Social Networking

Mark has another good article up about the value of social networking.

As state employees, we are blocked from accessing most social networking. No MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. (As I think about it… I’m surprised we can access blogger.) The state has valid concerns about bandwidth usage and employee productivity. Our agency is considering an exception request because SO MANY artists and arts organizations are using social networking to share their work and develop innovations. We’ve experimented with streaming our workshops (Thanks Len) and using an additional twitter component to keep things lively. It was, of course, slightly ironic that I couldn’t access it from my office but I can’t complain about the idea of taking my (personal) laptop and heading down to a local coffee shop for a (decaf) latte and some quality training. I haven’t actually done it yet but I could, right?

So how are you using social networking? What future plans do you have? Any excellent examples of people making it work?

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Social Networking

Arts Orgs

Arts Organizations,

The survey mentioned below is for all non-profit organizations in Montana, not just members of the MT Nonprofit Association. It will be very important to have the arts non-profit sector represented in this survey. Brian Magee said that arts, culture and humanities are grouped together in the survey but they may be able to sort out the arts information for us.

Please take the time to fill out the survey. It will give us all hard data to talk to policy makers and funders about the reality you are facing now.
Thanks,
Beck
Beck McLaughlin
Education & Web Services Director

—–Original Message—–
From: Montana Nonprofit Association
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 4:57 PM
Subject: Important Request: Please Take MNA’s Nonprofit Economic Climate Impact Survey
Members and Friends:

We need your help. MNA has launched a Nonprofit Economic Climate Impact Survey to gauge the impact of the recession on Montana nonprofits. The survey looks both backwards and forwards in time and covers demand for services, fund development, and strategies. The results of the survey will be used to tell the story of how the economy is impacting Montana’s nonprofit community and to design strategies to help nonprofits weather the current economic storm.
This is some of the most important research MNA has done to date. We ask you to please take 15-20 minutes to complete the survey to ensure that the perspective of your nonprofit is included. All responses are strictly confidential.

The survey will be open until March 31st.
Survey Link: http://guest.cvent.com/v.aspx?1A,Q3,faf8236d-275a-4dee-a594-dc93d648d6a3

All survey participants who include name and email will be entered into a drawing for a FREE registration to MNA’s Annual Conference, September 28-30th in Missoula.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Many thanks in advance for participating.
Sincerely,
Brian Magee
Executive Director

Arts Orgs

RSS Feed

I’m all about embracing technology….. sometimes.

Do you know what an RSS Feed is? Do you use them? Go ahead. Admit it.

I found this primer about RSS on Unclutterer and I think it does a nice job of explaining things for those of you ready to embrace the technology.

And for those of you already using RSS… well…. can you come over and help me adjust the rabbit ears on my tv later?? What’s the latest and greatest technology-minder you’ve found?

Next week I might talk about my new love of Delicious.

RSS Feed

Welcome Address, by Karl Paulnack

This one is long but worth the read…..

As musicians, we believe deeply in the importance of what we do, and the
power of music to heal. The following may be of interest to you. It is a welcome
address given to the parents of entering freshmen at the Boston Conservatory,
given by Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of the music division:

Welcome Address, by Karl Paulnack

“One of my parents’ deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly
value me as a musician, that I wouldn’t be appreciated. I had very good grades
in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a
doctor or a research chemist or an engineer, I might be more appreciated than I
would be as a musician. I still remember my mother’s remark when I announced
my decision to apply to music school—she said, “you’re WASTING your SAT
scores.” On some level, I think, my parents were not sure themselves what the
value of music was, what its purpose was. And they LOVED music, they listened
to classical music all the time. They just weren’t really clear about its function.
So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts
music in the “arts and entertainment” section of the newspaper, and serious
music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing
whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it’s the opposite of entertainment.
Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.

The first people to understand how music really works were the ancient
Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you; the Greeks said that music and
astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of
relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was
seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects.
Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and
souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you
some examples of how this works.

One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the Quartet
for the End of Time written by French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940.
Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Nazi Germany.
He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940, sent across Germany in a
cattle car and imprisoned in a concentration camp.

He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper
and a place to compose. There were three other musicians in the camp, a
cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist, and Messiaen wrote his quartet with these
specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand
prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous
masterworks in the repertoire.

Given what we have since learned about life in the concentration camps,
why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing
music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to
avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture—why would anyone bother with
music? And yet—from the camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual
art; it wasn’t just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art.
Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare
necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for
life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without
recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of
survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we
are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, “I am alive, and my life has
meaning.”

On September 12, 2001 I was a resident of Manhattan. That morning I
reached a new understanding of my art and its relationship to the world. I sat
down at the piano that morning at 10 AM to practice as was my daily routine; I
did it by force of habit, without thinking about it. I lifted the cover on the
keyboard, and opened my music, and put my hands on the keys and took my
hands off the keys. And I sat there and thought, does this even matter? Isn’t this
completely irrelevant? Playing the piano right now, given what happened in this
city yesterday, seems silly, absurd, irreverent, pointless. Why am I here? What
place has a musician in this moment in time? Who needs a piano player right
now? I was completely lost.

And then I, along with the rest of New York, went through the journey of
getting through that week. I did not play the piano that day, and in fact I
contemplated briefly whether I would ever want to play the piano again. And
then I observed how we got through the day.

