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Words Are Like Toothpaste

The other day I read a beautiful story, told by a lady that is providing outdoor adventure camps for teens. Every evening they have this culture of sitting together at the campfire and talking about the day and their personal experience.

One evening a kid said, that her tent mate said something hurtful, a loose comment that caused pain. The lady then walked to her tent and brought a tube of toothpaste with her. She squeezed the tube and out came a little bit of toothpaste. Then she demonstrated that it was nearly impossible to get the toothpaste back into the tube.

She repeated the procedure, squeezed again and put some more toothpaste out. The more she took out the less chance she had to undo it.

The lady did this to demonstrate how important it is that we choose our words carefully. Once they are out, they are out and can not be taken back.

I like this story because it really mirrors some of my personal learning.
Words are like flowers, they can be beautiful, full of rich colours and fresh scent.
Or they can be rotten, moldy and stink.

The old saying goes: “Make sure your words are soft and sweet – in case you have to eat them yourself.” I guess that is exactly what the Hindu culture calls karma.

Here are three rules for toothpaste-free speech:

1.) Bite your tongue.
Sometimes people approach us aggressively and we are tempted to react.
Don’t react. WAIT.
Don’t try to be defensive or quick-witted. Let some time pass until the water stops boiling before you say a word.
This is so damn hard. For all of us, including me. But it’s wise.

2.) Better is Better.
In every moment we can choose good or even better words.
Use the better version as your standard.
Better means more well mannered, more caring, more heartfelt, more truthful.

3.) Silence is golden.
In times of social media, everybody is chatting everywhere.
The world does not need our latest comment on or what I like to call “word incontinence”. Surprisingly, it also does not need gossiping or backstabbing that today seems to be widely accepted and legitimates social platforms.
Keep things private, ethical and wellmeaning. That’s truly what being social means.

Thank you, as always from the bottom of my heart for reading these words,
have a beautiful 2023,
with so much love,
Anselma

 

 

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Learning to play the Bassoon – 20 Questions for Anselma Veit

The renowned German Stretta Music, well known specialist and a worldwide leading online store in sheet music asked me for an interview. What an honor and privilege for me to give some of my lousy ideas and to manipulate interested folks towards being major bassoon fans! :o)

Here some parts of this interview. I hope it makes you smile here and there! I had the greatest fun answering :o) Please find the whole article HERE.

With so much love,
Anselma

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The Middle Way

In the eastern way of thinking, we are better off in life when we stay away from extremes.
I have to admit that I initially did have trouble grasping this.

First, because in many cases only extremes lead to progress.
Change is hard. Think practicing more or eating less.
We do have habits and they get a life of themselves and don’t want to be eliminated. Only if it gets really bad, only if we experience an extreme, we are motivated enough to move our butts and invest into making progress.

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Someone Elses Children

When I was in school, we were forced to write about super boring stuff. Our assignments were something like this:
How do you interpret the first two lines of this experimental poem by the experimental postmodern existentialist Marc Peeperboozle (and it followed some nonsensical or absurd text no one would ever read voluntarily).

Of course – you guessed it – I never wrote what we were asked to.
Instead, I wrote what I was thinking because, hej THAT’S what writing is all about. Expressing the heart, sharing ideas and cultivating creativity. And sometimes calling a spade a spade.

 

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Fine Wine

When I was a kid, I was quite a lousy violin player. People kept telling me how talented I was, but at times this made me feeling really bad. My bad conscience grew bigger and bigger because I was only practicing once a week (right before the lesson!). It almost felt like a betrayal of some sort. I got laurels without making much of an effort.

 

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Everything is learnable

When I was a kid people kept telling me that I would be talented. Of course, I liked that. Who would not? And I did more of what I seemed to be talented in, clever little me :o)
Pawlow’s dog was fully alive in me: Make music, get some cookies.
When I got older something started to shift. Suddenly – to my disliking – the label “talented” somehow faded. All of the sudden it was not enough any more to be talented. That was too bad!

What increasingly counted was something not so cozy: WORK.
I kind of resisted this. And I had to put in more and more effort to keep the glorious myth of a talented girl alive.
My epiphany really struck when I talked to a Russian piano teacher.
He told me: “In Russia it is simple: the one who practices most is the most talented.”

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Where You Stand

Some years back, a friend asked me if I wanted to help translating some Japanese Haikus by the famous buddhist master teacher Daisaku Ikeda into German. These were small poems, each conveying a gem of wisdom, beauty or philosophy.

I was not sure if I was the right person for the job. Having been in danger of getting kicked out of school – believe it or not – for almost 8 years of Gymnasium because of bad spelling. I was a lousy student at school that struggled in many subjects, German being the worst.
My brain was simply not wired for this type of school. Repeating after others has never been my thing…

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Knowledge Is Power? Really…?

There is this story of a large shipping company. Their most important ship stopped working, the engine could not be turned on.

The company gathered all the technical experts to fix the engine but nothing seemed to work. The technicians could not repair the engine.
Finally they brought in an old man who was no expert, not even an engineer. But he had a small repair shop in town where he fixed anything from a broken egg timer to trucks.

He looked at the ship’s engine, turned one little wheel and then successfully started it. He had fixed the engine in 2 minutes.

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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.

 

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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.
Probably.
 
– 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,
Anselma

 

 

Get news and FREE resources for a happy, music loving life:
tips & tricks for great teaching, inspiration, psychology clues, insanely practical ideas and other freaky bassoon stuff.

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