Tuesday, June 26, 2012

James Boldin and his refreshing techniques for Horn study - summer 2012

Some solo work, some etudes and flexibility exercises, listening to famous Horn solo orchestral passages from his shelves of recordings and ending with duos and harmony all around us. Today was my third time to work with Hornist James Boldin who teaches at ULM in Monroe.

Last week I tried and took home one of James' mouthpieces, a Hauser. My very own should arrive later this week. It feels really great and I am impressed - stainless steel cup and rim with the rim coated in a special finish, smooth to the lips and easy on the eye. The performance is outstanding - excellent tone quality, note centering, a fine edge to the sound and easy flexibility, equal facility in all ranges and a tonality of warm sound that runs from loud to soft with the ease of an opera singer's breath. My Rauch loves it and this week I will determine if my Lawson medium - large feels the same way. Our schedules will interfere with immediate follow-ups, but that will work in my favor giving me time to reflect on many things including the future. We will be working together again soon and I promise to keep all of you updated.

More comments to come plus a few photos.

James in his ULM office

real LP's

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 -

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Working with horn player James Boldin

Today I drove to ULM in Monroe, LA to work a little with a friend and colleague of mine, horn player Dr. James Boldin. I have admired his playing for some time and we managed to go through a few warm up duets and exercises after chatting a while about his recent trip to Thailand to teach lessons to some very energetic and dedicated students who have a passion for the everything HORN. If I can manage to copy some photos that he took while there, I will post them on this blog soon.

Next week we will look at some solos and other duets. It's great to be playing again and I love my Rauch. Anyone need a Lawson medium - large bore? Not much going on for me this summer in the way of music so far. The summer musical I always play with FUMC Shreveport (this year it is "Music Man") apparently is not orchestrated for Horns. 

My husband and I will be flying to Idaho at some point this summer along with my sister to visit another sister, my brother and my mom, another family reunion of sorts. Gorgeous place, nice weather and lots to do. Can't take my horn as I did last year when we drove, only my mouthpiece. No, I don't plan to serenade the passengers. 

You can catch up with James and his tips on horn playing and teaching Horn on his blog:



Photos provided by James Boldin

Alex Noppe, James Boldin, Micah Everett - ULM Faculty Brass



James with Thai students

sightseeing in Thailand

Royal Thai Navy Band workshop



Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chris Allen & the Jazz Trio at Red River Radio fundraiser tonight June 7, 2012

On Red River Radio tonight from 8:00 to 10:00 PM, jazz it up with Chris, Nick and Galen. Tune in on your radio dial or go streaming on your ipad, notebook or desk top. Either way you'll get to hear some of our BEST JAZZ GUYS playing the BEST SONGS!! What a great way to spend the evening, AND don't forget to donate your tax deductible gift NOW!!

Chris Allen on Bass

Nick Palmer on Guitar

Galen Smith on Drums


3.......2........1 .......... You're on the air, guys

Chris Allen

Crammed in like sardines, but sounding GOOD!
Nick, Galen, Chris

waiting for the guys to set up






Henry Edwards

KDAQ radio antenna 

The Jazz trio has arrived
Chris with his RRR mug. I WANT ONE!


Have guitar will travel

Nick Palmer

Galen Smith - Drum Set

Chris Allen