Transgender origins


I often have pretty random thoughts, that I personally think are insight from another realm. These random thoughts are often not based on any research, and when I do research them, I often find nothing to support my idea. Meaning that it has not been researched or possibly even explored or thought of. While that may make it seem like my ideas are far-fetched and caused by my eccentricity, I beg to reason that every time tested theory began as a wild idea at some point, something that people thought was completely far-fetched and impossible.

I often receive many of my answers to life’s questions in the same manner that I download these random thoughts. While I have no background in science and the medical field whatsoever, I feel that there are some things that I have an innate ‘knowing’ about. Perhaps, if you believe in reincarnation, I was in the medical field in a past life and have carried over some of the natural logic in to this life with me. My husband often makes fun of me for “over-diagnosing” everyone and everything, but I am often right. While many of the things I have proven to be right on have not been proven by scientific tests, after I have come up with a medical diagnosis theory on someone, I have ended up having a doctor confirm those diagnoses or some other piece of hard evidence favor my opinion. For example, years ago I began to suspect I had ADHD. While I know this is a very over-diagnosed syndrome, I found definitive relief in taking medication for it. Years later when I found my birth family, I found out that ADHD ran in my genetic line, one of the few things that my birthdad mentioned when I asked about any health concerns on his side.

So, this particular random thought of which I speak is regarding children/people who end up being transgender. My daughter has Asperger’s, and often with Autism and Asperger’s, many of the children end up being transgender or more comfortable dressing as and acting more in the role of the opposite sex than the one they were born in. This is mentioned in what is considered by many to be “The Bible” of Asperger’s research, the book by Tony Attwood about Asperger’s Syndrome. My daughter started to show many signs of feeling more comfortable with boys toys and speaking of wishing she was a boy as early as age 5. She is now 11 and cut her hair in a “boy cut” 2 years ago. Most people who don’t know her refer to her as a boy when they first meet her.

While I know that her propensity towards transgenderism is linked to the fact that she has Asperger’s, the thought ran through my mind one day that I had a miscarriage only 3 months before I got pregnant with her. I was 11 weeks and 5 days pregnant with twins when I miscarried. I had a D&C. Because I have a negative blood type, I always had to get the rhogam shot with each pregnancy, miscarriage and delivery so as not to affect any subsequent pregnancy. So, if a former pregnancy blood type can affect a subsequent pregnancy, and there is research that cells do stay behind and affect the mother sometimes and subsequent pregnancies, is there a possibility that cells from former pregnancies could affect gender tendencies. I wasn’t far enough along to find out whether the twins I was pregnant with were boys or girls. But I wonder if perhpas they were boys and the male hormones were left in my body and perhpas absorbed in my daughter once I conceived her, thus giving her a higher percentage of male hormones, especially if both of the twins were boys, it would have been an even higher concentration.

I thought of this again today because a friend of mine sent me a video about chimera twins. I was always obsessed with twins as a child. Being adopted, there was always something in the back of my mind wondering if it was a possibility if I was a twin. My adoptive parents told me that of both twins were put up for adoption that they would have adopted my twin as well. At one point I read a statistic that 92% of all people who were born left handed were originally conceived as a twin and that the other twin was absorbed before being detected if they werent born as live twin births. I was born left handed (and switched because my adoptive parents were raised Catholic and under the spell that left handed people were the mark of the devil). When I went for my sonogram and found out I was pregnant with twins, the first thing they asked was whether I was a twin or whether there were twins on my side because twins usually run genetically on the mothers side. There is one set of twins on my birthmoms side, two of my first cousins are twins. But the video today about chimera is about the absorbtion of twins and having two sets of genetics in the same person, which my best friend sent me because she knows my obsession with twins and how I’ve felt that maybe I was a twin. One of the things included in the research about chimera was also about the cells left behind from pregnancies as well and how they can affect the mother and subsequent pregnancies, which reminded me of my theory of transgender and whether it might be due to previous miscarriages of opposite genders.

I would really love to do or see some research done on this. If you are reading this article and are transgender, or know someone who is transgender, if you could comment with whether you were born after a miscarriage that your mother had, that would be really awesome. And ifiyou were and know the gender of the miscarriage that your mother had and whether it was opposite to the one you were born as, that would be even better. This is all just to placate my whim of a thought/idea  and to see whether it would even be worth pursuing any further. Even if it just strips the varnish off my idea, I’d still rather know whether it’s worth thinking about any further. Thanks in advance if you do comment with any info that could help, in either direction. I am always willing to be wrong too.

Feeling Famous


Today I received an email from a professor at Fairleigh Dickenson University, a composer, asking me if I would be interested in taking a look at some of his recent compositions for clarinet. I just resigned from two different community colleges as the Adjunct Clarinet Instructor, but he sent this email to my direct email address, and it wasn’t flagged as coming through my website either. I think I may have the actual email address written out on my website somewhere, so he could have just copied it rather than linking to it. I never attended or taught at or that close to that University, nor do I have any connections at that University. I have NO idea how he found me. It is times like these that make me feel semi-famous in my little music world. To know that I was scouted out in some way, that my opinion matters in the clarinet and University/Professional level composer world means something to me.

