Among my favourite books is The World in Six Songs, by Daniel Levitin. I loved it so much I wrote a series of blog posts in 2009 about a songs challenge I came up with, and even got to talk to the author about it! Recently, I heard about scientific book involving the number six, called Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe, by Martin Rees. This one didn’t interest me that much, with “deep forces” being beyond what I could fully understand, or at least be willing to commit the time to doing, seeing what those numbers were. Before I went to do that, though, I thought of the six numbers of “my universe”, as in a balance of the physical universe I knew and understood, as well as the emotional one that had the most meaning to me. I did it to see if I could hit at least one of those numbers in Just Six Numbers, to see if what I thought were the important numbers were truly as important as someone more knowledgeable of the “deep forces” of the universe deemed them to be. The results are below, but before you read on and maybe get influenced by my choices, try making a list of just six numbers in “your universe”, with “your universe” being whatever ways you want to define it.
About a month ago, I saw an article on the BBC, with video, about pianist James Rhodes and his attempt to teach the masses to play a Bach prelude (in C, BWV 846) on the piano in six weeks at about 40 minutes per day. I thought it was convincing. I liked how it wasn’t about scales and other monotonous piano and mandatory musical teachings. And I thought six weeks at 40 minutes a day was a reasonable commitment I could commit to just to see if I could do it as a catalyst to a more serious attempt at learning piano. So off I went to order a cheap keyboard and James Rhodes’ How to Play the Piano book, to be supplemented by his website, to learn the piece below!
The Bergen Facebook Addiction Test was developed by Cecilie Schou Andreassen, Doctor of Psychology and head of the Facebook Addiction study at the University of Bergen (UiB). It consists of six quick questions, which is great to get through. However, it is self-diagnosed. So if you are in denial about how you should truly answer the question, well, the test won’t identify you as a Facebook addict and you’ll continue to be in denial.
Do you believe in signs? Signs in omens?
I certainly do, and I saw one today that has me convinced the Vancouver Canucks will win the Stanley Cup in 2011.
Look at the logos of the two teams the way they will be shown during the finals, with the home advantage team customarily on the right. What do you see?
There are few things that will shut me up as quickly as a classical pianist or conductor talking about the music or humanity of it. In the six episodes of the Encore! with James Conlon series created in 2005 from the Twelfth International Van Cliburn Piano Competition, Maestro James Conlon explores the relationship between the concert pianist’s internal world and the composer’s score with the finalists as his examples. The series premiered on PBS in October 2005 and also featured chamber performances with the Grammy Award-winning Takács Quartet. Eminent pianist and competition juror Menahem Pressler also had a prominent role. He had a beautiful clip talking about playing Beethoven piano sonatas to one of the younger competitors in the 2005 documentary of the competition, In the Heart of Music.
Below are clips from each of the six episodes of the Encore! series, which I will have to see in full one day! Encore! with James Conlon was directed by Andy Sommer and co-produced by Bel Air Media, the Van Cliburn Foundation, and KERA.
But that’s enough of me! I’m going to shut up and listen now! 🙂
Episode 1: Apollo or Dionyssus (with Davide Cabassi)
Episode 2: Plato or Aristotle (with Alexander Kobrin)
Episode 3: Being It or Playing It (with Joyce Yang)
Episode 4: Truth or Beauty (with Chu-Fang Huang)
Episode 5: Technique or Spirit (with Roberto Plano, pianist)