Saturday, July 25, 2009

Professor Uses Math to Decode Beatles Tunes

This one is for my Math/Music friends. I have posted a link to this interesting article.

Professor Uses Math to Decode Beatles Tunes

Related handout/pdf


Friday, July 24, 2009

NCSSM Fine Arts Series Dates and Performances

Hi all! It is my pleasure to announce the 2009-2010 NCSSM Fine Arts Series Events. All performances are in the NCSSM Educational Technology Center located on Maryland Avenue in Durham, NC unless otherwise noted and, as always, are free of charge. We look forward to seeing you at one of our wonderful fine arts events!

NCSSM Fine Arts Series, 2009-2010

• Fall Drama Production, October 23-25,
7:00 pm shows on Friday and Saturday
3:00 pm show on Sunday,
featuring Art Exhibit Opening Friday, October 23, 6:00-8:00. Exhibit
runs from October 23-Nov 20

• Fall Orchestra Pops Concert, October 31, 3:00 PM

• Fall Wind Ensemble Concert, featuring Durham School of the Arts Music Department , November 1, 3:00

• Bach and Beyond: Redefining the Harpsichord, 3 Harpsichords, 2 Composers, 1 Unveiling , featuring Beverly Biggs, Elaine Funaro, and Rebecca Pechefsky, November 12, 7:30 pm

• Tejasvii Bharat: Indian Dance Masterclass and Recital with Nina Dash and NCSSM Dance Ensemble , December 5, 2009

• Winter Wind Ensemble Concert January 24, 2010, 3:00 PM

• Masterworks Concert, featuring NCSSM Orchestra and Chorale with Blacknall Church Choir
Featuring Missa Brevis in D major, Mozart K 194; Dona Nobis Pacem from the B Minor Mass, Bach; Tragic Overture, Brahms; and Iridium, Jack Stamp

February 6, NCSSM, 7:00 PM
February 7, 7:00 PM, Blacknall Church

• Winter Musical February 12-14, 2010
7:00 Show on Friday and Saturday
3:00 Show on Sunday

• Eastern Regional Orchestra, Feb 26-28, Concert: Feb 28, 3:00

• Spring Dance Recital, April 10, 2010, 3:00 pm

• NCSSM Jazz at Broad Street CafĂ©, April 10, 2010, 5:00 pm

• Pulsoptional – May 7-8

• Spring Choral/Vocal Department Mother's Day Recital, May 9, 3:00 PM
Featuring NCSSM Chorale and Voice Students

• Spring Drama Production: A Weekend of Shakespeare, May 14-16, 2010
7:00 Show on Friday and Saturday
3:00 Show on Sunday

• Art Exhibit Opening, Friday May 14, 6:00-8:00, ETC Lobby
Show runs – May 14-June 4

• NCSSM Annual Concerto Concert, May 16, 2010, 2:00

• Spring Wind Ensemble Concert, May 16, 2010, 4:30

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Arlington Echo String Camp

This week, I am conducting at the Arlington Echo String Camp in Anne Arundel County, MD. It is a fantastic camp that is run by the Anne Arundel Co. Schools. The kids are string players that range in age from 6th grade through high school. There are so many cool things about this camp that I hardly know where to start.

Let's start here. One of the coolest features of the camp is that the string teachers from the AA schools are the primary teachers and counselors at the camp. They live with the kids all week. they stay in the cabins, eat with the kids, play with the kids, make music with the kids, and fully participate in the entire experience. What a wonderful mentoring opportunity it is for these students. I don't think I had any experienc e like that with my teachers as a kid. Here anther thing: they are all happy to be there. The teachers, that is. there is such a genuine enthusiasm for music, kids, and community that is demonstrated every day, by every teacher, counselor, and staff member.
You may ask yourself, "How does this happen?" The answer is simple. Community. The answer is also complex. Leadership, environment, attitude, love, caring, selflessness, support, commitment. Of course, I am forgetting many others.

I am out of time for now, but I am really enjoying myself and happy to be here. This is really a great camp and I am pleased to be part of it.

Rehearsals are going great and it will be a fantastic concert on Friday. It has been a great week.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Are You a Pilgrim or a Tourist?

It has been an interesting weekend for me. Two of of the events of the weekend have reached an interesting confluence and I would like to share some of my thoughts with you.

As I said in my post yesterday, I have been at the Festival for the Eno all weekend. I have seen a number of fine bands and had a really good time. One band that particularly struck me was the Chapel Hill indy rock band, Lost in the Trees. More on them in a minute.

This morning, I was sitting in church and the pastor encouraged the congregation to consider whether they are a tourist or a pilgrim. A pilgrim is invested in their journey. They are on a mission and are living every move they make. The pilgrim doesn't know exactly what tomorrow will bring, but is honest in their motives, accepting whatever tomorrow may bring. A tourist, on the other hand, uses a guide book, follows the map, and generally gleans what they can, but does so without significant risk or investment. They have specific expectations, but don't really take a significant risk.

