Trombonanza - I want you



If you're in town on August 3rd, please, come play with us, and learn from Michael Davis.

What's a Trombonanza?

  • August 3rd, Lafayette, CA - A One day seminar for all brass instruments featuring guest artist, Mr. Michael Davis - internationally renowned composer, clinician, and rock star! He's played on countless recordings and jingles, toured and recorded with Frank Sinatra, Buddy Rich, and is the trombonist with the Rolling Stones!
  • All day seminar featuring
    • Mass warm-up and ensemble rehearsal with Dr. Jon Brummel
    • Snacks, Lunch, and a T-Shirt
    • Question & Answer session with Mr. Davis
    • Brass Clinic by Mr. Davis
    • Observe ensemble coaching by Mr. Davis
    • Gala concert featuring YOU, Mr. Davis, and surprise guests!

I want to put everything out on Front Street:

  1. This is not a money making venture, or cash grab:
    • I am putting this on for:
      1. Education for brass students and enthusiasts of all ages and abilities
      2. Goodwill for the community with a free concert
  2. This is put on by one guy, me - It's not subsidized by a school/institution/etc - I'm providing the facility, music, clinician fees, facility fees, etc.
  3. I want to give something back, as I had many teachers who have helped me--I wanted to provide a great opportunity for my students, and everyone who's interested.

Why are you telling me all of this?

  • Because I love you - and I don't want you to miss out on a great opportunity.
  • An event like this is great for brass players of of all ages and abilities.
  • You normally would have to travel across the country or globe and pay a lot of money and invest a lot of time to have this kind of opportunity.
  • I wish I would have had the opportunity to attend something like this when I was growing up--that's why I'm going through the effort of putting it together, to help others in their musical development, have fun, and serve the community.

In an effort to make it easy, and a no brainer for you, I'm trying something out, and was wondering if you could please help me out.

We're slashing our prices!

Tuition is now only $75

I'm lowering the price of attendance by 50% so you can do one of three things:

  1. Come to Trombonanza, if you were holding back because of the cost
  2. Bring a friend! - Since it's 50% off, it's now essentially 2 for 1! :)
  3. Provide a scholarship for a student who is not able to attend. If you don't know of someone, we'd be glad to coordinate with you, and we'll followup so you know your donation was put to good use.

Hope to see you soon, my friend! - Could you please be a pal, and forward this to your friends/colleagues/brother's college roommates' dog's best friend?

Thank you very much for your time, and support!

Best, Dr. J

Always a pleasure working with animals.

Just stumbed across the soundtrack for StarCraft 2, Heart of the Swarm.

If you enjoy the music, please support great music and musicians by picking up the album on iTunes!

I had the distinct pleasure to play some tenor and bass trombone including my friends, mentors, and colleagues Mr. David Ridge (San Francisco Opera), Paul Welcomer (San Francisco Symphony), John Engelkes (San Francisco Symphony), Jeff Budin (San Francisco Ballet), Mark Lawrence (San Francisco Symphony, Emeritus), Peter Wahrhaftig, and many other talented musicians.

Thanks guys, and to the great Ms. Janet Ketchum for a fabulous time.  It's always a pleasure working with you.

Dr. J

A photo from the Articles of War recording session.

A photo from the Articles of War recording session.

Source: topsites://

Thoughts on Alternate Positions

A colleague recently asked a question about alternate positions:

It begs the question - At what point do you really start to delve into the alternate positions?

I start my kids as early as possible

Later, I urge them to try out every conceivable alternate, play it every different way you can, regardless of how much sense it makes in order to "burn it in" and reduce the "weird" feeling, then decide based on:

  • ease of motion
  • breakup of repeated arm movements (sawing logs)
  • Sonic & acoustical reasons (is this the most important note in the line? If so, how can we arrive at a primary position? If not, try to use more alternates leading up to it--since the closer to first, the more "pop" or "presence" the notes have. Do you want a warmer, lusher sound?--use further positions
  • How can you use valve slurs and natural slurs to enhance the legato?
  • But simply put, when working with a fourth grader within the first forty songs they learn, we also incorporate F in 6th position, and hopefully within the first 70-100, Bb in #5th. By just diving in, particularly early, hopefully they won't continue to have a stigma about alternate, and extended positions.

