Is there any interest out there for me to start up my blog again?
My website has been hacked so many times, I was kicked off the server and forced to find a new host. I am in the process of re-building my website, pretty much from scratch, so please be patient as I work to get a new website here.
The last two TBB concerts have been pretty amazing for us. We enjoyed great audiences and some awesome music. For as long as I can remember, band members have not really been interested in recordings of their concerts, but some have been asking, so here are some files from our last two concerts.
May 9, 2015 at Trinity United Methodist in Durham, NC – “I Shall Rise Again”
The Piper O’Dundee – Robin Gorham, Solo Tenor Horn
My Song of Songs – Kent Foss, Cornet soloist
May 29, 2015 at Bond Park in Cary, NC with Guest Drum set Artist David Albert – “Big Band Brass”
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – Sean Walsh, Mark Beamish, Evan Atherton, Trumpets
Stella By Starlight – Caren Enloe, Trombone Solo
Sing Sing Sing – Dave Albert on Drum set (extended solo version)
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
Some Great Jazz Pianists
Some Great Violinists
Some Great Violists
Some Great Cellists
Yo Yo Ma
Jacqueline du Pre
Some Great Double Bass Players
Some Great Guitarists (Classical)
Some Great Guitarists (Jazz)
Some Great Flutists
Jean Pierre Rampal
Some Great Oboists
Some Great Clarinetists
Some Great Saxophonists (Classical)
Some Great Saxophonists (Jazz)
Some Great Trumpet Players (Classical)
Some Great Trumpet Players (Jazz)
Some Great Horn Players
Some Great Trombonists (Classical)
Jorgen van Rejin
Ben van Dijk
Some Great Trombonists (Jazz)
Some Great Euphonium Players
Bob and Nick Childs
Some Great Tuba Players
Some Great Percussionists
Some Great Orchestras
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
New York Philharmonic
San Francisco Symphony
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Some Great Chamber Ensembles
Emerson String Quartet
Juilliard String Quartet
Gaurneri String Quartet
Turtle Island Quartet
Center City Brass Quintet
American Brass Quintet
Aurelia Saxophone Quartet
Prism Saxophone Quartet
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Alarm Will Sound
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)
Some Great Singers (Jazz)
Great Entry Level Operas
The Magic Flute
Barber of Seville
Composers to Try
Aaron Jay Kernis
Howard HansonGustav Holst
Nicolai Rimsky- Korsakov
Camille Saint Saens
Ludwig van Beethoven
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Johann Sebastian Bach
George Frideric Handel
Georg Phillipp Telemann
Here is the incomparable Demondrae Thurman on Euphonium as soloist with the Triangle Brass Band from March 2014.
I am planning to go on a trip to England to research brass bands sometime in the next year. I am looking to see some of the best brass bands in the world, watch them rehearse, play concerts and talk to them about how to program, fund raise and stay viable and productive in todays economy. All in the hopes of being able to serve the Triangle Brass Bands better.
You can help me by sending a little cash my way for this trip. Just click on the link below. I would be most grateful!!!!
O Magnum Mysterium, taken from the text of the Christmas Liturgy, is an appropriate way to wish ALL a happy holidays. This performance is with the combined tuba/euphonium/baritone sections of the Triangle Youth Brass Band and Triangle Youth Academy Brass Band (formerly Brass Ensemble). This was performed on a concert where we combined both bands to play movie music and we also had brass choir music (Trumpet Ensemble, Horn Choir, Trombone Choir, Tuba/Euph Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble). It was a fun concert. Most of the kids in this ensemble are my private students, so it was really fun for me to do this tune with them.
October is gone, so marching band is now officially done for me for the year. Sometimes I feel like I am an anomaly amongst my friends and colleagues in the music biz, because I like marching band and I like the things that high school marching band does for kids. I simply do not share their dis-taste for this activity. I enjoy teaching brass skills and music designed for the football field. There is a level of emotional enjoyment and performance skill to be found in marching band that is far greater than even orchestral playing. It is a bit of a crazy process to get to that point, but never the less, it is undeniable. Maybe one day I will try to clearly state what it is about this activity that draws me to it, but lately it seems enough for me that I am just really good at teaching it. It won’t be long before that isn’t enough, but for now, there it is.
I work with two band on a regular basis, and I get great enjoyment out of them for different reasons. While both bands grew a lot this season, only one had true competitive success. I will not get wrapped up in winning marching band competitions, as that is so not important, but the process getting to high quality does matter, and what the kids learn in that process is the true gift.
Sanderson is an average sized band in NC. Roughly 70 members. To me it is a good example of how to have balance in a band program and quality in a marching band without over-doing it. The kids work hard and seem to know the value in limited rehearsal time vs. achieving goals. I have been running this brass line for about 5 years and it is one of the fundamentally sound lines out there. They are a lot of fun to teach and get a solid product in the end.
Cary is a larger than average band for NC. They might be the largest HS band in NC. We are dealing with growing pains there and maybe even modernizing a bit. The kids there are also great to work with and want to be really good and work hard. We have a great working relationship and the future looks good for them. The off season looks like it could be fun as we look for new and better ways to make that program top notch.
I also judged a couple of shows this year, early in the season, and I continue the debate with myself on whether or not I should do more of that. It misbecoming clearer and clearer that there are not a lot of people who understand how to judge true music effect, and how that differs from Ensemble Music Performance. So many shows we end up with three ensemble tapes and no effect tapes. I feel I have a good handle on Ensemble and Music Effect captions, but would prefer to be in the trenches helping my bands get ready to perform. Maybe it will come down to money deciding it in the end. Who knows.
So now what? The youth brass band just held their auditions and I was not involved at all for the first time in 13 years. It sounds like it will be awesome and I am happy for that, and glad that I left a program in such good shape, and in great hands. The adult brass band has a concert this week, and then we start on our holiday program next week. The quintet will be pretty active the next couple of months as well. Throw in some NC Symphony work and other gigs and it should be a good couple of months leading up to the holidays.