Monday, June 14, 2010

Review: Author Lives Musically for A Year Then Shares Through Writing!

George Frideric HandelImage via Wikipedia

A Year of Living Musically







By Katherine Dixson

Completely Novel
183 Pages


One of the first responses to reading A Year of Living Musically by Katherine Dixson is that you will feel overwhelmed and, yes, tired! How could all of this get accomplished! But by the time you will get that feeling, you will have spent a delightful time peeking into a life that was dedicated to all things musical—for at least one year!

In many ways, readers may also see the book as an excellent example of a journal kept by writers who want to record their life, not in a daily fashion, but in narrative form explaining what they were involved through each month.

Katherine Dixon is one of those individuals who apparently sends out signals of leadership...you know, they are those who get involved with something that interests them, such as singing and music—and all of a sudden, they are also helping in the management activities. That was the case of Katherine as she was asked to act in an administrative position, which included not only directing the activities related to concerts, but also, during the time period, coordinating the possible merge of two large choral groups from separate areas, into one that would support the larger area. I imagine that quite a few times through the year Katherine said a prayer of thanks for email! And it wasn’t beyond her wonderful imagination to consider moving the Christmas program into summer months! She quickly realized that her decision to live musically was “turning into a year of existing organisationally, with music in a decidedly secondary role.”

I must say that there is a lot of courage demonstrated since she was also taking piano lessons at the same time. It got scary, though, when she revealed that she had reached that weird state where she wanted to learn music theory for its own sake! Now, that’s taking it a bit far, isn’t it? I guess not, though, since she later made a 96% on her exam!

Actually, my little comment added above is not as funny as a lot of the quips that are thrown in by Katherine throughout the book. She shares her internal thoughts taking place, even when she outwardly chose to ignore some of the comments coming from choir members and others.

Aside from the organisational issues, there is a constant flow of details related to concerts—both planning and attending. For instance, she noted that first rehearsals for The Creation was devoted to “notebashing,” a necessary activity adding style was a “bit like knowing how to string letters and words into sentences before enhancing them with imagery. I learned that they now have specially created practice discs with each member’s voice part highlighted and wished they had them when I was singing in large groups!

When she was not busy with her own choir, she attended or participated in others! For instance, she sat back to listen to John Williams Blockbusters concert and also had the opportunity to sing led by Paul Leddington Wright by participating in the BBC recording of Songs of Praise in celebration of Handel’s* Messiah. Cool, right?!

Moving from music scores to hanging three loads of laundry in the breeze may seem to trivialize the year...but does it? To immerse yourself into something almost exclusively for a single year can only be personally traumatic to some extent! But then she shares about her right thumb, which washurting, was her write thumb, was painfully putting “arghh into her arpeggio!

Did Katherine Dixson make it through A Year Of Living Musically? Readers will become totally immersed in the world of music, just as was the author! Music students of all ages (including community groups) might well consider this book a “must-read!”

Dixson writes with enthusiasm, humor and a level of expertise that makes the book a significant read for lovers of music. One thing for sure—if you are considering dedicating a year to any hobby or special interest...I highly recommend you read this book—first!

I applaud Ms. Dixson for fulfilling a commitment made to herself—and then using her interest in writing to tell others about it! What a role model!

Book provided by Author
Through Completely Novel
Read in Online!
G. A. Bixler


*Portrait of Georg Friedrich Handel
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