Free Audiobook: How to Read Music

Basic Music Theory: How to Read, Write, and Understand Written Music is now in audiobook format!

If you’re new to Audible, you can listen to the book for free.

Chaining and Back-Chaining

Whenever I hear the “Concerto for Trumpet in Eb” by Johann Nepomuk Hummel I have this flashback: I’m once again in high school, about to perform the Concerto (on a Bb trumpet). It’s an ambitious piece for any trumpet player, let alone a high schooler; let alone a kid from rural Alaska who has had no lessons. I’m nervous, of course, but I’ve practiced (or so I think), I’ve worked with my excellent accompanist a few times. I’ve never performed it before but I don’t give this much thought because I’m too nervous. I sit in the warm-up room and practice a little before I go perform. That’s not true. I practice a LOT. It’s becoming frighteningly clear to me–much too late–that I don’t really know this piece. I work the sections that are difficult (there are a lot) and begin to get tired. My chops are getting tender. I stop practicing and go perform with a feeling of trepidation in my gut.

Free Music e-Books & a Trumpet Book Podcast

Many changes in the wind this week. In celebration of the new Sol Ut Press web site, you can get a free eBook copy of two of my books Basic Music Theory: How to Read, Write, and Understand Written Music and Sound the Trumpet: How to Blow Your Own Horn. Tell your friends. I’ll be giving an unlimited number of eBook giveaways for the next month. When I’ve done this sort of thing the past, it usually works out to around 10,000 copies per month. I hope to break that record.

Jamming with Butterflies (in a pool of water)

just heard about Hermeto Pascoal, a guy Miles Davis said was “the most impressive musician in the world”. I’m amazed by how many flavors of musician are in the world and am equally stunned when I find yet another important one I’ve never heard of and wish I’d discovered much earlier. Hermeto Pascoal is from Brasil, and this is how he does it (PS: the riot of yellow butterflies that come to dance around their heads are worth waiting for @ 2:30…. (big thanks to Meara O’Reilly on BoingBoing for this one):

Beginnings

Planning is an essential part of your practice session. Imagine the planning that went into the video above, and ask yourself how much planning goes into your practice sessions. Every book I’ve read on practice, and every research article that looks into what musicians do when they practice mentions the importance of planning out your practice session. This includes broader plans like goals, as well as more specific things like exactly which pieces or skills you’re going to tackle and how you’re going to tackle them. This planning stage is only one part of a 3-stage process used by most of the people studied by McPherson and Zimmerman in a 2002 study. Here’s what it looks like: