Saturday, May 27, 2017

Commencement Speech 2017

I was thinking about commencement speeches during school graduations a couple of weeks ago. So, I thought I would give one here! What is interesting is a commencement speech (commence meaning to start or begin) is for work that has already been done and now you are moving to another stage of your life. So the ending (graduation) and the new beginning )commencement) meet! The done and to be done right next to each other! It really is a gateway of possibility right?

This video, Commencement Speech 2017, certain issues are addressed, one of them being our current educational system. Plus the fact that so much information is available online with a click of a key. Because of this avalanche of information, it might be useful to ask oneself some questions like:
1.What have I done with all the information and knowledge I have received already?
2. Have I an idea of what I need?
3. What do I do when I come across so many different (often times conflicting), viewpoints?
4. How do I know what applies to me?
5. Do I stay with anyone method long enough to know if it is working for me?

In terms of musicians, many nowadays have a ton of choices, even when they are in school, to study with a variety of teachers. What is the usefulness of this? What is there to be cautious of with this?

So without further delay, here is Commencement Speech 2017 which will look into some of the issues that were mentioned above. Congratulations to all the graduates. On to the next stage!

Friday, January 20, 2017

In Case You're Interested Series, Video 3, Prayer

This video was recorded on January 17th, 2017. It is a prayer. I will not comment anymore on it then that. It is for those who want to hear and feel it. It is a transmission.

Video 3, Prayer

Monday, January 16, 2017

"In Case You're Interested" Series, Video 2, "You Don't Always Have To Sell It"

Common phrases such as a teacher saying you need to 'sell it' might be well intentioned. But if it is used in conjunction wth an 'audition formula' designed to not raise any 'red flags' in the orchestra committee's minds, I have noticed it is difficult for people, students, to release themselves from that mentality while playing those excerpts in the orchestra setting. I can always tell when students and playing professionals are being trained to be good audition takers. The playing gets narrow in dynamic contrasts, timbre and nuances, and the general impression of the playing is very well mannered as to not disrupt the sit-down formal family dinner by bringing up controversial topics or eating with your mouth open etc. This to me, is called the Goldie Locks approach where the person auditioning wants to 'sell it' to the orchestra committee that they are the bowl of porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold but just right...

I think this is an important video. I have brought this subject up before many times. It is meant to inform and seriously consideration, in case you are interested, to what is governing your playing. Just playing with thinking only of technique (clean articulation, tone evenness, pitch, etc), makes the playing sound very skeletal no matter how even, in tune, nice sound, clear articulations and steady rhythm are being produced. This has been my observation over a very extended period of time. Why does it have to be this way? More on that later but now for the video:

Video 2

Sunday, January 8, 2017

"In Case You're Interested" Series, Video 1, "You Don't Always Have To Sing"

Hi Everyone! In this video series I will be talking about many things that have become common place in trombone teaching and in music in general. My hope is to inspire greater perspectives in common teaching phrases like "Sing through the horn." Perhaps for some people, including myself, other concepts and connections make it more useful depending on how one is felling as well as what the music would call for.

Video 1: "You Don't Always Have To Sing"

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Day 2017, An Odd Collection of Things

Hi everyone! Here is a video done today, January 1st, 2017. It was in a moment that I felt something needed to be transmitted and to those who are open transferred. My suggestion to those who want to watch and listen to it is let it just flow through you. If after the video something 'sticks' to you that was said, think about that. Then perhaps watch it again at some point.

The video is is titled New Year's Day 2017, An Odd Collection of Things. I hope you found it useful or at the least insightful and thought provoking.

Friday, December 30, 2016

End of the year message and towards the next...

Looking back and looking ahead. It's the end and the beginning all at one time. Just like when you are  playing one note the next note is in the making. Even in metronomic time this is so. This is called the stream of relative time

My dear students, (and all others who read this too!)

