Monday, June 1, 2009

Musical Happenings

I (Carla) have been trying to establish myself as a performer and flute teacher in Paris for 3 months now. Starting in January until April, I sent out emails to several different institutions in Paris offering to perform a free (free!) flute duet concert. Only one institution emailed me back, and that concert fell through their cracks. In the beginning of April, I sent emails with a letter of introduction, an offer to give a free (free!) masterclass, and my resume to a dozen different bilingual middle and high schools. I never heard back from a single school. I also sent the above to an American music conservatory near Bobby's lab. I never heard from them. Last week, I called all of the above middle and high schools, trying to speak with a music director to again offer a free masterclass, with a few free (free!) CDs thrown into the mix. Most of the place told me they had no interest. Last week I also walked into the American music conservatory I had previously emailed. I spoke with a receptionist and gave her a hard copy of my resume. Again, no call back. As expected, I was getting pretty frustrated with the whole process of establishing myself here. But my luck might be turning!

On CraigsList, I saw this advertisement and I quickly responded, voicing my interest to join the project. It turns out the composer received her undergraduate composition degree from the Univ. of Calif, Santa Barbara, where I did my undergraduate degree! What a small world. On Sunday, I met with her and a talented bass player to go over some of her music and brainstorm about the future of the group. Funny story: to support her studies in Paris, she is an au pair, a live-in nanny. The house of the family she lives with is located in a very posh area of Paris, the 16th arrondissement. Her neighbors: the son the of the artist Chagall, and Carla Bruni, French President Sarkozy's (Italian heiress/former model/singer/hugely wealthy) wife! In her au pair duties, the composer had accompanied her family to Carla Bruni's family's chateau in the south of France and been to the presidential manor outside of Paris! She has met both Sarkozy and Bruni on several occasions, and has even dined with the President at his manor! Talk about getting the French experience while living here! Anyways, the group seems pretty promising. The music is like dark lounge music; it sounds as if it could come from the soundtrack of a Tim Burton film. We are hoping to put together a set (some works of the composer, who also sings, and some more standard lounge pieces) and perform in some bars. It was very nice to meet some other musicians and I hope to make some more contacts through this group.

Another positive turn of my luck: I now have a private flute student! I posted an advertisement on the social networking/travel site Couch Surfing and a woman replied. She is a 25 year old British woman living in Paris. She studied flute through high school but hasn't touched the flute since. We had our first lesson tonight and it went really well. I really enjoy teaching adult students. Even if they play at the level of a 10 year old, you can communicate with them. They have a deeper understanding of music and are taking lessons because they want to learn, not because a parent is forcing them to. We worked on the Faure Fantasie and the Mozart G Major Concerto.

A non-musical but none-the-less happy occurrence: I am going to volunteer at the American Library once a week. Starting next week, I'll be working behind the circulation desk from 2-6 on Wednesdays. I am really excited about this! It'll be nice to get out of the apartment and have something to do. It'll allow me to meet new people plus give me access to a large English book collection.

Slowly but surely, my life in Paris is taking shape. Now Bobby can stop worrying about me becoming some crazed house wife!

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