First Post

Even though I created this blog back in November, I am just now making my way around to actually writing something.  This is due largely in part to good friends Joe Pisano at and Travis Weller (Composing Like Mad).  I also thought that this may be a great outlet for me to get fresh ideas and perspectives, and maybe even to vent a little. 🙂  (Sometimes, it’s nice to know that you’re not alone!)  Just this morning, I was thinking of what my first blog could be about, and then came a moment in my 3rd period senior high rehearsal that was very interesting.

The group is working on Ticheli’s Loch Lomond, and doing well, although this piece is maybe a bit more challenging than I thought it would be.  Anyway, I had the group add a crescendo that was only written for the saxophones and clarinets; because my group is small, I wanted it to be more effective.  My first chair trumpet player, who is only a freshman, raises his hand and says, “Why did you have us put that crescendo in there?  I don’t like it.”  My first thought was, “Yes!  Here is a student who has his own thoughts about how the music should sound!”  To me, this showed a sign of maturity in his musicianship that was exciting!  It’s funny that something like a student disagreeing with me would be so exciting to me, but it was because here is a student that is beginning to make his own musical decisions….isn’t this exactly the type of thing that we’re trying to teach our students??

Anyway, there was my first bloggable moment, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.  I am looking forward to continue writing here, and I welcome and comments that you may have!

6 thoughts on “First Post

  1. Doug!

    Welcome to the blog-o-sphere! We all Joe for getting this campaign started, because as you said – it does give fresh ideas and perspective.

    Having thos musical moments where we can see the connections happening for young students is very exciting. It is their first steps into a much larger world. A story to share with you regarding musicianship – a paraphrase of the story from Dr. James Barnes (University of Kansas):

    Aturo Toscanini at age 25 conducted Giuseppi Verdi last masterpiece, The Four Sacred pieces. While preparing the music he went to see Verdi to confer with him about the performance. As he played part of the Te Deum at the piano, Toscanini said he came to a spot where a rallentando was not written, but he added one anyway. Verdi responded “Bravo!” Verdi heard it and commented on the rallentando.

    Toscanini was taken back, said he “felt” there should be a rallentando at that moment. Verdi agreed. Toscanni spoke up “But Maestro, if you thought there should be one, why didn’t you write it in?” Verdi’s answered “If I would have written it, a bad musician would have exaggerated it. But if one is a good musician one feels it, plays it without the necessity of having written it down.”

    We should try to put the decisions in their hands, let them make the music, ask them to evaluate the music, and consider the impact of their decisions. At some point, we want the student to outgrow the teacher. Speaking as a teacher to a former student, it is exciting for me to see your growth and development as a professional. I am looking forward to more posts from you in the future, and best of luck as your year winds down!

  2. Hi Travis,

    Thanks for stopping by! I am looking forward to writing here, and sharing ideas and thoughts with others!

    On a completely unrelated note: I am filling in for Andy Erb this evening on Bari Sax and I’m really looking forward to playing your new piece!

  3. Hi Doug!

    Welcome to the ME blogger project! As I read your entry about your rehearsal, my thoughts immediately came to student engagement. If a student in your band was engaged enough in the rehearsal to give a high-level feedback like that, then your rehearsal was effective.

    I really think that we have seen the last of the days of the “silent rehearsal”. I can remember as a high school and college musician if I raised my hand to say something like that I would have been sent out of the class (and frequently, I was! LOL)

    If we are going to ask our students to analyze, collaborate and respond, we have to be ready for their responses!

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