Weekly Roundup 4/7/15

April’s first round-up! I took a little break last week for R&R, so here’s what’s been on my radar the last two weeks:

Reading: The Etymologicon, by Mark Forseth: A circular journey through the hidden meanings of the English language. Highly recommend! Funny and smart.

Practicing: Red Dragonfly, Annie Laurie

Rehearsing: Easter has come and gone, and Metro gets back to work this weekend.

Performing: Two Easter services at St John’s in New Brighton.

Listening: Over my holiday I saw several amazing live shows: The Decemberists, OK GO, and the Vijay Iyer trio. Two were remarkably fun and one was inspirational and challenging.

Teaching: Recently someone shared a TED Talk with me by Amy Cuddy (I’ll embed it below) about the use of body language to help change your behavior and performance. Her key slogan? “Fake it until you become it”- the idea that even two minutes of practicing a power posture can lead to better performance in an interview, audition, whatever. I have several students going into contest competitions next week and we will be trying some of these ideas.

Relaxing: What a great week! I spent four days in Chicago visiting friends, seeing music and comedy and art, catching up with some of the special folks in my life. Upon returning to Minneapolis I continued the fun, hanging out with local friends, seeing more live music, watching college basketball (You’ll always be my number one, Wisconsin!). This week it’s back to business as usual, but I feel relaxed and happy to be back at it.

Weekly Roundup 3/24/15

Reading: Still on a break from studying so I can focus on some arranging projects.

(Arranging: Songs for The Satellites; Da Pacem Domine by Arvo Part for Metro Brass)

Practicing: Red Dragonfly, and Arthur Pryor’s Annie Laurie which I may perform with Metro Brass in the future.

Rehearsing: Metro met on Sunday night for some quality rehearsal time. We are preparing a June 4th concert at Grace Lutheran in St Paul. More details soon! Lots of showcase pieces for members of this talented group.

Performing: Nothing on the calendar until Easter weekend.

Listening: Black Messiah by D’Angelo spinning nearly constantly. How is possible for human beings to lay back on a beat so hard? It’s mind-boggling.

Teaching: Blending and intonation. Using an exercise I learned from Tom Ashworth at the U, tuning unisons and various intervals with a partner.

Relaxing: Thursday evening I’m leaving for a long weekend in Chicago! I will see good friends Gabe, Matt, Becka, Candace, and Owen. I have tickets to see the Decembrists and the Vijay Iyer Trio!

No weekly roundup next week! Enjoy your spring break! (TAKE YOUR HORN HOME)

Weekly Roundup 3/17/15

Reading: It’s been a busy week! I haven’t had a chance to start any music-related books.

Practicing: Red Dragonfly, and Arthur Pryor’s Annie Laurie which I may perform with Metro Brass in the future.

Rehearsing: Exultate recorded the Requiem on Thursday and Friday. There will be an album released in May! In the meantime you can watch our performance from St Mark’s online (see link in previous post).

We read Scheherazade (Rimsky-Korsakov), Lemminkainen’s Return (Sibelius), and Oberon Overture (Weber) in Minnehaha Repertory on Saturday.

Performing: After a busy week of performances and recordings, it’s nice to have a little break! Metro is gearing up for a showcase concert in June. More info soon.

Listening: Abigail Washburn hit my radar yesterday and I can’t get enough of her. She’s a banjo player and vocalist who creates some truly sublime music.

Teaching: Musicality involves lots of moving pieces, but in many situations if you can hear the whole picture, it makes it easier to pull it all off. This week I’m helping students play musically by incorporating the micro into the macro.

Relaxing: My friend David is moving to Seattle, and he stopped in Minneapolis this weekend to catch a breather from the road. We spent an afternoon walking around Minnehaha Falls Park and eating good food.

Weekly Roundup 3/10/15

Reading: Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz by John McCusker. An engaging look at an early jazz trombone hero and how his style influenced the development of a genre.

Practicing: Red Dragonfly, Pryor’s Annie Laurie, Kopprasch Book II.

Rehearsing: Midnight in Moscow meets tomorrow night and I’ll be sharing some of my insight from the Kid Ory book.