I know I will never be the principal of the New York Philharmonic, or a big shot soloist. I made the decision a long time ago while I was still in college and met my to be husband that I wanted a family and I knew that meant I would need to make sacrifices in my career. Right now I’m still not quite where I want to be, especially recently because my husband has had to take 2 full time jobs to help us out financially which has meant that I have even had to turn down some gig opportunities because I need someone home with our 10 year old, and I don’t have many sitter options. I am hoping that as she gets older and within the next few years when she is able to start staying home by herself at night as well that I am able to start taking and seeking out more gig opportunities again. I miss playing more. I still perform, but hardly anywhere near what I used to, and even then it wasn’t as much as I had wanted to. I am 40. I’m getting up there in terms of music career to be feeling like I haven’t even really broken in the way that I have wanted to. I started a bit later having a kid (I started by raising my older step kids first, so I didn’t have my biological daughter till I was 29). I hope it’s not too late by the time I’m actually able to get myself back out there. The one thing I have going for me that’s unique is that I can play 3 instruments almost equally well, Clarinet (my primary), Flute and Sax. There are people who play all three in order to play pit orchestras, but not many can actually play the level of solo repertoire on all 3 the way that I can. I am able to play a full length solo recital and play all 3 instruments with equivalent level solo material on all 3 instruments, which makes for something that is not really done. So I hope that I am able to begin re-pursuing that in a few years again.

Emails like the one I got today are little reminders that my name is out there. People in other states have heard of me. I hope that this will work to my advantage 6 years from now when I really work on becoming famous for real. Fingers crossed.

My Professional YouTube Channel

Would love for you to give a listen to  my recordings of me playing and subscribe to my channel 😘



(Yes, those are all my instruments, I played all of them in the pit orchestra for a musical a few years ago)

Making an a$$ out of u and me


So, yesterday’s bully situation exploded in my face today. When doesn’t standing up for myself or my daughter backfires. Learning to love myself entails using my voice, defending what needs defending and not letting people walk all over me (or my daughter) any longer. And of course, just because I didn’t hear any of the specific words that were said by the girl running her mouth, I can’t really defend my position and it becomes hearsay/he said she said. The girl went and “told” on me to the teacher and her mother, who then emailed the school. She claims that someone else said something derogatory about my daughter and that she was defending my daughter. So, I get a call from the principal today to kindly reprimand me for my assumption about what it was that she was saying since I hadn’t actually heard what she said because the mother of the girl also emailed the teacher. So now I’m painted to be the bad guy because I didn’t approach the teacher. But I have approached teachers before, and in fact, my daughter one and only friend, her best friend, had issues with kids in the class and her mom had a conference with the teacher, guidance counselor and principal earlier this year and my daughter became a huge topic of her own conference about her daughter. Because she pointed out to all of them that her daughter is constantly put in the middle and kids tell her she can only hang out with their group at recess if she ditches my daughter. She told them all how mean the kids are to my daughter. Has anything changed this year when teachers and principals are told? No. By the end of this year my daughter is wanting to change schools for next year. I’m tired of leaving it up to everyone else. No one advocates for my daughter. The girl who was talking about my daughter has been known to say and do mean things to my daughter in the past, so I have NO reason in the world to believe that she has a sudden change of heart and is coming to my daughter’s defense. Her mother is also part of the “in crowd” over there at the school because my daughter attends a private school where those who volunteer and give lots of money to the school will always come out on top. And I’m not one of them. So of course I’m the bad parent who is making bad assumptions and scolding kids according to them that should have been handled by a teacher.


Everytime I speak out throughout my entire life, people try to shut me up and/or tell me I’m wrong. It is so defeating. I am tired of being complacent and feeling like everyone else in this world is right…..except me. Everyone else can get away with the same exact stuff that I say and do and defend, but it’s only ever me that gets told I’m wrong every single time, it’s only me who is constantly shoved down so far to the bottom of the trash pile that I do my own compacting. When I’m told over and over and over and over and over and over and over again that I am wrong, it’s pretty hard to tell myself and believe that I am right. Ever. It’s pretty hard to build self esteem and self love and have confidence enough to defend my honor and the honor of my daughter when everyone constantly tells me that everything I do or the way I do it is fucking wrong. I write here because this is the only place I feel validated. Very few in my real world of people validate me. Somehow, they tell me I’m wrong, or challenge everything I say or play devil’s advocate or tell me it’s not as bad as I make it out to be or compare it to something in their lives that are worse. I’m just done with it all. I’m tired of feeling guilty for speaking up. I’m tired of people telling me where my place is in this world. I decide where my place is in this world. Everyone else needs to stop trying to rule over me and put me in some sort of little box they can contain.


