!' And then they offer you another piece, and you think, 'Lovely!' When they offer you a third piece, the cake is as nice as it ever was, but you're a bit less excited by it. Sensible people don't wait until they've stopped enjoying it to stop eating.

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