Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lohengrin: Rhythmic Fun

Wagner's Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin is notorious for time issues.  The main excerpt utilizes moving notes on the weak beats instead of the strong ones.

In the above excerpt you will notice moving notes on beats 2 and 4.  Try moving everything back one beat.  Essentially put your metronome on beat 2 and 4 instead of 1 and 3.  This will put the moving notes on strong beats.

Can you do it? Take beats away.  Only allow your metronome to play beat 4 (of the original).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Remembrance of Things.......Today?

Today, the University of South Carolina Trombone Collective read an arrangement of mine with Colt Campbell soloing.  I wish I could have been there as this was the first reading of an arrangement of mine.  Avant de Quitter ces Lieux from Gounod's Faust is a tuneful melody originally for voice baritone.  I, however, set the aria for solo trombone and trombone choir accompaniment.  Hopefully, this arrangement will turn into one of many such arias, that one day will help me introduce young trombonists to opera.

Tomorrow, I will performing the Rite of Spring for the first time as well. The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Symphony Orchestra is performing for the Missouri Music Educators Conference.  We will also be performing Stravinsky's famous and history changing work Friday February 3 in White Hall, and again in April at the Kaufman Center.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I am listening to the excerpts for my upcoming auditions (Boston (just a tape) and New World) and I have come to some interesting realizations.

  1. First, the ride is apparently difficult to record, and the Marine Band does a fine job.
  2. Second, most recordings do NOT follow the written music. Pierre Monteux and the return of the theme in the third movement of the Franck's Symphony in D minor. Dutoit's La Gazza Ladra and the quarter note broken chords at the end of the first excerpt.
  3. Third, finding a good recording of Hary Janos is very difficult.
  4. I still wish I could play a Bach Cello Suite like Yo-yo Ma
  5. Bass Trombone KICKS ASS! 
Seriously people, I am so glad to be playing such a powerful and beautiful instrument that composers throughout history have entrusted with some incredible music.  One day I hope to play these excerpts with a great orchestra.

PS. I will get to see Yo-yo in person for the first time in the morning.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


"The only reason for time
is so that
everything doesn't happen at once."
~Albert Einstein

"The only reason to keep time
is so that
everything can happen at once"
~Russ Zokaites

I have been teaching a fair amount lately and I cannot get past coordination.  To play any instrument you must physically coordinate, breathing, articulation, embouchure, and fingers.  To play in any ensemble you must coordinate these aspects with several other people.  And this can only happen if you keep perfect time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

M4: Parental Discretion Advised

This one is for all you marching band lovers out there!

Marchfourth performs a funky rock show done in the style of a marching band. Judging from their clips, their stage shows are a cross between Cirque du Soleil, Drum Corps, an 80's Leather Bar and a Nightmare.  They have performed all over the world and with a long list of amazing artists.  Their work began on Fat Tuesday and they are keeping New Orleans style street performers alive.  In December they were featured on NPR's song of the day.

In my mind this is what a marching band should do.....entertain.  I doubt anyone has had that much fun playing the quads.  Of course, M4 does not actually resemble anything like the modern competitive marching band.  Although, I believe many college football fans wish their bands had this much fun!

They perform all over the world, you should check them out.  They will be at Floyd Fest in July for all my hometown friends.

Thanks Becka Rankin for introducing me to these wonderful artists.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Interview: Steph Hollander

Today, I had the pleasure of talking with Steph Hollander about her hobby, sing and song writing. I have posted one of songs before and today we talked about the creative process in her creation: Finding

If you would like to hear more from Steph check her out on youtube Hunterblows1122.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

10,000 Page Views

Well 10,070.  I missed the milestone because of my time away from the blog over the winter holiday.

This coming semester is bound to be busy and incredibly fun.  I am co-heading the stage crew for the Band Clinic here at UMKC in just a few days.  The concerto competition is near the end of January;  I will be playing the Ewazen Bass Trombone Concerto....memorized this time.  Check for a recital date in February. March 7th, I will be returning to Cincinnati for an audition for the New World Symphony.  There are many more events that will be happening so please check back soon.

I would like to thank everyone who has made my blog fun and exciting, Carman Lewis designed the amazing new logo, several people have helped with spelling and grammatical errors, and everyone that gave me an interview this summer.  Discovering a Classical Musician has hit the editing stage and I will hopefully have a near finished project early this semester.

Again thanks for all the support.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Year in review

Today marks the end of 2011.

The end of the year is a special time to think about the past and the future.  Thinking about our goals and making sure our past is leading us to them.  For me 2011 was a very interesting year, my life seems to be on economic rewind.  I started the year employed and I have finished yet again, as a student.  If you don't mind a story, I will share my 2011 with you.

During the first week of 2011, I found myself frustrated with freelancing in Denver, and looking for a cheaper apartment.  I moved into a little garden level apartment with Antonio Ortiz and began searching for students.  Then on January 10, 2011 my life changed quite a bit.  Too Many Trombones played for Metrobonanzia at Denver Metro University and I was finally able to meet Greg Harper of the Colorado Symphony.  That day I was asked to join two trombone quartets and possibly give a masterclass at Metro, my freelancing "career" was looking up.  On the way home I got a phone call from a good friend and band director Kevin Keena.

For the next four months I struggled to keep my playing ability up while teaching band at Powell Middle School in Littleton, CO.  While teaching I won a position on the Colorado Symphony sub list and took another audition for the New World Symphony in Miami.  I would not trade my teaching experience for the world.  I grew as a person and as a musician in those short months.  I cannot overestimate how much teaching helps individual ability.  Again, I say thanks to my students and colleagues from Littleton Public Schools.

In the spring, I also had the unique opportunity to work with the Tromboniacs.  The group is a semi-professional trombone quartet in the Denver Metro Region.  The other three guys helped me branch out as a musician and gave me awesome teaching advice.  Many thanks to Doug Harris, Ron Argostinger, and Kevin Buchanan.

The summer I spent in Aspen, CO playing beside some amazing people.  This summer, Aspen energized me beyond believe.  The motivation you get from seeing your friends play well and get jobs is incredible.  Also, I had the unique opportunity to interview several of the low brass instructors about their careers.  (Discovering a Classical Musician is still in the editing phase, but look for it shortly.)  My host family was also unbelievable. I enjoyed living and working in aspen.

At the end of August, I started my doctorate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  I managed to play in the new Kauffman Center, recruit a few students, and gig some.  I also took an audition in Norway and attend a trombone festival in Holland.  All of these activities have lead to better, more efficient, practice.

I am looking forward to 2012, hopefully the new year will bring new and exciting music making activities.