Had a great time this past week working with students at Metropolitan State University of Denver and performing a recital with Hyun Kim on piano and Patricia Surman on flute!
This past week I traveled to Oklahoma and Texas with my friend Ann Bradfield for a few performances and masterclasses. We made stops at the University of North Texas (Denton), Northeastern State University Woodwind Day (Tahlequah, OK), Stephenville High School and Tarleton State University (Stephenville, TX) before heading down to San Antonio to present at the Texas Music Educator's Association Convention. It was a great time, and thanks to everyone that came out to see us!
Two weeks ago, AVIDduo met up in Dallas, TX to prepare for our Educational Tour sponsored by Music-1st. We gave performances and presentations on contemporary music to students at fourteen different schools in the area followed by a recital at Rock & Bach Performing Arts School in Frisco.
Last weekend, I visited Tennessee Tech University and University of Tennessee - Knoxville with the lovely EunHye Grace Choi. It was a joy to be in Tennessee, to perform, and to teach the talented students there. Many thanks to Phil Barham and Allison Adams for having us out!
I traveled to San Antonio, TX recently to attend the 2014 Texas Music Educators' Association Convention. It was a fantastic time spent catching up with friends and enjoying Mexican food on the Riverwalk in gorgeous 70 degree weather. I had an absolute blast and am so thankful to the many people that attended my session Start your beginner saxophones... the RIGHT way! If you were not able to make it or you did not get a handout please email me and I will be happy to pass one along to you!
Last week, Brittany Primavera and I (AVIDduo) traveled to Seoul, South Korea to teach and perform at the Jae Young Summer Camp in Yeongdeungpo, Seoul. It was a pleasure for us to be reunited with our old friend Jinhee Yeo, who organized the camp and brought us there to teach with her. The three of us were the primary teachers for this week-long camp of sixty kids age 4-11 working on speaking English, learning about American customs and culture, and music! Each day centered around a theme and had a variety of activities associated with the theme. Monday was Hello and Experience Day; Tuesday was Color and Movie Day; Wednesday was All About the U.S.; Thursday was Music Festival; and Friday was Outdoor Sports Day. In addition, each day, we worked to teach the kids how to sing a variety of songs in English, as well as common proverbs/quotes to practice speaking. Brittany, Jinhee, and I had a blast teaching and making music with the children, as well as performing for them! At the end of the camp, we had a nice graduation ceremony where the students sang their songs for their parents, were awarded certificates of completion, and then Brittany, Jinhee and I performed for them as well. We are already looking forward to next year!
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of teaching at the E. Rousseau Saxophone Workshop at the Shell Lake Arts Camp. It was a fantastic week of making music with wonderful students and faculty. Over the course of the week, all thirty six students received a lesson with the six faculty members as well as participated in chamber ensembles and a large saxophone choir. There were also a variety of masterclasses and general sessions on various saxophone topics such as extended techniques and practice techniques. Every student got an opportunity to perform their works on the student recitals at the end of the week, and the faculty performed at the beginning of the week. Monday night was a special concert honoring the late Thomas Liley, a terrific colleague and teacher who was involved with the SLAC summer workshop for many years. Below is a picture of David Branter, Julia Nolan, Preston Duncan and myself playing a saxophone quartet on that concert. It was a terrific week working with some exceptional musicians, and I am already looking forward to next year!
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
I was reminded of this quote today and thought it was worth sharing. This so beautifully sums up what I try to tell my students, and how I feel about music personally. And all art, really. It is not about the result, it is about the process! The product does not matter, but if we do not love the act of making art, then the product will not be very good either. But when we take joy in the process and refine the craft, the result is not only better, but more satisfying.
In the last few weeks, I have had almost the same conversation with every one of my students regarding what music they are currently listening to. Almost all of them were caught off guard by the question and would usually reply with something along the lines of "A few people." or "You've probably never of them." I even had a student tell me his favorite band was Nickelback.... I shudder at the thought of the rest of his playlist.
A few months ago, I would have struggled to answer the same question. After my hard drive crashed last year, losing over 50GB of music, I had a very limited selection when it came to my personal listening. Then when the CD player in my car and the optical drive on my computer both stopped functioning about the same time, I was left stranded in silence. While I do buy songs from iTunes, a 50GB library is just not going to happen on my budget, especially when I obviously need a new round of technology upgrades. For the longest time I would only listen to the radio in my car, but while Top 40 songs and Classic Rock are enjoyable and at times even desirable, they are lacking in musical depth. For myself, I found that listening to only Top 40 radio music was not as fulfilling and did not move me in the way truly great music has the power to do. So with my limited amount of personal music, I turned to YouTube.
Although I have always listened to music on YouTube, I never took full advantage of this excellent resource. With more and more people uploading their own performances including many recordings that are otherwise unavailable, it should be taken as a very serious resource for listening. What worries me about my students is that they are growing and learning in a world with unlimited music access and not taking advantage of their place in history because they do not know what to type in the search bar.
I think as a performing musician, or just a creative person in general, it important to continually be exposed to different expressions of art. I will post some more videos in the future of music (and other things) I have found particularly interesting as of late, but here is a sample:
Hopefully you will hear something for the first time, and whether you like it or not, I invite you to let me know what you think and to share whatever you are listening to!
Saxophonist, Artist, Listener, Thinker, Teacher, Performer, Curator, Veggie, Reader, Lover of Contemporary Music