The biggest improvement you can make playing your musical instrument

A good friend and my most enthusiastic guinea pig for my books’ strange ideas and exercises came to the studio yesterday to do some trombone recording. Like most players, he’s not used to recording in my particular environment. A strange and sensitive mic, transparent monitoring through headphones, and unforgiving playback can make for an uncomfortable…

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ITA Review of the Fratres CD

The review came out today in the International Trombone Journal of the CD Doug Yeo, Gerry Pagano, and I made last summer. If you are a trombone player and are not subscribed to the journal, you should do so here. You’ll get in depth profiles of your favorite players and lots of information on literature…

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Its it too late in life to play trombone well?

I recently was asked by a 61 year old retired band director how to improve his playing. “I didn’t spend most of my life working on the trombone but I now want to play well. Is it too late for me?” Here is my response: It would be too easy for me to tell you,…

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The high octane fuel to improve your trombone playing

I thought of something I’d like to add to the very beginning of my upcoming book, Rhythm Savvy. The further I get into writing and recording for the book, the more I believe that this tool can help players improve their musicianship. That improvement, however, won’t come immediately or by magic, and that is what…

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Training your brain to play music better

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book Rhythm Savvy. The skills I teach in my books are complex to say the least. Playing a musical instrument is an incredibly difficult task. Learning or improving skills like improvisation, developing a groove, and playing with accurate time only come with time and hard work. Just buying…

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Hearing note placement within phrases

I created what I think is an interesting exercise for evaluating and strengthening one’s ability to hear the difference between notes placed early in the beat, late in the beat, and right on. This is now on page 39 of Rhythm Savvy, the book I am currently writing. No doubt that for some, this will…

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How to become increasingly better on your musical instrument.

As I write books and produce instructional videos, I am constantly thinking about the relationship between practicing and getting better on one’s instrument. It’s a frequent topic in my writing and one on which I have much to say. Notice that the subject of this post was not, “Become an instant virtuoso on your instrument…

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Testing your sense of rhythm and time…

While writing my upcoming book, Rhythm Savvy, I wanted to create something in the beginning through which the listener could experience his or her own sense of rhythm. The following sound file called Finding One is an exercise for sensing the beat. Listen through the first eight bars to feel where beat one is. The…

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