Friday, February 25, 2011

Sweet Spot and Skiing

During my time at USC, Brad Edwards would talk about the sweet spot of each note.  He would even relate this to playing tennis and the awesome sound the ball makes when it is hit with the sweet spot of the racquet.  However, I think skiing is a better analogy. At the end of the day today when I was at 13,000ft at Arapahoe Basin I started connecting turns effortlessly.  While I was on the lift, there was so much wind I wanted to leave.  But every time I connected a turn I just wanted to keep skiing.

I had hit the sweet spot of skiing.  At first I was thinking of an air stream and how to connect notes.  Using turning I could see the seamlessness of legato playing. However, what if these image was used to reflect the airstream and phrasing.  You can see the perfect rising and falling and the exact spot to breath between phrases.  You can also anticipate where the skier is going.  Everything should be that easy.

On a side note, the cafeteria was selling "Carolina Barbecue."  Of course I had to try what a Colorado man called Carolina sauce. The sauce used vinegar as a base and used several more spices than normal.  The consistency was more soup like with everything floating in the vinegar.  The meat was shredded instead of pulled and had entire gloves of boiled garlic throughout the meat.  Interestingly the garlic was more the consistency of pulled pork than the dried out shredded pork.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Busy Life

I knew when I took a band directing job I would be giving up most of my free time.  Life at the school has been fast, exhausting, and exhilarating.  Officially, I will be there until the end of May.  I am excited to be able to run a quality program for a few months.  I will have the chance to work with five ensembles of varying levels and will lead them through several concerts each.  Luckily the curriculum and performance dates are already intact.  I only have a few organizational things to do.

Already I have performed with the Jazz Band at the Littleton Jazz Festival.  The group performed one swing piece and featured a tenor sax and bass clarinet solo.  The band sounded remarkable for four rehearsals and dealing with snowdays.

The Tromboniac Trombone Quartet was kind enough to perform for my seventh grade last week.  The seventh grade is performing a chamber music concert in a week and I wanted to show the students how a chamber group works.  After seeing how we worked the students were much more diligent with their own music.

In my own life, I won an audition for the Colorado Symphony and was awarded a position on their substitute musician list. And I am looking forward to my spring break trip to Miami to audition for the New World Symphony. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Quarter Life Crisis

Today marks 160 Projects 60th blog post and this month I will turn 25.  I have been thinking about my life recently and how I was to write about the "crisis" in choosing a career path.  However, my life is busy both with teaching and with playing, the present is bright and the future even brighter.  Instead of a crisis I will share three short stories inspiring my life right now.

Joel Baroody just made finals for the Air Force band in D.C.  Joel is a friend from undergrad, a roommate from grad school, a respectful colleague and one hell of a musician.  This spring he is taking at least three more auditions and hopefully he will be gainfully employed by the end of the school year.

It is no secret I have been listening a great deal to Pavarotti; his performances of the famous Nessun Dorma are unequalled by anyone. This past weekend the CCM philharmonia gave a performance of Puccini's Turandot.  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend but the end has been posted on youtube. Congratulations to everyone involved and congratulations to Katie Thigpen and Tyler Castrucci for the ballsy last statement of the theme.  The entire brass section sounds incredible.

I watched "Troy" this morning trying to stay warm on my really really really cold day off from school. The entire theme of the movie is remembrance throughout the ages.  This opening scene gives us insight to the humility, bravery, and confidence of Brad Pitt's character Achilles. Achilles must fight a giant, the boy is skeptical.  Achilles replies "that's why no one will remember your name."  I could not find a youtube to show the clip, however the opening 5 minutes are definitely worth the watch.

As I look forward to the rest of my life, I am not sure I want the fame equal to any of the greats of history.  However, I want to do the best job I can teaching and performing.  I know this is a tall order, but I am only 24, I have some time to live up to it.