    That said, I'm really starting to love E (in the staff) in 7th, a note I wouldn't have gone near for the first 10-20 years of my career (unless forced) - I have found though, that the condition of the slide is also a big factor, and I have a hypothosis that "wide-slides" (Bach, Edwards, Shires, some Getzens) make extended positions more challenging.

    Since returning to Conn's and Yamaha's for my tenor work, the extended positions on a narrow slide are incomparable to a wide slide IMHO. When I play on my Bach's, I don't "feel" nearly the same sense of trust and ease (but can still do it). Hmmm. . . things to ponder.

    Nah, gonna go practice and tackle the world. Mr. Bergstrum was kind enough to introduce me to them early, but I wish he would have really encouraged/forced me to use them more often, I later got lazy, stopped using them regularly, then they regained their "stigma".

    I now go out of my way to use them on a daily basis, and also incorporate them into my daily routine. What are your thoughts and uses for alternate positions?

    Best, Dr. J

How to overcome a lifelong limitation in 7 minutes--Really

7 Minutes to Breakthrough any lifelong limiting pattern, with Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins cures lifelong Stuttering in 7 Minutes

Tony Robbins cures lifelong Stuttering in 7 Minutes

I've been listening to his books, listening to CD's, and attending and volunteering at his seminars for about a decade - it's not voodoo, it's not magic, and I didn't drink the Kool-Aid--it really works.

I've seen  live interventions ranging from preventing suicide to stopping stuttering multiple times over the past ten years, (two of them from a distance of three feet as I held the microphone).  Even *MY*  gigantic inner skeptic, is silenced. 

The following information can help anyone overcome a lifelong limitation, but is specifically targeted at stuttering (But please, we all have stuff we're working on - try it out for Pete's sake!)

I have heard him mention that he'd developed a cure for stuttering, and had always been curious, as I've had a few students with challenges with stuttering, and always wanted to see how he did it.

Two crazy things happened to me in the past six months

  1. I've had a very challenging time personally,  and needed a breakthrough of my own, to "get my mind right"
  2. a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a request for help by a dear personal on Facebook - his son was struggling with stuttering.  It just happens that I finally witnessed in person Mr. Robbins cure two people who had been lifelong stutterers.  I was floored, and wouldn't have believed it, were it not for the past decade of seeing similar transformations, my own positive experiences with his work, and my own suspicions about the root causes of stuttering.

I had grand ideas about writing up the whole intervention I witnessed, then expounding on my own ideas, my own successes working with a few of my own students that had stuttering issues.  I didn't let them know I was helping them, but all of them showed greatly reduced stuttering in our interactions, or eliminated it--(yeah, I'm that sneaky).  

Two things have saved you from a massive onslaught of text: 

  1. I found this video showing him demonstrating it online. (I'll wait. .  .go check it out first.)
  2. My dog, wife, and son have been violently ill for the past 24 hours, and I've gotten literally one hour of sleep.

I bring up #2 not for sympathy, but to tell you how elated I was to get a message from my friend today--he applied the techniques presented in the video and website with his son, and was successful in removing his stuttering! This news was ELECTRIFYING.  I am dog tired, but when I received his note, it was better than drinking a full pot of coffee--so much so, that an hour into this, I'm still writing, and excited to share this with you.

You see, I told my friend a month ago, that I'd write this up, and detail the experience I witnessed, but gave him only the link to that site and about a page of ideas.  That said- I unfortunately didn't follow through until now, but armed with the video, and information from that page he was able to have a breakthrough with his son.

