Sunday, January 24, 2021

Let's Warm-Up!

 -Let’s Warm-Up! This is a new series started a month ago and we have been having a great time! I plan on it being once a week but it could be less or more. :-) The donation for this is a minimum of $3.50 US for each warm-up session. Please send your donation to The sessions are one hour in length. Those who want to donate more are of course welcome. Lots of people told me they like group warm-ups so here is one all can try. (They will not be all the same!). Anyone under 18 yrs. needs to make sure they have parental consent because of the use of paypal. If an interest develops, I will have a younger player version of Let’s Warm-Up! These regular sessions in general might not be as useful for middle school or young high school players but, there are always exceptions. NEXT Let's Warm-Up! Is Monday 1/25, 11-12pm EST. 

Hope to see you there!

Monday, January 18, 2021

New Monthly Masterclass Series!

 Hello All!

I am starting my new Monthly Masterclass series this coming Saturday 1/23, at 11am EST. The title is The Mechanics of Warming-Up. Please send in your donations a day in advance (1/22), so you can get a Zoom link. Send your donations to If you are late, please text me no later than a half hour before the class at six-one-seven, seven-five-nine, one-six-two-zero. or email me at normtobe at gmail dot com. The donations are $10 for students and 15-$20 for non students, professionals and teachers. Please feel free to email me and ask to be put on the email list for updates about all the masterclasses and other offerings.

Monthly Masterclass Series topics snd more information!
This series of masterclasses will be given monthly. The donation for these classes will be $10 for all students and $15-20 for everyone else. The classes will meet once a month, exact dates to be determined but they generally will be near the end of the month usually on Saturday mornings.The first one is being planned for Saturday January 23rd from 11-12:30pm EST. These masterclasses will cover a wide range of territories. Here is a partial list:

-The Mechanics of Warming -Up 1/23/21,11-12:30pm EST on Zoom
- Bolter Embouchure Anatomy 
- Methods of Creative Practice
-The A.R.T. of Teaching
-The A.R.T. of the Student
- The Personal Art
- Building Your Relationship with Music
- Blinded by Sound
- To Thyself Be True
- High Range Development
- 3 Dimensional Sound
- The Trinity of Rhythm, Pitch and Timber
- Finding the Right Vibrato for You 
- Art-iculation 
- Airmbouchure
- The Many Ways of Breathing 
- It’s Not All in the Air-or is it?
- The Book of Can Do
- Concepts and Mechanics
- Recovering from a Playing Injury
- Approaching an Embouchure Change; Teachers Take Note
-  Teacher’s Guide to Unlocking a Student’s Potential
- What Does it Mean to be a Natural Player?
- Odd and Curious Techniques for Brass Players
- A Beginning Look into the Overlay System
- Section Playing, an energy worlds perspective
New Routes for Old Ruts
- Music as a Living Thing
- Excerptitis, Excerptmania, Excerptphobia; how to deal with them
- The Wonderful World of Vowels
-What Does It Mean To Be Musical?
- The Personal Science
- and more....

Quite an extensive list that will go on for more than two years! Of course if there are those of you that see ones you would like me to do, or would like a masterclass on a topic you do not see on this list, please let me know. Teachers might also want to have certain ones done (or suggest other ones), at their schools for their students. I am certainly open and happy to this! The price would have to be negotiated. 

I hope these prices are doable for most people. From what I have seen around the place, I feel they are reasonable especially considering their depth of content, live interaction and approach that they come with. If someone is truly in need, please get in touch with me. 

Hope to see you at some of these soon!

Sunday, August 30, 2020

FBSMC 12 Music and the Natural Worlds: Conscious Choice of our own Development

 Some of the importances of Music and the Natural Worlds is to connect with something that in itself is connected to what is real and what that will bring into you. We were designed to process that which is real and nourishing to us. 

When we connect to color for example, we are connecting to one of the primary essences of the naturally created worlds. It is a vital component that covers and extends through all the overlays in the natural worlds (The Creation).

We can’t live without color. Color is vibratory force and the different colors contain various frequencies (vibrations), that have direct affects on certain parts of ourselves mentally, emotionally, physically and more. They can also be a direct link to the foundations of manifested life itself. Pretty big stuff uh?!

It’s one thing to say “connect to something when you play.” But a more complete thought is the fact that we are always connected to something when doing any action. The journey into the natural worlds is to help us see that a lot of how we go on was passed down to us through genetics, upbringing, world history, where we live, and the environment affecting our overlay system at deep levels throughout our entirety. This of course subliminally affects our behavior, thought process, ethics, beliefs and more. Part of  building a relationship with music and the natural worlds is to help us have more informed decision making and being much more cognizant of the how and why we do what we do. Where do the default thought processes and concepts, words and methods originate from that govern us in warming- up (as an example)? Did we look into it and wonder about it and find our own way within it or just practice what we were given whether it works for us or not? NOT THE TEACHERS fault really. It's important to go through something for a bit and see where it leads. But It shows us we have to be responsible for our own lives and process. Many teachers pass on what works for them and that is honorable because they went on a journey and found what works for them and it is real for them. In many circumstances teachers expect or hope that the student will in the end see they have to find out what works for them. They need to own the responsibility for their own development. How could it be otherwise??

