The magic of practicing in New York City

Following the video I produced a few weeks ago of my playing on top of a nearby Arizona mountain, I thought it would be interesting to create a similar time-compressed session of my trombone practicing in New York.

I find myself frequently in New York these days and I always stay at the Soho Courtyard Marriott. So many of the nice Manhattan hotels either don’t have a space or want to charge a fortune for one where you can blast trombone late at night.

One notable exception is the Soho Courtyard Marriott. The exceedingly kind staff allows me into their small basement conference room where my flurries of trombone notes can’t hurt a soul.

With my good friend Jonathan Watson behind the camera (iPhone), we filmed a time-compressed session of my trombone practicing last week at the hotel. Back in my Arizona studio I crafted some backgrounds to my stream of consciousness rambling. Those backgrounds were pretty close to what I was hearing in my head as I played my alto.

And now a word about customers

Permit me to put on my business cap and step to my soapbox for a moment.

What is unique about this hotel is that in this regard they are more focused on customer needs than on theirs. I was recently in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show and stayed at a second tier casino off the strip. Somehow, I was given VIP status which gave me access to a few amenities that cost the hotel nothing and frankly were of little interest to me. It just smelled like bad marketing.

When I asked my usual question, “Is there some sort of space not being used in which I could play my instrument for a bit while I’m here?”, the response was “No, there isn’t.” Now I know that a hotel of that size has conference rooms, a ballroom, and other spaces no one is using at 10PM. The complete lack of even trying to accommodate me was what disappointed me the most. After digging a little further with her and still coming up with nothing, I didn’t exactly feel like a VIP.

In every area of my business life, I always find some way to accommodate the reasonable requests of my customers, subscribers, and colleagues. As we say in Marketing these days, the seller is no longer in control of their message. You and I are.

So maybe this message reaches a few people who will now check out the Soho Marriott. Just no musicians who want to practice late at night while I’m there, please!

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