From Erica Sipes: Twitter in the concert hall?

Students and faculty at Virginia Tech's Tweet-seat event, photo courtesy of Virginia Tech

From Greg: Erica helps us here with a question many of us ask. If we break the traditional silence of the concert hall — and the sitting motionless that goes with it — will people still listen with the care and attention we expect? You'll see that she herself wondered about this, but by taking part in something she'd never tried before, she learned… But let her tell you.  I almost always play the role of the "good girl" but a few weekends ago I found myself in a position where I was being glared at with obvious distaste and disgust within the … [Read more...]

From Erica Sipes: Fear of talking

Working Together

In my first guest post here on Greg's blog I wrote about a performance I recently did of Franz Schubert's song cycle, Winterreise, and the words I spoke beforehand to the audience.  So many people I perform with seem surprised that I enjoy this aspect of performing and that I feel so strongly about sharing in this way.  It's made me realize how daunting it can be for many musicians, whether they are students, amateurs, or professionals, and it is this fear that is the inspiration for this post. I've had my share of public speaking … [Read more...]

From Erica Sipes: Words before Winterreise


 [From Greg: A followup to Erica's guest post yesterday, about the performance of Winterreise she did in a small town. Here she tells us what she said before the performance, to introduce the piece to an audience that doesn't know classical music. This is one of the best introductions to a classical piece I've ever seen. An inspiration, in my view, for us all.] Ed and I are so glad that you have joined us here today.  I’ve had the opportunity to perform this incredible set of songs before but I was struck today, as my husband and I were … [Read more...]

From Erica Sipes: Performing Schubert in bluegrass country

Image taken by Floyd resident Jim Best, who attended our performance and kindly shared this photo with me afterwards.

[From Greg: Again I'm happy to introduce a guest blogger, my friend Erica Sipes, a pianist and cellist who plays and teaches in rural Virginia. Erica brings a perspective that I certainly don't have: She tells us what it's like to bring a new audience to classical music in small towns. For an overview of her thoughts on that — invaluable, I think — see her own blog posts about the classical city mouse, and the classical country mouse. In the post you'll read here (which she and I decided we'd crosspost from her blog)  she talks with deep … [Read more...]