Sunday, July 12, 2020

FBSMC 12, Music and the Natural Worlds, Living Theater of Nature

Yesterday was an amazing time at ‘our’ creek. Quiet yet energetically so alive with the landscape constantly changing. The creek is under huge white pines, oaks, some maples and a lot of hemlock trees. The sun was shining but there were wonderful huge piilowy clouds that you could see a bit of under the canopy of branches and leaves from the trees. 

This created spots of light on the land that were rising gradually above the creek. The spots of light would flicker like giant fireflies and change in rhythm with the duet of wind and trees. Then, periodically a large wide and round shadow would come over the ground, akin to a long tone passing through the texture of swirling lines from woodwinds and strings in a grand symphonic composition. This certainly was a sound and light cinematic delight, full of wonder and elevation in the living theater of Nature. We felt humbled to be part of it.

There is no doubt that aspects of this will be woven into the upcoming composition dedicated to my former teacher Ron Ricketts, who is now flying in another sphere of space in the continuing life of soul and spirit. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

FBSMC 12, Music and the Natural Worlds, Beyond Brass Playing

When spending time building a relationship with the natural worlds, it is important to ‘tune’ ourselves to the environment that we are going to be in and fine tune when we are actually in it.

One way to prepare and ‘tune’ is to start to leave behind some of our thoughts from wherever we are coming from. This is not to be forced, but can come from a simple call over to oneself like, “I am now going to settle mind, emotions and body and enter a different environment.” Then one can do some of the vowel meditations or other soothing breathing exercises to unify mind, body and emotions. If our mind feels extremely scattered, find a tempo to attach yourself to and couple it with the breathing exercises. Perhaps you have song or simple melody or tone sequence that calms and settles. If super- hyped up and stressed, it can be useful to do some quicker, hyper breathing for a short period of time and consciously say to your self out loud, “I release this stress from my mind, from my emotions and from my body.” Then gradually get into slower and calmer deep breathing.

This is a simple outline of things to try and much more detail and specifics could be filled in. For example, when doing the vowel meditation, each one of the vowels resonates within a certain space in our body. From those spaces, one can add the phrase, “dissolve you stress from this space” and feel it dissolve You can also put other words that connect with you more than dissolve like, ‘melt away’ anxiety, peace please come.” The encouragement here is to find the ways and means that work for you and these are some examples.

Vowels are common to think about in brass playing but we can extend this use in so many ways and then bring that enhanced experience to our playing with fuller meaning.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

FBSMC 12, Music and the Natural Worlds, In the Journey Video 3

Until you decide you want to go on a journey and actually set your foot on the path, you then enter the unknown, if you are open. The unknown is that which you have not put together yet, understood yet, or have avoided to look at... Moving into the Natural Worlds, if we want to communicate and build connections with them, will reveal much about what you do not know about that which you thought you knew. That's a bit of a mouthful but it's so humbling and placing us in a position to expand, have access to more knowledge and teaches us a more profound sense of belonging to an infinite ocean of truth. What better allies are there to have in one's life??

The incredible feature about this is we can begin to translate this into our lives and chosen mediums of expression. As we have seen, we can see these marvelous laws of Nature in our basics of music making on multiple levels. YAY!!!!

This is a life long journey with wonderful opportunities for personal advancement and growth. When there is a will there is a way and another way. When we have expanded reference into the natural worlds we can see how much of life actually works and it starts to make sense out of the human condition. That has it's challenges but it's worth it! If not know, when???

Manatee long tones anyone?? Bird call slurs?? Oak tree Arbans?? 

Saturday, June 20, 2020


Instrumentalists of all kinds have their own terminology and techniques. What FBSMC 12 is doing as part of this series is to translate our experiences with the natural worlds into the terminology we use on our various instruments. Then to translate that into finding the technique to produce it on our instruments.

Realize that the human being, as well as all plants, animals, fish, birds, rocks. minerals, insects and all the elements, are instruments with purpose. Different environments (forests, mountains, lakes, deserts, tropical, dry, temperate, polar etc.), all the life that lives in them is specifically made for a particular climate and environment. In a similar way, human made cities located in different climates, are designed accordingly for the humans to function in. The main point here is design for a purpose according to what is needed.

The human can ‘recreate’ or be inspired by the natural worlds in all arts, dance, music, painting, architecture, transportation, sports, and more. Humans are a part of Nature! And have their own unique position in Nature. Like all of life, the human is designed to change and adapt when it is called upon. If it doesn’t then it too, could vanish into extinction. 

I ask many times when musicians are playing for me (as I ask myself), “what are you thinking about when you are playing?” This question is vital so one will not always play by default into some pre-made idea that has become habit. NOW, it’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater! Not all habit is harmful or not useful. We are designed to have an automatic robotic system, our marvelous intricate physical self known as the first overlay. This first overlay needs a driver for it is more the vehicle of the driver (mind-person), which is known as the second overlay. The second overlay is the liaison between the first and third overlay(s) (purpose and destination). This is a journey into being more conscious and integrating our Overlay System as a working whole.

Building connections and relationships with the natural worlds provides the whole of ourselves to have a bank of resources and ideas that will NEVER RUN OUT. Wow!!! It will constantly keep us in wonder, gratitude,  reverence and hold us more in tune with the ‘A’ of Awe.  

Think of how different practicing long tones, (if you practice them), could be by connecting it to different aspects of the lives that live in the natural worlds. Even for string players and percussionists, they have their own version of long tones, meaning holding pitches out for an extended length of time. 

Can you find examples in Nature that would help or enhance your long tone practice?? How would this change your state of mind, body and attitude?? I’d be very interested in your discoveries!