Saturday, July 31, 2021


"Would you mind playing that again, please?"

Thomas Schippers asked that question in the Cincinnati trumpet audition in 1975. It was after one of those long grinding excerpts from Ein Heldenleben. I was a bit puzzled, thinking that I had just nailed it successfully. Later I learned that he was testing for endurance. 

At Tanglewood one summer we heard it again. Roger Voisin was conducting us on Fanfare for the Common Man. Right before we began the performance, he said "all right, boys, we're going to play it twice." (GULP!) Fortunately, we only played it once. He then smiled as if to say, "just testing you, guys." 

Lesson: Once is not enough, even if it's good.


Friday, July 02, 2021



"Try not to sound like a student!"  

Nothing wrong with being a student! Who isn't one? 

This advice years ago really helped bring some sanity to practice sessions. Instead of indiscriminate blasting, it brought an awareness that all notes matter. Music is about listening. "Try to sound like a great musician!"