What have I been up to the past three weeks since my last post? Slaving away at work, mostly (when not up to my neck in chores at home). I'd be paralyzed with boredom and discouragement were it not for one of the most wonderful resources on the Internet: Pandora Internet Radio. It's a free web site (with a few very unobtrusive ads; you can choose a modestly priced version with no ads and a few more bells and whistles) that lets you build your own "stations" featuring whatever music suits your fancy, which you can then listen to anytime and anywhere you have Internet access. Just hit the "Create a New Station" button, type in the name of a song or an artist of the sort that you'd like to build your station around--of any genre or style that suits you--and Pandora will play for you a series of songs of that kind (or by artists of that kind) based on a system of analyzing music/performance characteristics called the "Music Genome Project." At first you give a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" to each song or piece as it goes by, and the system gradually "learns" your preferences for that station. At that point you can sit back and let your music play, if you so choose marking only those songs/pieces that you especially like or don't want to hear on that station again. You can create as many stations as you want to, around music or artists of different styles (Pandora also has predefined genre stations that you don't have to build yourself). I have a couple of dozen stations, ranging from Celtic traditional to old timey country/folk (I call it "Country Sweet") to American pop standards of the 30s-50s ("Stardust Radio") to classical flamenco ("Spanish Fire") to Gregorian Chant to opera, and everything in between. I'm very fortunate that my employer lets us use the company Internet connection to listen to music; it keeps us alert and our minds from ossifying!
My very favorite personal station is one I call Serenity Radio. I wanted a station that played only hymn-type sacred music (as opposed to chant, oratorios, and the like, which I have on the Gregorian channel), the kind you hear in church on Sunday. So I typed in "Mormon Tabernacle Choir" to start, and added the names of some other choirs and the titles of my favorite hymns. By and by I created a station that plays many different arrangements of the great traditional hymns--"Sweet Hour of Prayer," "Just As I Am," "Amazing Grace," "Blessed Assurance," etc.--as well as some original religious compositions, in both choral and instrumental versions. I called it "Serenity Radio" because listening to it calms my soul and lifts my spirits like nothing else I can do at work! I get a charge from this great music, and really am more productive because of it. If you'd like to listen to Serenity Radio, click here. If that doesn't work, go to my blog Marching On! (click here if you're not there right now), scroll down to the Pandora box in the right-hand column, and click on the Serenity Radio button in the "Musical Activity" or "Stations" parts of the box. If THAT doesn't work or you can't find the places I'm referring to, email me here and I'll send you a link straight from Pandora.
No, I don't work for Pandora. And I get no commission for this plug. I just love music and want to share it with my friends--and think this is a great way to do it!