Clark Media Productions

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Filtering by Category: Listening

I never thought I would discuss this!?!?

This week's post feels a little gratuitous, but it's a service that I have found quite useful over the past couple of months, so much so that I have been surprised by it!  Thanks for watching and let me know if you've found this useful as well. :)

"Excuse me, sir?  What should I do if I want to make it as a trombone player?"

   Blind Boys of Alabama   Moog factory tour

  Playing with fun toys 

 At a concert the other day, a young man approached me at intermission and, literally, asked me the question above.... 

After I said, "practice", I asked him if he listens to a lot of music.  He said, "not really."

Now, I will admit that I wasn't surprised to find a young player that doesn't listen to a lot of trombone recordings. However, I was surprised that someone who doesn't listen much did have the curiosity to ask the question in the first place. 

It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that you, as an aspiring musician, listen to as muc music as your ears and brain can stand. Preferably music that is directly related to the styles in which you want to be fluent. If you play the trombone, and you tell me you've never heard a recording by Joe Alessi, Christian Lindberg, or JJ Johnson, then you have some serious work to do!  I discussed with the young man where he might go to hear great performers: YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc., and most of it for free!  

The fact of the matter is, you will play the sounds you have in your head. If you can hear it, then you can proceed towards reproducing that sound. 

Second, you should be listening to music that you might think doesn't interest you. Over the past two weeks, I did two things that were eye openers for me: I toured the Moog synthesizer factory in Asheville, NC, and I heard the Blind Boys of Alabama while we were in Birmingham. The Moog tour was interesting because our tour guide, besides giving us a great overview of the history of Moog, pointed me towards some fantastic musicians and bands whose work I discovered I really enjoy, such as Deltron 3030 and Dan the Automator. Those are bands and music styles I would have NEVER discovered on my own!  Likewise, the Blind Boys of Alabama do play a style of music that I already enjoy, gospel, but their live show was so much more than that. Backed by an absolutely fantastic 4-piece band, they played gospel, soul, country, rock, and put on a live show that was as entertaining as it was musically amazing!

So, listen, listen, listen. No excuses!  That is, IF you want to improve and broaden your horizons.... :)

Yours virtually,


Blind Boys of Alabama Bombassic Deltron 3030

Listening Lately

Here goes... I've been getting back into some more listening the past week or so... Here's what I'm into lately... Sean Rowe - Sean has a new EP out, called Her Songs.  I especially like "Ode to Divorce" and "Soldier's Song".  "EP" is a little misleading since there is a video to go with each of the 6 tunes on the album.  Great stuff.

The Gaslight Anthem - I listened to the '59 Sound so much I got sick of it... I just realized this band has a few albums out since then!  The latest is Get Hurt.  I really like their sound!

Death Cab for Cutie - Kintsugi - I just love this album.  Still listening to it.  Bought tickets to their show at Merriweather Post Pavilion on September 13.

Valor Brass - yep, our album made it's way to my doorstep yesterday.  Currently available here.  We are thrilled with the sound from our engineer, Ed Kelly, at Cedar Knoll Media.  Phil Snedecor, longtime director and trumpeter of Washington Symphonic Brass was our producer.


Berlin Philharmonic - I recently bought a one-week ticket to Berlin's Digital Concert Hall.  Wow, what an experience!  I binge-watched a number of pieces and concerts over the past week... check out their recent Mahler 5 with a new trumpet concerto called Aerial performed by Swedish virtuoso Hakan Hardenburger.  There is also a great interview with Hakan and conductor, Andris Nelsons, given by Sarah Willis.  I also enjoyed immensely the Wagner set from Siegfried/Gotterdammerung conducted by Daniele Gatti.  $180 for a one-year ticket is quite a bargain when you see what you have access to on the Digital Concert Hall.  Finally, check out a great behind the scenes tour of their production setup.  Cool!

Alright, one more thing.  This is cool.  Great tune, performing, and possibly the best horn section name ever... Tim Akers and the Smoking Section.  The tune is "Uptown Funk".  Enjoy.


The Virtual Trombonist

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