People Watching and Plums

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I grew up in a city where there are a lot of people. Which means you get to watch and observe folks as they go through their daily rituals. I am also a musician who on occasions gets to watch people as they sit at church. I try not to let my mind wonder during a church service, although it is inevitable, my mind will search for entertainment after the 3rd or 4th listening of the same homily.

One of the games I play is “What’s that person about”. It consists of giving a person a story based on nothing. I would look at someone and think…well that person is going to go home and wash his vegetables, then try on his new driving gloves. They tend to get more and more ridiculous as the game progresses. I’ve created resumes for people with jobs titles like Aglet Sales Person and Professional Mouse Milker.

Today I flipped it, and imagined what someone might think of me sitting there with a trumpet on my lap. “That guys eats too many plums, he’s obsessed with the valve caps on his trumpet and probably has nothing to offer the world except more pollution.” I laughed to myself then thought…I’m not going to be bothered by someone who doesn’t like plums.

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Single Serving Encounter

Few are the times when something happens to me and I get to think about a drama/action movie and a singer/songwriter I like, admire and respect. The venn diagram for this situation might look like this.

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In the movie Fight Club,there is a scene where the idea of a “single serving friend” is mentioned. The first time I remember thinking of this concept, was while listening to a song by Peter Eldridge called An Interesting Person from his album Fool No More.

The notion of a single serving friend is quite simple. In my case it generally happens when I meet someone while waiting in line for something and a short conversation starts. A few nice words, even a joke or two…a nod with a smile and a good-bye. The single serving friend experience is now over and you get on with your day.

I had one of these encounters recently… and it kind of made my day. Thank you single serving friend.

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Rhythm and Art

Recently I was at the Seattle Art Museum with my students. I forgot how walking from room to room experiencing installations of art had it’s own rhythm. Standing in one part of a room only allowed you to see part of the space. If you’re curious and you turn your head, you may see something that may alter your perception. I was as fascinated by the rhythm of the room as I was of the art displayed.

 While sitting alone in a room with pieces of art that were enormous, I took a moment to feel the rhythm of that room. My eyes dances from panting to sculpture and back again. It got so that even then empty spaces were an important part of the experience. I listened carefully to the rhythms the curators at the SAM were laying down.

Below are two of the pieces that I thought were super cool. machu picchu after dark (pa’ victoria santa cruz, macario sakay y aaron.dixon), 2003–2014, William Cordova and The Yellow X, 1965, Al Held, American, 1928-2005, acrylic on canvas, 144 1/2 × 178 in.

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Fitness…Good Luck!

Now that I am well into my late 30’s in age, I feel the need to become physically fit. Yes there was a need before I entering this stage, but a few days of greasy meals and one too many treats is proving more difficult to hide. That said, in the past I would just work out a little harder. Maybe put in a few more minutes into cardio, eat well, drink more water and stay away from temptations. Easier said than done, but with a little effort I could get back to just 25 pounds over the suggested weight for my height.

Add my kid to the mix with my job(s), it’s damn near impossible to find the time to get a reasonable workout and not lose hours of your day. If it seems like this is starting to sound like a commercial, don’t worry it’s not. However, I really do use my kettle bells a lot. Way more than I expected when I got them.

If you don’t know what a kettle bell is… allow me to describe one to you. Imagine putting a handle on a cannon ball, and using that to exercise instead of dumb-bells. I think it’s an efficient and effective tool that combines weigh training with cardio exercises. At least the ways I use kettle bells. Since I am usually  pressed for time, because I need to stay an active musician/educator or I have a family, the kettle bell is the quick and helpful solution to my time crunch.

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Trumpet Method Book Review: Verzari

Many trumpeters go to a music store and thumb through books on shelves hoping to find something cool and interesting.  This is one of those instances for me. Sometime between 2005 and 2007 I came across a trumpet method book by Sandro Verzari using this very strategy of discovery. The “Exercises on the emission of fundamental and harmonic tones of the trumpet”, (which happens to be the true title of this book) is a great book for those of us who find benefit in playing pedal tones. With more than 50 exercises, there’s plenty of variety to work with in this method book.

I grew up playing fundamental tones (pedal tones) out of James Stamp’s book “Warm-Ups and Studies”, so really appreciate having another good book to use. I totally recommend checking out Verzari’s book if you are looking for some more material to help lend some variety to your daily practice. And, if you don’t have a copy of James Stamp’s book, you should check that out too.

Happy hunting…

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Podcasts

There aren’t many ways to occupy your time while driving to and from work.  Especially with when you have a four year-old diva sitting in the back seat belting out the hits like she preparing for an audition to “the Voice”.  Before my kid, I had time to decompress after a long day, take long phone calls or just think in silence.

Now, I tend to listen to a myriad of podcasts, from the news to music and science.  I guess it’s a good representation of my level of geek.  Recently I marveled at the a podcast about music business and my immediate thought was “my students need to hear this…this is exactly what we’ve been talking about!” So I’ve made it a point to share these moments with my students as often as possible.

The reality is that I am really excited to be excited about things. I am interested in listening to interesting people talk about things they are into doing. Sometimes I feel like I am discovering something new that is only meant for me to observer at that very intersection of time and opportunity.

Here are just a few of the podcast I love listening to…

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Fascinating Things

I was told today that I have a “child like fascination with everything related to space”. I took a moment to think about it and came to the conclusion that this person was right. Soon after I felt good about the nice way I was called a geek. It’s been a while since that’s happened with someone that was not married or related to me. But with a picture like this… can you blame me!

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