Thursday, June 21, 2012

More work with James Boldin at ULM and thoughts on the beauty of music

I am having the time of my life working with a colleague of mine, James Boldin, at ULM in Monroe. Yes, it's a long drive, but a relatively easy one when you compare it to traveling West the same distance on I-20.

We've compared horns, mouthpieces, study books, solos and duets and ensembles, some of which he has edited himself for his students. If I had had time to teach over the years, I would certainly have done something quite similar. There's more to playing and teaching an instrument than playing loud or fast and furious with little regard for your neighbors. Harmony is everything in more ways than one.

When I was in high school and both of my sisters were playing horn (my brother played as well later when he was in junior high) I used to write and edit songs for us to play as a trio of horns - harmony parts, to get more of a feel for the melodic line and to enhance the chord structure. By the time I was 9 years old (I am the oldest) we could already sing anything in three part harmony, church music, gospel music and popular songs of the times.  We spent several years singing on local television (TV was in its infancy here) and talent shows with TV hosts Hub Brandao and Bob Griffin. We even sang on the local country western shows.  It was a natural part of our lives and it seemed natural for us all to play horn. We three had taken piano lessons (our mom was a pianist and could listen to music and make up her own accompaniment for us) and I know that was one of the reasons our band directors had suggested horn for all of us. It's an extremely difficult instrument to play and much easier to work with if you don't have to think about finding the notes and learning how to read music at the same time.  I could listen to and write down anything I heard which proved to be a god-send when I decided later to major in music.

James copying and pasting - interesting and challenging studies for me 

I will be working with James and others this coming year to try to recapture how truly enjoyable it can be playing the Horn, an instrument I have always been fascinated with even when I did not know what it was called. Radio days will do that to you when there is no TV. No visuals. Just your EAR. Teachers can make or break your spirit - all the more important to respect each other's differences and likeness'es.  

NOTE - for the person who used my search box looking for a trombone mouthpiece, try Bill Causey's Band House in Shreve City, Shreveport/Barksdale Hwy

More comments in future posts -

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