Great Advise

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Stolen from david Zerkel….

This is a handout that I provided my studio on the last day of class. Just some practical advice on how to stay engaged in music and music making over the summer break. Enjoy!

Making the Best of Your Summer Away From School
Congrats on making it to the end of the year! As we all limp toward the finish line, feeling the cumulative effect of exams, performances, papers and real life, I know that you will be looking forward to a break. I will be, too! So, by all means, after your last exam ends and your last paper is turned in, exhale. Relax. You’ve earned it.

The trick for you will be to not let a week of chilling out turn into two weeks of chilling out, which quickly becomes a month of chilling out, and by the time you look up, you’ve chilled yourself into a coma. So, my advice is take a week or two to find yourself again and get some sleep.

After that time is up, I would ask that you consider the following activities:

  • Sit down and write an essay about why you are studying music. Everyone comes at this from a different angle, so be honest with yourself. Clarifying your sense of direction can frequently have an empowering effect.
  • Once you have determined why you are studying music, give some thought to the following question: “If I really care about music, why would I ever give that pursuit anything less than my best effort?” The world is full of musicians who are at different talent levels. That is a given. The one thing that we have all in common, though, is that we are all blessed with the same capacity to try. I am not suggesting a vow of myopia here, where all of your other interests are ignored, but instead a vow of conscientiousness and earnestness. We can all try harder.
  • All of us have a pile of etude books. Make your goal this summer to finish at least one etude book, cover to cover. These books are not like a video game where you have to level up by having your teacher “check off” on your work. Read ahead. Devour these etudes. You might find that you will want to do the same with the next book on your stack.
  • Listen to something new every day. At the end of this document, I have provided you with a list of great performers and a list of composers with whom every well-read musician should be familiar. Sometimes, when I enter a bookstore or a library I am overwhelmed by the choices and the sheer number of things that I know absolutely nothing about. This list is designed to lead you to great art and great artists. This list will keep you busy. Use it!
  • Improvise for five minutes a day. Make something up using only your ear. Be fearless—there are no points off for mistakes. Doing this will allow you to generate greater trust between your brains and your fingers, which will come in very handy once you start reading from the page again.
  • Identify your biggest weakness in your playing. Now, kill it. This is where I actually do encourage a bit of myopia. Spend serious time there every single day. Make your own exercises. Research exercises that other people use. Suck until you don’t suck. By dedicating yourself to eradicating one specific technical issue, the problem will get better.
  • This last one is a suggestion for not only this summer, but for the rest of your life: Be Curious. Great achievements in life do not      occur because people are content with knowing what they know. Great accomplishments come as a result of seeking out what you don’t know. Read. Listen. Occupy your mind with things that will enrich you as a person. Live life. Nourish your brain and body with new experiences.

We only have this one life to live. Determine what matters and go for it. Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King:

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”

Have a great and productive summer!


Some Great Classical Pianists 

Martha Argerich
Glenn Gould
Alfred Brendel

Leon Fleischer

Rosalyn Tureck

Vladimir Horowitz

Evgeny Kissin

Emmanuel Ax

Alicia deLaroccha

Arthur Schnabel

Some Great Jazz Pianists 

Art Tatum
Thelonious Monk
Oscar Peterson

Bill Evans
Marian McPartland

Ahmad Jamal

McCoy Turner

Keith Jarrett
Dave Brubeck

Herbie Hancock

Some Great Violinists

Joshua Bell
Gidon Kremer

Yehudi Menuin

Janine Jansen

Itzhak Perlman
Gil Shaham
Pinchas Zuckerman

Jascha Heifetz

James Ehnes

Anne-Sophie Mutter

Some Great Violists

Kim Kashkashian

William Primrose

Lawrence Power

Antoine Tamestit

Nobuku Imai

Yuri Bashmet

Lionel Tertis

Some Great Cellists

Yo Yo Ma
Mstislav Rostropovich

Pablo Casals

Janos Starker

Jacqueline du Pre

Mischa Maisky

Pierre Fournier

Lynn Harrell

Leonard Rose

Heinrich Shiff

Some Great Double Bass Players

Edgar Meyer

Eugene Levinson

Gary Karr
Oscar Zimmerman

Teppo Hauta-Aho

Some Great Guitarists (Classical) 

Andres Segovia
John Williams
Christopher Parkening

Pepe Romero

Julian Bream

David Russell

Craig Ogden

Some Great Guitarists (Jazz)

Wes Montgomery
Joe Pass
Pat Metheny

Bill Frisell

Kenny Burrell

Grant Green

Jim Hall

George Benson

Some Great Flutists

Emmanuel Pahud

Jean Pierre Rampal

Jeanne Baxtresser

James Galway

Marcel Moyse

Ransom Wilson

Carol Wincenc

William Bennett

Jeffery Khaner

Julius Baker

Some Great Oboists 

Heinz Holziger

Albrecht Mayer

Alex Klein

Richard Woodham

Some Great Clarinetists

Sabine Myers
Julian Bliss
Martin Frost

Richard Stoltzman

Karl Leister

Harold Wright

Some Great Saxophonists (Classical) 

Tim McAllister
Joseph Luloff
Eugene Rousseau

Donald Sinta

Frederick Hemke

Kenneth Tse
Otis Murphy

Some Great Saxophonists (Jazz)