Okay, enough buildup.  If you're still with me, I dare not risk losing you now- I'm going to cut to the chase and just share my "Cliff notes" from Tony's intervention that I witnessed with two lifelong stutterers this past August in San Jose, CA.  I was there.  It happened.  It's not B.S.  Everything that I wrote down, is backed up by my observations, suspicions, and my successes in working with my own stuttering students.

  • On a physical level, stuttering is a BREATHING PATTERN.  People that stutter often are able to sing and yell- if these behaviors are possible, than there is nothing biologically wrong with the person, it's a conditioned response, similar to a Pavlovian response.   The muscles used to produce speech, singing, and yelling are all directly responsive to the state you are in.  Often a stutterer is quiet, timid, soft spoken, or introverted--these characteristics would encourage poor posture, low respiration, and a more passive demeanor -- all of which make it extremely difficult to move WIND!  Simply by getting the body erect (stand tall, jump around, get some motion in the body), working on deep breathing exercises, playing word games and singing would get all the mechanics for speech primed, and from there, it'd be a quick transition to eliminate the stutter, if it even remained.  The other thing that has been highly successful for me when working with these cases I have found is to be playful, irreverent, and mentally playful- keep them on their toes by asking different questions that break their established patterns.  I have found that stuttering normally occurs when they are put on the spot and uncertain, then it kicks in as a defense mechanism.

  • Stuttering is a strategy - it's often used as a defense mechanism, or delaying tactic to give the person more time when they are uncertain of the answer, or even better, to avoid answering at all, as people often feel sorry for the stutterer and move to comfort them and either supply the answer, or change the topic. Other times, as in the video, it's a way to deal with stress or anxiety, when a situation or topic is hitting "too close to home" or for the person's comfort level.
  • Stuttering is associated with a significant event - one of the people I watched in San Jose began stuttering when his father died.
  • Key questions he asked them during the intervention: Could I let it go? Would I set it free? When would NOW be a good time?
  • "The strongest force in humans is the requirement to stay consistent with their personal identity." -When someone identifies themselves with the label of a "stutterer" (or any label-- stupid, fat, lazy, slow, untalented, can't play high notes, etc.) then you're in DANGEROUS territory.  They will subconciously do anything it takes to remain consistent with the labels they have created internally for their personal identity.   Use the example in the video, and the seven steps listed here (visit the page for elaborated information on each step).

Phew. I'm beat.

I hope this helps you, or allows you to help someone you know- not only with stuttering, but with anything that is holding them back.

To my friend, Mr. J -- you're a hero to your son, and an amazing father.  I can't tell you how impressed I am.  To everyone else - godspeed, and hope this helps!

See you at the top!


Dr. J

Step 1: What is already perfect? (Get SPECIFIC examples of when things are already perfect or working)

Step 2: Where are your Bright Spots? (Focusing on the "Bright Spot" or when it's working, instead of when it's not) - Instead of focusing on the problem and the difficulty, focus on when it's working.

Step 3: Find The Key Decision (Keep asking questions until you get to the root of the issue- What was the key decision/reason that the behavior began?)

Step 4: Update Your Reasons (Get specific and compelling reasons why YOU must change it, and why it MUST change NOW.

Step 5: Access Your Power (Access a strong, powerful state of body and mind.  Stand tall, breathe strong, make the sound of victory (or of the warrior inside) 

Step 6: Break Through!

My specific notes, observations, and thoughts from the video: Tony Robbins: Seven Minutes to Breakthrough with Rechaud

Rechaud had gone through 3 Stages:

  1. ashamed
  2. rejection
  3. acceptance
  • Now was ready for "elimination" of the pattern.
  • Stuttering as a "pattern" or behavior.
  • What was the moment you started stuttering?
  • What is your earliest memory?

Rechaud's Earliest memory was as a child watching a Bullwinkle cartoon as a child.

Tony asked him, "Did Bullwinkle stutter?" and "how did Bullwinkle get out of trouble when someone was going to torture him, or do something bad to him?"

Rechaud answerd: "He would scream out R-r-r-r-r-r-r-Rocky." 