I’m tired of people being so insistent on holding all the cards and for feeling the need to dominate me and disagree with me and all my ways. I’ve let this type of thing push me back in to my shell every time I get push back. But this time it might just be the fuel to my fire. It might just be the anger drive I need to keep my convictions that I will stand ground and hold the power that they all actually do see and are trying to hold back because they are actually afraid of what could be unleashed if I am not contained. I think everyone who keeps pushing down on me sees me bubbling at the surface and is wholly afraid of real truth rather than their controlled world of “truth” and they know they need to keep me at Bay. So I will not be shaken by this. I refuse to feel guilty because I know how my daughter is treated there. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes time and again. And no one ever defends my child except her best friend. Ever. I had every right to do what I did and I don’t care if it wasn’t within the little container inside which the niceness committee wants to operate. Because their niceness is not going very far in protecting my child from the meanness she experiences, regardless of their claims for not tolerating that behavior. It happens every day right in front of their noses and when my friend brought it up to them in the meeting how mean everyone is to my daughter they all said they had no clue about that….Because no one there cares about her well being nor do they really watch or listen for what truly goes on over there. I’ve been a classroom teacher before and I know you can’t catch everything, but I also know that they are missing far more than they should. And I have every right to say that as a teacher who knows EXACTLY what it’s like.

So they can continue their assumptions about me, and I will continue mine about all of them…



Lines, Lines, Everywhere Lines


My daily life is permeated by lines. Lines everywhere. I am a musician: performer and instructor. The picture above is my music studio office at one of the schools I teach at. It is one huge conglomeration of a myriad of lines. Written music, the lines where the walls meet, the memes that I decorate with, the artwork I made which was more of a logical art piece that was a mathematical presentation in an artwork of a musical composition, one of my favorite flute pieces which is hanging on the wall towards the window (also made of lines itself). There are chairs, my flute, a music stand, bulletin boards, ceiling tiles, etc….All of which are very Stark and straight lines. There are also more fluid or curvy lines such as those of the trees peeking outside my window, the pictures inside some of the artwork hanging on my walls, the fluid lines of the clefs on the large staff paper on the wall on the far right which contains theories of a research project that is part of my life’s work that I intend to see to fruition and that I hope will be a part of my legacy and that I truly believe in and that I truly think could make a notable difference in the music field.


I read music all day long. Music is written on paper, paper made of 4 lines. The music itself that I and my students translate and transmute in to sound is transcribed on 5 horizontal lines and 4 spaces called a staff. There are vertical lines that divide the staff in to measures, which sort of punctuates the music and keeps it from looking like one gigantic run on sentence. The rhythm/length of the notes are notated by vertical and/or horizontal lines as well. The sharps, flats and naturals all contain lines. The articulations, how a musician tongues the note are mostly made of lines, some curvy and some are straight edged. And if any of those lines are printed in any deviation from what the musician holds in their brain to be associated with a specific note or rhythm, an unnecessary mistake will often occur. This is in a very raw form part of the basis of my research project. I am able to predict which printing variances produce specific mistakes and I believe I have figured out a way to make a preemptive strike against the potential and often iminent mistakes before they happen to many musicians, especially younger student musicians. I just need to get the right people to hear my theory and solution and I am confident that I can make a tremendous impact on the future of music education and performance consistency. The picture of the sheet music is one of my students exercises that is riddled with some of the deviations that have caused her several mistakes that I believe could have been avoided once I am able to develop my method once I find the company backing I am in search and in need of to get my idea off the ground. Fingers crossed to find the person who will be the right advocate soon.

Only fools rush in


And so I will start where I left off 2 days ago. In my post “Perception”, I left off with the following quote from the TV show of the same name:

Does free will exist? Do I exert conscious control over my actions? Did I do that on purpose? Or was I forced to do it by some unseen neural process? Fact is, most of the neuro scientific data suggests free will is an illusion. But if that’s true, are we simply meat puppets? All of our choices made for us? -Daniel Pierce

Here is what the band Rush has to say on the matter of free will….

But then, do they in a later album contradict themselves within these lyrics?

So, now let us examine a couple of terms and definitions that are often argued and contemplated when philosophizing about freewill.

Pre-Determinism: the idea that the entire past (as well as the future) was determined at the origin of the universe.

Casual Determinism: Causal determinists believe that there is nothing in the universe that is uncaused or self-caused.

The basic scientific idea of hereditary determination fulfills the definition of causal determinism, a metaphysical concept.

Determinism: Determinism is the philosophical idea that every event or state of affairs, including every human decision and action, is the inevitable and necessary consequence of antecedent states of affairs.

Determination: Determination is the  idea that our decisions are determined by our motives and deliberations, by our character and values, and by our feelings and desires. The idea that events (including human actions) can be adequately determined by immediately prior events (such as an agent’s reasons, motives, desires), without being pre-determined back to before the agent’s birth or even back to the origin of the universe.

