General Stuff


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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

O Magnum Mysterium

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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

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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.


WCU Tournament of Bands

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Had a pretty good weekend out in the mountains for the Western Carolina University Band competition.  It is a really big show with a lot of great bands and it is a real challenge to make finals there.  Add to that the WCU Band which is a spectacle for sure (see video).  My brother came in to town for the weekend which was fun.  He made the trip with me out to the mountains to work with the band.  We stayed at Lake Junaluska and rehearsed there before the gig.  The band (Cary HS) had a solid prelims performance and it was strong enough to make finals.  We had a better finals show, which was not the case for all of the bands, it seemed, and I was really pleased with how the kids performed up to the level they had been prepared for.  They did their job wonderfully.

The best band there was Dobyns Bennett HS from TN and they were very good.  We will see them again this weekend at the Winston Salem Regional so I may make it a point to watch their show again.  We are not getting very strong rating from the judges this year, but I think the kids are really working hard to get better.  We will keep working to the end and be the best we can.

Here is a video of the WCU band.  : )

Times is Busy

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Its been a jammed up week or so.  Rehearsing marching bands all last week as they prepared for their first competitions, with a long Saturday in Spartanburg, SC judging a show, and the brass band performing at Edenton St. UMC Sunday morning seemed to keep things rolling along.  It has been a pretty good week, though.  I really enjoyed the judging gig in SC.  Saw some really good bands and I felt like I got the scores right, with the correct spreads.  Hope everyone was happy with it, and my comments were useful.

The brass band played well in church and was very well received.  Hopefully some people who saw us will attend some of our concerts in the future.  We will play a concert at Edenton St. UMC in May, so maybe this will help with that.  We start rehearsals for our next concert in November this week.  We are using a lot of subs.  Its such a busy month.

Jonathan made a quintet website.  Its my turn to do a blog post for the quintet, and I am struggling to find the time to do it.  I have to get into that soon.  There is a trumpet post and horn post, so keep an eye on the quintet site for more brass tips.

The Sound Sport thing is beginning to pick up steam.  We now have our website up and running and have already begun getting interest from potential members.  It will be in the planning stages for a couple months, but we will look to hold auditions in April and we will rehearse and perform in June and July.  I will be building a team of staff soon, and will be announcing things on our website and facebook page.

This weekend will be busy with judging and football, and a lot of marching band this week getting better for this weeks shows.  So far, I am pleased with how the bands I work with are progressing.  

Until next update…

Cartoon Music

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Here is a great video of an orchestra playing the background music from the cartoon Tom and Jerry. I grew up listening and watching these cartoons. Its interesting to note how difficult this music is to play, but you hardly notice it when the cartoon is rolling along. How amazing must those studio musicians have been to probably have to sight read this stuff in the sessions.


Wilmington Weekend

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I am in Wilmington playing a concert with the Wilmington Symphony. I was hoping for better weather so I could go see the ocean. Maybe it will be better tomorrow. I took a picture of my tubas before I left on my new iPhone 5s. It’s been a couple years since I got a new apple product. I have had iPhones since the very first one and this one is sweet.


Some Big News

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It has been a busy couple of weeks here, but all seemed to go pretty well.  The quintet has been meeting a lot to do some weddings, educational concerts and our first big concert at edenton Street UMC.  We had a great audience at Edenton St. and all of the education concerts went really well, and the kids where great with their questions.  The quintet is pretty motivated to drive traffic to our website, so Don eagle posted a great article about practicing trumpet, which was sent all over the place for people to see.  We have plans to follow up each week with a post from others in the quintet.  We are not meeting this week, but have several rehearsals set up for next week to get ready for the next thing.  Its a ways off, but we seem to be staying ahead of the game right now.  Pam and I will be meeting this week to work out details on our brass chamber music camp which will roll out this summer.

The brass band has been in full swing.  We started our season with rehearsals and a free concert in Cary last weekend.  There was a huge crowd and they were very receptive.  The band sounded really good and the weather was perfect for a concert.  We have been auditioning players to fill some holes in the band and will be announcing the new members this week when we finish the auditions.  We are now working on music for our performance at Edenton St. UMC on Sept. 29 for their Sunday services.  This is a new thing for us, as we try to get in front of  more people who may not have heard of us.  We launched our new website, and it looks pretty good, so check it pout here...

The biggest news is the new Triangle Brass Sound Sport Team that I just started here.  It is sponsored by the Triangle Brass Band and is in the early stages of development.  We will be fielding a team this summer and details will be trickling out over the next couple of months.  Our website will be up soon, but in the meantime, you can see info here…

This weekend will be fun.  I am playing with the Wilmington Symphony and my best friend from college will be visiting.  I will most likely be getting the new iPhone 5S on Friday and will go off the grid for the weekend to play the tuba and hang out with my buddy.

Brass and Organ

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Just had a really nice night.  The newly formed Boylan Bridge Brass had our first big public performance as a part of the Edenton Street Live series at Edenton St. UMC in Raleigh tonight.  The crowd was really awesome.  I heard it was over 300, which they say may be the biggest audience yet for the series.  I was not expecting that.  It was cool to see some students and young brass players there, as well as some friends.  This begins our residency at ESUMC which will be really cool to be a part of, and if they keep getting audiences of that size, will be a lot of exposure for the group too.

Went out to the Boylan Brew Pub after the gig and the Boylan Bridge Brass hung out at the Boylan Brew Pub.  Three months ago I doubt I would have even gone out after the concert, but it was a lot of fun to hang out tonight.  Enough for me to at least write about how nice an evening it was tonight.  I really am looking forward to more positive and enjoyable things in the future.  More to come…