Taverner, Tallis, and Christopher

For the last week I’ve been conducting Camerata Nova through some really good music – Taverner’s Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas and Tallis’s Gaude Gloriosa Dei Mater. They are a great group of people and excellent singers, the concert should be a real treat. We’ll do it twice – once on Saturday and once on Sunday. It’s music I learned either singing with or studying with Christopher. In both cases it was a study in eloquence.

Over the course of the rehearsals it has been a real mixture of languages – almost a dialogue. I would put some of my own research on the table for the choristers and then something that Christopher had told me once would somehow sneak in. It’s funny like that, I really feel like he is around from time to time when that happens, especially when I find my body channeling an eerily similar motion to one he would have used…




My Practice

The shortcut might as well be the mines of Moria

If you do enough,  well enough, and reinforce until you no longer need to think about it you can function well enough. Otherwise, I know about this Balrog…

Accentuate the positive

Every day you have to embrace that you will do what you did yesterday a little better if you are practicing properly. Eventually you will succeed. A long approach to learning includes failure today to succeed tomorrow, so be positive about yourself and your abilities.

Listen to your teachers

Pay attention to those who have been there and know what the lessons you need to learn right now are. I still go to teachers now when I feel the need. I research a ton.

Go slow

Relax. Years will come and go before you make it. Study slowly. Digest slowly. Give your mind  and body time to absorb as completely as possible. The body is where almost all of your actual memory is anyways, so make the best use of it you can.


Find a hobby that makes you sweat and do it at least 8 hours a week before you get too busy. You’ll thank me later.

Embrace Beginner mind

If you work from a position that you know this and that already, you will miss something that will be critical later.

Rinse and Repeat

You’ll need to repeat what you do again and again until you can do it well. Make sure you are doing it well and avoid problems later. Don’t worry if it looks like you might be behind somehow. If you are truly learning you’ll be in the front row soon enough.

Be respectful of others

Your colleagues right now are the ones that will help you get a job later if they enjoyed your work and your company. Even if you have to ask them to operate outside their comfort zone, your best option is to do it with respect for who they are and what they have accomplished.

Practice time is never lost

Good looks, charm, money, friends, and lovers can all be lost. Practice time is something you can always benefit from.

Embrace what is useful

The more you do this, the better off you will be. Discard distractions, and focus on what is useful to you.