Performing: Exultate performed Mozart this past weekend and it went very well! Sunday was my best performance, but they were all great. Kudos to my colleagues Keith and David for their stellar performances (in particular David nailed the Tuba Mirum solo every time). We are recording Thursday and Friday, so soon you can purchase a recording of our brilliance!

Listening: The new Brandi Carlile album (The Firewatcher’s Daughter) is fantastic. I can’t get enough of Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities To Love.

Teaching: Relaxation in the higher register, and how to use our ears to our advantage and avoid strain.


Weekly Roundup 3/3/15

Reading: Keys To Natural Performance For Brass Players, Robert D Weast. An older book but a goodie.

Practicing: Red Dragonfly is still on my stand, as is the second Kopprasch book.

Rehearsing: Mozart Requiem with Exultate Choir and Orchestra. I’m playing bass trombone. See below!

Performing: 3 concerts of Mozart Requiem with Exultate, March 6, 7, 8. Various locations around the Cities! Come and enjoy.

Listening: M. Ward, End of Amnesia; Jenny Lewis, The Voyager; Heart, Dreamboat Annie; R&B songs (by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Thelma Houston, James Hunter, Etta James, etc) as research/arrangements for The Satellites, my soon-to-be-gigging soul/r&b group.

Teaching: Rhythmic recognition and dictation this week. Get ready. You’re going to clap and count.

Relaxing: Walked by the river last night with my friend Susan and her dog Maple. Signed up for 30 Days of Biking again (year 4 for me!). Dreaming about spring.

Weekly Roundup 2/24/15

Reading: Taking a little study break for the week.

Practicing: Red Dragonfly, by Amy Riebs Mills, written for Megumi Kanda (of the Milwaukee Symphony). This was a house-warming gift from a friend and fellow musician. I’m excited to learn it and possibly perform it at next year’s Brass Chix!

Rehearsing: Thursday night I begin rehearsals for the Mozart Requiem with Exultate, a local choir and orchestra I have worked with before. Our performances are next weekend, March 6-8, so come see us if you can!

Minnehaha Repertory will be reading Franck:  Symphony in D Minor, Sibelius:  Lemminkäinen’s Return Op. 22 #4, and von Weber: Oberon Overture on Saturday.

Performing: Exultate Mozart Requiem March 6-8th, various locations around the Cities.

Listening: I have a big crush on Janelle Monae so pretty much her whole Metropolis cycle (so far). Also have you seen Jupiter Ascending? I mean, do yourself a favor. Seriously. The soundtrack, by Michael Giacchino, is real purdy, and over the top, and wonderful. He also wrote the music for Lost, the Incredibles, Star Trek, etc.

Teaching: Gearing up for a month of contest performances, so I’ve been encouraging my students to start incorporating performance runs in their practice sessions, and we’ve been doing the same in lessons.

Relaxing: I’m really dying to get outside and do some winter fun before spring, but negative degree days aren’t making that an option. Here’s hoping we’ll have some ‘reasonable’ winter so I can go for a hike in my new snow pants soon.

Weekly Roundup 2/17/15

Reading: Diving into The Musician’s Way, by Klickstein.

Practicing: I don’t think I’ve cracked the cover of my copy of the Kopprasch Vol 2 in…ten years. Starting with #1.

Rehearsing: M’haha rehearsed Franck Symphony in D Minor on Saturday, it was gorgeous.

Performing: Tonight’s Mardi Gras! I’ll be here.

Listening: Brand new Father John Misty!

Teaching:  Go. Slowly. Dang it. There are times when fast practice can be useful, but 95% of the time you should take things slowly so you can put all the pieces together. “Slow practice = fast progress; Fast practice = slow progress” -Per Brevig, Julliard School of Music

Relaxing: Getting friends together. Amazing how infrequently we do this in the winter, and how lonely it can get. Met up with a friend from college two weeks ago, and it was great to catch up. Had beers with a colleague last week, and enjoyed the opportunity to be a trombone nerd for a few hours. Brunch with another friend and colleague on Thursday. Hosted a gathering at my house on Friday night and it was a great collection of folks that brought positive energy in and left good vibes.