Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Andrew Solomon’s ‘Far from the Tree’

Posted by Susan Tomes on 28 September 2017 under Books, Concerts, Musings  •  1 Comment

I’m reading Andrew Solomon’s fascinating ‘Far from the Tree’, a 900-page study of parents ‘who learn to deal with their exceptional children and find profound meaning in doing so’. Many of the chapters focus on conditions which are obviously challenging for families: autism, schizophrenia, deafness, disability, crime, sexual orientation, dwarfs. In the middle of the […]

Scotland reaching out to the world

Posted by Susan Tomes on 11 September 2017 under Musings  •  6 Comments

On Saturday I enjoyed reading Ian Jack’s fine Guardian article about the Queensferry Crossing, our striking new bridge over the Forth (see photo taken from the Pentland Hills yesterday). Many of his comments resonated with me, a fellow Scot. He recalled how the previous Forth Bridges were designed and built by British engineers with British […]

Old jury notes from music competitions

Posted by Susan Tomes on 7 September 2017 under Concerts, Musings, Teaching, Travel  •  3 Comments

Recently I came across folders of notes I had made when serving on international competition juries over the past decade or more. Pages and pages of detailed notes on people’s playing. Most of them played for at least half an hour, sometimes an hour, so there was plenty of time to make notes. I did […]

The cult of the individual

Posted by Susan Tomes on 3 September 2017 under Daily Life, Musings, Teaching  •  10 Comments

Yesterday I had a message from someone who organises the masterclasses I teach at a university. This year she told me that there won’t be any masterclasses. Students don’t like them and don’t see why they should have to attend them if the music being taught is ‘not relevant’ to them. Masterclasses are an ‘add-on’, […]

The lust for loudness

Posted by Susan Tomes on 31 August 2017 under Concerts, Daily Life, Musings, Teaching  •  1 Comment

Articles and letters in The Guardian recently have explored why some of today’s singers suffer from vocal problems, develop nodules on their vocal cords from singing so loudly, etc.  Curiously, the use of powerful amplification has not taken away the need to sing loudly: rather, it seems to create a vicious circle in which everything […]