Winning in Music

Nobody argues that art is subjective. It is popular to say that we don’t go into the music business to win awards, but I believe that is not entirely truthful. In music programs of American schools, students are taught music in paint-by-numbers system, often having little ownership of the sounds they are creating and hearing. Push these buttons in this rhythm, and wa-laa, you have played this correct. Scoring systems are used to incentivize improvement in both marching bands and performance ensembles via Midstate and Allstate competitions. An number score is given to quantify the performance, essentially we are objectifying music. As professionals we quickly learn that all awards, titles, accomplishments, etc are nothing more than stars to put in our personal flags that we …

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MCJS Remote Camps

Well the first ever MCJS Remote Camp went great! We had eight terrific teenage students who engaged in call kinds of listening, theory, and ear training with me while we looked through a list of great material. I still learn more about this music every time I study it. So much of the music that I love is based on the simplest of ideas – like the relationship of triads a fourth apart. The subtle restructuring of the those two triads can give so much depth to a chord voicing. Take for instance, the opening two chords of Freddie Freeloader versus the opening two chords of The Sticks. On Freddie, you could call the triads Gm and Fm, OR you could say Bb6 and Fm, …

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Looking back, looking ahead

Welp, it’s spring of 2020. The world looks different than anyone could have imagined in late 2019, let alone in 2016 at the time of my last post. What’s new for me? Well, I’m a father of two, now living in Franklin instead of Nashville, enjoying use of my home studio while I try to become at least as passable at Pro Tools as every Nashville grandma. This spring all of my students have shifted to online, of course, something I’m not unfamiliar with thanks to two years teaching college saxophonists in Northern Minnesota while living in Tennessee. Not much at all has changed with Zoom or online video conferencing. It’s still about 2/3 as good as in-person lessons or classes. One thing I have …

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Hot Chicken set to release September 9!

At long last I’m very excited to announce that the new album Hot Chicken will be released on Friday, September 9, 2016 on Ear Up Records! If you’re here in Nashville, please plan to join me for the Hot Chicken Listening Party on the evening of Thursday, September 8 at 6pm. More details to come! Here’s a tiny snippet to whet your appetite. Don’t forget you can preorder the album here. Catch ya soon!        

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Pre-order Hot Chicken!

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this whimsical animation made by Chris Walters, which features a saxophone excerpt from my tune Constriketion. On that note, I’m psyched, thrilled, and basically bedazzled to announce that I’m releasing a new album: It’s hard to believe that my first album Falling Up was released FIVE years ago. I’m so grateful for all of you who have listened and continued to enjoy it, especially on Sirius/XM Radio! But it’s painfully obvious that after half a decade a followup is overdue! My band is headed back to Wildwood Studio this May to record eight new original tunes and one original arrangement (a favorite 90’s rock tune, yeah teen angst!) I’m exited to incorporate some new sounds and inspirations that I’ve gathered in the past five years of being a …

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Coming March 2015…

Lots of good things to reflect on about 2014 today. But rather than focus on what has already happened, I’m looking forward to things in the works for 2015. More details to come… In the meantime, I hope that you’re excited as I am for this guy, starting in March!

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