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Check out About Face HERE!!! Check out Secrets to Efficient Brass Playing HERE!!! A NEW Week 1 & 2 for the Jazz Improv course has been added… subscribers, please visit the course page to see this new addition. A new week 3 & 4 will soon be posted as well… These courses are designed to be 4 weeks worth of lessons to help the student gain insights and skills in each specific area. Keith is available for clinics and as a guest artist!! Please go to our “Clinics” page for details!
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(Physical CD’s Available HERE)
Tip #1 – Equipment Geek-dom!
Hi – My name is Keith and I confess to being an absolute “EQUIPMENT GEEK!”
Whether it be horns, mouthpieces, cases, bags for cases, or accessories, I am a sucker for cool stuff! One of the latest things I’ve gotten into is using an iPad for reading charts… now, keep in mind that I’ve been too cheap to actually go buy my own iPad, so I’ve been using my wife’s. That is until I stumbled upon some pretty cool stuff to make using the iPad set up MUCH easier!
My biggest complaints were A: the stand getting bumped and the iPad falling off, B: turning pages mid song, and C: seeing the incredibly small music! These were the problems that I was running into – thankfully the first hasn’t occurred… close, but not all the way to the ground! So, before jumping in fully committed and buying my own iPad, I wanted to see if these problems could be cleared up, or if they were just limitations that users had to “adapt” to. And $400.00 just for an iPad is a lot of money to have to adapt to limitations!
But – Alas… I stumbled across a place called “The Gig Easy” out of Colorado! They offer a VERY compact set up and array of cool gadgets designed for most devices… not just the iPad! Although since I’m an Apple Loyalist, that’s what I will end up with. The coolest thing though is that they offer a wirelessly connected (via Bluetooth) foot switch to change pages hands free! It has to work with your music reader app though. I’m personally using “For Score” and it DOES connect / talk to the app! They also offer a microphone style stand that folds down to 32″ in length so it’s less hassle to carry than a music stand!
Now, here’s the cool thing that I was told about with the iPad – if you turn it sideways while reading the music, it makes things much larger… and you can scroll the page via the foot pedal / switch! Taking care of the biggest problem I was having… seeing the music! It doesn’t solve the excessively bright daylight issue, but since it’s backlit playing indoors is awesome! No more lights, music stand, etc. So – to all my fellow geeks out there that are looking for a more compact way to transport music for gigs, this is one VERY up to date cool way of doing so! Check them out HERE
Tip #2 – Push PAST Your Perceived Limitations!
This tip does not just include range! So, keep reading and bare with me here…
What I mean by this is that we tend to set limitations on ourselves… our potential, our growth, our playing ability, etc. And most never try to go beyond a certain point because somewhere along the way it was planted in our minds that we didn’t have what it takes, weren’t good enough, etc. I fell victim to this just like 99% of us… but at one point I got fed up with holding myself back and not really working to improve.
I practiced, but it was more “maintenance” practice than it was actual growth practice! And once I got off of my arse and started practicing the stuff that scared me into a coma like routine, I noticed that everything else was starting to come along as well. As far as range is concerned, I found that by really looking deep inside to find the root of my range issues (playing higher, endurance, etc.) I was able to grow that as well. My consistency and reliability is up… which we are all after to some degree or another… and anyone who says they aren’t is lying. Just sayin’! What I had to discover was that I was still “subconsciously” trying to use my lips to play in the upper register. That was the root of the problem… fixing it took consistent, conscious, conscientious practice everyday in a mirror and most of all – patience!
Old habits die hard! All too often we fall prey to wanting things immediately, and if you don’t get it pretty quick you give up, get discouraged, etc.. I see this a LOT with kids… and it seems like parents today aren’t teaching tenacity and good habits concerning work ethic as they once did. This is my limited perception – no offense to parents out there reading this that still teach good work ethic and a never give up attitude.
What most young children don’t realize is that every time they pick up the controller for that new video game with all the fancy graphics, music, etc. they are learning how to win or advance in the game. They’re practicing and don’t even realize it… so they’ll spend hours playing these video games. If this was made clear to them, then perhaps they could take that same ethic and transfer it over to something that does NOT offer immediate gratification upon first glance. But rather is gratifying by allowing that process to happen.
Imagine if the settlers who wagon-train’d across the U.S. into unknown and sometimes hostile lands had realized how “hard” the journey would be with the mindset and attitude of people today, they wouldn’t have gone at all… push past your perception of limits – you may surprise yourself with the new lands you discover in your playing!
Have a GREAT week!