Thursday 13 January 2011

Jan 20 Executive meeting

The next City Band executive meeting is next Thursday Jan. 20th, 2011
Start Time : 7:30pm
Place: 735 2nd Street A East 
All band members are welcome to attend.  The meeting agenda can be downloaded at the Cityband Downloads.

10 Notes on Music

These ten notes on musicianship and practice are from a welcome chat given to first-year brass students at the University of Georgia:

  1. Take your classes seriously. Theory, Ear-training and Music History provide you with the tools to understand the language of music and your mastery of these subjects WILL help you play your instrument better. If you have had a math course beyond algebra, music theory should present no problems, as it is structured in a very systematic way. Ear-training will help you learn what you need to hear, whether you are playing your instrument or standing in front of a band. Music History will equip you with the tools to approach your interpretations from informed perspective and will give you the insight needed to play with style.
  2. Listen to as much music as you can! Naxos online music library is a  great resource. A hard, but not impossible, goal is to spend the same amount of hours listening that you spend practicing. Listening to music and familiarizing yourself with a broad spectrum of music is where your REAL musical education will take place.
  3. Learn and know your scales and arpeggios, as they are the building blocks of western music. Realizing that virtually everything that you play is constructed with scales and arpeggios will make mastering your instrument exponentially easier.
  4. Schedule your practice time as though it were a class and make yourself a tough attendance policy. Success in music, like anything else in life, is dependent upon disciplined and persistent effort. Hard work will trump talent any day of the week. The world is filled with incredibly talented people who never reached their potential because they were lazy. It is the observation of the brass faculty that the overall work ethic of the students in the school of music is quite lax compared to other places that we have been. Each of you has the power to reverse this condition that affects the culture of music. It is really cool to not suck… daily practice will help you to appreciate your potential and your ability to improve.   
  5. Go to concerts! There is no substitution for listening to live music—every performance you hear provides you with the opportunity to learn something about your own performances. Whether you will teach or perform, you will spend the rest of your life evaluating performances and diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of what you hear. You will develop this skill much more quickly if you are going to concerts.
  6. Embrace what technology has to offer us in developing as musicians. Rhythm and Pitch are the two empirical truths in music— either they are right or they are wrong. Don’t look as your metronome and tuner as though they are nagging you that you are not good enough—learn to make chamber music with your Dr. Beat and to look at your tuner as the teller of truth. If you really want to use technology to improve your performance skills, purchase a digital recorder such as a Zoom 2 (or use Quicktime on your computer) to record your practice. This will help you to become your own teacher. The greatest period of growth that I have ever had as a developing musician happened when I was recording and evaluating my practice on a daily basis.
  7. Be curious! Strive to know the repertoire for your instrument. Practice something everyday that is NOT part of your lesson assignment for the week. Read ahead in an etude book or check out some music from the library. This will help your sight-reading skills immeasurably. Strive to be a comprehensive musician, not just a jock on your horn! 
  8. Play with your peers! Form a chamber music group or play duets with a peer as much as you can. Chamber music empowers each of us to make musical decisions without the input of a director, which is a critical skill. Playing chamber music will also help grow your ears in a dramatic way.
  9. Be serious about your pursuit of excellence. Set the bar high and work hard to be the best that you can be ... You owe it to yourself to be the best musician that you can be. You will only be a great band director if you are first a great musician.
  10. Know that every great musician in the world still considers himself or herself a student of music. Wynton Marsalis is a music student. Joe Alessi is a music student, as is Gail Williams, Steven Mead and Oystein Baadsvik . Make lifelong improvement and lifelong learning your goal. I am not as good as I think I am and neither are you. The older I get, the more I realize that I have only begun to scratch the surface of what there is to know. Use this blessing of an opportunity to your advantage. Your hard work will pay off in the end!

These pointers were posted by David Zerkel in the comments to Gerald Klickstein's excellent article "The growth mindset" on the topic of growth vs fixed learning strategies, where you can also find a short video interview with psychologist Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and a clip from the documentary "Before The Music Dies" with Branford Marsalis extolling our need for realistic musical practice.

And of course, in the spirit of Music Tip #8, a very good way to express your musical voice is through your local Community Orchestras!  Did I mention that our City Band rehearsals have started up again for 2011, Monday nights at OSCVI, the next one on Jan 24th? See you there! :)

Sunday 2 January 2011

2011 Rehearsals begin Monday!

Yes, its 2011, a brand new year and our Owen Sound City Band rehearsal schedule gets underway January 3rd at 7:30pm in room 121 at the OSCVI; if you'd added "become a community musician" to your New Year's resolutions (because its good for you, good exercise for your mind, body and your soul, and its good for your community!) then Monday January 3rd will be an excellent opportunity to drop by the music room with your instrument and see what life is like inside the one and only official community concert band for the City of Owen Sound (since 1925!)  

The City Band welcomes new members any time, but on Monday we'll be collecting up the old Christmas concert folders and handing out our first new charts for our 2011 spring concert season (and Kiwanis!) so the music will be just as new to the old-hands as it will be to the tenderfoots!  Membership in the City Band is free (OSCVI has plenty of free parking) and open to musicians of all ages, we even have a few loaner instruments if you'd like to try something new and/or exotic. Details, a map and directions to OSCVI and our rehearsal/concert schedule are posted on our website and you can contact us at info at if you have any questions.

A note to band members: please bring your green Christmas folder, the little carols book and the black parade folder so these can be collected; new folders for the 2011 season are already waiting for us at the music room.  Players should aim to arrive by 7:15pm so as to be assembled, tuned up and ready to play by 7:30.

Hear you there!