Tony replied, "and he ALWAYS stuttered when he said it"

"All patterns like that happen because you've forgotten something that happened right before that moment, and now you are locked into that pattern. There's a decision you made, or something you experienced, or life was very different right before that moment. . . 

Go back to right before that moment, and I want you to recapture what you forgot."

Rechaud recalled his parents arguing to the point where his father got physical--he needed clarity and assurance

Tony asks, "Yeah. .  and did you get it?"

Rechaud replies, "I guess I got that. . . from. . . . 'Hey Rocky'" (WITHOUT A HINT OF A STUTTER)

Tony: "Because the one thing that Rocky would always respond to would be"

Rechaud: "a cry for help"

Tony: "Not just a cry for help. . . . a stuttering cry for help.

"Even a child who can't consciously understand it--he feels helpless will find a way to intervene to stop pain going between those he loves.

So you found a way to protect your mother--stop your father from beating her. . . and it worked.  

That was perfect for a two year old, not good for a thirty year old Rechaud. . .   so now what?

Do we stay two?"

6:32 Notice Rechaud is no longer clenching his fist hiding his thumb, he has made a fist, but not tense--the thumb is outside of the hand, and the hand is not clenched, but firm.

"You're a man now, you've lived thirty years of life. . . .you've been through all kinds of stuff. . .  

6:36 There is a warrior in you Rechaud. . . The warrior is the one who can face anything and storm through it.

"Feel him in where he is, breathe him in"

-Make the sound of the warrior- make the first sound that comes to you

-The warrior, once he sets his mind do it, he will do whatever battle is necessary, for his wife, for his family, for himself."

-The warrior does not stutter. . . EVER.  Own the warrior:

Tell me what the warrior says now 

(JB: as he simultaneously snaps his fingers.  Each time he says now, he snaps his fingers, prompting Rechaud to respond instantly-- without intellectualizing it, or over thinking it.  The problem with delayed responses is that it gives the person an out, time to come up with all kinds of excuses and reasons (often real and good) to avoid change.)

TR: "Tell me what the warrior says"


(JB: each time Rechaud answers, Tony anchors in the response by touching him on this right shoulder.  By creating a unique physical sensation at the moment of decision or change, he reinforces the response--and new decisions that Rechaud is speaking.)

Rechaud: "The warrior says I am brilliant."

TR: "That's right. The warrior says (snapping fingers)

Rechaud: The warrior says that I am electric.

TR: (with greater intensity, volume, and speed in his speech) The warrior says (snaps fingers)

Rechaud: I am awesome.

TR: Ask the warrior. . . do you need to stutter any more?

Rechaud: No.

(JB: During this entire sequence, there is not even a hint of stuttering.  He has complete clarity of speech, control over his voice, and responses.  He is responding "authentically" from his true self, without the interference of the ego and conscious mind.)

7:24 They celebrate.

Rechaud: "That was awesome. . . . so. . .  what's next coach?" (still no stuttering)

7:46 The video then cuts forward to Rechaud speaking in front of 5,000 people on stage, at Tony's Unleash the Power Within event.  

Rechaud grabs the microphone: 

  • That was a condition that I chose. 
  • I chose to stay there. 
  • I chose to identify as a stutterer.

Powerful stuff, right?

The first time that I saw this, it literally brought tears to my eyes.

Trombone Day 2012 - Wayne Wallace



David Ridge, Donald Kennelly, Jeff Budin, Zachariah Spellman, Jeanne Geiger

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10 - 9 am-2 pm

Music Building Recital Hall, MB1055, CSU, East Bay (Hayward, CA)


“Wallace’s unit is like an elite commando unit: lean, mean and packing some serious heat.” — Forest Dylan Bryant, Jazz Observer

“San Francisco native Wayne Wallace is practically a one-man ecosystem of jazz. He is a phenomenal
trombonist, composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, producer, and head of his own record label. With
impeccable musicianship and boundless imagination, this group takes listeners on a multicultural
musical voyage to Cuba, Africa, and Latin America.” — Forrest Dylan Bryant, Jazz Observer

Information: (510) 885-3167   Trombone Day Information website

The CSU East Bay Department of Music extends great appreciation and thanks to Dick Akright of A&G Music (Oakland, CA) for his enthusiastic support and help in attaining the guest artist for this event.

