Elderly woman reading newspaper on a park bench. Her legs are crossed at her ankles, and she is facing to her right. She is wearing all black clothes, black gloves, and has white hair. Green grass, a couple yellow flowers, and green shrubs are behind her. The bench is dark brown wood, and it sits on top of asphalt.

Think Globally, Subscribe Locally

SAVE THE CHICAGO READER I noticed these words on a train’s advertisement last month. The Chicago Reader is a local, alternative newspaper. It’s free of charge, it’s had an impressive following for 45 years, and it strongly emphasizes the Arts in Chicago. It’s also written by Union journalists from The Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America (TNG-CWA Local 34071), and in keeping with the spirit of last month’s post, I encourage you to sign this petition. There is a threat of dramatic cuts by the owners, and to quote the “Save the Chicago Reader” Facebook page, “The Chicago Reader’s … Continue Reading

Three children walking shoeless along side an ocean on a beach at dusk. The left child is a boy in a white shirt and khaki shorts, the middle child is a girl in a blue dress, and the boy on the right is the tallest and also wears a white shirt with khakis. They all have black hair. Their backs face us, and the ocean is to the left. The sky is mostly clear with some clouds to the right that reflect the distant Sun. On the right off in the distance, there is tall green grass in front of a cluster of buildings.

Extend a Hand, but Move Your Feet

It’s Labor Day in the United States, and whether or not you’re a member of an American Labor Union, you’ll probably hear some familiar phrases today. Thanks to those who fought to make the American workplace what it is today… We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us… Without the workforce, our country couldn’t prosper… Indeed, these sentiments all capture the spirit of the holiday. But there’s one word that connects all of the themes we celebrate today: Solidarity. Musicians have benefited greatly from solidarity. Especially from other Labor Unions. Over the past 150 … Continue Reading

Bassist Lauren Pierce wears a black dress with her right hand on her hip. She is holding her bass and her bow with her left hand and look towards her left. There is a big window in the background.

Going Confidently in the Direction of Her Dreams

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” -Henry David Thoreau When you’re a musician, there are many directions to take your career. You can perform by yourself, or you can perform with a hundred people. You can be a mentor. You can be an author, both with words and music. You can be a healer. An activist. An entrepreneur. Meet Lauren Pierce. She’s an intrepid Double Bassist who explores many of these avenues in the Classical Music Industry. She is creative, innovative, and downright accomplished. Pierce is courageous … Continue Reading

Two identical hands shaking. Identical, striped cuffs. The hand on the left has a mole at the bottom of the third finger. $1 bills are in the background. The photo is black-and-white.

Indivisible, with Acknowledgement, and Justice for All

Victory for Theater Musicians north of Washington, DC! Since 1938, the Olney Theatre Center for the Arts has elicited rave reviews and contributed greatly to the culture of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Over the years, the theater agreed to union contracts for artists onstage and behind the scenes. However, not the musicians in the orchestra pit. Unfortunately, the theater has a history of under-compensating them while subjecting them to questionable and potentially unsafe working conditions. Also, these musicians have been considered independent contractors and not employees of the theater, meaning that they’ve … Continue Reading

In the center of a black-and-white photo, a boy wearing a three-cornered hat playing a violin looks unfavorably towards an slightly out-of-focus blonde girl playing the flute to his right.

The 3 Most Difficult Musical Instruments

Which instrument is the most difficult to play? Whether music is your profession or a hobby from your childhood, chances are likely that you’ve participated in this age-old debate. Or at the very least, you’ve given it some thought. Usually, it’s a mild-mannered discussion; but I’ve seen things get heated. Some of the talking points may have included: Brass instruments require a lot of air to play a rather small number of notes. The slightest change in temperature can wreak havoc on woodwind instruments. Percussionists must have rock-steady hands; any hint of shaking can … Continue Reading

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