Free will:

the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion.
synonyms: self-determination, freedom of choice, autonomylibertyindependence


The photo meme above was one that was generated by one of those Facebook “find your quote of the year, made specially for you” sites….It is of value to this meandering…I would like to start here and work backwards through the definitions. The canvas analogy of this quote resonated in me as an Adoptee because in many ways I felt like a blank canvas with no reference picture, as I was not brought up around my birthfamily. I was floundering around as a child, always trying to fit in, trying to draw from those in my environment, but always knowing that the boxes I was trying to fit in to were not who I was deep inside. By high school and college, the true me, my true identity, emerged and it was very different from anyone I was raised around. When I finally got in touch with my birthfamilies, it was uncanny how much of the identity that I was so drawn to, that emerged despite never having met them until I was in my late 30s, was a perfect blend of my birthmom and birthdad. My identity seems to me (to use the terms within the confines of this argument), to be a casual determinism. In fact, no matter how hard my adoptive parents have tried to quash that identity, it has remained in tact, partially out of choice, partially because it is “who I was”, despite never knowing this on the conscious level at that time.

Moving along to the actual definitions and debate.


Back in college I took several social science classes, a variety of psychology classes, philosophy classes (even one of my math requirement classes was a blended math/philosophy class), sociology, social psychology etc….I will admit it has been some time since I have read up on the classic Philosophers, and unfortunately, due to my ADHD, one of my coping techniques was to purge the info I learned for each exam in order to learn the info for the next exam. Sadly, I have not retained much of my knowledge. So, what I put forth may not be factually accurate and may have already been covered by someone, and I may be behind the game on this one. I am only beginning to re-emerge in to the world of research and knowledge seeking, so please forgive any indiscretions and misinformation.

My opinion on free will simply boils down to what is stated in the above meme. “You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice.” I do believe that the definitions of the terms work in conjunction with each other, in the consecutive order that I listed them. I believe we do all have free will, that we are free to choose, and make any choice we want, but that our choices are influenced by all of the factors (Pre-Determinism, Casual Determinism, Determinism and Determination). We ultimately have to answer to our own minds (as that is the main jail cell we are stuck in 24/7), and then there is the other barrage of possible consequences, depending upon what the choice to be made is. Those who are religiously minded have the fear of their higher power looking over them as a consequence. There is fear of losing some type of relationship as a possible outcome. Fear of losing income, or a job. Somehow, free will seems to coincide with a decision between something that could possibly be beneficial and something that could potentially be harmful or negative in some way. There always seems to be that “what if” chance on the other side of free will. Do I have the free will to leave my house right now and go for a drive in my car? Absolutely. No one is stopping me. Someone else might choose to do so under the given circumstances. Nothing really bad happened. Just some negative energy. Could getting out the house right now possibly be beneficial? Maybe. Would it really do much harm? No. My daughter just went up to go to bed. My husband is home. I wouldn’t be endangering anyone. But it also raises the risk of me getting in to a car accident by being on the road later at night. There really aren’t any places for me to go other than bars at this point, and I’m not a drinker. So what is the benefit? Not much. Options are weighed and there seems less benefit to it than it is worth. But do I have the free will? Yes. Could I exercise it if I choose to? Yes. I choose not to (even though it was really only a hypothetical situation that I came up with merely for this mental experiment). And I still have made a choice not to have to decide, as Rush points out in their song.

Regardless of any one person’s decision, the world will still keep on turning, until the day it doesn’t. So everyone is free to decide however they choose. But they are not free from the consequences (good or bad) of those choices. Even if one person is the reason for the final act that causes the extinction of the world as we know it, there will always be acts and people involved in those steps leading up to it that played their role. No person is ever a complete lone soldier in their mission.

Free will, always something leading up to it, always free to use it, always a consequence and outcome from it. Only fools rush in…




As with many people, binge watching TV shows has become “one of my things”. God bless the Netflix and Hulu! The difference between me and alot of other people is that I am very particular about the shows and movies that I chose to watch. I generally don’t watch much “mindless” tv. Most things I chose to watch have some relation to my life and some deeper meaning that I can grow and learn from.

One of my latest is the TV series “Perception”. It appeals to the social sciences deep thinking side of me.This side is a very dominant side. If I wasn’t a musician by career, I would have gone in to Psychology. In high school, when I was visiting the college fairs in my sophmore year, I was putting down on all of the cards that my intended major was Psychology and my intended minor was Music. One of the college representatives asked me if I had heard about Music Therapy which was a combination of my major and minor. By the time I got to my senior year of high school, that would be my intended major for college. Long story short, and this will be a longer story for another post (because it is quite the story in an of itself), I ended up becoming a Music Performance Major while in college. I took many social science classes, however, during my undergraduate work. And I still have an exuberant interest in all social sciences. I am a very unique private lessons instructor in my approach, in that, I utilize a lot of social science techniques in my teaching, as well as my students often confiding in me as a counselor because they take comfort in our relationship and can feel the stretch of my knowledge beyond music.


I often feel that I am more conscious than the majority of people I come across. But often, I feel I come across to others as a bit insane or overly eccentric because my emotions and self esteem are very inchoate due to the situations and circumstances I have gone through in this lifetime in order to obtain that wisdom. The greatest minds run a fine line between genius and insanity, so perhaps that is a good sign.


