Finals week approching

DCI finals are approaching and I am catching up with videos on Youtube and Facebook. Of course, this starts me down the rabbit hole of reminiscing. I start to think about all the years of drum and bugle corps I marched.

In 1990 I started marching in a drum and bugle corps in the Bronx. Those years were transformative for me. I learned a lot about dealing with people and becoming a participant in a large ensemble.

I went to the Jersey Surf Drum Corps camp with a buddy after we participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with an Allstar Drum Corps in 1992.

My buddy showed me what it was like to belong. He showed up and settled in and asked to be taught. Later he became one of the leading members of the organization and eventually became an instructor with the drum corps.

I marched the 1993 & 1994 seasons with the Jersey Surf. However, if I’m being honest, I was really marching with my friend.

The summer of 1995, I went to the  Boston University Tanglewood Institute Music Festival. That HS orchestra music festival, the summer after my senior year taught me a lot about being a musician and responsibility of making music and being a chamber musician. A humbling experience for me. I felt most of these music students were much better at this music thing than I was. But somehow I felt I still belonged. I’m curious to see where my kid spends summers.

Trumpet and Basketball

Sometimes multitasking can go to far. For me lately, my practice habits have been lead by the NBA playoffs. I settle in to watch a game but feeling guilty about not practicing my trumpet. So I decided to create a practice routine around the game.

I tend to think of this kind of practice as maintenance. More like stretching or breaking a sweat, and not a full blown workout on the horn. This should be be done with exercises you are familiar with, not exercises which are new to you.

The routine is centered around Herbert L. Clarke’s Technical Studies. I keep the volume low on my T.V. and practice with a practice mute sometimes. Some of the game go late into the evening.

I practice the first study in the first quarter of the game, then play Etude 1 during the coaches interview between the 1st and 2nd quarter. Then do the same with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th studies and quarters.

I have used other books as well. That said these other books are related to the Clarke Studies, like the Vizzutti’s Trumpet Methods or Robert Nagel’s Speed Studies.
 

The Westerlies Tiny Desk Concert

I love having time to just listen to something new to me. I also love checking out familiar groups with new projects. One of the groups I like to follow is The Westerlies. I came across their NPR Tiny Desk Concerts performance from 2016. And I loved it! It’s a refreshing and inventive program, with great brass playing. Hope you agree.

The Westerlies have a bunch of other video’s to check out, just look them up

Evanescence by Robert Starer — Mosaic Brass Quintet

I’m often surprised at some of the pieces of music I only get to hear in recordings. It’s seems more like a secret that I get to keep all to myself. However, in this case I feel compelled to share my interest in a Robert Starer brass quintet. My infatuation with Evanescence by Robert […]

via Evanescence by Robert Starer — Mosaic Brass Quintet

The things students do

The past four weeks have been quite difficult for me. I had to take a significant amount of time away from my day job as a middle school music teacher to care for my father. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that as I continue to cope with losing him. However with all that has happened, my students remind me (yet again) why I am a teacher, by creating this message for me.

They did manage to include music we have been studying and a song I made them research earlier in the school year. Great way of connecting our curriculum. Nice job Soundview Class of 2017.

Singing President

Recently I listened to another installment of the New York Times Popcast and became even more impressed with the level of discussion about America and in particular it’s relationship with President Obama. This is as close as I ever hope to get in communicating anything political in this forum, however there were a lot of good things mentioned about Obama in this podcast and I feel the need to share.

In my opinion, his most powerful moment was his performance of Amazing Grace at the funeral for victims of the Charleston church shooting. I still get chills when ever I hear or watch this moment unfold.