Friday, August 24, 2007

what to do?

I've been thinking lately about whether to close down this blog, and either start it again from scratch or think up a new title or concept. Some of you may remember my last blogicidal episode, last summer. Back then I was getting a bit neurotic about technology and outdoor activities, reading and writing, basically anything that wasn't practicing - I felt like if I didn't crack down right away and get serious about auditions, I was never going to get a job. It's funny, at some point I realized that if anything I was being too serious about auditions, not letting myself escape that "must-get-job-now" mindset and have a life in the meantime.

Anyway, this time it's a little different. I'm wondering if all the stuff I've written here in the past, and ill-advised writings sure to come in the future, are going to get me into trouble. Even if I do my best to be polite and diplomatic at all times, something embarrassing is bound to slip out. I know for a fact there's stuff in the archives here already that I wouldn't want to see quoted in the newspaper - and that's just in the small fraction I can still recall writing.

So I've thought about doing some serious pruning of those archives, and maybe picking out a new title and a new look to this blog. You can always make things seem bright and healthy with a new coat of wallpaper, right? Well, I'm not really sure, and the thought of being all circumspect and careful all the time isn't that appealing either. Maybe I should go incognito?

I'm open to any suggestions from readers. And once I figure out what to do, I'll try to let everyone know, and make everything easy to find - that is, to the extent I want to be found!


Bill said...

I understand your quandry... as one who came to your blog after the NY Times article and who has enjoyed about 90% of what you have posted, I would encourage you to continue in some form or another. If you feel a need to rename, reformulate, or otherwise renovate, by all means go ahead and do that, BUT you have good comments and observations to offer, and I would urge you not to stop altogether, if you can spare the time.

I am a long-time season ticket holder and amateur player; information about what is happening behind the scenes and in the minds of you up there on the stage is always fascinating to me. It offers good insight sometimes into a reality those of us on this side rarely get to see.


Michael Hovnanian said...


Your concerns are justified. Blogging from within an organization can be tricky. It is really necessary to bite one’s tongue at times even when it feels like self-censorship. Still, I have had some negative reactions even though I have tried to restrain myself. A big surprise has been to discover staff, trustees, audience members, and the press as readers, when initially I considered the blog would only interest a few odd bass students. People seem to be very curious about the inner workings of our profession. I’m glad you are thinking about it beforehand.

If you decide to continue, in whatever form, I look forward to reading your posts and, if you are interested, I invite you to pick up our youthful enthusiasm vs. jaded professional dialogue sometime.

Eileen said...

Matt, I would be sad to see Hella Frisch go, but I also think your concerns about putting yourself and your thoughts out here are valid. I took down my blog, Dragons and Princesses for many of the same reasons. Even though it was semi-anonymous, many people found their way to it. You never know who is lurking, and naming names (even with good intentions) can of course create unwanted issues in any organization.

Still, this doesn't change one's talent or passion for writing. Whatever you put out there, I'm sure I and your other "fans" will read. For myself, being anonymous was too difficult...I tried to start another blog or two, but even with anonymity, sometimes one's voice still comes through in the writing. I personally didn't feel the same as a writer when taking that approach, and judging from your integrity as musican and writer I fear that you might encounter the same thing. Difficult to be someone you're not, and when doing something as personal as writing is, sometimes your true voice will creep out.

What about devoting yourself to writing more for various bass publications, music journals, news editorials...anything that you feel compelled to write for and reach various audiences; things to which you feel comfortable attaching your name?

Anonymous said...

please don't go incognito. this is my favorite blog! and im percussionist who has never even plucked a bass!

Matt Heller said...

Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful responses, and continued interest in this blog! To echo what Michael Hovnanian wrote, it's always a surprise to discover such dedicated readers. (And I happen to be one of those odd bass students of his, if perhaps not the very oddest...)

I've thought also of focusing on a specific interest, body mechanics involved in double bass playing. Since I've been re-reading Gerhard Mantel's book Cello Technique, I'm very interested in adapting and expanding his ideas to the bass. So I hope in coming months to work that project into this blog.

As always I welcome any feedback and suggestions - no plucking abilities required!

Joe Lewis said...

I say keep it as is. Sure, delete any past offending post or content as you see fit, but let's face it Matt - your blog is not a scathing exposé of the seedy underbelly of the orchestral world. It is rather some very well constructed blog writing that I've always enjoyed reading and would have no problem sharing with my mom or kids (provided they would actually take an interest in this stuff).

Blogging is by its very nature train of thought. You will be fine - nothing to be afraid of in my opinion. Corporate firings based on controversial blogs are the exception, not the norm. Exercise your 1st Amendment rights (or whatever the Canadian equivalent might be) and write without fear.

Gabrielle said...

I suppose I'm a few days late in posting a comment, but forgive me, I had an audition today. I love reading your blog! Don't change it. It encourages me, another young musician trying to fight against all the gloom in the classical music world ("X many music students graduate, far fewer jobs available," "classical music dying," etc.) I do understand your concern--my blog is less than a year old, but I've already had doubts about offending people on my posts, or revealing too much about myself, so I've gone back and edited. And there is a certain self-censorship, but whenever I realize that ANYONE can read my blog, I know that I have to think before I publish. At the same time, that shouldn't prevent me from expressing myself in appropriate ways. So please, keep it up!