For my daughter, it is not her life circumstances that cause her emotions to be inchoate, but rather her innate genius brain. That is the paradoxical mind of someone with Asperger’s. It is as if one is so overdeveloped and firing at such a rapid rate that the other is also firing at such a rapid rate that it also misfires or doesn’t connect the proper emotion with the proper situation. Everything is just going a mile a minute up there for her. The intellectual information seems to organize itself, but the emotional stuff doesn’t. Either way, we both struggle with the emotional area and how to properly appropriate it.


A thought came to my mind the other day. We are given all of these emotions in life for a reason. Many from my generation (I am 40) were brought up under the belief to control your emotions, hold back on all the negative emotions such as anger, sadness etc…we were not permitted to express our opinions to our elders, our elders were always right….even if they were wrong. We were an oppressed generation emotionally and we were not respected as individuals. The old saying of “children are meant to be seen and not heard” was often said or implied when we were children. And as parents, my generation has gone to the opposite extreme and become a little too loosey-goosey and allowed the children to walk all over the authority figures whereas they think they run the households now. The perception of authority shifted and has changed the reality of the way of life. Hopefully the next generation will find the right balance.


But the thought that came to me was that I have realized that I seem to function with different people from different emotion banks. It is different emotions that drive me to make changes within different relationships in my life. I try to tell my daughter that it is always ok to have the gambut of emotions, but it is how she handles them and reacts to them as to whether it makes them “ok”. IE: It is ok to feel angry, but it is not ok to punch someone because you are angry, etc….But what I am noticing, at least for myself, and I’d be curious to know if other people experience this same phenomenon, is that sometimes the necessary impetus of change for me to make a paradigm shift is based in different emotions for different relationships. But this, unfortunately causes me to switch in negative emotions. And I don’t know how to break this. For example. It is anger or hurt that finally drives me to make the necessary boundary changes I need to with my adoptive parents. This is a positive change that I am always in need of, but I lose the courage to do this, unless I swarm myself with a million reasons to be angry and hurt by them enough to convince myself of why I need to put up these boundaries. I have to make myself miserable in order to make a healthy change for myself. It sounds so self-defeating, but I chicken out if I don’t do this ritualistic barrage of hurtful input information until I finally make my move. I want to stop hurting myself, but I can’t seem to find another way to muster up the courage.


If anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears. I am still in the inchoate stages of my redefinition of self. But I leave with the following quotes from the show “Perception” which cause me to feel that I will continue to function in similar patterns.

Walt Whitman wrote, “I contain multitudes.” Turns out he was more right than he knew. The self is really a collection of several distinct neural networks all running on this glob of jelly between your ears. So through your different versions of yourself, floating around inside your skull, which one is the real you? And even if you do change, something about yourself, your face, your name, where you live, you might feel different, you might even be able to fool people, for a little while, but can you ever actually change who you really are? -Daniel

Does free will exist? Do I exert conscious control over my actions? Did I do that on purpose? Or was I forced to do it by some unseen neural process? Fact is, most of the neuro scientific data suggests free will is an illusion. But if that’s true, are we simply meat puppets? All of our choices made for us? -Daniel

A Trio of Quartets



“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.” -Dom Cobb, “Inception”

A quartet of dreams, four layers down. A dream within a dream within a dream within a dream. To plant an idea, a thought so deep in someone’s brain that it will permeate like a disease. In my experience, dreams aren’t necessary to do this. Inception within a dream isn’t necessary for what is essentially mind control. Repetition of ideas and thoughts can accomplish this often times, and experiencing emotions at a primal level can also accomplish this as well. There are many ways an idea or thought can take hold, but it is very true that it can be stronger than a virus and more resilient than a parasite. Thoughts and ideas can be more powerful than death. Thoughts and ideas resonate and continue to regenerate and pass down long after the person who first uttered the idea or thought has passed.

Quatour pour la Fin du Temps

Quartet for the End of Time. The solo movement for clarinet alone-The Abyss of the Birds. Composed by Oliver Messiaen.

This piece is in eight movements. It is scored for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano. This is a very unique pairing of instruments. Messiaen wrote the piece while he was a prisoner in German captivity during the war. The piece was premiered in 1941. It was originally written as a trio and then the piano part was added in, which he played in the premiere. The piece was premiered by himself and his fellow prisoners. The complete work has a duration of approximately 50 minutes.

In the preface inside the score, Messiaen wrote that the piece was inspired by the Book of Revelation from the Bible. The text that he was inspired by that is in the inscription reads as follows:

And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire … and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth …. And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever … that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished …

There are separate inscriptions to describe each movement. Some of the movements are for the full quartet, but some of the movements are for different variations of instrumentation within the quartet.


The third movement is the Abyss of the Birds, which is the recording above of me performing this movement live at one of my former recitals. I played this movement during a recital that I themed as “Journey through the Woods”. I specifically painted the painting that is on my home page for that recital and I dressed within the theme and had a slide show in the background of Wooded scenes as pictured above. I also wrote a poem and had other poetry read in between pieces. It was a multimedia experience. I was very proud of this recital. It was very stressful putting it all together, but some day I hope to do something like this again, perhaps when my daughter is a bit older and I have a little more time to focus and dedicate the time needed to pull something like that off.


