June 2010

  • Three In Ten

    I’ll start this post with a disclaimer.  I’m not a mathematician.  My dissertation involved some statistics, and I knew enough to get help from someone more qualified than me.  I learned a lot about how statistics really work from that experience, most notably that I shouldn’t trust my impressions about how the numbers really would… Continue reading

  • Jazz Jam Session Etiquette

    I really enjoy going to sit in at open jam sessions when I get the chance.  They are an excellent way to apply things I’m practicing at home in a low pressure performance context.  It’s also a great way to meet and check out other musicians and pick up on new tunes and concepts that… Continue reading

  • Creativity and Schizophrenia

    I just came across this interesting article about how research using some sort of brain scanning technology noted similarities between the brains of highly creative people and the brains of people with schizophrenia, notably fewer receptors of a particular kind.  From the article: “Fewer D2 receptors in the thalamus probably means a lower degree of… Continue reading

  • Walter Bishop, Jr.’s Theory of Fourths

    I’ve blogged about using perfect fourths as an technical exercise and as a method for motivic development in improvisation before.  The above YouTube video (click read more if you don’t see it) is the late pianist and music educator Walter Bishop, Jr. explaining how he discovered and explored the use of perfect forth patterns to… Continue reading

  • Sight Reading and Working Memory Capacity

    The ability to sight read a piece of music accurately is an important skill for any musician, and is absolutely essential for a working professional musician.  Most musicians work very hard at improving their sight reading by doing a lot of sight reading.  Of course, if you want to get better at something you need… Continue reading

  • Drum Set and Percussion Key Maps

    For non-percussion playing composers writing out percussion parts can be quite a challenge, partly because they don’t know exactly how to notate the parts.  These key maps for drum set and some other common percussion instruments can help. Drum Set Timbales Congas Bongos Here is a short article on how to write out drum set… Continue reading

  • Do regional orchestras still make artistic sense?

    Terry Teachout, of the Wall Street Journal Online doesn’t seem to think so.  He asks: What, if anything, justifies the existence of a regional symphony orchestra in the 21st century? Many people still believe that an orchestra is a self-evidently essential part of what makes a city civilized. But is this true? He goes on… Continue reading

  • Eight Composition Points To Consider by Bill Russo

    I’ve been leafing through Bill Russo’s book Jazz Composition & Orchestration for some ideas and inspiration and came across the following eight points to consider for composers wanting to have their music performed.  It’s good advice, particularly for inexperienced composers. If I could be so bold, I’ll add: What would you add? Continue reading

  • The Hand of Bill Evans

    I just saw this over on Casa Valdez Studio, the blog of saxophonist David Valdez.  Supposedly it is a scan of Bill Evans‘ handwritten manuscript for a 1971 recording session.  Evans was not only one of the most influential pianists of jazz, but was also a innovative composer as well. Time Remembered is a challenging… Continue reading

  • Arnold Jacobs on Embouchure: A Criticism

    Today I’m going to go after one of brass pedagogy’s sacred cows, Arnold Jacobs.  Since so many teachers and players have been strongly influenced by Jacobs’ teaching (myself included), I should give a little background first. Jacobs sometimes summarized his teaching philosophy as “Song & Wind.”  This influential concept is sometimes described as the musician’s… Continue reading

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