Charlie Parker
John Coltrane
Coleman Hawkins

Lester Young
Stan Getz
Sonny Rollins

Cannonball Adderly

Phil Woods

Wayne Shorter

Some Great Trumpet Players (Classical)

Maurice Andre
Wynton Marsalis
Phil Smith

Adolph Herseth

Gerard Schwarz

Hakan Hardenberger

Alison Balsom

Ryan Anthony

Allen Vizzutti

Some Great Trumpet Players (Jazz) 

Dizzy Gillespie
Miles Davis
Clifford Brown

Chet Baker

Wynton Marsalis

Freddy Hubbard

Arturo Sandoval

Louis Armstrong

Clark Terry

Some Great Horn Players

Dennis Brain
Barry Tuckwell
Dale Clevenger

Hermann Baumann

Erik Ruske
Doug Hill
Alan Civil

Gail Williams

Some Great Trombonists (Classical) 

Joe Alessi
Christian Lindberg
Ian Bousfield

Jorgen van Rejin

James Markey

Ben van Dijk

Nitzan Haroz

Randy Hawes

Some Great Trombonists (Jazz) 

Wycliffe Gordon
JJ Johnson
Frank Rosolino

Bill Waltrous

Slide Hampton

Carl Fontana

Kai Winding

Some Great Euphonium Players

David Childs
Bob and Nick Childs

Demondrae Thurman

Ben Pierce

Thomas Reudi

David Thornton

Steven Mead

Jukka Myllys

Fernando Deddos

Some Great Tuba Players

Michael Lind

John Fletcher
Arnold Jacobs

Oystein Baadsvik

Walter Hilgers

Gene Pokorny

Les Neish

Pat Sheridan

Some Great Percussionists

Evelyn Glennie

Colin Currie

Cloyd Duff

Keiko Abe

Some Great Orchestras

Berlin Philharmonic
Chicago Symphony Orchestra

New York Philharmonic

Cleveland Orchestra

Concertgebouw Orchestra

San Francisco Symphony

Boston Symphony

Philadelphia Orchestra

Budapest Festival Orchestra

Vienna Philharmonic

Dresden Staatskapelle

London Symphony

Some Great Chamber Ensembles 

Emerson String Quartet
Juilliard String Quartet
Gaurneri String Quartet

Kronos Quartet
Turtle Island Quartet
Empire Brass
Center City Brass Quintet

American Brass Quintet
Aurelia Saxophone Quartet
Prism Saxophone Quartet
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet

Dorian Ensemble

Alarm Will Sound

eighth blackbird

Some Great Wind Bands
The United States Marine Band

Dallas Wind Symphony
Tokyo Kosei Wind Ensemble

Some Great Jazz Ensembles

Woody Herman Big Band

Buddy Rich Band
Louis Bellson Band

The Bill Holman Band
Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra

Lincoln Center Big Band
Stan Kenton Band
Rob McConnell Boss Brass
Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band

Some Great Singers (Classical) 

Renee Fleming
Kiri TeKanawa
Jessye Norman

Cecilia Bartoli
Anna Nebtrebko
Jussi Bjorling
Luciano Pavoratti

Placido Domingo
Jonas Kaufmann

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

Bryn Terfel

Some Great Singers (Jazz)

Sarah Vaughan
Ella Fitzgerald
Diana Krall

Dinah Washington

Billie Holiday
Kurt Elling
Joe Williams

Great Entry Level Operas

La Boheme
La Traviata
The Magic Flute

Barber of Seville

Composers to Try 

John Adams
John Corigliano

George Crumb

Jennifer Higdon

Phillip Glass
Gyorgy Ligeti
Arvo Part
Krzysztof Penderecki

Steve Reich

Joseph Schwantner

Eric Whitacre

Aaron Jay Kernis

Henryk Gorecki

Twentieth Century

Samuel Barber

Bela Bartok

Leonard Bernstein

Benjamin Britten

John Cage

Aaron Copland

Claude Debussy

George Gershwin

Alberto Ginastera

Percy Grainger

Paul Hindemith

Howard HansonGustav Holst

Charles Ives

Leos Janacek
Olivier Messiaen

Darius Milhaud
Carl Orff
Carl Nielsen
Francis Poulenc

Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Rachmaninoff

Maurice Ravel

Ottorino Respighi

Arnold Schoenberg

William Schuman

Dmitri Shostakovich

Igor Stravinsky

Richard Strauss

Michael Tippett

Hector Villa-Lobos

Anton Webern

Hector Berlioz
Georges Bizet
Johannes Brahms
Anton Bruckner
Frederic Chopin
Antonin Dvorak
Edward Elgar
Gabriel Faure
Cesar Franck
Franz Liszt
Gustav Mahler
Jules Massanet
Felix Mendelssohn

Giacomo Puccini
Nicolai Rimsky- Korsakov

Giacchino Rossini
Camille Saint Saens
Erik Satie
Jean Sibelius
Bedrich Smetana
Robert Schumann
Pytor Tchaikovsky

Giuseppe Verdi
Richard Wagner
Hugo Wolf

CPE Bach
Ludwig van Beethoven

Joseph Haydn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Franz Schubert

Johann Sebastian Bach

George Frideric Handel

Claudio Monteverdi

Henry Purcell

Alessandro Scarlatti

Georg Phillipp Telemann

Antonio Vivaldi

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