The Lydster: Her career choices

barbara-jordan_congressI saved this Ask Roger Anything question, from Chris, until now:

Do you feel like you’re pushing your daughter towards certain career choices or letting her choose, or both? Do you think you’d be supportive of a career where it would be difficult for her to make a living, e.g. actress or musician?

Oh goodness, no. That’s a function of her needing to figure out what she wants to do. And honestly, I don’t have a strong sense of something I want her to do. I suppose I don’t want her to do something that involves a lot of danger.

Thinking about some of the things she has tried out:

Ballet – did it for two or three years, decided it wasn’t for her. But the lessons she learned have been useful, and she still likes to choreograph her own moves.

Soccer – she did youth soccer for three or four seasons, decided it wasn’t for her. So I was a bit surprised that she signed up for modified youth soccer this fall. What she learned before has come in handy.

Playing clarinet – her mother played, and she seemed to enjoy it. Moreover, I thought she got to be rather good at it, but she suddenly dropped it a couple of years ago. I was surprised when she pulled it out once this past summer. Maybe she’ll go back to it, maybe she won’t.

Things she’s interested in currently:

Art – she’s quite good at it, and she received some local awards for it. She DOES agonize over her work, though.

Clothing design – She’s been taking old clothes, cutting them up, stitching them together. Well not so much in the school year, but it was a business she wanted to look into this past summer.

Law – right now, she says she wants to be a lawyer. She sees injustice on the news on TV and wants to fix it. I wanted to be a lawyer for a time, so that would be fine.

One of the things that seems constant in this narrative is that everything learned has value. Maybe it won’t be applied directly, but it won’t go to waste.

Would I discourage her from a career path that might be difficult? No, and frankly, it would not have occurred to me. Now that I think of it, neither of my late parents EVER said, “you ought to do” X for a living. My father had a varied career, and I doubt it would have occurred to HIM. My mom was easygoing about those things, as long as we were happy and not involved in some criminal activity.



I ordered a CD from Amazon that had two Mozart pieces.

Benny Goodman, 400 Restaurant, New York, NY., ca. July 1946
Benny Goodman, 400 Restaurant, New York, NY., ca. July 1946

The Daughter played the clarinet for about two years. The added benefit was that The Wife took HER clarinet out of retirement – she had played in high school – and started practicing. They even played a brief duet at one of the family reunions.

Unfortunately, when the Daughter quit, her mother did as well. Still, she loves the instrument.

The Wife is a notoriously difficult person to buy presents for. There have been a few things that had been reliable choices for a time. A few Glee TV soundtracks early on. Her “K girls, Diana Krall and Alison Krauss, when they’d put out a new album. The six
seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD.

This year, uncharacteristically, she actually asked for a classical album featuring clarinetist Benny Goodman. I was unaware that he even played in a classical setting, hearing him entirely in the jazz genre.

Nevertheless, I ordered a CD from Amazon that had two Mozart pieces, Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra in A major, K. 622 and Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet in A major, K. 581, the former with the Boston Symphony, conducted by Charles Munch, the latter with its String Quartet.

It arrived at work the Friday before Mother’s Day. At church that evening, it was First Friday, and the Capital City String Quartet was playing pieces by Mozart and Brahms with a clarinetist. You can guess that the Mozart piece was the very same K. 581 that had just been delivered to me!

And the K. 622 The Wife had played in a performance in high school, which seems to have been her greatest musical accomplishment.

Happy birthday to my bride, who is turning…some age younger than mine. Hope I have figured what to get you THIS time. In honor of her natal day, listen to Mozart, Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A major K. 581.


Nairi-Quartet: Soo-Young Lee (Clarinet), Narine Nanayan (1st violin), Zhanna Harutyunyan (2nd violin), Gohar Mkhitaryan (viola), Vladislav Kozin (cello)

Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major K 622

Cleveland Orchestra. Clarinet: Robert Marcellus Conductor: George Szell

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