Dallin Crump

music

It's a Thanksgiving miracle! I wasn't expecting my clarinet to be repaired for at least another week or so, but I got a text from the shop late in the afternoon today that it was ready to be picked up.

A loose key mount has been fixed, several key pads and corks have been replaced, and it's been oiled inside and out. When I got it home I played (fumbled my way through) some scales and an etude, and I felt that old but familiar joy that comes from playing a musical instrument.

I'm hoping to be consistent in practicing every day and get my “chops” back so that I can audition for our community orchestra or band.

The timing couldn't have been better. On the eve of Thanksgiving, I have been reminded how thankful I am for music and for musical talents.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 58) #music #hobbies

Streaming music services like Apple Music and Spotify provide unprecedented convenience and instant access to more music than we've ever had before. But when it comes to my favorite music – music I want to be assured I can listen to whenever I want – I still purchase or burn CDs.

I work from home, so I don't drive very much. When I do drive, it's usually my trusty 2005 Honda Civic, manufactured two years before the first iPhone. It has a basic sound system with radio and a CD player and no aux input or USB ports. If I want to listen to music of my choice, it has to be on a CD. I used to have a Bluetooth FM transmitter that allowed me to play music from my phone through FM radio, but the reception and sound quality were not great. I prefer CDs.

But the main reason I still like CDs is that the music in your streaming music library may not always be available when you want to listen to it. Numerous times, regardless of the service, certain tracks in my library that I have been able to listen to before have suddenly become unavailable due to arbitrary licensing agreements. Some licensees like to rotate their music through different services over time. So they may make an album exclusively available on Apple Music for several months, then switch to Amazon Music, then switch to Spotify, etc. What good is it to have access to millions of tracks when you can't listen to the specific ones you want to?

So I have learned that if I want to absolutely guarantee my favorite music is available to listen to any time I want to, I either purchase it on CD and rip it to my library, or purchase it in a downloadable form – usually Bandcamp or another DRM-free provider – and burn it to CD. I like to have both digital and physical copies for redundancy and backup purposes.

There's something almost rebellious about listening to a CD or a standalone digital audio file in 2022. No internet connection is required. Nobody's tracking me. No subscription is required. It's just me and the music. As it once was. As it should be.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 51) #tech #music

Listening to one of my music playlists on random, I was reminded of the existence of a beautiful piece of music performed by the supremely talented Norwegian soprano Sissel.

In the summer of 2019 she performed with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. The entire concert is remarkable and worth watching. But one song in particular stood out above the rest for me and many who heard it.

You can't tell from the video, but all 18,000+ people in the audience were on their feet during the lengthy applause after the song. They knew they had just experienced something heavenly.

Sissel's performance of Slow Down by Chuck Girard, arranged by Sam Cardon, is one that I keep coming back to. It soothes and heals, reminds me to stop and take a deep breath. It refocuses me on what is most important. It reminds me that God is near.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 49) #music #faith #Christianity #intentionism

I accidentally left a Pluto TV stream running overnight (the Judge Judy channel, don't judge me). I don't know what my data cap is with Comcast Xfinity, but I'm probably at risk of hitting it this month. So now seems like a good time to try an experiment. For the remainder of November, I am not going to stream any video or audio for personal use.

With one exception: I am a huge fan of the Star Wars TV series Andor (you need to watch it whether or not you are a Star Wars fan), and I will be streaming that when new episodes are available on Wednesdays. Unfortunately there is no other way to watch it right now and I am too invested in it.

Aside from that single exception, I will be relying on physical media or digital files already on my computer, as well as old-fashioned over-the-air broadcast TV and radio.

Perhaps I will get a little extra reading and music practice in, as well. I just started Book 4 of the Wheel of Time series. And while my clarinet will be in the shop for a few weeks, I have my penny whistles, recorder, and Native American flute!

Can I survive without YouTube and Apple Music??!?

(Yes. Of course.)

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 46) #music #TV #movies #tech

It's been at least a couple decades since my clarinet was last taken in for maintenance and repairs, so this was long overdue.

