Author Archives: Maria Millar

Play Harder Series: Saving the Environment with Music (Entry 6)

Staying passionate about climate change is an uphill battle. Show me an image of starving children, animal abuse or yet another shooting and my heart jolts: “This must be stopped,” my brain (or voice) yells as I see red. But climate change? It’s the reverse – a brain-to-heart process of reminding myself, “Yes, this is what I should get fired up about, this is the biggest threat facing mankind!”

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Play Harder Series: Help Me, I’m an Artist (Entry 5)

I have always made my living as an independent performing artist.  A 9-to-5 job is as foreign to me as waking up early, establishing a routine or even teaching a student regularly. We artists share one thing in common – we need help!  Funding, booking, housing, brainstorming, bartering, watching, listening, feedback, encouragement… our success depends upon asking and receiving.

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Play Harder Series: On Violins and Virtuosity (Entry 2)

This past month, I’ve listened to more live violin playing than I have in the last two decades combined!  The spree began on a sunny September day in Toronto.  I arrived at 8:30 am for jury duty… but fun jury duty.  It involved listening to Canadians from around the world who flew in to compete for 21 violins and cellos – including instruments by Stradivari, Guarneri and Gagliano – in the Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank Competition.

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Play Harder Series: I Love This World (Entry 1)

I love this world.  And I have my tiny New York City apartment to thank.  Cooped up in our cramped abode – after several years in even tinier Juilliard dorm rooms – Shawn Wyckoff and I were ready to blaze a trail out of Manhattan.  So we bought a $500 minivan, found a Craigslist sublet in Salt Lake City, booked a “tour” (a couple library concerts bookending weeks of hiking & biking) and voilà – Sonic Escape, our flute and violin group, was born.

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