Thursday, April 30, 2009

An iBone app? Really??

Further proof that some people have way too much time on their hands.

(But I'll confess I'm a little jealous)

(notice the overtone series in the background)
(also, notice that tilting the phone seems to affect volume).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Can't Play That Lick (that I just played)

Oh, how many times has this happened!

A student comes in, announcing that he/she simply can't play a lick.
I ask, "What lick"
Then (and here's the cool part) they sometimes pick up their horn and play it. *And* they often nail it.

What's going on here?

Well, here's one thought: at the moment they are demonstrating for me, a couple of factors may be true:

1. They have nothing to lose since they just announced they can't play it. Thus, they plunge in with a "no worries, nothing to lose" approach.

2.Their mindset is more focused on the lick itself and how it sounds (since their goal is to simply demonstrate it for me to make their point). In other words, they aren't focused on themselves or the act of trying to play it. Instead their total focus is on the music itself.

So, in demonstrating that lick they can't play, they are often doing the two exact things they should do:
Let go and play
Focus completely on the music, not yourself.

The brain is a funny thing.

Steve Witser: Sad News

I just heard that Steve Witser passed away.

Here's the article.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Fearsome Five

The Beatles were the Fab Four

In basketball we have the Final Four (and Sweet Sixteen)

In school we learned the Three R's

On the evil side of the equation, we could think about the Seven Deadly Sins

or maybe the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Here's a new one to consider:

Why these notes?
(if it isn't obvious, which it should be)

They represent that perfect storm of of "out of tune" and "shows up a lot in your music"

I wonder, what percentage of our tuning troubles would go away if those five notes were always in tune.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Berlin in the Arm

Good ol' 5th position.
Sooo many pitch problems to be found.

Here's what I find interesting: even when someone KNOWS that they aren't reaching out far enough, their arm just seems strangely reluctant to reach

Consider this analogy: when Germany reunified, I seem to recall some trouble bringing those East German factories (and factory workers) up to speed with with Western standards.

Brain = new standards (Western manufacturing)
Muscles = old attitudes (Soviet style manufacturing)

The brain keeps saying, "Get out to 5th position, you're sharp" The factory workers keep replying , "Nope, 5th position isn't out there. It's only out to here!"

Somehow, the memos from management don't always get through.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

History: Let's Hear it for Hennequin van Pictre

Have you ever had a "should" book. You know, you buy a book you "should" read but then you don't get around to it.
Well, one of my "should" books is "The Trombone" by Trevor Herbert. I'm finally starting to work my way slowly through it.
I thought I might occasionally post a blog entry about some detail from the book. I don't wish to plagiarize, though.
You should buy this book. Here's a link from Amazon. Here's a link from Hickey's.
Here's a "proper" citation:
Herbert, Trevor. The Trombone. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Today's tidbit is from page 58.

Who, you ask is Hennequin van Pictre?
Well, according to Herbert, Burgundian court records from the 1410's list him as being employed to play the trompette des menestrals (a slide trumpet or very early trombone).

(no, this picture is not from the book)

In other words: he's one of the first trombone players to

Go Hennequin!!