Last week I received an email from a very dear friend and somebody who I respect enormously, pianist Erica Sipes.
Reading through the contents of her latest dispatch I was honoured to learn that she'd nominated me to receive a Very Inspiring Blogger Award which is given to people who contribute to keeping the blogosphere a beautiful place.
I have to admit that being publicly acknowledged by another musician is far more valuable to me than being placed highly by any social media ranking engine!
Our peers can either be our worst critics or staunchest allies so I count myself extremely fortunate to have Erica as one of my most loyal cheerleaders. It's so encouraging when people like her take the trouble to let you know they appreciate what you write.
Erica – thank you so much for including me on your list which you featured on Beyond the Notes.
As part of accepting the award, I'm required to produce a listing of my own. Yikes! Am I only allowed to nominate 10 people?
As most of my reading these days is online and I read a lot on a diverse range of subjects let me tell you, this initially seemed an impossible task but somehow after a lot of head scratching I finally managed to draw up what I hope represents the posts I most eagerly await dropping into my inbox or appearing in my subscriptions on Google Reader.
Mazza’s Very Inspiring Blogger Award List Nominations
In completely random order:
Alexis del Palazzo
I've had the pleasure of watching this talented flutist grow from her first tentative Tweets to one of the most followed classical music bloggers in cyberspace coupled with an exponential growth of courage and conviction in living her own truth. Truly wonderful to witness!
Drawing on her own experiences Alexis inspires and motivates those of us who are ordinary working musicians and I was really thrilled when a few months ago she agreed to be my JV partner on the upcoming Zero 2 Maestro site.
Quiet and thoughtful she's the perfect foil to my often drama queen alter-ego and a very necessary grounding influence in this venture.
If I had to name just one person who has influenced me the most since I first came online back in 2008, I wouldn't hesitate in saying that it has to be Lea. She persuaded me that it would be a complete waste of experience to turn my back on the business world and actively encouraged me to draw on it both within the context of a music career and without.
A passion for the empowerment of others is what we have in common but she is the maestra of the art of reinvention. Her blog is a never ending stream of thoughts, information, articles and practical help for everybody - especially women - who are looking to succeed in building an online presence.
This woman has the wisdom of seven which isn't surprising once you learn there's very little she hasn't been through herself!
I've been on the receiving end of her straight talking style a few times and speaking as somebody who regularly goes through patches of serious self-doubt - doesn't every musician? - her writing is enlightening.
Heading up discussions on the future of classical music, from the first day I came across Greg's blog I breathed a sigh of relief. My seemingly mad ideas - which had only drawn stares of incomprehension in the 1980s - perhaps weren't so insane after all.
I have a lot of respect for people who have the courage to stick their heads above the mainstream and be prepared to defend their views so eloquently against the inevitable naysayers but Greg does more than this.
Through his own ongoing career evolution he inspires you to take action starting with yourself and that is something really special.
Daily bite sized motivational and head scratching thoughts almost daily - that's how I'd describe Seth!
If you're looking for a place to get your creative juices flowing, this is a good place to start.
If you're finding the current changes on the classical music scene tough Craig's your man!
Drawn in by his own personal story, I've been avidly reading this blog from the first week it was published.
What fascinates me is how many parallels there are between the disciplines exercised in being a musician and managing your own personal responses to change.
Where do I start with this character?! Writing, classical piano playing and procrastination is the billing on Jessica's blog and that strap-line neatly sums her up.
Perfect Fourth will have you crying one minute and laughing the next - an education and entertainment rolled into one. Oh - and don't miss the adventures of Ainehog and Snissica on her Facebook profile
Words, poetry and inspiring photos of flowers that create a haven from the storms of life. I visit often, just to breathe and be still.
Artistic ability with stick figures aside, I often find I'm on the same page as Emily the Stark Raving Cellist.
Her blog is a quirky up close and personal look at what's happening with her and I like the fact that whenever you drop by you're never quite sure what you'll find!
If this sassy pianist doesn't end up as the Oprah of classical music at some point I'll be very surprised!
Choose between the Emerge Already blog featuring tips to lesson the plight of the aspiring concert artist or Stalking Superwoman - a behind the scenes look at Jade as she continues debunking the myth of the overnight success story.
Mazza's - Strange But True Facts
The rules of the Award acceptance also require me to give you 7 facts about myself that you probably don't know already.
- I'm much more competent at making French sauces and cooking perfect rice every time than the Spousette.
- I haven't had a bath since 1996 when I left the UK and discovered showers
- Rotating a series of 4, 1 clarinet reed usually holds good for a minimum 20 hours playing time
- I was once married to a chartered accountant
- Over my desk I have 3 reminders which helps me prioritise activities every day: closest to cash, next cheque, new opportunities
- I'm a very hard user of toothbrushes and have to change mine every 4 weeks
- I still use a paper and pencil diary. It's a Dodo Pad actually *ahem* I'm longing for the day when Dodo Towers produces a musicians version - Lord Dodo please note!
For Those Who I've Nominated.
If you have time to play this game, this is what you have to do:
- Link back to me the person who nominated you
- Post the award image on your page
- Tell seven facts about yourself
- Nominate 10 other blogs
- Let them know they are nominated
This was fun and a lovely way to plug the people who continue consistently continue to inspire me week in, week out! Many thanks to every one of you!