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The Lost Art of Listening

There is this fabulous story of Franklin D. Rosevelt. As the president of the United States, he had to endure endless receptions that seemed to steal his precious life time.

What he could stand the least was the feeling that everything was very formal – but empty. Waxy faces, fake smiles and huge amounts of meaningless phrases.
It bothered him that very rarely anybody in the political circus would do what a genuine person does: really listen.

Listening after all gives birth to empathy, which is the one and foremost quality of an impeccable human being.
Listening with open ears and an open heart brings the best out of us.

Back to Mr. Rosevelt.
One day, again at a very boring reception, he is said to have tried something new. Dozens of people were waiting in the line. While shaking everybodys hands he murmured: “This morning, I murdered my grandmother”.
And everybody responded with a smile and stated: “Fantastic! Keep up the great work. We are so proud of you, Mr. President. God bless you, Sir!”.

It was not until the end of the line that one person actually listened to his words.
When it was the ambassador of Bolivia’s term to greet Mr. Rosevelt, he quietly whispered back: “I am sure this was the perfect time for her.”

Luckily we are not politicians.
We have the freedom to be ourselves and to share our true humanity openly.
How do we show we truly listen?

– We don’t multitask.
This is important. In times of endless pings and dings on our phones, giving another person our undivided attention became a precious gift.
Put the phone out of sight when you talk to someone. Because it’s so rare it makes you different. It gives you more life quality (not less!).

– Choose an active posture.
And I mean that literally. When we listen not only with our head but with our heart we don’t sit there with crossed arms and legs. Looking straight into the eyes and noding here and there shows our respect and interest.

– Only ONE person is talking.
Don’t talk over someone else. Don’t interrupt, even if the words seem to burn on your tongue. I know it’s hard. Especially if you are a vulcano type of person like I am. So I’m still training on this one.

Next time, listen closely if someone murdered their grandmother.
You should not miss this cue ;o)
With so much love,

P.s. Our Concertino is out! For high mood and low notes, very easy and catchy melodies. Your folks are going to love this!!


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The Obstacle Bassoon Concertino

In the low range and for true heroes. HERE it comes.
This little Concerto was comissioned by the Stadtstreicher Orchester Wien and quite a challenge to write.

It has been composed for
– a motivated soloist and
– very passionate string players,
– all age 8-12.
Basically… beginners.
But very passionate!

Further obstacles on the way:
– Everyone wants to play melody.
For practicing accompaniment is boring! Who in the world would do that??
– As few rests as possible.
Rests are problematic. Lots of passion creates not much patience to wait.
Or even to count!?
– String instrument beginners are amaaaazing. In the 1st position.
And probably in 3rd.
– Open strings are fantastic! Flats are the enemy.
They require strange hand positions (low 1st finger!?).
– The soloist was a beginner as well. Very passionate!
But with slightly clumsy fingers. Fast notes… caused a node in his brain and hands.
– And last not least: The soloist LOVES Hummel Concerto.
It should sound a little bit like it.
And now with all of this, let’s relax and happily compose what I would call
a complete “work-around-Concertino”.
Good luck with that!?
I really did try my very best and turned Hummel into Grummel (=grumble),
made some sketches without flats, with many open strings, few rests, with melody for everyone and no low 1st finger – and the whole shindig in super easy without scary quick notes.
But WITH lots of opportunity to bluntly show passion!
I was quite nervous if what I was writing was any good.
It turned out people loved it, the benevolent audience, the motivated soloist and the very passionate string players as well.
After we did the premiere I felt a little like a zoo animal. Cameras from everywhere on me.
Even on the metro they asked if I would pose beside a little passionate string player…
Hope you like this thing, too.
The piano reduction will be in print next week, we will start shipping them shortly.
Many thanks and so much love,



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The Devil’s Tools

The other day, the devil was bored. He thought about what would light up his day and went ahead and prepared a garage sale. He put his tools on the table to present them.

There were
– the hammer of anger,
– the pliers of fear and
– the wrench of ignorance.

Anger, fear and ignorance can lure people into doing unethical or stupid things.
But at least, they are doing something.
The most important of all of the devil’s tools he decided to keep to himself.
The core piece remained inside the devil’s house.


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The New Trap

Many times, if new stuff is introduced like new technology or new machines, life drastically improves. Think about washing mashines. Think about vacuum cleaners. Think about mobile phones.

What technology brings to us is more convenience and less hard work.
Less need for pesky housework and no need to walk to red phone boxes. We are not bothered by organizing everything in advance.
We just grab the cell phone and do everything on the fly.


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Driving a Washing Machine

The other day we had to buy a new washing machine. We took our bikes to get to the store and when we finally made it to the cashier she told us, at the moment would be no deliveries, there is a shortage of personal. We could book a delivery in 6-8 weeks.
Since we don’t have a car this created a problem.

There we stood with our brand new washing machine and no means to move the damn thing home.
We were puzzled and thought about trying to find a taxi. The interesting thing about living on the countryside in the beautiful middle of nowhere is: There is no taxi.



Still standing at the cashier clueless how to move the metallic cube people got angry that we would still block the line – unsure if we should even buy this thing when the fricking shop is not delivering it.

I felt all the impatient eyes on my back, it seemed like 10 hungry sharks were waiting behind me. Suddenly a man came towards us and said:
“I have my truck here, I can deliver your washing machine for you. Do you live far away?”

The man had a friendly face and 3 minutes later the washing machine was secured on his truck. He did not know the road where we live so we agreed we would drive to a certain crossroads, he taking the car, us taking the bike. We would show him the road and drive the last meters together.

And off he went.


My heart jumped. Did we really buy a brand new washing machine and gave it in the hands of a total stranger who is now off and gone? We didn’t have his name or cell phone number or even the one on his licence plate…

I turned to my husband and said: “In reality land we did not just buy this guy a brand new washing machine, did we?” I kind of felt shocked about our decision.
We got on the bikes and went as fast as we could to the crossroads. His truck was blinking in the sun when we arrived. A few minutes later we unloaded the washing machine and he even helped carrying this little monster.

Immediately I put out my purse and asked what I am allowed to pay him. He smiled and said: “Give this money to people who are in need. Please do that. I do have enough. And when you come to my village, look for the little shop that sells christmas lights, that is mine. You are always more than welcome there.”


I was really touched.
There are good people everywhere. Sometimes we forget that.
When we try to be these good people the world gets a hell of a lot better.
Imagine YOU are the one who reaches out to help. How does that feel?


So much love to you,


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Are you rich?

An interesting facet of the human condition is that so much of our life quality depends not so much on facts measured by objectivity but rather on feelings measured by subjectivity.

For instance there is a difference between being rich and feeling rich.

The label rich depends on the reference group we are using.
Compared to a Third World Township inhabitant, every bummer in a country like Austria is rich.

Everyone with pennies in their pocket is rich – compared to a penniesless person.


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A Good Future

The 1st Tango Bassoon Competition is coming! Are YOU coming?
We would love to have you here! We are not sure if we will ever repeat this adventure. So take advantage of this unique offer – until it’s too late and we close doors.

Recently I was pondering on the importance of caring for the young in our society. The future depends on how we as adults teach them to conduct themselves and treat others.



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Open the Magical World

First things first:
The 1st Tango Bassoon Competition is coming up! No grey November ahead, but lots of soulful music making instead. Are YOU in?
We’d love to hear YOU. Come and participate! The jury and I are cheering you on :o)

There is nothing to lose, but so much to win! Prizes – of course, but also a precious experience that money can not buy. You will be proud all your life.
Send us your Tango video, we’d love to have you here!!