Conversations With Developing Musicians

While teaching music to small and large ensembles, the type of questions I often get asked is related to how musicians should practice. Therefore, I recommend reading several books for musicians to gain personal knowledge and introspection about developing a practice routine. These books have helped me think about the practical applications of learning music and helped me get past some barriers in my understanding of music.

After recommending these books, I also remind students that playing is sometimes okay. Sometimes playing music can be a way to have fun. With that in mind, here are some recommended books for folks who want structure and fun.

  • The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey
  • The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green
  • Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner
  • The Musician’s Way by Gerald Klickstein

Conversations With Young Brass Players

When I find myself engaged in conversations with younger performers, the conversations tends to lead into questions of “how and who”.

“How do you practice that?” and “Who do you listen to?”

These two PDF’s help me in my own evaluation of my practice habits and what I listen for as I continue to develop as a learner and (sometimes) perform.

Modern Classical and Afro-Dominican

Lately my listening has been divided between several curiosities, modern classical music and Afro-Caribbean  music. Sometimes these make for weird listening combinations, but that’s just where my head is at this moment. Along with those interests, I often take time to look into my origins as a son of Dominican parents and explore a bit more of my history. When I take this time to expand my understanding of the Dominican Republic, I tend to keep a running interest in the music that happens to be on my mind. Often these two things run parallel to one another and are compartmentalized, so each has it’s special place and feeling in me.

However, sometimes these ideas run into each other, that’s when I start to ask the “what if” questions. What if this composer wrote a piece for that ensemble? What kind of project would those artist create? Could these groups work together? What would that sound be? Right now I have these two sounds in my ear. I love them both and want to hear them work together. The vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, and a band from Santo Domingo called SonAbril. Crazy, Right!?

Imagine if Roomful of Teeth arranged a piece by SonAbril? Perhaps William Brittelle could be commissioned to write a piece for SonAbril. These are just thoughts, but it might be a wild set of collaborations. Check out these two tunes, and wonder for yourself.