The Boston Symphony Orchestra set out for the tour to Carnegie and Canada (Montreal & Toronto) yesterday with a concert of Shostakovich, No. 7 and premier of Russian-born composer, Sofia Gubaidulina's Triple Concerto.Read More
Last week marked a first, I was a part of an all concerto concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra that featured several members of the orchestra in a solo role. It isn't often that the trombone gets to be at the front of any orchestra, let alone the BSO. When I was asked to participate in this concerto concert I did submit several suggestions and artistic management settled on the Nino Rota Trombone Concerto as best suited for the program.Read More
..... So you want to win an audition, or plan a great concerto performance? Maybe you just want to knock your next recital out of the park. I want you to consider one thing: THE BETTER YOU GET, THE LESS OFTEN YOU PERFORM FOR JUST TROMBONISTS.Read More
Answer one simple question: What do you want to sound like?
I am at Edwards Instruments this week working on equipment with the man himself - Christan Griego.
Choosing equipment starts the same for all of us by answering one simple question: what do you want to sound like? But for those of us who've become more professionally relentless, the matter is more specifically: I want to build a setup that will allow me to sound like I want to sound on my worst day.
I am so grateful for Christan's help over the years. We talk often of my first visits to Edwards when I was at IU and Northwestern in the late 90's. My M.O. hasn't changed much, I have a clear idea in my head for what I want to sound like and I have a recording device with me (Zoom Q8 in this case) to verify how close I'm getting as I try various tweaks like different bells, slides, lead pipes and now mouthpieces.
Two things most students don't do is use their own ears both in research and when choosing equipment. How much are you listening each day to great recordings of what you want to emulate? Is it only trombone? When choosing equipment do you listen more to the expertise of people helping you choose a setup or is it yourself? Although Christan is a total rockstar for ears and expertise, any person in his position won't be there when you perform or practice so it is extremely important that you can hear what you're looking for.
Most importantly, the upgrade you're looking for must be a sound product available on your worst day. Too often people choose equipment that is much to large that only sounds good on their best day. This is a lot like shoe shopping with my dad when I was 8 years old and we'd buy shoes sized 1 and 1/2 size too large so I'd have room to grow into them. I was eight and the most I was doing was chasing girls or running from bullies on the play ground, so it was cool if my shoes had room to grow. You're buying a trombone to do very specific things under tremendous professional pressure even as a student, so a perfect fit is imperative. Christan had a great analogy: Don't make the mistake of buying Nike Air Jordan's the exact size of Michael Jordan's foot and expect to move around the court or even shoot like him.
Trombone players get pressure from other trombone players to play loud as if that is the peak of artistic greatness and this drives them to play enormous equipment. They don't trust their ears or their body and go too large hoping they'll grow into it. Unfortunately they then struggle to play with clear articulation or in the upper register and sound like moo cows in the back row. I'll admit I've fallen down the big equipment rabbit hole more than once and I always conclude the same thing - I don't want to be Michael Jordan, I want to be Bruce Lee.
....Think of your body like a balloon. Allow a linear expansion on the inhale so there must be relaxed slack to expand. When you want to get the air out of a balloon you can squeeze it (tension kills sound!) out or simply stretch the balloon long. ..Read More
Open to anyone I know personally - I hope you can make it to the Toby Challenge. 1.5 miles around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir at 10:30am on 11/8/15.Read More
RSVP via FaceBook message or contact me through my website.
There were a few musicians not as argumentative as myself, one of them actually crying, when I boarded the plane because they were all forced to check their precious instruments. I contemplated the entire flight, "What could I or any other musician have done if I had been traveling alone?"Read More
Music is an art form of perception. Use a recording to check in with the three "T's" - Time, Tune, Tone. Is your rhythm convincing? Are you playing in tune with yourself? Are you playing with a good tone throughout? Now, take it a step further - what are your phrase goals, and are you effectively demonstrating them? Can you hear a real difference between pianissimo and fortissimo? Is your crescendo all at once or over the two bars indicated by the composer and, more importantly, is the pitch consistent throughout your dynamic shift? Is the rhythm perceptible through your accelerando or rallentando? Let's face it, we work in sales and we are trying to sell people on a musically good quality product one phrase at a time. It's not about being right as much as it is to be convincing with our music. Evaluate your recordings with this in mind and you will go far.Read More
I love Top 5 lists for the simple reason that it generates conversation where everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is happily assumed that people would disagree........Read More
Let's be honest, musicians are generally not the most outgoing social animals at the zoo.......Read More
. . . lewd upward glissandos that portrayed an old man with feeble seductive skills.Read More
Maestro Nelsons never stops with a sort of boyish glee on the podium. As a member of the orchestra it is at least infectious and exciting to look up and see such a smile that never quits.....Read More
This week is a lighter concert for the BSO and the trombones are only needed for Beethoven 5. There are audience participation elements that the orchestra gets used to, for example......Read More