I hope you have been enjoying your break and the holidays, if any, that you celebrate. Maybe practicing is part of it? I hope so! There are so many different kinds of practicing one can do on a break time. What kinds you ask? Well let's see.. how about playing in your usual warm-up range but play according to how you feel. Perhaps you do this anyway, but you could start with having a lyrical aspect in your slurs for example. Or do your long tones with vibrato (slide, jaw, diaphragm, neck, tongue) at varying speeds. You could play long tones and think of different colors for each one. You could use something very natural like the rainbow colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Try a scale using those colors. Here:
1. First connect to the color
2. When you take in your breath, inhale that color
3. Then play the note with that same color
Obviously there are many, many colors one can try this with!
4. What do you feel from the different colors? (There is not a right or wrong in this).

Get into something without your usual time pressure. Oh, I know that you might be focusing on festival auditions or recitals too. That's fine of course. Putting other things in might help in many ways such as exercising another part of your mind-brain. (Helps to get you out of a rut plus gives the part of your mind -brain a rest from your usual!)

Perception is a wonderful thing. It can be grown. But one has to want it. Trying things that are different can give us new experiences which over time create a vast storehouse that we can always access and use. It sets up a range of comparisons we can connect to and see them at play in our life outside of music. Doesn't our life experiences outside of music affect our music making?

When a new year comes along it always presents an opportunity to start again. What if we took that same idea and applied to every new month? Or how about every week? Everyday? Every moment...
It is probably easier to take every week or month to start with. This idea can be cultivated into an attitude that when practiced regularly, can be with us. What a great ally a wonderful attitude is! It will be there as much as we practice it and truly discover its meaning for us.

I want you all to know, that I don't consider you MY students, in the sense I do not own you. If my experiences, knowledge and perceptions offer your music, trombone playing and life something, then I can feel honorable. It is an honor to work with you all. Remember that the word teacher has the word heart in it. When you start working with people one day or if you already do, remember that. You are not a trophy hunter/collector. You are trying, to the best of your ability to assist that person in the goals that they are striving for. If someone along the way who studies with you says they want to change careers, voluntarily, that should not disappoint you. You are helping them on part of their life journey not just a music career. What they gained through wanting music is huge! Think about it. From discipline, dedication, determination, self reflection and soooo much more. Make your own list of what pursuing music has done in your life. It could be very interesting as you look at this coming year.

You are all unique beings of the human kind. That is how I view you and more...

May 2017 be a year that moves you closer to your true Self and Artistic wishes and your place in the greater humanity which music has and will always have (along with the other arts), a vital place to help unify us all beyond our differences. Even if it is just for a moment. For in one moment so much can (and does) happen. For aren't we are ALL moments in the stream of relative time?

Love, Peace and Joy,

Mr. Bolter, Norman

Saturday, July 23, 2016

FBSMC8, Recovery Series, Video 4

Three weeks of playing have gone by! It is most definitely getting stronger and more stable. One of the things I bring up in this video is the confirmation of certain aspects of playing I have known for many years but know can appreciate and understand them at a deeper level. Time away from something and then coming back to it has always interested me. Think of times when you have been away from home. Maybe first going to overnight summer camp or off to college. Then remember how it felt to come home again. I know for me, it had many different feelings not one. There was happiness along with the sense and knowing that I had changed from the last time I'd had been home. Plus a whole bunch of other stuff!

I felt the same way coming back to the horn this time. But now there is a greater sense of ease and freedom. I don't feel I have to prove anything or be under strain to be at a certain kind of playing level. So it is still in the 'we'll see and take it as it comes' stages. Perhaps part of that 'stage' is healthy to always be in. Once again it brings up the question; why do we do what we do? It is certainly worth a good ponder everyday, for it might be simple and complex all at the same time! It will also keep us connected to the reasons why we do what we do. This is vital for it is easy if one is not aware of it, to drift from the core sentiments of why we play and are in music to something more egotistically based which is further away from OURSELVES AND THAT WHICH CREATED AND NEEDS ART.

Video 4