The Gift of Music

music069I have always loved good music, it doesn’t matter if it is rock, metal, jazz or classical. The word “good” is a subjective term though. My definition of good music is definitely different than most people. When I listen to music I listen for something that will catch me and pull me in. Lyrics, music, keys, rhythms, chords… whatever it might be. Something that catches my attention and will “Pull me Under” into a whole new consciousness. Continue reading

Tales from Band Camp IV

The McAllen Symphonic Band’s reading session has come to an end. I really didn’t do much better at the reading on May 6th, but I survived yet again. There was definitely less people there this time We only had 4 trombones, there was 1 french horn, 1 tuba, several euphoniums. I was the only 2nd trombone player, I guess I scared the new guy from last week off.

I did get called out once by the director, I had gotten lost and it just so happened it was at a point where the trombones had an important part (yes, that occasionally does happen). I had stopped playing to try to figure out where they were at and when he stopped he asked if there was a 2nd trombone part. Arghhh! Well, I definitely wasn’t the only one to make a mistake over the last 3 rehearsals, so I don’t feel too bad about it. But, the lesson has been learned and I am going to try to figure out a way to work on my sight reading.

We don’t have any more rehearsals for the rest of the month. They will start back up on June 3rd with practices for the 4th of July concert. I would like to keep practicing, but I need to send off the bell section of the new trombone back to Getzen. It has a defect on the lacquering and the lacquer started flaking off, so I am sending it back to get stripped and re-lacquered. I will be sending it off tomorrow and will hopefully have it back for the rehearsal on the 3rd. Steve at The Horn Guys has been a big help communicating with Getzen to get this resolved. If it does not get back to me in time for the rehearsals, I will just use the King trombone until the Getzen gets back.

 

Tales from Band Camp II

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am now a member of the McAllen Symphonic Band. Laura’s Dad (Art) has been playing with them for a number of years. Laura and I occasionally would attend the concerts, but since my renewed interest in playing trombone, we’ve attended every concert they have had. After I got my new trombone, I have been thinking it would be nice to join the band and start playing in that type of environment again. Well, with the help of Art, that has all come to past.

On April 15th I had my first practice with the band. The rehearsals they are currently having are what they call “readings”. Where they read through pieces of music, one after the other just to find material for the next season of concerts (2013-2014). So in other words, they are doing what I hated to do while in the EHS band – sight read! So, needless to say I was very nervous. In fact, I was nervous pretty much all that day leading up to the practice.

I got there about 30 minutes early to try to help get things setup (chairs and music stands) but all of that was pretty much done, so I had a chance to talk with Art and he introduced me to several people, including two of the other trombone players in the band. They figured I would be playing the 2nd trombone part so I setup my stuff next to them (they were playing 3rd trombone and bass) and started to do a bit of mouthpiece buzzing to get warmed up. Just before the rehearsal started the 1st trombone players sat down and then I started to even get more nervous. Vern, then 3rd trombone sitting next to me helped me relax a bit when he said he was 80 years old, he chops were not as good as they used to be, his hearing was not as good as it used to be and his vision was not as good as it used to be. Still, I think he played me under the table!.

The “reading” was a fast paced run through of a lot of songs. Pretty much a blur for me now. I would say it was probably 8-12 songs, ranging from easy to fairly complicated (for me anyways). As we started I was very impressed with not only the 1st trombone players sight reading and playing abilities, but both Vern and John’s (bass trombone) both were doing great as well. The 1st trombone players were playing all the parts and doing it really good, whereas I think I was only able to played about 40% of the notes that night. I started out really bad, but it got a bit easier as the night went on.

Once it was all over, I was glad I still had some chops left and wasn’t completely blown out. I packed up my stuff and went headed home on a bit of a high. It was great to be playing in a trombone section again, in a full band. Yes, I was nervous, but at the same time it was a lot of fun and it felt great being back in that environment. When I got home I told Laura that I wished they practiced every night (not only because I ended up having fun, but because I really need the practice!).

 

Tales from Band Camp I

Time for an update on my venture back into the world of music! It’s been almost 8 months (!!?) since my last post, so several things have changed. I’ve been back playing the trombone now for over a year and things are starting to come together. I am probably not where I wish I was at, but I cannot complain about the progress I have made so far.

My range has improved over the last year. I cannot remember what my range was a year ago, but back then I would normally struggle getting high Gb and above, and my pedal tones were non-existent. Currently using my “symphonic” mouthpiece (a Denis Wick 5BS) I can get up to double high D and down to Ab pedal tone. Using my “edgy” mouthpiece (Denis Wick 7CS or Bach 12C) I can get several notes higher, but I my lower range suffers. My F-Attachment range is still rather stuffy, but I just recently got my Bb/F trombone, so that will hopefully clean up soon with more practice.

