Monday, October 13, 2008


Life continues on. I was super excited to go see the Concertgebouw play Prokofiev's Classical Symphony on Saturday, but halfway through the day on Friday I started to feel very tired. At first I just thought it must be because I had gotten up at the ungodly hour of 6:30 to go running with my friend Simona, but then I started feeling all achy and feverish, and I ended up getting very sick. I spent most of Saturday in bed, except for my brief sojourn to the grocery store in the afternoon. I needed food, and even though I wasn't feeling very well all the stores are closed on Sunday so I had to go out. I also stopped at the drug store and picked up some good old vitamin C. Needless to say, I didn't make it to the concert. I am feeling much better now, though I still have some vestiges of the sickness. I am a bit stuffy, and have a cough. But other than that I feel fine. Which is of course a relative term.

This weekend is the start of the Herfstvakantie, the fall vacation. We have a week off, for whatever. A lot of people are going home (because they're from England/Austria/Spain/Germany/somewhere else close), but my friend Hayley and I have decided to go to Maastricht for the weekend. She has to work on Monday evening, and I'm going to have a lesson even though it's the vacation, so we're just going to go for a couple of days. Maastricht pretty much as far south as you can get in the Netherlands, and it's surrounded by Belgium and France. It's one of the oldest cities as well, as it used to be a Roman town. It's also got hills, which is quite a novelty. And a whole system of tunnels hewn out of the hills from as far back as the Roman times. I just hope the tunnels will still be open. Maastricht's sort of described as the most un-Dutch Dutch city, so I think it will be pretty cool. On Tuesday as well I will probably go to Den Haag to get my instrument adjusted by these people my teacher Sven has recommended, who are there for one day only. As well, Hayley and I though it might be nice sometime a little later in the week to take a day trip to Rotterdam. So we'll see. Tomorrow I'm meeting up with a guy from Israel who I met on, and I'm going to take him on a little biking tour of the countryside around Amsterdam. It's a nice excuse for me to do it as well, since I've been meaning to since I arrived in August, but haven't managed to leave the city yet. There always seems like there are other things I should be doing. It's the classic musician guilt - you should be practicing. And if you are practicing you should at least be sitting at school not practicing. Hayley and I are probably going to couchsurf in Maastricht too, since it's the only way to travel!

Fun fact I learned today in my Musical Body class: our guest lecturer was a doctor at the clinic for musicians and dancers in the Hague, and one of his colleagues did a very cool study. He got the first 150 patients who walked through the clinic doors (musicians and dancers) to fill out a survey that would determine whether they had ADHD. Now only about 2-5% of the normal population suffers from ADHD. What percentage of these musicians and dancers did? You might think like I did that it would in fact be very low, since you are required to focus and concentrate for long periods of time. Until he explained that one of the manifestations of ADHD is hyper-focussing on one action or task, at the complete detriment of focussing on anything else. And then it struck me - what is the prototypical absent-minded musician? Someone who can tell you absolutely everything about their instrument from its creation to the present day and is generally a master at their craft, but can't organize their life worth shit or even remember your name half the time. Well, this study found that 50-60% of those walking through the clinic doors suffered from ADHD. Now keep in mind that these are injured musicians and dancers, so their hyper-focus may have led to strain themselves over the limit, but it makes a lot of sense doesn't it? And that doesn't take into account those of us who have some aspects of ADHD but don't "suffer" from it in a clinical sense. Then I'm pretty sure that would encompass at least 90% of professional musicians. You have to be slightly batty just to survive. Anyways I thought it was an amusing fun fact. Enjoy. My Thankgiving gift to you.

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