  • 8:30 a.m.: Registration
  • 9-10 a.m.(Recital Hall, MB1055): San Francisco Opera Low Brass Section: Dave Ridge (bass trombone), Jeffrey Budin and Donald Kennelly (trombone), and Zachariah Spellman (Tuba) performing excerpts from the Wagner's opera Lohengrin.
  • 10:05-10:35 a.m (MB1039): Wayne Wallace with Stanley Middle School's The Jazz Messengers directed by Bob Athayde
  • 10:40-11:10 a.m. (MB1039): Wayne Wallace with CSU East Bay Jazz Orchestra and Jeanne Geiger directed by Dann Zinn
  • 11:15-12:15 (Recital Hall, MB1055):Wayne Wallace Master Class
  • 12:30-1:15 p.m.: The Bay Bones Trombone Choir with Wayne Wallace and Dave Ridge
  • 1:25 - 2 p.m.: Open Trombone Choir with Billy Robinson
  • Bring your trombone and join in!

Feel free to download the flyer

Maintenance Videos back up!

Whee! It's that time of year again- everyone is receiving from sunburns and soccer camp- now it's back in the saddle and BACK TO SCHOOL!

Each year there is an influx of new brass students that all need instruction in how to take care of their new instrument, but we ALL need to take better care of our instruments, not just the new crew.

I created a series of videos to make sure that students worldwide could have a head start on taking care of their instruments.  As a lifelong student myself, and admitted GEAR NERD, I am always interested in how to take care of your instrument so it will last a lifetime.  

By taking care of your instrument, it will be:

  • easier to play
  • last a lifetime
  • save money on repairs and maintenance
  • keep you from getting sick (really)

    My favorite thing I've heard is, "It's a school horn, I don't need to clean it."

    Ummm. . . sonny. . . . . if anything, you REALLY NEED TO CLEAN IT, because you have no idea where it's been, or what's growing inside of it.  Plus, you deserve a horn that is in top shape, and your school deserves a horn that will last for years to come.  You owe it to the next group coming down the road, and your school - take care of it.

    Check it out, and let me know what you think!

    This is no good - Sorry, Sibelius


    As a fan, and avid user of Finale- it's sad to see the only major competition in the field go under.  It looks like they're farming the code out to foreign programmers, but the entire original team in England, has been let go.

    Competition is always a good thing.  It keeps us on our toes, and reaching further than we thought possible.

    I hope for Sibelius fans that things come together, but fear the worst.  But, I do welcome hopefully many new converts to Finale, and have high hopes that MakeMusic will stay focused, on target, and continue to evolve.

    I've met many of the team there--they're good people.


    Alex Iles - Refresh!

    Under Construction

    Under Construction

    As you may have noticed, the site has recently gotten a facelift  - we've moved to a new hosting solution, and are trying to get things back up and running.

    As a result, the podcast is being reuploaded, and refactored.  I've got a couple of great interviews with Trombonist John Swallow, and jazz piano great Mr. Eric Scott Reid in the can- they'll be edited and uploaded in the next few weeks - really.

    In the meantime, I've just stumbled across the first episode, a great interview with all-star trombonist, Mr. Alex Iles of Los Angeles, CA.  Please excuse the Skype challenges, but think you'll really enjoy the interview.  If you're ever in Los Angeles, do seek him out for a lesson- he's one of the best.


    You may download it directly, and it will shortly be back in the RSS feed and available via iTunes.


    P.S. The iTunes Link will be back up early next week! #Sorry

    P.P.S. Want to really lose some time down a rathole of awesome?

    P.P.S.S. While you're at it, check out this great interview with Jerry Hey, the great trumpet player and arranger Alex references at 36:00.

