coming fall 2017

proofreading in the electronic age

I read a lot of blogs. Most of them actually don’t really count as ‘blogs’ anymore. They’re more like mini news outlets. They’re essential, often covering niche subjects that the print media (if they even exist in a given community) can’t or won’t cover due to costs and assigning coverage based upon demographic respones (i.e. clickbait). Being a Portland resident, I’m into craft beer, and one of my go-to blogs is The New School. They provide an amazing service to the craft beer industry and consumers in Oregon and Washington. That being said, they desperately need a copy editor. This is what I encountered when I read their article on the new Breakside Brewing location in Slabtown:


‘They’re’ is used instead of the correct ‘their’. It’s a small thing – but they’re is a contraction of they and are. It’s not a possessive, which their is. My guess is that most (I see mistakes like this all over, even with some of the largest and most respected blogs) blog contributors are using a spell-checker and nothing else. The word is spelled correctly, and it is a homophone of the correct word, so it passes the (presumed) proof-reading pass before the post is published. I’m assuming that The New School has an editor of some sort. It looks like they do not, however. They seem to have a decentralized system of contributors. I sense that a lot of blogs operate in this way. One that does not: Oregon Arts Watch. I may quibble with some of their editorial stances, but they have editors, which I know from first-hand knowledge. I’ve been a periodic contributor to OAW, and Brett Campbell did an ace job of not only editing for grammar, but in making my piece (through pointed questions and suggestions) flow better and have a more cogent point of view.

I know that I’m being a nudge, maybe even a  nudnik. No one likes a know-it-all, least of all me! I’m also a far-from-perfect writer! There have been many occasions when I’ve hit “Publish” and then my fiancée’s eagle eye spots a typo that I had missed. Grr! What we write, however, and how we write it makes an immediate impression on the reader. Having a blatant grammatical error in the first paragraph of your post isn’t the way to inspire a reader’s confidence in what follows (and making matters worse in the example above, the lede containing the error was used as the subheader in the headline slider at the top of the blog). Don’t we, as bloggers, owe it to our readers to give them well-written posts? With the availability of online proofreading services such as Grammarly and Ginger, one needn’t go to the expense of hiring a professional copy editor or proofreader (though I’d argue that this would be well worth the expense for serious content-producing blogs). Anyway, I’ve been stewing over this for quite some time, and apologies for the ambush to the otherwise excellent The New School – you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time! I’ll keep coming back and will continue to recommend your site to my other beer-minded friends.

managing one’s workload

Over at the D’Addario Orchestral blog (Behind the Bridge) – where I’m a compensated contributor – I’m doing a series of posts on how to manage time as a busy working musician. I’m not naturally the most organized person, so it’s taken a bit of time to get my act together so that things don’t fall through the cracks (as often).

As a working professional musician, there is one thing that I am constantly doing: learning music. Sometimes it is music that I’ve played many times, but often it is music that I’ve never seen before. If there is one aspect of being a professional musician that my music education did not prepare me for, it was learning the sheer volume of music that comes across my music stand week to week. When I was a grad student at the Peabody Conservatory, orchestra concerts had about two months of rehearsals, twice a week, for preparation. A recital would be planned at the beginning of the Fall term, and given towards the end of the Spring term. There was pressure, of course, to be prepared and ready for rehearsals and lessons, but things could be – and often were – adjusted as time demands changed from week to week …

Check out the complete article here, and check back for the next two entries as the month continues.