Saturday, January 21, 2012


Expansion of sound exercise

1. Play a comfortable note.

2. Feel the note resonate in your feet.

3. Then continue that feeling all the way up to the top of your head.

4. Feel your whole body resonate with that note.

5. Then expand that feeling of resonance all around you as if that resonance IS your body.

6. Keep going a bit at a time, expanding inch by inch with your 'sonic body' expanding until it fills the whole room you are in. Until the whole room IS your 'sonic body.'

7. This can continue until it goes outside of the room. But the room is a good place to start!

Try it on different notes, just for 5 or so minutes a day.

Then start using it on solos or certain excerpts.

** Make sure to really fill ALL PARTS of your body with the sound. From the back of your head, to your armpits and all the way to the soles of your feet. Even your hands and in between your fingers. (Knee caps too!). It will open up all sorts of things about resonance, your body, air and more!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


yes and NO

There are many ways that one can hear music or make music. The other day I was talking to the NEC Prep Trombone Choir and brought up how music can be saying yes or no. I had them say yes and no and there was not a lot of difference! This was interesting to me because there can be a huge difference depending on the reason it is being said and the emotional content and context behind it. As everyone has experienced in their own life, there are many ways to express yes and no. Since music can be the vehicle for such a wide range of expression and communication, I personally find it useful, insightful and fun to take something as natural and as seemingly simple as yes and no and listen to music with that mindset.

I told the students about the time I was on a school bus in 8th grade and not feeling very well at all! The bus was angled down a hill and was also coming to a very slow stop with a lot of jerks. I thought I was really going to loose my cookies in front of all my classmates which really upped the anxiety! Then suddenly, I started to think of the opening of Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Da da da daaaaa! Da da da daaaaaaaa! I got so absorbed in it that I lost touch with my nauseated stomach and kept singing that first movement. By the time the school bus got to school I felt great! No lost cookies! That really started to confirm to me how powerful music can be to change a physical and mental state. From that point on, I always refer to that first movement of the Beethoven's 5th, the NO Symphony. NO NO NO NOOOOOOO! That first movement can also strengthen will power. It certainly did mine!

So, why not try an experiment and listen to music and feel the 'yes and no' and where plus how it transitions to the other. You will learn a lot about phrasing and what the music might be saying that you never heard before. I wonder who wrote some maybe symphonies????

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all who read my blog.

A year is new for sure. It is an orbit around the sun. Each day is new. Since I started this post we have moved hundreds of miles in space. In fact the whole galaxy has moved. Many new cells have been born and many have died. Life is always moving. In light of that Truth, isn't it amazing how we can get mentally and emotionally stuck? So the New Year is as new to us as we are new to each moment.

I try to accept each day as new and unique. I put this into my playing even though my warm up is basically the 'same.' It might be the same but it is different each day. Bringing our mind and feelings into a slightly different angle each day can help and refresh our perceptions and have more appreciation for our opportunities that we are constantly surrounded by if only we could see them.

Try this: Take one aspect of your playing, and just feel it and observe it. Not overly think it, just feel and observe it. Get really into it. Take a few notes on what you are noticing and feeling. Even be aware of your mental judgement. Write it all down. Then read it a bit later. See how you feel and think after you read it later and write that down. You will discover lots..

Happy New Moment!