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.

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.

I suck, I'm not your favorite Student!

I suck, I’m sure I’m not your favorite student. . .” muttered my young dejected friend recently. I was taken aback for a moment, but then had to laugh. Not at him--but at the concept. I suppose I can understand his perception that my “favorite student” is going to be the person who:

  • plays the best
  • has the most talent
  • worked the hardest that week/practiced the most

In all honesty, he couldn’t have been further from the truth.

I see students that run the gambit from beginners through adults, advanced college students, and professionals. I truly do love working with each and every one of my students (although some of them do make me want to pull my hair out on occasion) -- I don’t think I could have a “favorite” student, but if I did, it’s certainly not based on talent or ability.

What gets me excited, engaged, and switched on, is a student that loves to play, and works his or her hardest to get better. Sometimes they have prepared their material, at other times, not--but they have an infectious joy of learning and truly WANT to be better. Attitude, energy, and a desire to learn is what makes a relationship really take off between a teacher and student--when there is a breakdown in communication, or if one of us is feeling overwhelmed by schedule/life/family/deadlines/etc. it can create a truly challenging environment for both teacher and student.

Something that definitely can lead to student anxiety is a lack of preparation.

(OK- My students, don’t read this part--we’ve ALL DONE IT. Face it, stuff happens. We’ve all had a week or two from hell, gotten lazy, didn’t prioritize, etc. If I could go back in time, I really wish I could kick myself in the head, then practice more as a youngster. I guess we all figure it out eventually-- I did make up for lost time, but as you age, life becomes increasingly complex, forcing you to fight for every spare moment- DON’T waste this time guys- life it going to get complex quickly.)

Tom Ervin, former professor of trombone at Arizona State University has some great thoughts on practicing, and some particularly insightful ideas on the relationship between a teacher and student that I found very enlightening. In a nutshell, the professor is responsible for sharing everything he can to help you become a stronger player and person (even when you may not have the current perspective to realize its benefit). Mr. Ervin asserts that it is approximately 50% of the student responsibility is to prepare the material, “so neither of us dreads your next lesson.”

I find this particularly poignant as I reflect on challenges with students, and my own lessons where I felt things really fell apart (or felt attacked) -- I now have the distance, maturity, and perspective to realize that when I was defensive in a lesson, or it went poorly, it was almost always due to:

  1. my own defensiveness (My Playing = ME as a person) - and any feedback was interpreted as a personal attack, criticism, etc. rather than, “hey, this needs work”
  2. I just wasn’t prepared. (No matter how much I might have convinced myself at the time that I was.)

It’s been an interesting week, as we enter into the Thanksgiving holiday, students (and we teachers) are entering a truly frantic time of year. Students are realizing that finals are coming up, deadlines are approaching, final projects become due--blood pressure rises and patience runs thin.

As a teacher, and performer, this is the busy time of year for us all- student and studio deadlines occur simultaneously with one of the busiest upcoming seasons with Nut-cracking, holiday parties, casuals, and touring acts doing holiday shows. I realized last week, as I forgot to pack my slide, that I might be a bit overwhelmed myself.


As I think now upon all the things I am thankful for-- my family, my talent, my friends, and those I am fortunate to work with--I want to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity to speak with you here. Thank you, for reading this, and for the influence and impact you have had on my life.

For those of you that are currently struggling, feel overloaded, and are feeling a bit lost- I have a quick bit of advice that I hope will help:

  1. DO NOT COMPROMISE YOUR STANDARDS. Set incredibly high goals. Work your butt off- practice hard, get in the time you need, and don’t ignore what you dislike in your playing--work on it!
  2. Be a little gentle with yourself. If you truly are giving your best, or even if you have MOMENTARILY slipped up, realize, that was then-- let’s move forward. Have rigid long term standards for yourself, but be FORGIVING and KIND in the short term. Something might sound awful today (since you’re trying something new) but, it might make EVERYTHING easier in the long run.

Realize, you are playing a LONG game, (lifelong), and that as you get better, you will raise your new standards, and you’ll keep working on this your entire life.

I suck.

You suck.

________ sucks.

Your job is not to be as good as __________, just be better than you were yesterday. Even if it doesn’t sound better today, what have you learned? What did you try that was new? What have you discovered about your playing that may help in the future, or will help someone else?

See you at the top.

Dr. J

Deep Thoughts at 3AM (My Educational Philosophy)

As I am up FAR too late tonight- I had the opportunity (read here: obligation) to write down my current "Educational Philosophy".

A couple of things come to mind: First: This is what I believe now. Today. Check in month, decade, eon, and things surely will have evolved. Second: Rather than write a narrative about the typical "How I teach" I decided to use the opportunity to be starkly FRANK. Honestly, I'm a little bit afraid and nervous how this might be read or interpreted by the recipient, but have decided rather than "play it safe" do what I've been urging my students to do, and take a risk. This has been percolating for the past few years and finally has emerged as a "moderately coherent" document- We'll have to see what it looks like tomorrow morning though. :)

'nuff said: Here's What *I* believe, as an educator. Friday, April 22, 2011

Statement of Teaching Philosophy Dr. Jonathan Brummel

In the summer of 1997 I was forever ruined as someone who merely “teaches” as a backup plan, and was doomed to lead a life of continued development. I think I have to blame my father and the Boy Scouts of America for raising me with a strong work ethic and moral compass, but it was my summer employment at the Cazadero Music Camp that truly ruined any possibility of becoming a teacher who simply ‘settled.’

I had recently completed my first taste of being a professional musician, having performed daily for thousands of park guests at Disneyland. The following summer I was destined to be a music instructor in a thousand year old forest with a tradition for educational excellence dating back to the 1970s. Founded by Mr. Robert Lutt, the Cazadero Music Camp has a history of attracting conductors and staff that are highly accomplished musicians, but are more significantly some of the most impassioned and talented educators in the field. Working with people for whom music education was not merely a job, but a lifestyle and joy, I fully engrossed myself in the selfless art of music education. The skills I learned that summer were many, but the approach which I adopted was one of full engagement with the people I was working with, and doing whatever it took to help them either accomplish their goal or take their abilities to the next level- and enjoy themselves in the process.

Education is an interesting thing--as I have grown through the years, I have morphed from a fledgling educator who was desperate to prove how much I knew in order to mask my underlying ignorance, to now fully embracing not only how ignorant I am, but also have learned to acknowledge and enjoy my mistakes. With each day, I become more competent, more accomplished, and make daily distinctions that take me further down the path of mastery. I have made it my mission to not be perfect, right, or amazing-- but simply to be better, every day, than the one before. This has led me to a greater level of skill and knowledge in my subject area.

In my youth, I found it necessary to always have the “right answer” and often taught my students in the same fashion my mentors taught me- simple rote instruction. The advice given was often good, always meant well, but I now take a very different approach with my students (often to their initial surprise, and occasional discomfort) -- I teach them how to teach themselves. The mechanics of playing a brass instrument are quite simple indeed, however the conditioning of the various skills, musculature, and psychological aspects of playing (and reproducing them on a consistent basis) are extremely complex. The biggest distinction I had to learn as an educator was that it is my duty to make the student responsible for their own development. If I can help the student become not only accountable and engaged in their own development each time they pick up the horn, then not only will their development accelerate rapidly, but they become responsible for all of their own accomplishments. When I coach my students now, rather than simply give them a list of things “to do this time,” we spend time exploring why it did or didn’t work, and how we can apply that to either get greater positive results, or use it as a data point of what “doesn’t work.”

By putting the focus on continued development and refinement as opposed to our internal judgements of “right or wrong” I have seen improvement that far outpaces both my, and my students progress. In our exploration together, I will use any tool or tactic necessary to keep the student in a positive state of mind and keep them mentally present and engaged. Levity is often used, but the mood can also be extremely focused and intense-- it is all dependent on what the particular student needs in order to progress.

I work with students ranging from third grade through professional musicians, and my mission is constant- how can I help this person grow, through the vehicle of music? Some of my students have gone on to significant success in a musical career, but all have not only gained a deeper understanding of music and ability ability to perform it. The greater benefit is a gain in self-confidence, focus, determination, planning, and problem solving - skills which are beneficial in all aspects of life. The curse, and gift, of my summer at the Cazadero Music Camp, was that I am driven to give my students the best of my abilities and current understanding of the topic they are studying or struggling with (because in five years I will certainly have a refined opinion from that of today), and that I am compelled to enhance my own skills so I can offer them more.

MWM 5 - Live Panel at Summer Music 2010

On Tuesday, July 6th, three outstanding trombonists came and played for the students at Summer Music to promote their upcoming recital at the Lafayette Public Library, July 18th, 7PM. Mr. Timothy Higgins (newly appointed principal trombonist of the San Francisco Symphony), Mr. Paul Welcomer (second trombonist of the San Francisco Symphony), and Mr. David Ridge (principal bass trombonist of the San Francisco Opera) played music that is being prepared for the upcoming recital, conducted an open rehearsal, and participated on a panel discussing music and performing arts along with the Summer Music faculty.

The live panel at Summer Music ( featured musicians from the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera), and San Francisco Bay Area Educators and freelance Musicians.

Panel Memebers include: Dr. Jon Brummel, Mr. Timothy Higgins, Mr. Paul Welcomer , Mr. David Ridge, Mr. Troy Davis, Mrs. Danna Mitchell, Mrs. Alicia Telford, and Mr. David Martell.

Questions came from middle school students attending the workshop, while the discussion was facilitated by Dr. Jon Brummel.

Direct Download Link
Subscribe in iTunes!

Don't forget to check out:
Tim Higgins Trombone Recital, July 17, 2010 3:00PM in Atherton, CA
The Trombone Triplets (Higgins, Welcomer, Ridge) at the Lafayette Library, July 18th, 7PM, Lafayette, CA

Girls can't do that?


In an ongoing effort to fight the mythos of "uh, chicks can't do that dude" there are two videos below that Mr. Alex Iles shared with the trombone list recently.

In his post he referenced an interesting note, Amanda Stewart was recently appointed Associate Principal trombone with the New York Philharmonic. This is a post which was WoManned for many years by her predecessor Ms. Lisa Albrecht.

So, take a listen, and ask yourself--REALLY?

Our job as artists, and humans is to go out there and hone our craft- kill the biggest beast, become the greatest player/teacher/human/traffic cop you can, and DO IT, not sit around saying "uh. . . cause" and it was "the man".

I spent an interesting ten minutes in a hot tub just last week in a downtown "urban" YMCA listening to stories of "how the man" and "reparations" and how a million other things than THEY were responsible for the predicaments and circumstances they found themselves in.

Trust me friend, I'm not immune. As I sit here covered in baby "urp" exhausted from a late gig last night at a casino, the last thing I want to do is fire up and have at it, but instead of whining and copping out, I'm going to go kiss my baby, brew a fresh cup of Joe, and get to work. Very few gigs, jobs, and life experiences were won, kept, or enjoyed while in bed.

Dr. J

Trombonanza Youth Ensemble Tunes

I’ve taken the liberty of preparing the files in SmartMusic so you can practice the parts ahead of time. By using them in SmartMusic you can practice the parts and have instantaneous feedback regarding your rhythm, pitch accuracy, and can practice your part in the context of an “ensemble”. I HIGHLY urge you to download and prepare with these files.

You will need to download, install, and activate SmartMusic for these files to work, then simply download these files and open them up in SmartMusic. I’ll be posting them over the course of the afternoon. Please use these for personal use only, and do not redistribute them. for commercial use.

The files are available for download HERE.

There will be one read-through/rehearsal, Thursday afternoon December 16th, at 3:30PM. Location: TBA (Expected to be Stanley Middle School).  PLEASE, do your best to be there!

See you Friday! 1-3PM, Papillon Coffee, Lafayette, CA

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Where the heck are the videos you promised?

Where the heck are the videos you promised? Hi there!

Sigh- technology is fun and challenging. I'm running out now to play with the Four Tops, and am having some difficulties with the website. All will b fixed by Monday.

Please visit DrJ YouTube Channel to see the videos until I get them, and the sample video up this weekend.

Thanks very much for your patience!

See you at the top!


Creativity: Inspiration & Perspiration

In a never-ending quest to "suck less" I find myself at times drifting, dealing with projects that "aren't critical or important" but nonetheless have merit--but don't seek to fulfill my purpose, or bring me closer to my destiny.

Without getting mushy & metaphysical, I think we all face an internal battle--doing that which is truly important to US and is doing good--either in the world, or in our own physical, character, emotional, intellectual, or skill set "muscles".

I recently underwent a surgery for a torn meniscus of the left knee and was reminded by a physical therapist of a tenet that I hold most keenly in my trombone playing, a "muscle has only two states- growth and atrophy." Simply, a muscle is either getting stronger, or getting weaker.

I believe that as players, teachers, and humans we struggle with a similar challenge- either being on track, or getting distracted.

I had a young student contact me regarding the outcome of a recent audition. He stated firmly that he was ready to "knuckle down" and "do whatever it takes." With that in mind, I think it important to reflect on the two primary elements to achievement - Inspiration & Perspiration.

You must have the inspiration to get better, achieve, suck less, , or you won't have the desire, or the energy, to get your butt out of bed and get to work! Sure, we have the short term pain of deadlines, job, gigs, school concerts, etc., but the LONG game goal- where do YOU want to be, and WHO do you want to become--that's the real game, which requires a bigger vision and plan.

Second: PERSPIRATION. Simply put- get off your butt and get to work! Have a plan, get a coach, and go gangbusters toward your goal with everything you've got- and then go a little more. Check in, mark your progress, plan your practice sessions (or life/project/work/etc.)


With that in mind I wanted to share two quick things that have spurred on my thinking, then it's back to work:

Gang, Constraints & Blocks: Merlin Mann, a great thinker in the organizational field (and very funny) recently re-fired his defunct podcast with a great 10 minute audio post on blocking time.

Get Inspired: I worked with my friend and colleague Barry Green, author of The Inner Game of Music recently doing some PowerPoint presentations for his recent book The Mastery of Music. In in there's a great anecdote by Dave Brubeck and his inspiration for some of the rhythmic complexity found in his later compositions- astride a tractor in the Central San Juaquin Valley. I found this video and couldn't help but smile.

Bottom line: GET INSPIRED, then GET YOUR BUTT IN GEAR! What am I doing to do this for myself? Well friend, I wrote this article (to publicly put me on the line) and am enjoying a great cup of coffee, listening to my favorite trombonist play the Michael Haydn alto trombone concerto (which I've committed myself to do in a month ) - now that I'm fired up and REALLY WANT to practice- it's on.

I'm headed to the woodshed to practice- what are you going to do TODAY to make yourself more happy and FULFILLED as a human, player, parent, teacher, etc? (regardless of career) - I'd appreciate your thoughts in the comments field below, then GO AND GET YOUR BUTT MOVING!

Best, DrJ "I suck, You suck. I practice today so that I will suck less tomorrow."


YouTube Symphony Orchestra Submission

YouTube is sponsoring a very interesting project- a "collaborative" orchestra comprised of great players from around the world.

The submission process includes a new composition the Eroica by composer Tan Dun of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame.

The YouTube Symphony Orchestra submission includes two videos, thefirst being your particular part in the orchestra, the second an "expressive" video that "shows off your creativity and talents" (read here, standard orchestral excerpts--at least for trombone).

I finally got the Bonehead Bunker constructed and hastily put together a submission (on the last day). Amongst the things I will share later, I will definitely practice more (and build less) the weekend leading up to it, look at the part more, and warm up better the day of the recording (sigh). :) Little life lessons eh?

Beginning February 14th, users will vote on their "favorite" videos. (SHAMELESS PLUG: VOTE FOR ME). If you think my submission is of significant merit, I'd appreciate your support. Please leave any feedback on the playing in the comments below!

Thanks very much!


Audition Help: Audio for John Fedchock: A Drop in the Bucket

Get READY! - Auditions for the Generations in Jazz Honor Jazz Band are this Saturday! - Here's a last quick gift to help you get ready for the audition.

I've recorded the major sections of John Fedchock's A Drop In The Bucket to help you with your audition preparation.

Last minute tips: USE LOTS of air, drink plenty of water, hear TWO bars of tempo in your head BEFORE you start, and go for it! TIME, SOUND, and STYLE are the most important thing. If you have a glitch- it's ok, it means you are HUMAN.

If you make a mistake, go back and try again. NO! The best thing you can do is JUST KEEP GOING if you have trouble, DO NOT GO BACK-- keep strict time! :)

Good luck! Breathe Deep! Go have FUN & drop me a note (or COMMENT BELOW) and let me know how it went!

m.1 Drop in the Bucket
m.21 Drop in the Bucket
m.61 Drop in the Bucket
m.69 Drop in the Bucket

Alternate Positions: Generations in Jazz Audition

The use of alternate positions is one of the most critical skills a trombonist must develop to have outstanding technique on the instrument. While other instruments depend on valves, we must have great facility with the slide, but also use alternate positions in order to both speed up our playing, and to allow for cleaner and smoother transitions between notes.

For many years I avoided the use of alternate positions with excuses like “it feels weird” “it’s out of tune” “that’s just plain bad,” but in truth, they were just excuses. If you dive in--yes, it WILL be awkward, out of tune, and feel “oogey” in the beginning, but if you just go for it with full expectation it will work, plenty of air flow, you will breakthrough quickly and experience a greater ease in your playing in addition to a quicker slide.

For the upcoming Generations in Jazz audition I have examined the parts, played and recorded them both (download the recordings at to practice with) and recommend the following: