Sanctioned Post

Have you encountered a word that means one thing, but also means the opposite?  My fiance and I came across one the other day which led us to this cool list of words that mean the opposite of itself as well:




Every now and then, I dork out.  Okay, it’s more often than not, actually.  But recently when dorking out, I stumbled across this website that generates all sorts of different noises.  You can make anything from waterfalls to indian drones, in utero sounds to cat purrs, and much more.  I found it when looking for a drone generator to play trombone with.  You may use it for many other reasons.  Enjoy!

Focus on the Fundamentals

Here is an article that applies to just about anything.  It talks about how a lot of times, our progress is stunted due to focusing on the details instead of the fundamental issues.  This applies to weight lifting and start-up businesses (as the article mentions) as well as music and learning an instrument.

Often times when I listen to musicians in a coaching session, I’m disappointed by the lack of fundamentals:  Are you making a good sound?  Are you playing with a good sense of time?  Are you playing in tune?

We know that these three things (Tone, Time, Intonation) are important, but can you really get into the details if they aren’t correct?  If you play in tune with a good sound and do that in time, I’m going to have less to criticize, because the details are more subjective and your interpretation is probably a valid one.

When working on a piece, remember to approach it with a solid set of fundamentals first.  Play it with a drone so that your ears learn to help you play in tune.  Play it with a metronome like this so you learn to play in time without relying on a metronome to generate the beat.  And take lessons with great trombonists (Or whatever your instrument may be) in order to learn good fundamentals of sound.

A lot of teachers let the sound concept get away by just saying “do this exercise and that exercise and you’ll get a better tone”.  But often times this doesn’t fix sound (and articulation) issues.  You have to dive in deeper.

All in all, we should make sure that the fundamentals are in order before crafting our favorite concerto or sonata.


Mozart’s Requiem

Mozart’s Requiem used to be my favorite piece.  However, I worked on it almost incessantly as an excerpt for a few orchestral auditions and I began to fall out of love with the piece as a whole.  Recently, I was asked to play it with a high school chorus and although the singers weren’t perfect, there was an innocence to the performance and it had a raw energy that is hard to find these days.  The orchestra was not complete due to funding limitations but even with only some of the parts being played, I regained a sense of spirit by performing this piece.  The Requiem isn’t just a religious service, it’s a burial service, or a service for the dead.  

Although it was written for Count Franz von Walsegg’s deceased wife (according to Wikipedia), the sense of urgency and profoundness of the music suggests that Mozart was writing it as if it were for himself, knowing that he was deathly ill.  The only thing that stopped him from completing it himself was his own death.  This gives great meaning to every note that was written in those final moments.

This performance rekindled and rejuvenated my love of the Requiem and respect for Mozart’s genius.  Emotion combined with compositional prowess gives us one of the most meaningful works of all time.

(Short video) Poor Timing for this guy.

This is a rare occurrence, and I’ve often wondered if it would ever happen to me.   What happens when you need to sneeze while playing a brass instrument?  Luckily, whenever I’ve gotten the urge to sneeze, it has never been while playing the trombone. This guy wasn’t as fortunate!




I don’t collect many things (except trombones) but one of the odd things I do collect is the wisdom from fortune cookies.  Whenever I go out to eat where I receive a fortune cookie at the end of the meal, I take the slip of paper home (after eating the cookie part, of course) and I add the fortune to my list of fortune cookie wisdom on Google Drive.

I’d like to share a few that have spoken deep truth to me:

“If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.”

This is inherently true of anything.  A body in motion remains in motion unless acted on by an outside force. Consider negative thoughts or drug use as bad examples but also consider the implications for good directions.  For musicians, good practice habits and healthy attitudes… they will lead to the right place!

“Never fear!  The end of something marks the start of something new.”

This is just a healthy motto to keep in mind.  I wrote a long time ago on what I referred to as the cycle of ups and downs.  There will be ends to chapters in your life, consider them as such and open the book to the next chapter.  Life goes on and there shouldn’t be any reason to fear what lies ahead (unless you like scary suspense novels).

“Only one who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.”

I’m all about achieving things that seem impossible.  Take the reins and set your mind to work towards a goal that seems absurd to everyone around you, and actually GO FOR IT!  If you don’t go for it, you will literally never achieve it – you didn’t try.



Creative People must do this… (and everyone else too)

A video of Ira Glass’s advice on being a creative person… but really it applies to everything.