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Blog #1

This past spring break I traveled to Washington D.C. with the University of Northern Colorado trombone choir to perform at the Eastern Trombone Workshop (known as the best trombone festival in the nation). During my week there, I had the opportunity to learn from some of the very best performers and educators in my field, which is
trombone performance. My favorite experience there was having a several hour
one on one conversation with one of the great jazz trombonists in New York City,
David Gibson, after his performance. I have never learned so much from one
person in such a short time. He helped me refine my definition of what music is
and what it is to be a true musician. We discussed the difference between what
he called an athlete (someone who plays a billion notes at 100 miles per hour
for the sake of virtuosity) and a pure musician (someone who is communicating
on a personal level with the audience through music), why music is the purest
form of communication, how every person has it within themselves to understand
music on a deeper level (everyone is an instrument and everything is music, but
that’s a different philosophical discussion) but the majority of people choose
not to, and numerous other topics. That conversation has completely changed the
way I listen to music, my taste in music, how I express myself through my
music, and my overall outlook on life. Technology did not play a role at that
time, but it has been useful since then. We have kept in touch via facebook and
his advice has been critical in recent decisions I have made, such as my
transfer to the University of Denver.  I think the second and third paragraphs on page 64 are particularly relevant to my experience. Davidson talks about how Duke took an unorthodox approach to education through the use of IPods. David Gibson takes a similar approach in the sense that he uses a philosophy that may not be popular educational establishment but is practical in the times we live in. He encouraged me to
transfer to a school where I could pay less and stay out of debt so I could afford to move to NYC after graduation. My primary teacher at Northern Colorado criticized me greatly for having that as my main reason for transferring, stating that he thinks I made the wrong decision, but I agree with David that it makes sense to pay less at a good, but not as famous, music program so I can stay out of debt. Another example of something similar to what I learned from David in the reading can be found on p. 107 and 108 when Davidson is stating how success in the classroom does not always evolve into success in real life. If someone plays a classical piece with no mistakes but plays with no emotion, no one with pay to listen to them play. If you’re improvising on a blues and are just diatonic ideas with no passion or rhythmic diversity, you aren’t going to get hired for a gig.

This was a fun assignment because it caused me to look back on a positive educational
experience and write down my thoughts on what I learned. Music and communication/media are very similar and I’m looking forward to learning more
about culture outside of music.

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  1. September 21, 2011 at 5:39 am

    First, excellent work. Informative and enjoyable to read. Secondly, I note you have a strange formatting issue going on there (your text seems to lean to the left as it were). I’m guessing you’re writing in Word and cut-n-pasting it into the blog? No big deal, just curious. Anyway, good job, full credit on the assignment.

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