Friday, November 9, 2012

Recalling My Times with John Swallow, Part 6

In this final video, Part 6, "Recalling My Times with John Swallow," I talk about how supportive John was with my musical endeavors. Whether I was playing in the Empire Brass Quintet or composing, he always would have an encouraging tone.

I want to also mention that in 1976, I got to play in a recording with John on the first Empire Brass Quintet recording called, The American  Brass Band Journal, Empire Brass Quintet and Friends. It is on the Columbia label and was recorded in New York City. John played euphonium on that recording. It was so much fun to sit next to him and play. That really was my only 'professional' time playing with John. 

I am also writing a piece honoring John for trombone choir. This will be premiered on the New England Conservatory's annual Brass Bash which will be dedicated to John. February 24th is the date of the concert. I mention this on the video and speak briefly about the process in composing this piece. Maybe one day I will write more about the process.

Thanks John for everything. You will always be in my heart. Happy journeys to you!

Part 6

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Recalling My Times with John Swallow, Part 5

In this video, I get more into my ideas about teaching inspired by recalling my times with John. And also more of what I remember of John's thoughts on warming-up, embouchure and professional etiquette. I am also realizing more and more that I did not have tons of lessons with John. But it proves to me once again, that if you make the most out of what you are given, it will keep yielding fruit for years to come.

As I think about it now, it highlights a lot of what has been noticed over the past few years concerning  students growing dependency on so many external things. Be it tuners, metronomes, video aids, recording every lesson they take, easy access to information through the internet and taking lessons from so many people so often, to name a few. I am not sure all this is being utilized in a way that is aways helpful to the person's development. Sometimes less can be more because you have to really dig into the small amount to extract the gems and wisdom from your persistent effort and discovery. Plus, not so much is taken for granted and your value for what you are given is greater.

Part 5

Friday, November 2, 2012

Recalling My Times with John Swallow, Part 4

As I mention in this video, my main purpose for doing this is to just let my times and experiences with John just flow from me in any order in which they want to appear. It is great for me to do this because it is helping me access things about John's teaching with me and it is bringing up some things about my own teaching as seen through this experience of thinking about John.

I seem to be having a difficult time remembering certain pieces and the names of what trombones I was playing on during these video recordings! Weird actually. Carol is here to correct me though! Even when it comes down to my not remembering the Strauss opera Salome! She is such a wonderful partner with me in all things because of her perceptions and depth of sentiment in her thinking and feeling life. Even though Carol was with John and his wife Myra only twice in person, she vividly recalls how impressed she was with him as a person and having such a brilliant and creative mind.

John was one of my greatest influences as a musician-trombonist and with a mind that was very clear that not everyone is the same. He worried about people thinking they have to follow the crowd and play in a way that was really not natural for them. I totally agreed with him and always believed that. I had many great influences in my life and in this video I recall John telling me about his influences, including  composer-conductor Gunther Schuller and trombonist Neal Di Biase, former principal trombonist of the NBC Symphony under Toscanni .

Part 4