Sunday, February 23, 2014

Companion Post 2 from Orchestral Trombone Playing Video

In continuing the posts from the video on answering questions on orchestral trombone playing, this post comes from a certain section of the video.  At various times in the video, I speak about the era we are in and what seems to be the acceptable fashion in many orchestras for trombone playing. Near the end of the video, around 22.37, I raise the question, "Is there a even need for greater and greater nuance?" This was asked concerning this particular era that we are in. The answer is YES, there is! But if the fashion and employment opportunity says NO, meaning if you do this or that you won't pass through the gate, (the various rounds  in an audition), then one could say there is not. So much of education is based around job placement. Employment based education is not just happening in music schools but overall in any school of learning. 

That is why I have witnessed people knowing orchestral excerpts, just the excerpts, and not knowing the rest of the piece at all. There is a 'formula' being taught on how to make excerpts 'attractive' in an audition setting. If we are only trained in our schools to play good at the audition, what in the world is that doing for the music and our own sense of musical connection, meaning and purpose? Depending on how heavy and intense that training is, it could be extremely difficult to retrain ourselves  to be more flexible, if that should become a desire. Years ago if you saw a staccato on the page you would play it really short, almost pecky. That could have been viewed as extreme for certain musical styles but very fitting for others. If you went to an audition then and didn't play really short or sounded really heavy on tenor trombone at a tenor trombone audition, it would most likely not have fit that style and you would not advance into the next round. 

This brings up a great territory about being true to the composer's wishes. A student of mine at NEC asked a great question about this that I will answer on video soon. But to just start probing the territory, can any age, given that they have changes in style, actually know the original  wishes of the composer? Especially if the performer is being 'true' or totally attached to a particular school of playing?

Here ends companion post 2.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Answering a Question About Orchestral Trombone Playing

Often I receive emails from people around the US and abroad who appreciate the blog and the many YouTube videos that are up. All the YouTube videos are on the blog but many people see YouTube first.
This man from New York City emailed me a couple of questions about orchestral trombone playing, framing it in a certain way about how to find the balance in your own expression and the section and the conductor. A great question really and I got his permission to answer him in the form of a video. Here is the video for you to watch if you have not already seen it. The companion post will be put up in several posts. Following this video is companion post 1.




Companion Post 1

The main point  of this video is to inspire getting into the essence of the music no matter what orchestra, section or conductor you are playing with. Schools of playing are born from people, players who have found something that works for them and they pass on the concepts and methods to their students. This is all fine but in my view if it becomes a block to ones own development that is a problem. Or if the allegiance is to one school, tone color or one articulation or a certain make of equipment, then are we getting biased and it  maybe difficult to appreciate anything that is different to that. I have addressed this issue a lot because it so hits at the core of what humans do and have done throughout history in one form or another. This is my concern at the core level. It also really begs the question, WHAT IS MUSIC? This is a great frontier and I have explored aspects of it on many blog posts, masterclasses and videos but it might be the time to really open it up even more soon. Here ends Companion Post 1.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014

Happy New Year!
Happy New Month!
Happy New Semester!
Happy New Week!
Happy New Day!
Happy New Hour!
Happy New Minute!
Happy New Second!
Happy New! Ever New!

From what you can see from the above listing, there is no reason why you can't be ever Happy New!
Each moment offers us that option. Sometimes we have to really dig for it but it is much easier when value, love, respect,  gratitude, appreciation, awe, inspiration and many other such vital essences are upfront in our minds, thoughts and attitudes. We just have to continually connect to them and put them into practice, throughout our living lives. This makes them real and lasting. We become what we practice.

I wish all of you a very HAPPY EVER NEW NOW!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Year End Message 2013

Hello All! It has been awhile since I have posted anything. Perhaps many of you are traveling and preparing for holidays and time with family and friends. Surely a small break from the crunch of a tight schedule and due dates of various kinds is needed. 

For me, it as been a very busy Fall on all levels. I am grateful for my many friends and family members who are always so supportive of me in my life aims and pursuits. I would especially like to say that my wife Carol is not only supportive, but is with me in what we do together. And that is not to be other than who we are with the desire to never stop evolving. To always keep the Light lit and to help others as best as we can, to keep their own light lit and to be themselves. To be their true Self. She, is a brilliant Light.
I am thankful for my dear son Ben and his support. A wonderful person and musician who will surely make a difference in the world. My brother Neal and my sister Marcey, always there, there love always felt. They, I know, are making the world a better place too, without a doubt.

This video was made on December 22, 2013, in the afternoon. Perhaps it will have some usefulness to some of you. it is called Year End Message 2013.

Your Art is as close to you as you are close to your Self. The closer you are to your Self, the more you will be you and express what your true instrument needs to express. We are all instruments for something. It is wonderful to hear when someone is being 'played' by peace, inspiration, love, the urge to try, the quest for honor, joy, devotion and other such refined qualities. This is a choice. Our choices choose what will 'play' us. And that is part of the deal here. We have the choice. Let's all try to choose wisely.


I wish you all a very joyous, restful, peaceful, loving Holiday. Go where few have gone before, into the ocean of continuance and progression of the Spirit of Life. As a great,  great mentor of mine said to me, "Be the very thing that   lights up your life." 



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

FBSMC5, Playing Through the Years, Session 5, Part 2

Here is part 2 of Session 5 about the college years. It is an involved topic on many levels. In this video, I discuss certain aspects of what I think is important in college. For example, the choice of studio instructor, what would be useful material, in general terms, to work on. Also,  how important it is, in my view, to eventually start doing some kind of music work outside of school such as freelancing, teaching, ushering and other networking. Speaking of college, it was exactly 40 years ago today, September 3, 1973, that I started going to New England Conservatory. It's living proof of how time truly does fly! Make hay while the sun shines, and keep making hay whatever the sun is doing! So without further delay, here is College, part 2.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

FBSMC5, Playing Through the Years, Session 5, College, Part 1

This video is about our college years. Freshman year is a time of new beginnings in many ways for people. Away from home, being a freshman again, new people, often times a new city, dorm life and new teachers. On top of this, it can be a time of starting over again on our instrument. It is a relook and deepening of the foundations of our playing, but this time from a more experienced place in ourselves. So here is a part 1 of college years.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

FBSMC5, Playing Through the Years, Session 4, Middle School and High School

So let us continue looking at "Playing Through the Years" with focusing on Middle School and High School. In this 3 part series, we will see how things can start to change very rapidly during this time. With so many big physical changes alone there is much to discuss. The biggest factor is coming to the decision that one wants to pursue a career in music playing their instrument. I will talk about what I think is needed in practice time and what the requirements are for someone thinking about taking college auditions. There is so much to discuss in this area that I encourage people to email me or make comments that I can then respond to.

Part 1


Part 2

Part 3