If I ever need reminding about the struggle of being a band director and why it’s important to do what I do, Wynton Marsalis sums it up in this talk. All of it applicable to those who learn and those who teach.
Having a few opportunities to sit and think while waiting for my kids appointment to end, I have become accustom to letting my mind wonder about all sorts of thing. There is always something that needs to be done, like grading papers, lesson plans, practice mouthpiece buzzing, stick in a practice mute and pray it’s not a distraction for my kid. Sometimes it’s even simply lining up the next appointment or any number of parent related tasks.
Lately, I’ve taken to learning some new skills from several tutorials. A few I’ve downloaded on my laptop and some show up on Youtube. In any case I can’t figure out how many different ways to occupy my brain during these times. Games, podcasts, work related stuff, call my mom and dad…the list goes on. Either way I am frustrated and am now choosing to blog about a feeling I can’t put into words.
For now I’ll just look into the bell of my trumpet and wonder about what’s coming out of it. Conicidently, my latest practice routine has me working through:
- Irons 27 Groups of Exercises
- The Gekker Articulation Studies
- Vincent Chicowitz Flow Studies
- Verzari exercise.
Pick one group from the Irons then a set from the Gekker. Followed by one of the flow studies and etudes tongued and slurred, and finally closing the session with a Verzari exercise. The routine can take from 15-40 minutes, depending on how much time you have in a waiting room.
It’s not often I get to use BuzzFeed as a reference for my students. But while learning about international pop musicians, I ran across this post from BuzzFeed.
I was blown away by a band call Tricot from Japan and G-Dragon from Korea. Some others were super interesting and have now been added to the rotation of tunes I listen to on a regular basis.
Check out the post 20 Songs From Around The World You May Have Missed in 2013
During the podcast the host Naomi Lewin facilitated a group discussion about the diversity of both audiences and members of major symphony orchestras in the United States. I’m glad to hear that these kinds of conversations are happening in public forums and encourage many to listen to the podcast American Orchestras Grapples With Lack of Diversity.
The NPR series Tiny Desk Concerts has been a great source of discovery for me and my students. One of my favorite episodes is from April of 2013. The Omar Sosa & Paolo Fresu duo add a level of freshness to what two musicians can do with a traditional chamber music ensemble. I love this performance, hope you enjoy it too.
There are times when I think I’m biting off more than I can chew. However, unlike most things I dread doing this could potentially one of the coolest topics I teach this year. I’ve decided to take on introducing three ideas of modern music composition to middle school students.
It give me a chance to explore aspects of music I truly enjoy: Serialism, Minimalism and Electronic Music. There have been many hours spent admiring the processes of some of the 20th century’s imaginative composers. So now I get to indulge in a not so secret vice.
I get to talk about and research composers and performers like Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Steve Reich, James Brown, Bjork and Hip-Hop artist/DJ’s of the late 80’s and early 90’s. There is potential for students to learn more about my personality through this unit.
The only way to express this for me is a venn diagram and these Youtube videos. Gonna be fun…at least for me.
In honor of National Poetry Month, I will provide a poem I composed while on a field trip with my middle school students.
Long and slimy
Walking, stepping, tying
Stuck under my soul
Here are some of my favorite poets:
Robert Frost, Stephen Dobyns and Langston Hughes