It’s Been A While…

It’s been a long time since my last post, so I feel the need to add something new. However, the something new feels like it will be a combination to things that have been on my mind since November. There are personal thing and other ideas and feeling related to music or teaching. I guess this is when the identity of this particular blog are at odds. Or at least with the music, thoughts and random things smash into one another.

Here are several things that have been on my mind over the past few months and in no particular order. First the book “Why The Cock Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola” by Michele Wucker. The People of Color Conference, held in Nashville in November, followed by some trumpet playing problems I’ve been experiencing. The music of Robert Glasper, Christian Scott, and the albums by the Now Ensemble. And finally, capping off the whirl wind of thoughts and experiences from November to now…Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Along with all of those thoughts, feeling and experiences, there is family taking up space within all of these topics in my head. I think about my kid and wife, my parents, grandparents and my brother, when I think to what I read about the island of Hispaniola, PoCC and MLK. I worry about my ability to be creative when I wonder about my chops and whether I can participate or teach effectively the music I enjoy listening to.

Perhaps I just need more time to process, think and feel these thing out….. then I can share my thoughts.

I Tend To Reminisce

Now and again I tend to reminisce about my youth, and luckily what comes up most for me is the music I listened to. Lately I’ve been spending my time totally enamored with two specific groups, The New York Voices and the Pat Metheny Group. I listened to these pieces often and I fell in love with the artist as well. I can even make a direct connection between the woman I fell in love with (who is now my lovely wife of 13 years) and one of these groups.
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The New York Voices are a vocal jazz quartet currently, however when I first learned about them they were a quintet. I listened to their self titled first album constantly, in fact it was the 3rd CD I remember ever buying in 1991. The song that has stuck to me like a great memory is titled Silence Of Time. Take the time to enjoy this piece.

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The first time I heard Pat Metheny’s Minuano I remember it challenged all I knew about music. The lines between jazz and classical music were blurred for me since. Subsequently, I started to listen for common ground between genre’s and making connections across the different components within music. This piece moves and I remember it moving me as a teenager.

 

The Mouthpiece Question

I know what your thinking, yet another trumpeter writing about the importance of mouthpiece selection and striking the perfect balance between back-bore and throat size. I happen to follow all those trends religiously but this isn’t another one of those rants. Coincidentally, I currently play a Laskey 75C with a standard throat and back-bore, not that it matters. The question about mouthpieces comes up for me at least twice a year. I’ve noticed this pattern over the past 5 or 6 years.DV016_Jpg_Large_471542.908_75MD

The question comes up because I want to improve my performance on the trumpet. Which usually leads me to examine my approach to the instrument and the art of creating music. In reality it’s a small question that leads to bigger thoughts. The progression of questions might start off like this:

 Should I play a 22 throat with a symphonic back-bore like I did for 12 years or stay with what I have currently?

  Am I producing the sound I want the audience to hear?

  Am I performing music as the composer’s intended and am I being true to the style of music I am performing?

  Am I growing as an artist and educator of music?

•  Can I continue to perform music and have a meaningful family life?

•  Do I make enough money as a musician and educator?

•  Am I doing everything I can to provide for my kid?

•  Should I finish this bottle of wine or just go to bed?

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4-up on 12-11-14 at 5.30 PM #9 (compiled)This is jus a small sampling of the rabbit hole I fall into late at night/early morning. It starts off with the idea of playing a different mouthpiece and whether it’s the “Right Move”. Then there are the other question… Can I afford it financially….Can I afford not to make a change?

Too many questions … Maybe I’ll open up the back-bore next month.

Back To School

While I recognize the changes that occur in my life around the month of September are major shifts, I can’t help the feeling of running head first into the truth….. that I am an adult. Maintaining stability in two art based professions while dealing with parental and husbandly duties, is a total shift from the summer schedule of stay at home dad while checking off items listed on my “honey do/due list”.

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Having met my “honey do” goals, and satisfied the unicorn adventures with my kid. I now feel the focus of the other parts of my existence starting to flower. At home I get to watch football. As a teacher I go back to my favorite cup to sip coffee out of and listen to copious amounts of Beethoven for our Romantic Music Unit. Finally there is the constant wonderment on seeing the stars.

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Finding those little moments within my work and home duties, seems to be the fun at this point. Almost like stealing a single serving point of personal enjoyment while being an adult.

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Honey Do List & Team Work

The end of a school year for a teacher invites a certain level of relaxation and time to both reflect on the past year and plan for the next school year. When your kid goes to the school where you teach you have a different perspective of your time during the summer.

Planning a action packed summer seems like the right thing to do in March or April. Looking at road-trips or visiting relatives across the country seems like the only reasonable thing to do with this time. However, there are certain responsibilities that must be taken in to account. Although you may have the time you can only do so much with the time you have.

My wife and I have a few thing that we have been putting off. Now is the only time we (me) have to do these projects. The process is important, and all parties involved must be strict about it’s implementation.

Your job comes in two stages. First; make decisions for both kid summer activities and home projects. Then creating a schedule for both projects. Second; stick to the schedule. This can be the hardest part of the plan. Lucky for me I have a great partner, and she’s a planner.

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