Well, OK, yes, of course I do, but I know only the American system of solfège. (And how is it that I only just discovered that this word is the same in English as it is in French?) It is embarrassing, occasionally humiliating, not to automatically know what note (e.g.) "ré bémoule" is. I end up comparing the do-re-mi vs. ABC scales in my mind, much as innumerate people count on their fingers to calculate. Even with that, I am sometimes wrong (and laugh it off though I may in public, it's excruciating to me inside). And then I see terms such as "fixed-do" and "movable-do"… and am filled with dread and fear that this will all be too hard and complicated to learn — at least on my own.

— Indeed, it was the fear of being continually embarrassed by my ignorance that greatly contributed to my not having joined any choirs since moving to Europe in late 2001… until this past year in Grenoble, when the need to find some kind of non-work social outlet to keep from going crazy with loneliness and boredom turned out to be stronger than my fear.

So I rediscovered choral singing in early March 2014, and it has brought me a great deal of joy and satisfaction. Since buying my electric piano in October ("physical therapy for a broken wrist!" :-), I have also rediscovered how much I have missed piano accompaniment. I am nowhere near the level of either Roland or Laurène, who have accompanied (in concert) the choirs I now sing with, but with practice, I can be a competent rehearsal accompanist. And I've actually been a very good accompanist for soloists — I know how to follow. But I can't accompany a choir, even in rehearsal, without knowing the French system of solfège with as much automaticity as I know the multiplication tables. If the chef de chorale were to tell me to play a "mi" for the basses, for example, I need to know instantly what note to play.

I had budgeted for ping-pong lessons throughout 2014, but given that (a) I much prefer German training methods to what I've seen in Grenoble, and (b) my right wrist is not fully recovered (strange that I didn't blog about my parapente accident — but I digress), I want instead to take some lessons, to get coached in solfège so I will not feel so embarrassed and hobbled and restricted in what I can (offer to) do musically.

Finally, the theme for the 2014-15 musical season is light, and I've composed an entire (short) cantata… in my head. Even were I to miraculously get it all written out at this point, with or without help from notation software, it's essentially too late for any group to choose to sing it (assuming it would meet with artistic/musical approval). But I ought to write it down anyway, along with all of the other songs and themes & variations that I hear within.

Seems like I should start trying to become a better "European" musician and composer during this first part of the year, given how ghastly busy I was with work and work and work and work during the latter part of 2014 (and that may prove true for the latter part of 2015 as well).

Au travail musical!