Humorous Scherzo by: Prokofiev

Performed by: Galaxy Quartet

Earlier this year, I had a faculty recital performance at the college that I used to teach Adjunct Applied Clarinet Lessons at. I just tendered my resignation this semester for several reasons (all for my own sanity purposes). At any rate, in the past for this faculty recital I had always done a duet with a fellow friend and colleague flutist. Last year I wasn’t able to perform so she had her quartet play. This year I was able to play again and her quartet wanted to play again, but they were short a clarinet player, so I subbed for their missing clarinet player and we all played the recital together. The quartet consists of 2 flutes and 2 clarinets. I had never played in this instrumentation of an ensemble before. It was unique. I enjoyed it, but the other clarinetist and I (who was the leader of the group) had a clash in personalities. So it will be a one time thing. But it was fun to play with a new instrumentation and explore music I had not played before.

Common Core

Once again, it takes a question that confuses my 5th grader in her homework to provoke me in to a rage about Common Core. Something seriously needs to be done about this completely inadequate system of learning materials from Pearson Education. Each year it seems to be a different subject whose curriculum is laid out in an incredibly shoddy manner. In 1st and 2nd grade it was math, 3rd grade it was science, 4th grade I didn’t see anything glaringly wrong and this year it is Language Arts. The question my daughter was confused by was multiple choice under the heading of “word associations”:

-Which is easiest to navigate?

a) bicycle

b) a hot air balloon

c) a bucking bronco

d) a sailboat

I am assuming that the answer would be a bicycle. The wording is awful for this question. If they want to use the word navigate, they need to add more words to this sentence. They should reword the sentence:

Which is easiest to navigate with?


Which is easiest to control? (Although they wanted to use the word navigate).

But the sentence does not make sense the way they word it. One cannot navigate those objects, one can navigate WITH those objects….the editing is awful in these books. They also, all too often, have two answers that can be correct, but only one that is technically correct. But it can be a subjective answer depending upon the logic of the person answering, and that should not be left up to chance. There should be one definitive answer only. Especially in elementary school.

I sincerely hope I see the end of Common Core within my lifetime. It is one of the biggest downfalls of the modern educational system.

Signing and Singing

Today I have two songs of the day and they are inter-related in my world And childhood memory. And today, as my energy connection to the universe worked it’s magic as it often does and has been doing quite often lately, it radiated and coalesced to happy memories from my childhood today.

When I walked in to teach today, there was someone in the music room and she had music playing while she was working. She was playing the Carpenters station on Pandora on her phone. She asked me if I grew up listening to the Carpenters. I told her that I had and that my favorite song by them was the song “Sing”. Though I didn’t share with her why, I was reminiscing in my head as to why I had fond memories of that song. I remembered that some show I watched used to sing that song and also do it in sign language. I was then immediately reminded of another song from my childhood that I loved for the same reason, one from a show I watched that they also did in sign language. And that song was “Sunshine on my shoulder” by John Denver. When I got in the car, what comes on my playlist but “Sunshine on my shoulder”. How uncanny. But this has become commonplace these days in my world that it’s losing it’s fascination.

After I got home and researched which shows these two songs were on, I found that “Sing” was actually written for Sesame Street, and then popularized by the Carpenters. And it was indeed shown in sign language on some of the episodes. And then “Sunshine on my shoulder” was from a short educational series that was focused on sign language called “Signing with Cindy”.

For whatever reason, I was enthralled by sign language when I was younger apparently, and that made me like songs that much more. It is a bit ironic, because a few years ago, a show that had a lot of impact on my life was “Switched at birth” which dealt with sign language and the deaf community. I particularly followed the show more because of the theme of genetic identity crises based on them being raised by non-bio parents in the same way I was, though I was adopted and they were switched. But many of the situations resonated with me. But as I watched the show, I felt alot of empathy towards the deaf community.

My husband and I were just discussing something regarding the deaf community as it came up during the Nascar race on Sunday when there was a little interlude showing, I believe it was Denny Hamlin, who was corresponding with a young fan of his who was deaf and hoped to become a race car driver some day. My husband and I were trying to ponder out how that might be possible and how bad we felt for their limitations. We were trying to think of any possible solution that could be feasible.

So below are You Tube videos of the specific versions of my two songs of the day. A stroll down memory lane from my childhood today.


Music or Philosophy?


Music is the art of combining tones to form expressive compositions, any rhythmic sequence of pleasing sounds (Webster’s Dictionary 1990). Philosopophy is the study of the principles underlying conduct, thought and the nature of the universe, the general principles or laws of a field of knowledge, or a particular system of ethics (Webster’s Dictionary 1990). John Cage, a 20th century American Composer, has been most widely known for his experimental compositions and philosophies on music in general. His most notorious work is 4’33”, otherwise known as his “silent piece”, in which the performer of the work remains still for four minutes and thirty-three seconds and does not produce a single note. Through this “silence”, Cage intends for the audience to take in the surrounding natural noises and treat them as music. Is he, then, simply stretching compositional techniques as did his groundbreaking predecessors, or is this piece a demonstration of philosophy rather than a musical composition?