At least in my neighborhood, we didn’t shoot hoops or play Scrabble. We
didn’t play cards to pass the time, we didn’t watch TV, we didn’t shop, we most
certainly did not go to the mall. The first organized activity that I saw in New
York, that same day, was singing. People sang. People sang around fire houses,
people sang “We Shall Overcome”. Lots of people sang America the Beautiful.
The first organized public event that I remember was the Brahms Requiem, later
that week, at Lincoln Center, with the New York Philharmonic. The first
organized public expression of grief, our first communal response to that historic
event, was a concert. That was the beginning of a sense that life might go on.
The U S Military secured the airspace but recovery was led by the arts, and by
music in particular, that very night.

From these two experiences, I have come to understand that music is not
part of “arts and entertainment” as the newspaper section would have us
believe. It’s not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our
budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need
of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of
the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to
understand things with our hearts when we cannot with our minds.
Some of you may know Samuel Barber’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful piece,
Adagio for Strings. If you don’t know it by that name, then some of you may
know it as the background music which accompanied the Oliver Stone movie
Platoon, a film about the Vietnam War. If you know that piece of music either
way, you know it has the ability to crack your heart open like a walnut; it can
make you cry over sadness you didn’t know you had. Music can slip beneath our
conscious reality to get at what’s really going on inside us the way a good
therapist does.

I bet that you have never been to a wedding where there was absolutely
no music. There might have been only a little music, there might have been
some really bad music, but I bet you there was some music. And something very
predictable happens at weddings—people get all pent up with all kinds of
emotions, and then there’s some musical moment where the action of the
wedding stops and someone sings or plays the flute or something. And even if
the music is lame, even if the quality isn’t good, predictably 30 or 40 percent of
the people who are going to cry at a wedding cry a couple of moments after the
music starts.

Why? The Greeks. Music allows us to move around those big invisible pieces
of ourselves and rearrange our insides so that we can express what we feel even
when we can’t talk about it. Can you imagine watching Indiana Jones or
Superman or Star Wars with the dialogue but no music? What is it about the
music swelling up at just the right moment in ET so that all the softies in the
audience start crying at exactly the same moment? I guarantee you if you
showed the movie with the music stripped out, it wouldn’t happen that way.
The Greeks: Music is the understanding of the relationship between invisible
internal objects.

I’ll give you one more example, the story of the most important concert of
my life. I must tell you I have played a little less than a thousand concerts in my
life so far. I have played in places that I thought were important.

I like playing in Carnegie Hall; I enjoyed playing in Paris; it made me very
happy to please the critics in St. Petersburg. I have played for people I thought
were important; music critics of major newspapers, foreign heads of state.The
most important concert of my entire life took place in a nursing home in Fargo,
ND, about 4 years ago.

I was playing with a very dear friend of mine who is a violinist. We began,
as we often do, with Aaron Copland’s Sonata, which was written during World
War II and dedicated to a young friend of Copland’s, a young pilot who was shot
down during the war. Now we often talk to our audiences about the pieces we
are going to play rather than providing them with written program notes. But in
this case, because we began the concert with this piece, we decided to talk
about the piece later in the program and to just come out and play the music
without explanation.

Midway through the piece, an elderly man seated in a wheelchair near the
front of the concert hall began to weep. This man, whom I later met, was
clearly a soldier—even in his 70’s, it was clear from his buzz-cut hair, square jaw
and general demeanor that he had spent a good deal of his life in the military. I
thought it a little bit odd that someone would be moved to tears by that
particular movement of that particular piece, but it wasn’t the first time I’ve
heard crying in a concert and we went on with the concert and finished the
piece.

When we came out to play the next piece on the program, we decided to
talk about both the first and second pieces, and we described the circumstances
in which the Copland was written and mentioned its dedication to a downed
pilot. The man in the front of the audience became so disturbed that he had to
leave the auditorium. I honestly figured that we would not see him again, but he
did come backstage afterwards, tears and all, to explain himself. What he told
us was this: “During World War II, I was a pilot, and I was in an aerial combat
situation where one of my team’s planes was hit. I watched my friend bail out,
and watched his parachute open, but the Japanese planes, which had engaged
us, returned and machine-gunned across the parachute chords so as to separate
the parachute from the pilot, and I watched my friend drop away into the
ocean, realizing that he was lost. “ He continued “I have not thought about this
for many years, but during that first piece of music you played, this memory
returned to me so vividly that it was as though I was reliving it. I didn’t
understand why this was happening, why now, but then when you came out to
explain that this piece of music was written to commemorate a lost pilot, it was
a little more than I could handle. How does the music do that? How did it find
those feelings and those memories in me?”

Remember the Greeks: music is the study of invisible relationships
between internal objects. This concert in Fargo was the most important work I
have ever done. For me to play for this old soldier and help him connect,
somehow, with Aaron Copland, and to connect their memories of their lost
friends, to help him remember and mourn his friend, this is my work. This is why
music matters.

What follows is part of the talk I will give to this year’s freshman class
when I welcome them a few days from now. The responsibility I will charge your
sons and daughters with is this:

If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing
appendectomies, you’d take your work very seriously because you would
imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your
emergency room and you’re going to have to save their life. Well, my friends,
someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a
mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary.
Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your
craft.

You’re not here to become an entertainer, and you don’t have to sell
yourself. The truth is you don’t have anything to sell; being a musician isn’t
about dispensing a product, like selling used Chevies. I’m not an entertainer; I’m
a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You’re here to
become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a
chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if
they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves
and be healthy and happy and well.

Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I
expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this
planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of
equality, of fairness, I don’t expect it will come from a government, a military
force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of
the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have
peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an
understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I
expect it will come from the artists, because that’s what we do. As in the
concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might
be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives.”

Welcome Address, by Karl Paulnack