tenet (ten' it), noun: a principle, doctrine, or belief held as truth

Welcome to my blog! Here I will share some of my thoughts on horn playing and teaching, which I think about a lot, and maybe some other things, too. Since my job (which thankfully, allows me to do a lot of playing and teaching) keeps me very busy, as does my wonderful family, I may not write frequently. My goal will be quality, not quantity!

Please share your comments.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

To the Church Music Director

     This post is about offering some helpful advice to church music directors who hire professional freelance musicians to play for special services, such as Easter, Christmas, etc. I don't know if any church music directors read this blog, but who knows? I'm expecting some readers to comment with their own experiences and suggestions, so this could grow into a valuable resource.
     First, let me say that I love church music. While I was in grad school, I worked part time as the orchestra director at First Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, AL. Also, I love playing church gigs. Besides providing a little extra cash, these performances can be musically rewarding and spiritually satisfying. We get to play in some of the most beautiful buildings in town, and the audience is always tremendously appreciative.
     Church gigs can also present some unique challenges. Sometimes rehearsal time is very limited, and the physical space we're assigned is even more limited. We are often asked to make last minute changes or additions to what we're playing. And many times, we are combining forces with amateur musicians that play at that church regularly.
     If the music director does what they can to make the experience a positive one for the instrumentalists, then they can be assured of getting the best talent to fill their needs in the future. These are just a few things that I think even experienced music directors might overlook:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Building vs. Sculpting

     There is a legend that goes something like this:
A man who was seen chiseling a rock into a beautiful horse was asked, "How do you make a sculpture of a horse?" The artist responded, "I simply chisel away everything that doesn't look like a horse."
     Supposedly, Michelangelo himself put it this way:
"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

Friday, April 26, 2013

Scale Pong!

     This is a game I invented to play with my horn students each semester before scales tests and juries. Here are the basic "official" rules, which seem to change slightly each time we play:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Most Interesting Things

     On a recent Friday, I noticed that attendance was down in my Music Appreciation class, so I decided to give the ones who were there an easy way to earn a few extra points. I asked them to write down the answer to this question:

"What is the most interesting thing you've learned in this class so far this semester?"

     Some of the answers were too good not to share. Here they are, unedited, of course...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Follow-up: A Small Huge Equipment Change

     As promised in my last post, "A Small Huge Equipment Change," I'd like to offer a quick update on how the change to a wider internal diameter mouthpiece rim is going.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Small Huge Equipment Change

*Disclaimer: While I like to think many of my posts appeal to a wider audience, non-horn players will have to excuse me while I geek out on this one!

     About 3 weeks ago, I changed my mouthpiece rim.  I'm not one of those players who changes mouthpieces and horns all the time.  In fact, other than a change in my mouthpiece cup a few years ago, this is the only equipment change I've undertaken in the last 9 years.  I usually subscribe to the old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  Or, as this cartoon illustrates...

But, this is a change I've been considering for a while, and so I finally took the plunge.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I Love the Olympics

     As long as I can remember, I've always loved watching the Olympics, and the past 2 weeks I've been tuning in as often as I can.  I think one of the reasons I enjoy it so much is that I can relate to the athletes (in a metaphorical way...).