I know the local high school band director and asked him if he knew of a good repair shop. Today I took my clarinet to the one he recommended and let the repairman know of the specific issues I was having. In addition to the repairs I also asked him to oil it inside and out (the wood needs oil to prevent from drying out and cracking) and replace any faulty corks and pads. It'll cost at least $200, when all is said and done, but that's less than a complete overhaul (full re-cork and re-pad) which costs over $400.

This will be money well spent. It's an old Buffet Crampon R13 and it belonged my father, who taught high school and elementary school band for 41 years. He gave it to me when I started playing the clarinet in 4th grade and it's been my primary instrument all through elementary school, high school, college, and beyond. To say that I have played the heck out of it would be an understatement. So much amazing music has been played on it and it's held up remarkably well – except when I was in college I had to get one of the sections replaced when the original developed a crack that was irreparable.

My son (only child) plays the trumpet and piano. So I'm hoping to keep my clarinet in tip top shape so that one day I can pass it along to a grandchild or someone I am sure will appreciate it and play it. Taking it in for maintenance and repairs is a small price to pay for (hopefully) more decades of musical enjoyment to come.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 45) #music #hobbies

Yesterday evening I started practicing some scales on my clarinet and something felt off. I discovered that one of the key mounts was loose and negatively affecting the function of several keys. I could try to repair it myself, but I'm no expert and wouldn't want to make the problem worse or break something else inadvertently. Also, it's been a very long time since I had my clarinet serviced by a proper repair technician who checks all the corks, pads, screws, etc. to make sure everything is in tip-top shape. It's probably best for me to take it in for repairs and maintenance before I start seriously playing it again.

So now I have to find a reliable repair person or shop with a good reputation, and that's not always easy, especially living in a semi-rural area.

Years ago when I lived in Phoenix and played the clarinet every day, I found a reliable musical instrument repairman through word-of-mouth. He worked out of his home and was among the best at what he did. I need to find another guy or gal like that.

This is just a little setback. I am going to try to be persistent and get back to playing again, whatever it takes.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 42) #music #hobbies

Tonight I played my clarinet for the first time in a couple years. I was ashamed that I had to get the vacuum out and clean off the layer of dust that was caked to the outside of the case, having sat in my closet untouched for so long.

But as soon as I found a good reed and was able to produce that clear, warm, earthy tone that only the clarinet can make, it was like meeting an old friend. I was relieved to discover that I still had “the stuff”. My technique is rusty and I need to build back the endurance in my embouchure (the shape my mouth makes on the mouthpiece to produce sound from the reed), but a good foundation is there. It felt great to play.

So I ordered a few things:

  • Cleaning swab – “nasty” does not adequately describe the state of the cleaning swab I just threw away. This is an essential accessory, as it is important to clean out the condensation from the instrument before you put it back in the case.
  • Reeds – a woodwind player can never have too many. I have a decent supply. I went through all the ones I had from two different makers that have been my go-to brands: Mitchell Lurie and Vandoren. Of the ones I had on-hand, the Mitchell Lurie were better and more consistent overall, but I found a few decent Vandoren. I ordered more Mitchell Lurie. Hopefully they're still as good as they were 17 years ago.
  • Neck strap – the full weight of the clarinet typically rests on your right thumb. I have always had issues with my right hand getting cramped and fatigued from this, and it negatively impacts my dexterity in that hand. A clarinet neck strap attaches to the thumb rest so that the weight is supported by your neck instead of your thumb. I have wanted to try a neck strap for quite some time and there's no time like the present.

I'm hoping to get some momentum going with regular practice and learning some musical pieces and etudes I have on-hand. And with the holiday season approaching, I might even have some opportunities to play in some small ensembles. That would be neat!

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 40) #music #hobbies

Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Fall 2022 concert of the Cache Symphony Orchestra. It's a community orchestra made up of mostly volunteers, including my wife who plays the violin.

The program was an ambitious one. It made them stretch. And it paid off. The performance was excellent.

Here's the program (with examples).