As I sat and thought about this metaphor, my mind drifted back to Lost in Trees. This group of young adults are definitely pilgrims. As I watched them play their set at The Festival for the Eno, I could sense their investment. Each one of the members are fine musicians in their own right. The band includes 13 members: lead singer and acoustic guitarist Ari Picker, mandolin, bass, drums,4 piece brass section, and a 5 piece string section. Many in the group double on other instruments which include glockenspiel, accordion, percussion instruments, and others. This music is honest. The lyrics are honest, the songwriting is honest, the performance is honest. These folks are invested in their journey. I just love watching them play. Their friendship is evident on stage. Their investment and caring for each other and the integrity of the music is evident from the minute they walk on stage.

The word honest kept coming to my mind as I watched them. And, I must say, that is always my goal when I play. I want to be honest. I want my music to be an honest expression of my heart, my emotions, my soul. I might not be the most virtuosic player, but I can be the most honest. I can also be the most honest teacher. I feel like that investment, that honesty, is the key to expression and impact.

I don't want to be a tourist teacher or musician. We have all had tourist teachers. They use the guidebook. They go through the motions, give the facts, and maybe even effectively get the point across. The problem is, they aren't invested.

Think about the best teacher you have ever had. Were they honestly invested in the process, in the material, in you? Of course they were. They were a pilgrim. They had a mission. Now think of your favorite musician or band. Were they giving you and honest expression of their heart the last time you heard them play? Were they invested in the music, the communication, the performance? Of course they were. They are a pilgrim musician. That is why you were drawn to them. That is why I am drawn to Lost in the Trees. They are pilgrims.

Who are some other pilgrim musicians. Of course there are many that I could name. The two big ones that come to mind for me are jazz violinist, Christian Howes and virtuosic mandolinist, Mike Marshall. Both of these magnificent artists get right to the heart of the music. They get right to the heart of the humanity. They are honest. They are invested fully. They are pilgrims. In fact, many times over the years, when someone has asked me about Chris Howes or MIke Marshall, I have described both of them as totally honest musicians. It is about the highest compliment that I can give to a musician.

So, today, I encourage you to consider the following: are you a pilgrim or a tourist? Are you invested in your journey? Are you invested in your art? If you are a teacher, are you invested in your mission? I aspire to be a pilgrim. Not every turn will be the best, but I will endeavor to be invested fully. I wish the same for you.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Festival at the Eno

Hi all!

Happy 4th of July weekend!

This weekend, I am spending a great deal of time a the Festival for the Eno. It is an awesome gathering of musicians, artists, and conservationists coming together to enjoy a beautiful place and event together on a very hot weekend. It is always a blast and this weekend should prove to be the same.

This weekend, I am working with the folks at High Strung Music in Durham, a wonderful little string shop that specializes in bowed string instruments, acoustic guitars, mandolins, ukuleles, and other folk instruments, giving daily seminars on violin improv. High Strung really provides a wonderful service at the Festival. They have guitar repair services right on site at the Festival and daily seminars that include, in addition to mine, beatboxing, learn to play the ukelele, open jams, and others. High Strung is centrally located at the festival and really embody the spirit of the event.

My seminar is a very low key introduction to string improv for those that haven't ventured away from the page before, but if a more advanced improviser comes by, I will give them feedback on their playing and tips and tricks that may help them out. And, if folks prefer, my friend and guitarist Adam Sampieri, and I will just play a little bit and talk about the thought process that goes into generating an improvised solo. I am there to represent D'Addario Bowed Strings and Coda Bows, both of which High Strung carries.

One of the highlights of the day for me yesterday was getting to know the guys in the band, Fiddlefoxx. This is a cool little trio of fine musicians from the Boston area. They feature some fine fiddle playing, acoustic guitars and mandolins, and a really good beatboxer on percussion. Their music is influenced by a variety of styles, but reminds me of some of the early Bela Fleck and the Flecktones stuff. It is really cool and I encourage you to check them out. Also, they are available to work with school orchestra programs and I think they would be a super addition to any program. I know that I am going to try to have them in to the NC School of Science and Math at some point to work with my kids. The beatboxer from the band also gave a masterclass on his art and it was really cool. There were a bunch folks there to check it out and he is really a wizard at the mouth percussion!

My family and I also really enjoyed checking out all of the artists' displays and various booths around the festival. We bought some pottery, learned about the new Mountains to Shore trail, played games, ate a ton, and generally had a wonderful time.

The festival runs for 2 more days (July 4, and 5) and totally recommend that come out and check it out. I'll be giving my seminar at 3:00 each day and would love to see you there. I can't think of a better way to spend some time over the holiday weekend.