    Visualization, Visualization, Visualization

    The more I learn (and the less I suck), the more important I find it to visualize (internally "HEAR" the sound, approach, and attitude) before I pick up the horn. It's been a crazy day--water main broke. Family time. The boy may have the pox (chicken) -- it's 10PM and I finally get a chance to warm-up.

    This is what's going in my head right before I pick up the horn- what's going into your brain before you warm-up this week?

    Please drop a comment below, and share with the class!

    Unabtanium horn is powered by magic.

    [caption id="attachment_644" align="alignleft" width="338" caption="Unobtainium Trombone"]Trombone Made out of Unobtainium[/caption]  




    A Trombone powered by magic. I have been working with the technicians at Edwards UNDISCLOSED BRASS COMPANY HERE, and come up with a trombone that has surpassed all expectations.

    It has a Thayer Valve, Carbon Fiber Slide, and a bell made out of solid Unobtainium.  The instrument has been coated in an acoustical enhancing and light dispersing polygraphite polymer that was first used on the stealth bomber, and now has been adapted for the SR-71 Blackbird Trombone by Mr. Enrich Klinglehoffer and his team of technicians.

    It's as if the horn were powered by magic.  The acoustical enhancements are not trivial, as each overtone and vibration are focused and fired forward in a whirl-pool fashion into the venturi, then spun through the focal point of the instrument, eliminating nodal points and producing a forward resonance that can only be described as "3-D Audio".

    Hats of to Mr. Klinglehoffer and his team of elves- this horn is a beast!

    Thoughts on rejection


    I received some very interesting feedback from an audition today-- to be honest, it kind of bummed me out.

    I heard from two prominent players in the same section, feedback that was exactly diametrically opposed--one said if I'd played in any other hour, I'd have easily advanced-- the other, was underwhelmed.


    Auditioning, and receiving feedback is a weird, and ego-challenging thing. Just stumbled on an interesting article that really made me think.

    The first comment really struck home though: People that reject me are doing me a favor.

    They're not rejecting me or my product. They're rejecting the combination of me and them together.

    They're telling me we would have a bad relationship. And they're probably right.

    Just because THIS time you didn't win, it may not be for the worst, and it may not be because you 'biffed it'-- it might just not be a good fit.


    Hip-Bone U launched!


    Getting stuck in your warm-up?

    Hit a rut lately? I've been doing the Remington warmups (the foundation of the 15 Minute Warm-Up book) since I began my brass career thirty years ago. When I came across the 15 Minute Warm-Up I was thrilled to have something to:

    • Make sure I don't waste time during my warm-up
    • Get 'er done
    • Have more fun
    • Have something to reinforce my pitch accuracy, tonal center, and rhythmic sense

    I have to say, the 15 Minute-Warmup, and the 20 Minute-Warmup are a boon to keeping my chops in shape. When I'm running about, I've got it on my iPod or iPhone, and can buzz along with it even while driving. (Note: Please drive responsibly and safely.)

    If you've found yourself in a bit of a rut lately, I would highly recommend checking out these new videos, and picking up a copy of the book(s). If you don't own either, start with the 15 Minute Warm-Up -- it's the meat & potatoes of any solid brass players warm-up. Solid fundamentals presented in a logical and methodical progression, with accompaniment that takes the tedium out of warming up.

    You definitely need to check out the new videos that Mr. Michael Davis has launched at Hip-BoneU.

    Mr. Davis has launched a set of three videos (with more to come) at Hip-BoneU as a companion piece to his 15 Minute Warm-Up and the 20 Minute Warm-Up series.

    The current video lineup at Hip-BoneU includes the following videos:

    There are more lessons coming soon, including team lessons with studio legend Bill Reichenbach, improvisation lessons, and more!

    Mr. Davis has also released a new Bone2Pick feature, which will feature free interviews with leading brass musicians. Don't miss the great interview with legendary studio musician, arranger, and producer, Mr. Jerry Hey