Nutcracker Nation

‘Tis the season, and like so many cities in America, the Nutcracker is playing to full houses here in Raleigh. I used to hate it when my parents would take me to the ballet, usually because my mother or somebody she knew was playing in the symphony and she was unwilling to leave me at home to watch something better on TV. But over the years my appreciation for music developed, and though my 10 year old self would never ever have believed it, I now enjoy listening to classical music and I find the ballet to be one of the most stimulating musical experiences to be found anywhere. What happened?

Continue reading “Nutcracker Nation”

What is music worth?

I’m very behind on my blog postings, so don’t worry—you’re not reading my postings out of order. In October of this year, Radiohead put their album In Rainbows up for sale at whatever price you’re willing to pay. There was quite a flurry in the blogosphere, particularly from, which argued that the pricing trend of commercial music is headed inevitably to absolute zero.

I had two thoughts about this. Continue reading “What is music worth?”

Gary Powell on collaboration

Gary Powell hits the nail on this head with his post Sharing your creative process.  How many times have we been told, or sold, on the idea that creativity comes only from within?  Or that creativity is like some kind of artistic virginity, something that can never be restored to its purest and most wonderful state if co-mingled with the works of others.  I don’t defend those who try to create by committee.  And if a movie gives title credit to “Head of Story”, I’d rather know in advance so I can avoid it.  But in my experience, knowing how people work helps me work better with them, and helps them work better with me.

A particularly excellent example of this is the collaboration story of Elephant’s Dream.  In the DVD extras, the artists and producers talk about what it was like when the project began: everybody trying to do everything so as not to show any particular weaknesses.  But as things cracked under enormous time and creative pressure, the collaborators became more honest with each other, and suddenly they all discovered how to best fit together.  The courage to share helps create new levels of creativity and productivity.

I honor those who are willing to give a little (at some personal cost) to gain a lot more, for all of us.