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Speaking of F-Attachments, yes I did get my new horn. I spent several months (if not many months) researching trombones. Although I would have loved to get a nice professional horn. I just could not see spending that much money on a trombone at this time. Maybe in 5 years if I am still playing I will look into getting a pro horn. Until then I concentrated on finding a good intermediate horn. I was looking at several different models, but decided on a Getzen 725 horn. It is a dual bore horn (.525/.542) with an open wrap F-attachment. It’s a beautiful horn and sounds great. Like I said my trigger notes are a bit stuffy, but they will work out with more practice. I still plan to use the King 606 horn that my Father in Law Art is letting me use. It’s a student horn, but because it is smaller bore, it has a brighter sound/tone, where as the Getzen is a mellow sound. And I still have my original blue P-Bone.

I am playing with the church band usually every other week. And that is a bit more stressful on me than a normal concert band situation would be. I am the only brass instrument playing with the band and therefore my parts tend to stand out a bit more than if I am playing with a full section of trombones. But, I think it has helped my “stage fright” a bit. Since I got the new Getzen trombone, I have been playing it, but I am

With some help from my Father In Law, Art Ratley, I now have a seat in the Mcallen Symphonic Band and have recently started attending rehearsals. That first rehearsal was really a nervous time for me, but I made it through. But that’s a another blog post by itself. thinking about switching back to the King for the church band since it seems to sound better in a “solo” environment. Maybe someday I’ll get a better “straight” trombone.

 

My Musical Journey

Red tonnet Search for Tonnet and you won’t find much information on it, but if you try “Recorder” you might find some information or you may have played one in elementry. When I was in early elementry music class, we played on Tonnets and our accompaniment was either a pedal organ or auto harp. Ah the good ole days! Actually I never liked the sound of the auto harp but it was a cool device and I thought the pedal organ was pretty cool. My Father is a Hot Rodder, hotrods have pedals, therefore, an organ with pedals couldn’t be all that bad! Continue reading

New Project!

Now that the kitchen project phase 1 is completed (you can see photos on facebook). And before we start on phase 2 of the kitchen project (removing wallpaper and painting the walls). I am working on a little side project I have been thinking about for awhile. I am building a “Media Center” PC.

I’ve wanted to do this for awhile and I haven’t been using my secondary PC much lately, so I figured I’d set it up. I am going to hook it up directly to our 37″ Sharp Aquos Flat Panel and also to our stereo in the living room. I won’t be using it for “TV Tuning/PVR” as we have DirecTV DVR already for that. And we can watch Youtube and Netflex on our BlueRay DVD (a bit slow, but it works). So, I mainly want to setup the PC for Hulu and Music. Plus we will be able to have a PC in the living room to surf the internet or play some simple games on the TV.

One other nice thing will be remote control. I’ll have several different versions of VNC installed. One will be for the iPad to have full remote control of the desktop. And I’ll have other versions to just mimic keyboard keys, so I can use my iPhone as a remote as well.

It’ll be a fun project and then once it is finished, we’ll see if we actually use it. Although I have been using Hulu on my laptop to watch old shows like “Lost in Space” or “The Adams Family”. It’ll be good for that, as watching it on my laptop kinda sucks.

Somewhere down the road I might add a huge hard drive to it so we can rip some of the family videos and keep them on the PC ready to go at any time. And what ever other stuff we want to store on it.

Neal Morse vs The Osmonds

Teri will probably like this blog :/

I was listening to a CD I just got in by Neal Morse, excellent christian progressive rock. It came with a bonus CD, so after listening to the 1st cd, I popped in the 2nd CD, and the first song just made me jump back hmm 25-30 years maybe? WOW!!! Below is the original version that Teri will remember as well. But Neal, George and Mike all do a great cover of it.

Interesting… I just spotted this other blog entry about the song, on an Osmond blog?

Neal Morse vs The Osmonds

Teri will probably like this blog :/

I was listening to a CD I just got in by Neal Morse, excellent christian progressive rock. It came with a bonus CD, so after listening to the 1st cd, I popped in the 2nd CD, and the first song just made me jump back hmm 25-30 years maybe? WOW!!! Below is the original version that Teri will remember as well. But Neal, George and Mike all do a great cover of it.

Interesting… I just spotted this other blog entry about the song, on an Osmond blog?