Know thyself, push thyself, love thyself.
Before I tell you about 2015, I would first like to say that 2014 was a good -- yet very difficult -- year for me. While I was very active in playing, teaching, and making more professional connections, it was a very hard year for my family.
While I generally welcome problem-solving, 2014 had enough problems to make me very tired, very fast. I would like to take the wisdom and strength I gained into 2015, where I feel I have a renewed spirit and generally positive outlook.
I recently set some goals that will not only make me a better horn player & teacher, but a healthier all-around person:
Open Registration for 2013 Fall Music Courses!
Always wanted to learn to read music, but never had the chance? I've got just the course for you! Over the span of six weeks, students will learn to read traditional sheet music notation using a systematic approach. Whether you intend to compose, learn an instrument, sing in a choir, read the score of your favorite recording, or help a loved one with their practice sessions, this course will help you materialize your dreams! This course will meet at J.S. Cable Music Studio in participation with the Creative Care & Wellness Center located at 634 E. Burleigh Street in Riverwest, Milwaukee, WI. We will meet Tuesdays, October 1st through Novermber 5th, 2013 from 6:00 to 7:00 PM. Tuition is $50.00 per participant. Students may register by calling 414-455-LIFE or by e-mail at email@example.com.
This new wind ensemble seeks to unite players of brass and woodwind instruments at all ability levels, give members a creative outlet in music, form new friendships through teamwork, and perform outreach concerts in the Riverwest neighborhood. Members will select, rehearse, and perform music based on available instrumentation, and should bring a folding music stand to each rehearsal. Players age 12+ with one year minimum of experience are welcome to apply. The RiverWind Ensemble will meet at J.S. Cable Music Studio in participation with the Creative Care & Wellness Center located at 634 E. Burleigh Street in Riverwest, Milwaukee, WI. I will be conducting the ensemble, and I can't wait to see what instrumentation we get! We will meet Tuesdays, October 1st through November 12th from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. Tuition is $75.00 per participant. Members may register by calling 414-455-LIFE or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer Music Olympics has been ongoing for almost a month at J.S. Cable Music Studio. The kids are having a blast, and here's a look at forming the course and activities for Week 1 of 4.
Here's what I've learned about forming the course:
Week 1 of 4 Activities:
This concluded week 1 of 4. The first week was lighter on physical activity, but that was more than made up for in later weeks. Stay tuned for more!
I would like to make a special announcement about three summer music courses I will be teaching at J.S. Cable Music Studio in participation with the Creative Care & Wellness Center located at 634 E. Burleigh Street in Riverwest, Milwaukee, WI. Below each course description is the official flyer that is in circulation. Colors have been matched to the artwork on the exterior of the building. I am really excited about teaching each course!
Brass Boot Camp: This course is designed to get brass players in shape for the upcoming performance season. This class is intended for intermediate level students and amateurs, music educators whose primary instrument is NOT a brass instrument, or anyone desiring a refresher course on the fundamentals of brass instrument playing. The course will be taught on Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Registration is $40.00 per person. Enroll by calling (414) 455-LIFE or via e-mail to email@example.com. Suggested minimum age is 10 years old and one year of playing experience.
Summer Music Olympics: This four-hour course incorporates music with physical and mental exercises to provide a fun way to learn music theory, history, and fundamentals. Some music knowledge is helpful, but not completely necessary. Activities may be adapted for children with special needs. The course will be taught on Mondays on July 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th from 2:30 to 3:30 PM. Registration is $20.00 per person. Enroll by calling (414) 455-LIFE or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The course is open to children ages 7 - 12 at all ability levels.
Auditioning for Dummies: This course is designed to enhance performance in audition and concert settings through feedback from a judge in a mock audition, teamwork, and practicing techniques guaranteed to help you step up your game. Anyone preparing for an audition or performance must consider this course! The course will be taught on Monday, July 22nd and 29th from 4:00-6:00 PM. Registration is $40.00 per person. Enroll by calling (414) 455-LIFE or via e-mail to email@example.com. The course is open to all ages and ability levels.
Do you ever get distracted during your practice sessions? Do you find it hard to focus on the task at hand? I work at night, and that means most of my practicing has to take place during the day. My brain is constantly processing random to-dos. I find that I can start a long tone, and halfway through the tone, my mind wanders to my grocery list. This frustration led me to incorporate a simple kitchen timer into my practice sessions.
For example, if I am buzzing on the mouthpiece, I will set the timer for as little as five minutes at a time. While the timer is ticking, my priority has to be the task at hand. If I find that I am getting distracted, I simply acknowledge the distraction, file it away for later, and remind myself that I am currently in the process of doing something else.
Sharp focus is like a muscle - it takes some exercise to build up. After working with this method for awhile, you may find that you can bump up the length of the timer. While this timer trick works for any task, I have found it invaluable for making the most out of my practice sessions.
What tricks do you use to help yourself focus?
We're all sick of the nine-letter "S" word dominating the media about federal budget cuts, so I'll spare writing that word here, but I do believe it is important to cultivate awareness in students about the state of the US and global economies since they will have to support themselves and possibly others.
When I majored in music, I did not think about money or the likeliness of getting a job in music. I never thought about ANY of that until graduate school when my teacher described the life of a freelancer. While a seemingly glamorous life, one should not think that it is easy work, or that it is an easy market to tap into. Many of the freelancers in large cities have been working in their area for several years, if not decades. Those that love it and stick with it have no doubt paid their dues and worked very hard to forge their own path, a path that I hope to walk in my own music career.
Music as a profession will almost never have as much demand or compensation as fields like surgery, architecture, etc. People need skilled surgeons to survive and buildings need to be designed in a way that they will stand strong. There are times when the arts are needed, but if you look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, they are not a basic need, but at the top in the realm of self-actualization.
At this time, I make the majority of my living working a non-music job. I work in music outside of this job, but I hope that someday I might be able to sustain my family solely with music. However, whatever may happen, I will always perform music as it makes up a part of who I am.
I was raised in a large family as the oldest of five children. My parents did a good job of raising us to believe that nobody just hands you things in life--this includes work! For the next several weeks, I will be focusing on how I can forge my own path in music, as well as join the paths of others.
Why then, should one strive to be a professional musician? This generates some good questions:
Have you asked yourself these same questions?
I am a horn player in Milwaukee, WI. This is where I share relevant thoughts on life, music, and the horn.