Category: Music

Clarinet Practice, Despair, Vade Mecum, and You

Despite considering myself a serious musician for most of my adult life, I’ve had a difficult relationship with practice. Most musicians are less than thrilled with practice, so this is not unique to me. I don’t know what motivates (or should I say de-motivates) most people not to practice, but for me it’s been a heady mixture of overwork in the day job, some technical and sometimes even orthopedic difficulties brought on by the overwork (I work with a keyboard on the day job), and 99% good old-fashioned despair. Read more

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And have I mentioned my guitar habit?

A little over a year ago, Nathan decided to start playing guitar. I’d played guitar a little several years ago, so I decided to buy an inexpensive Yamaha guitar and work on playing guitar with him.

I’ve continued to practice and work with a friend of mine on guitar (Nathan’s taking lessons as well). Somewhere along the way I picked up a Epiphone SG electric. About a month ago I bought an Epiphone Masterbilt acoustic/electric. Mostly I’ve worked on rhythm guitar fingerpicking.

It’s a lot different than playing a horn. For one thing, knowing how to read music is only marginally useful. The old joke goes “How do you make a guitarist play quieter?” “Put music in front of him.”














So how’s it going adding every CD you own?

Fine, thank you. I’ve been steadily popping one in provided I’m awake, my computer is awake, and I’m where I can feed the thing. I’ve got a stack at home and at work. As of this writing, the collection in iTunes stands at 2092 items. It would take over 6 days to listen to it all.

Searchability – what a concept. In the early ’90s I had a friend with some kind of software that had all his CDs indexed. I was never that organized. But now I can type in a composer, performer, etc.

Speaking of searchability – it’s amazing how Gracenote can find all the track info, even on obscure CDs (only had one misfire in a commercial CD), but album art is generally a google search…

Also, sweet heavens it’s annoying how the system splits up albums. There’s a way to edit the info and pull them together. That’ll be another phase of the project.

Wherein I add all my CDs to my iTunes library

because I just bought a iPod Classic 160 GB. In black. iPod classic

I’m adding all my CDs. Every single one I own. Well, maybe not the homebrewed ones that are made from live recordings, all too often of me playing. And I’m drawing the line at my wife’s Olivia Newton John collection from the ’80s, because technically those aren’t mine. But if Grace Notes can find the track info, it’s going on.

Even the bad ones. Even “Night & Day” by Chicago.

Speaking of which, why can’t iTunes find the album artwork for Chicago 19?

More as this develops.

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2011 clarinet day info

Troy University Clarinet Day is once again coming soon, and they have a great lineup of guest artists. I attended this last year with my colleague Curtis Hollinger of the MSO and a student. Dr viagra over the counter. Timothy Phillips and the rest of the faculty and staff do a fantastic job. Don’t miss it! Tell any of your high school students to get to Troy!

2011clarinetday (PDF copy of the application – requires an Adobe Acrobat viewer) Read more

Music recording, past and present

Tascam DR-07 digital recorderUntil recently, I had a minidisc recorder which I had used to record live music – mainly my own practices and performances – and which I had occasionally used to make digital recordings of public speaking. The latter were mainly sermons at church which I recorded off the sound board so that I, as the resident A/V boy, could transfer them to CD or mp3 recordings for their web site. I’d long since switched the church to other solutions, however, my music recording had fallen by the wayside because of the minidisc’s shortcomings.  This post is mainly about the Tascam DR-07 digital recorder which replaced it, but a very brief trip down minidisc memory lane will help put my excitement about this new unit in perspective.

There were two main problems with the minidisc format. Read more

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Chuck Mangione Live at the Hollywood Bowl

An Evening of Magic: Live at the Hollywood Bowl (Chuck Mangione)

My brother worked at a radio station and got a copy of this on LP. I wore the grooves off of it.

Perhaps one of the good things about the LP format was it encouraged you to listen to the whole thing instead of cherry-picking the hits. The only bad reviews on iTunes come from people who only want to get “Feels So Good.” The joy of this album is in listening to the varied textures of Mangione’s band and orchestra. If some of it has gone on to become “smooth jazz cliche” and sound like waiting room music, that’s only because it’s THAT GOOD. This album helped inspire me to be a musician because the performers seemed to be having so much fun. Sit down with a glass of something and your best headphones and really listen to it. Bell bottoms are optional.

AU Knights reunion this weekend

The Auburn Knights will have their annual reunion this weekend. Montgomery Advertiser story.

I like to think that in some parallel universe I got to play with the Auburn Knights as a regular band member, but truthfully I went to AUM and anyway I was probably never that good. However, I was asked to play in the ’30s reunion band some years ago by Charlie Higgins, known to the Auburn faithful as both the irresistable force AND the immovable object behind the AKAA reunion. Starting last year, I was fortunate enough to be asked to play in the ’90s reunion band. My spot in the ’90s band is provisional, year to year, and dependent on my continuing to pay those alumni bari sax players to stay away whether or not alumni want to participate, but they know I’ll always jump at the chance.

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Perhaps this would have been a good place for Birmingham’s Mayor to look for inspiration/advice: Read more

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This is why it’s so hard for adult music beginners

(hat tip – John Tracy, one of my twitter friends)

This is so true – my own application of this has to do with adults who try to begin on musical instruments (or even musicians who try to begin on different instruments). The hard part is – you know how bad you are. It’s a misnomer that kids are naturally better – they’re naturally more scatterbrained and better at not following instructions, is what they are. Their only advantage is they don’t know they can’t play! They believe it when you tell them they’re doing a good job. Anyway, watch this:

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