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.

kettlebell

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…

Verzari_TPT_Exercises-detail BIMTP2_b

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…

Radiolab from WNYCNPR_ Snap Judgment Podcast StarTalk RadioWTF with Marc Maron Podcastmza_3470970392302365376.170x170-75His & Hers

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!

View of Earth

Balance

I’d like to think that I have a certain amount of balance in my life. If I keep to my routines I feel whole and complete. As a musician-educator there are few opportunities to work both sides of my professional life equally and with the same intensity. One will usually be stronger than the other, in other words I am either a musician (performer) who teaches music or a music teacher who plays music occasionally.
Then there’s the personal life and the balancing act which has become a game of Jenga. Spending the right kind of time with the spouse and kid, while keeping sanity within arms reach can be daunting. Not forgetting to exercise your body as well, you can’t afford to be out of shape. Eating well can be optional, depending on how much time you spend in you car. It seem to be all a game. One piece moved too far out and the whole structure come falling down and all the players get to yell JENGA!
There are rare instances where it all just seems to work. Hardly noticeable to you in the moment, sometime after the day has past by, you take stock of all the events that came into focus at the right times and in the right ways. Today might have been one of those days.

Modern Music

At one point in my early musical life, I became a fan of modern classical music.  So much so that I remember not listening to anything that wasn’t written before 1952. I thought I knew something none of my high school friends were hip enough to know about.  It was my little secret.  When ever I gave the name of a composer to one of my teachers, they would in turn give me the name of another composer I should listen to.  I played this game for years with my library.  Some how I worked my way backwards to early music using this process.

Lately, when ever I play modern music I joke around with my colleagues that some modern music is essentially sound set to math.  Recently I played a concert with an orchestra which is devoted to performing modern music.  During one of the rehearsals I came the realization that math is beautiful….the figures and equations surrounding this music are beautiful.  In the same way that architecture is beautiful.  Working from pure concept, then putting it on paper, to finally producing a product for the public.

I suspect composers marvel in the space where math and music become art.