Saturday, August 29, 2009

One post bites the dust

You may have noticed a recent post that showed the David Letterman show from this past summer. The musical guest was Dianne Birch and part of her backup band was a trombone quartet including Joe Alessi and Dave Taylor. I embedded a nice YouTube link.

Well, YouTube pulled the video so the post seemed pointless.

So, pfft, it's gone.

Friday, August 28, 2009

When wrong feels so right...Huzzah!!

OK, a bit more on the whole dotted-eighth sixteenth thing.

Before I did a posting on the "creeping triplets" you can get when faced with a long string of dotted-eighth sixteenth rhythms.

But what about slow tempos ("tempi" for the elite)?

Often people actually end up playing the sixteenth note too fast. But here's the catch...
sometimes, it feel so right to do it.

I'd put money down that in the land of college-level juries, most committees out there are far more likely to complain about that sixteenth being too slow in fast music and complain about it being too fast in slow music.

dotted eighth-sixteenth
when wrong feels so so right

Slide Clarity, a Haiku

This is a new term for me: slide clarity.

I hear someone play a legato run and everything blurs together at times. We don't think enough about the clarity in the slide.

Here's my haiku...

quick to the right spot
at the exact right moment
arm is not too tense

Can anyone out there think of their own haiku to add?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Great comments, by the way..

Usually these posts receive few or no comments. However, a while back, I did a post on
"What's the Opposite of Legato?" which generated (as of this date) some great, really thoughtful comments.

I wanted to thank John Bailey, Hoyt, Matthew Parunak, Greg and Justin for their contributions!

Everyone else, you may want to back and check it out.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Auditions: the notes before the notes

Yesterday, I was behind the screen for the Augusta Symphony bass trombone auditions. 7 people showed up and we ended up with one winner and 6 disappointed people.

One quick observation from this experience...think about those notes you play before the first official notes of your audition.

  1. Ask before you go on stage, "Are we allowed to play warm-up notes?"
  2. If you do play any notes, keep it to 10 seconds or less.
  3. Make sure anything you do has a clear purpose (mostly to test the acoustics of the hall)
  4. Decide in advance what you will play; don't just doodle. Perhaps you can have a 5-10 second routine that you always do to check the space and make sure everything is working.
  5. Avoid glisses; other committee members might not look kindly upon this (however, I don't think this was the case yesterday).
  6. Include a few articulated notes to listen for the amount of echo you'll be working with.
  7. Most importantly: SOUND GOOD. You may think these notes are for you but they are listening and, whether or not you like it, you are making your first impression.
Imagine the committee sitting behind the screen as someone comes out to play.

First of all, they don't know when you are going to start. They may be sliding papers around or whispering to someone. If you start to play some warm-up notes and sound uncertain or if you seem to go on forever for no apparent reason, you will have strikes against you before the first excerpt has even begun.

Conversely, if you play just a few notes with a great sound, the inevitable effect on most committee members will be, "OK, here is someone who has potential."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm back (and simply singing)

Summer's over and it's time for me to start posting some entries on the blog again.

The biggest event for me, was a giant family trip West in the mini-van (6,816 miles) to see family and national parks. More than that I'm guessing nobody really cares about.

The biggest event which may actually interest you is that I've finished the second book of my three-book trilogy. This one I've titled "Simply Singing for Winds" (after discovering with consternation that the title "Simply Singing" was already taken).

People who have studied with me know that I like to incorporate simple tunes into my teaching. I can use them to do a lot of effective teaching. I've finally done what I wanted to do for a long time: expand my little packet of 40 Simple Tunes into something just a little bit bigger.

Have you ever noticed how so many teachers/players keep returning to the same few sections of the Arban Method. The one I see used most often is that little section of tonguing tunes. Same thing with Bordogni/Rochut...there are those few etudes that everybody keeps going back to. I remember my first lesson with Arnold Jacobs when I showed up with the nice solo I wanted to work on and, in a short time, he left that and want to #2 in the "Rochut Book." I also remember a fair amount of time devoted to buzzing "Pop Goes the Weasel" on our mouthpieces. It was on that simple material that the real teaching took place.

That's why I wrote this book: to have a lot of simple material available to play.

Suppose you want to get together with a friend and play in octaves...
Suppose you're bored with your warm-up and want to warm up playing tunes...
Suppose you want to work on your high range or low range by transposing tunes...
Suppose you need work on clean tonguing...
Suppose you want music to buzz on your mouthpiece...
Suppose you want to warm down playing simple stuff in the pedal register...
Suppose you need to sing more during your practice sessions (because I'm guessing you aren't singing enough!)...

You get the idea. That's what this book is all about.

Anyway, enough advertising. Ensemble Publication plans to publish it but, in the meantime, I'm just selling them myself.

If you want to see more description, some samples, or even order the book:
here's a link.