Music is a form of self-expression, according to Langer. This connotation is the most widespread to this day. But John Cage had his own purpose for writing music. He adopted the Indian idea that, “the purpose of music is to sober and quiet the mind, thus making it susceptible to divine influences”. He also agreed with Coomaraswamy that it was “the responsibility of the artist to imitate nature in her manner of operation” (as cited by Revill). With his new insight into Eastern tradition, Cage’s purpose to quiet the mind was anything but achieved through initial performances of 4’33”.

The first performance of John Cage’s 4’33” created a scandal. At the premiere some listeners were unaware that they heard anything at all. People began whispering to one another, and some people began to walk out. They didn’t laugh-they were just irritated when they realized nothing was going to happen, and they haven’t forgotten it 30 years later: they’re still angry (according to Solomon).


Cage knew before the piece premiered that it would probably be taken as a joke, but he knew that it was pertinent for him to do so because he felt it was the highest form of work. He stated that he did not write shocking pieces in order to receive that reaction. But despite the audience reaction, Cage remained hopeful that 4’33” would eventually have the impact he intended. He had come to realize through his Zen studies that one hardly ever learned or understood anything right away, but that understanding would come later, or perhaps not at all.

The underlying conflict with 4’33” is that for one to accept the piece as music, one must fully accept Cage’s philosophy of music. In order to accept this philosophy, one must abandon the traditional definition of music. For as Cage saw it, there was no such thing as silence. He came to this conclusion when he subjected himself to an abechoic chamber at Harvard University. He actually had expected to hear nothing, but instead he heard two sounds. When he asked the engineer about these sounds, he was told that the higher pitched sound was his nervous system and the lower pitched sound was his blood circulating. In an attempt to redefine silence as the absence of intended sounds, rather than the absence of all sound, he wrote 4’33” in order to heighten the awareness of the audience to surrounding noises. Cage was concerned with humanity accepting all noises of nature as music. But in order to do so, Cage had to change the world’s views, since this was not an accepted practice up until this time. Cage felt that music was a means of changing the mind, and thus his goal of composing was to change minds from the traditional usage of music as a form of expression to one of being aware.

Cage’s music must be subservient to his views and philosophies since his music dissipates all former views of music and is reliant on the acceptance of his philosophies. “Cage does not argue with the premises if traditional music. He rejects them wholesale for reasons which can only be inferred from his own position.” Cage believed that “everything is permitted if zero is taken as the basis. If you’re non-intentional, then everything is permitted.” Yet he knew the audience was “intending” to hear music in the traditional sense when he premiered 4’33”. In order to accept 4’33” in the way he ‘intended’ it to be taken, one must first change one’s method of thinking, which was the purpose of the piece. But if the purpose was to change the audience’s mind, then was it music when it was first experienced, or, was it an example of a philosophical groundbreaking work in action?


Cage described his own position as a composer to be one where he changed his responsibility from making choices to asking questions. The answers are found in the content of the music (as noted by Kostelanetz). Cage was interested in what he did not know, and that is why his music is intended to ask questions. Cage insisted that music is not meant to be understood hut ht is about being aware and freeing oneself from likes and dislikes. However, in order to accept outside noises as music in the sense Cage is seeking, one must understand his logic and his philosophies before one can be aware of those things that he wished the world would see.

Cage believed that “if the composer has any function at all, it should be teaching people to keep attuned to all the implicit music that their environment offers.” Cage became more of a teacher figure with the performance of 4’33” than he was a composer. He set the framework and taught his unsuspecting audience a lesson in awareness.


“Instead of a music of definable identity, we have conceptions whose essence is a lack of identity” (according to Pritchett). Cage stated that his favorite piece is one that is heard anytime, all the time, if we simply open our awareness and listen. But this requires no composing since it simply exists in nature. Although Cage did teach people to be aware of this ongoing ‘silent’ music, he, by no means, composed those sounds heard in nature. He gave up all control, with the exception of how long the audience was subjected to this ”silence”, and this denounced his position as a composer of a musical work with the composition of 4’33”. When Kostelanetz interviewed Cahe and asked him whether he still viewed his compositions as his own in the sense that he created them, Cage responded that he did. He explained that instead of exercising his control to compose, he asked questions that were answered by the process and within the process. But this is precisely the type of work done by philosophers, not musical composers. To compose, as defined by the Webster’s New World Dictionary, means to put into proper form or to create, this to exercise control over the content of the work at hand. Control, however, is precisely what Came gave up with the inception of 4’33”, because the sounds within the four minutes and thirty-three seconds we’re not under his control.