Guest conductor Dr. Julie Sorenesen led the first three pieces:

  • La Péri Fanfare by Paul Dukas
  • L'italiana in Algieri Overture by Gioachino Rossini
  • The Moldau by Bedřich Smetana

And after a brief intermission, led by conductor Dr. Mark Emile, they played Ludwig Van Beethoven's masterpiece:

  • Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92
    • I. Poco sostenuto – Vivace
    • II. Allegreto
    • III. Presto – Assai meno presto
    • IV. Allegro con brio

The entire program was great, but my favorite pieces were The Moldau (the audience favorite) and the second movement of the Beethoven.

One could tell the most polished performance of the evening was The Moldau. It's a brilliant, but difficult piece and they really pulled it off. My wife has loved The Moldau ever since she first heard it and this was the first time she ever had the opportunity to play it. And she wasn't going to let it go to waste. She wanted to play it well as she possibly could, so she practiced every day. She didn't think she could play the difficult parts at the tempo the conductor wanted, and felt discouraged at times. But she kept trying and kept improving. She said others in her section took note and told her how well she played, and she came home last night feeling very gratified that she had given it everything she had. I am extremely proud of her.

And I've always loved that second movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. Such a beautiful piece. Gives me goosebumps every time.

Whenever I attend a concert like this something stirs within me. I remember the years when my life revolved around music and I wanted to be a high school or college band director. I feel a desire to start playing the clarinet again and get back to the level of proficiency I had when I was in college (and keep improving from there) so I can play in a community band or orchestra.

Since I'm looking for a “disconnected hobby”, maybe this time I'll actually do something about it.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 39) #music

A couple weeks ago I was perusing the #christian tag on Bandcamp and the first result that came up was an album called Future Foreverby Jonathan Ogden. I'd never heard of him or this album, but I gave the track One Day a listen and was hooked.

His style is a mix of chill, hip hop, electronic, pop – and his lyrics all point to Jesus Christ.

This is a great album to have playing while working, writing, or anytime.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 38) #music #Christianity

Like many of us in the year 2022, I spend most of my weekdays on a computer. It's how I work to support my family.

But then what do I do in my spare time? Most of the time, I get on my computer. I watch TV shows or Movies, play video games (Minecraft these days), listen to music, catch up on social media, write blogs, etc. I do read books, spend time with my family, and other non-digital things, but my current ratio of connected to disconnected free time is extremely skewed towards connected.

So I've been trying to remember what I did in my spare time before I had unfettered access to a computer. That was a long time ago. I watched TV and played video games, but I didn't have a smartphone and I had to share a computer, so I wasn't “connected” nearly as much as I am now.

So what did I do? Mostly, I played musical instruments. Once upon a time, I wanted to be a band teacher at a high school or community college. Music was life. I took piano lessons as a young child, picked up the clarinet in 4th grade, saxophone in 7th grade, and continued through 2+ years of community college. Concert band, jazz band, marching band, pep band, solo & ensemble, jazz combo – if there was any kind of instrumental music thing going on, I was a part of it.

Then, I reached a crossroads and decided to go a different direction. Music suddenly wasn't the focus of my life. I sold my saxophone (a lovely Selmer Mark VI tenor) because it was sitting neglected in a closet and I felt an instrument of that caliber must be enjoyed and shared. Plus, I needed the money. I haven't played my clarinet in years. In more recent years I've picked up the Penny Whistle (aka Irish Whistle or Tin Whistle), Recorder (not the cheap plastic ones from elementary school, a nice professional wooden one), and Native American Flute. I've played here and there at church or community concerts, but I haven't diligently practiced or tried to increase my proficiency on any instruments in a good 15 years or so.

I've missed playing. I've missed performing regularly. Music is the language of the soul and I've always enjoyed expressing myself and uplifting others through it. So if there's any “disconnected” hobby I need to pick up – or return to – I think it's got to be playing music again.

I feel like I want to get really good on my whistles, recorder, and flute. And I've been thinking for a while about finding a good piano keyboard that I can have in my office – maybe even on or next to my desk – so I can just play and tinker and work stuff out by ear like I always used to do. I'd just go to the piano and play. Sometimes for a long while. It was a great outlet. Maybe I'll even buckle down and force myself to practice playing written music on the piano.

I'll be thinking of other disconnected hobbies I can pick up, too, but picking music back up seems like the obvious place to start.

Discuss...


#100DaysToOffload (No. 37) #music #hobbies #intentionism