“Keep On Keeping’ On” Now Available on iTunes

I was delighted to see that the recent documentary feature about Clark Terry, “Keep On Keeping’ On” has been made available to rent and buy on the iTunes store. To my shame, I didn’t have an opportunity to see it during it’s limited theatrical release, late in 2014. I just downloaded and watched it and it exceeded my expectations! What a beautiful film!!

This is a truly uplifting movie, which deserves to be seen as widely as possible. I encourage everybody to go and buy a copy of their own. It’d be a pleasant change to see something like this topping the film charts, rather than the typical Hollywood nonsense. Plus, you can bet that CT would get the biggest kick out of it!!

Let’s share this far and wide and see if we can bring it to greater public attention!


Combination Drills

Just hit on an idea while teaching, this afternoon. For a long time, in my own trumpet practice, I’ve advocated efficiency in the “maintenance” section by focusing on the multiple areas of technique a particular exercise might work on. For example, when playing Clarke #2, you are working on breath support, fluidity of blow while changing notes, diatonic key areas as well as the obvious benefit to the fingers! If you also choose to play each key both slurred and tongued, you are additionally working on articulation and maintaining a consistent embouchure set whether slurring or tonguing. That is 6 or more technical areas covered in one exercise. I encourage my students to take some of this thinking on board, particularly the professionals; a lot of time can be saved in the practice room by realizing that you’ve covered so many more areas, and that can be translated to less time spent and more potential stamina remaining to get through the playing demands of the day. It’s more efficient!

Anyway, with my students today, we worked on combining fragments of different exercises to further refine this concept. The results were most pleasing; a feeling of having worked out more technique in less time and feeling much more “well oiled” than we might usually, when moving on.

This is a concept I’ll now be collating exercises for, in order to put together a book which I can use for my own reference, as well as for my students. I wondered if anybody else might be interested, as I get this together. If so, do you prefer a printed hard-copy book, or are we becoming modern and technological enough that an e-book would suffice? Please comment below, or on the related social media posts, and let me know.

Happy Birthday to me – 2014 Edition!

Today, I celebrated my 40th birthday. It’s been a funny build-up, this year; as much as I didn’t want to dwell on “that number” I’ve found it unavoidable. In the event, I had an extremely pleasant day. I was fortunate to receive some very thoughtful gifts from family and friends, and I had the chance to catch up with many of them on the phone or Skype. I spent some time teaching trumpet lessons, and a little doing some website updates at the computer. My wife and I then had a low-key celebration at home, this evening.

This past year has been one of the best of my life so far. I’m lucky to have been involved in some amazing musical situations, both here in NYC and elsewhere in the world, and have made some great new friends in the process. My teaching studio has continued to expand too and I’m now regularly welcoming new students from around the world, on Skype and also as they visit NYC, as well as many folks from in and around the city. The combination of all of these experiences has allowed me to reach a new level of insight and understanding of my own trumpet playing; I’m developing a much clearer concept of how to get to where I want to be, both with the instrument itself and musically…

These first 40 years have been good. Now it’s time to move forward with renewed focus and drive. Time to see what I can achieve before I turn 41!!

Jam of the Week #5

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the new Facebook group called “Jam of the Week“, over the past month or so, since its inception.

Here’s my latest submission – this week is the Thelonious Monk tune “Well You Needn’t” – I may have taken the title too much to heart…

Fart Winter Olympics

Some bright spark has taken footage from this years Winter Olympics and overdubbed fart noises. Call me childish, but it’s absolutely hilarious!!

Fart Figure Skating:

Fart Ski Jumping:

Filed under “too much time on their hands”, as usual… 😉