Because Cage left 4’33” to nature to truly compose the content within those four minutes and thirty-three seconds, he has essentially given up his position as a composer. Because the “philosophical underpinnings are clearly more significant than any more sound”, the ideas become the content of the piece, which are thusly not musical. Though Cage had a strong musical training, his music became more conceptual than an auditory experience, which is the essence of music. “Conceptual music is either musicless music or it requires the reinvention of music” (according to Kostelanetz). Obviously, this was precisely Cage’s purpose, to reinvent music. However, if his purpose was to reinvent music through 4’33”, then this piece could not be considered music upon first experience because people’s minds would have to have already been open to 4’33” being music. Music had always been an immediate experience, not something that had to be contemplated after the fact. Though the audience may have accepted Cage’s point that all sounds are music, they could not have done so until the premiere of 4’33”, and thus, at that point in time, it could not be considered music. After the first Performance, the effect of the piece disappeared because the word spread about the piece and people were given the chance to ponder the issue without hearing the piece. This, the lesson could be taught without the performance of 4’33”.


After the premiere of 4’33”, people were able to perform the work at any time in their lives. Yet, people were able to do so before 4’33”, if one was learned in the Eastern tradition of meditation. Cage felt that 4’33” was a “musical work that went on constantly, an invitation of the ultimate unity of music and life”. Cage was simply demonstrating to his audience, and the world (particularly Western cultures), what he had learned by way of his Zeb studies. He formulated what he discovered and put together an active demonstration which forced people to experience what he had learned, rather than by telling them in a traditional manner. Though he did use a musical setting (the use of a performer, a musical instrument, a concert audience, and a notated score), he was merely demonstrating the lesson he had learned. Although he used the subject matter of music (as he defines it), it was essentially an uncomposed work.


Suzanne Langet, a leading philosopher contemporary with Cage, described the usage of natural sounds as musical material or models which composers may reconstruct into symbols to be used in a composition. But those unintentional sounds, utilized in an unconscious manner, are not art in and of themselves. She also believes the composer is the original subject of the symbols depicted in a composition. Yet Cage was not the original subject because the “music” to be heard in 4’33” was composed by nature, this making nature the subject. Even though Cage vehemently opposed the use of symbols in his compositions, he used them in 4’33”. The performer of the work served as a symbol, as did the composition itself, because no piece ought to be composed or performed for something that is naturally occurring in nature since the sounds are of nature, Cage had no hand in composing those sounds. He was only responsible for people’s awareness of those sounds, which was the concept of the piece, not the content.


Kostelanetz describes Cage as a polyartist or one who “finds new media for his signature.” He describes how Cage used several medium (including visual art, theatrical productions and writing) to express his underlying thoughts rather than using just one medium. With this statement, Kostelanetz is classifying Cage as a jack of all trades, master of none. It is true that one must study music in order to compose, and Cage had composed several standard works aside from 4’33”. However, someone with no musical training could have composed a piece exactly like 4’33”. A Zen philosopher could have used music as his medium in order to awaken an audiences awareness to natural sounds just as Cage did, but he would not, therefore, be considered a musician. Buddhists, in fact, perform 4’33” daily, with the exception of the time frame of four minutes and thirty-three seconds, but they call it meditation.


Even though Cage did compose pieces that utilized his musical training, this should not automatically categorize everything he composes as music. Cage also wrote poetry that is not counted among his music compositions. Yet, according to his philosophy that all sound is music, would not the speaking voice this be considered music when his poetic words are spoken? But still his poetry is not categorized as music. In a conversation with Cage, Kostelanetz referred to Cage’s work “Empty Words” as a literary work as it is deemed by all resources, but Cage labeled it as a “transition from literature to music.” Yet “Empty Words” is not listed as a musical work by Cage.

George Kubler observed that “the work of many artists often comes closer to philosophical speculation than most aesthetic writings.” Cage even admitted that he “intellectually programmed himself out of a musical career.” Yet he continued to compose because of the promise he made to his instructor Schoenberg to dedicate his life to music. Donald Henaham thinks that Cage perhaps redefined his position as a philosopher of modern music after he decided he would not be one of the worlds greatest composers.


Philosophy is the general principle or laws of a field of knowledge. The philosophy of music is that which John Cage sought to change. He attempted to do so through his work 4’33”. Though that piece contained music as it’s content, it was through that work that Cage defined music as all sounds. If an audience listening to 4’33” is not aware they are listening to music, it cannot be music until the point when they accept that they are listening to music. Since the piece itself was the vehicle for this changing of the mind, it cannot be music until the change of mind has occurred. Rather, it is a work of philosophy in which the ideas are demonstrated instead of written. The setting of a musical composition is the medium used in 4’33” to open people’s awareness to Cage’s new principles of music. But the work is significant because of it’s underlying concepts, not because of it’s content. The content of the piece is uncontrolled by Cage and can be experienced in every day life. Thus, Cage transforms his philosophical ideas into the medium of his self-prescribed definition of music, making the work one of philosophy rather than of a musical experience.


(Take notice of this last meme and that Cage is listed in the 4th level)- I wrote this paper when I was in college in 1999. Considering memes are a new commodity, it looks as though in the 21st century, since laying out my ideas in this research and opinion paper that was current and progressive during that time frame, that Cage has come to be accepted as one of the more socially accepted composers, or at least not one of the least disattached from social dogma. There are others who are more wholly disenchanted with the social norms than John Cage was. Society has evolved, and it has been due to pioneers like that of John Cage!!!!