Saturday, October 22, 2011



This October has been a very busy month! On top of all my teaching, coachings and classes, I have done extra master classes at Longy with the MAM (Modern American Music) program students and the Pedagogy class which is made up of all kinds of instrumentalists.

In the beginning of the month on October 7th, I also gave a master class for high school students at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island. I was also soloist with their wind ensemble in one of my compositions called "Timeline Contemplations".

A couple of days later on October 9th, I gave a master class at the Boston Conservatory on their first Trombone Day which featured master classes, recitals and performances by John Faeita, Larry Isaacson, Angel Subero, Blair Bollinger, Triton Brass with trombonist Wes Hopper, Michael Davis and Jeff Galindo. A very long and packed exciting day for sure for the many that attended.

I just got back from Toronto after doing a couple of master classes at the Glen Gould School which is part of the Royal Conservatory of Music. It was great to be there and the students were very open to me and kept up with me as my pace intensified throughout the day on a variety of trombone, brass playing and music topics. I was also thrilled to meet for the first time Gordon Sweeney who was Principal trombone of the Toronto Symphony for many years. I had heard so much about him for such a long time that it was a joy to be with him even briefly.

My feelings and I know my wife Carol Viera feels the same way, if a couple of people or only one person is deeply touched by what we say, it is worth it. I was very happy when several people from all of the different master classes and performances came up to me and were touched and wanted to keep in contact. I love when people can take something up and really work with it and see where it leads. This is very encouraging to me.

One girl who is a student at Rhode Island College came up to me and said that the piece I played and talked about when I was there (Timeline Contemplations for trombone and band), helped her understand time better in regards to life and are limited time in this sphere. That was such a joy for me to hear! Other people told me similar things there and at the other classes that were given in the other places. Meaning, that what was said had an impact on them that helped to answer or give direction to challenge they are having. For some it caused a rebalancing that needed in their playing and approach.

It is important as a teacher or clinician to remember that not everybody will 'buy' your product. Therefore 'to thyself be true' and adhere to what you believe in and someone will be on some overtone of resonance with where you are at and will benefit in some way to what you are saying and communicating.

*On a brass technique point: it was amazing how this one young lady bass trombonist's tone focused on her low C when she went from thinking 'Aah' as her syllable to "U!" The "U" sound is made like it is in the word tube. I love syllable work! What a vital ingrediant to the air-embouchure relationship. Not one syllable fits all ranges or all people.

No comments: