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!

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.

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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

Principles of the Bonehead

Although I am tragically flawed, I think that Bushido, or the "principles of the Samurai" are perhaps one of the most inspiring things I have found, and try my best to live up to.

What would the impact be on your life, music, and and on the planet, were we all to try and adopt these principles?

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

Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra- St. Louis Blues

Gotta love the YouTube! - I wish I'd had the opportunity to see this two decades ago!

Great solo in the middle by Bob Brookmeyer. The intricate harmonies of the That & Mel band are something to behold. Playing them in the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra was a real education for me- the concepts of tonal blend amidst the section are paramount in order to make such dissonant music sound "right".

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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YouTube Symphony Orchestra: Initial Thoughts

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Upload, Upload, Upload


Ok, I admit it, I WAS SKEPTICAL. C'mon, Google + YouTube and a "global" symphony picked by pros and regular Joe's?

It turned out to be one of the best groups I've played with, and I learned much more than I could have possibly hoped for during the course of three days.

I'm running now to teach & deal with a dead car, but will post updates and information over this coming weekend.

3 things: 1) The musical depth and talent of the participants was OUTstanding. Really impressive. 2) The quality of the program was truly impressive. I will never play Wagner the same again (Thank you Ian Bousfield!) 3) Be skeptical, but never be close minded. :)

Listen to the first half of the concert or the Second half of the concert and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Until we talk again- work hard, play hard, and be a good human!

See you soon!

Dr. J

P.S. Thank you so VERY much for your support- without your help, I would not have had this amazing experience!

Streaming Trombone Concert featuring Jacques Mauger- Paris Conservatory Professor of Trombone

Streaming Audio: WEDNESDAY, February 18th, 6PM Pacific Time

Press Release Below:
Distinguished Trombonist to Perform in Free Concert at Catlett Music Center

"This will be a very special concert," says Irv Wagner, professor of trombone with the OU School of Music. "We have Jacques Mauger as a guest soloist with the Trombone Choir."

The University of Oklahoma School of Music presents the Trombone Choir with featured guest soloist Jacques Mauger, professor of trombone at the Paris Conservatory of Music in France. The concert will begin at 8 p.m., on Wednesday, Feb 18, in Sharp Concert Hall. The program will consist of Triumphal Symphony by Hector Berlioz, Deux Danse by Jean Dufay and other works. Wagner says one of the thrills of his career was as a guest soloist with the Paris Conservatory Trombone Choir in 2007 under the direction of Jacques Mauger. They played many of his compositions as well as accompanied him on the solos. Wagner invited Mauger to come to Oklahoma and perform with the OU School of Music Trombone Choir. Mauger agreed if Wagner would set him up with the top five Trombone Schools in the country including the University of Oklahoma.

While in the United States, Mauger will perform with the OU School of Music, University of Texas in Austin, University of North Texas, Julliard School of Music and the Eastman School of Music. "It is very nice to be included in the company of the top five Trombone Departments in America," says Wagner.

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