The Most Marketable Commodity in the Music Business

“I always wanted to play something different than the way most trumpet players played.”

-Miles Davis

The single most marketable commodity in the music business is originality.

Sand Beach at Acadia National Park
© 2014 Andrew Hitz

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Are You Taking Enough Risks?

“People with a low tolerance for risk, whose behavior is guided by fear, have a low propensity for success.”

-Keith Ferrazzi from Never Eat Alone

Whether trying to become a band director or start a new chamber ensemble, the music business, like every other business, generally rewards those who take risks. And taking risks involves getting out of your comfort zone.

Are you taking enough risks today to succeed?

The sunsetting over Sebec Lake in Maine.
© 2014 Andrew Hitz

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Abandon All Hope For A Better Past

When performing, you must abandon all hope for a better past. Never focus on a previous note or phrase. Instead, always focus on the story you are telling in that very moment.


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Leonard Bernstein & Vienna Philharmonic – Mahler 1: Monday YouTube Fix

I don’t know about you, but my Monday could sure use a video of Leonard Bernstein conducting the Vienna Philharmonic doing Mahler’s First Symphony.

This is simply breathtaking stuff. Enjoy!

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New York Philharmonic in North Korea: Monday YouTube Fix

I just stumbled onto this video of the New York Philharmonic’s historic trip to North Korea.  This is a video of George Gershwin’s “An American In Paris” from their concert at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre on February 26, 2008 conducted by Lorin Maazel.

Not only is this one of the most famous orchestral concerts from the last half century, but the orchestra sounds phenomenal.  Especially the brass! Joe Alessi, Alan Baer, Phil Smith and Philip Myers as well as the entire rest of the brass sections just sound fantastic.  Alan’s tuba solo from this version of “An American In Paris” is spot on.




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Words of Wisdom from Rex Martin

On my Facebook page recently, I posted the following quote:

“Playing soft with the same intensity as loud is difficult to master.”

-Dan Neville

I think it’s a great quote that puts a spotlight on the importance of playing softly.  But as usual, one of my mentors, Rex Martin, came in and put it in even better words.  The comment he left on that status was priceless:

Not particularly difficult at all, but pretty time consuming.”

-Rex Martin

Reminds me of the JJ Johnson quote from one of last month’s Monday YouTube Fix’s about taking shortcuts when learning an instrument.  Spoiler Alert: JJ couldn’t find any.

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Game of Thrones Theme (Epic Low Brass Version): Monday YouTube Fix

Okay this is awesome! My friend Andy Bove, who I interviewed for my book, “A Band Director’s Guide to Everything Tuba: A Collection of Interviews with the Experts“, put together one of the most impressive low brass ensembles every formed for this video.

So what did he decide to record with this collection of low brass players? The theme to Game of Thrones, of course! Seriously, you have to hear this.  It got well over 100,000 views almost overnight and is already at over 200,000 and rising.  It will rattle your windows. Continue reading

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Drawing What You See

“I can only draw what I see.”

-Claude Monet

And we can only play what we can hear.


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Less Facts, More Stories

“To hell with facts! We need stories!”
― Ken Kesey

It is natural for classical musicians to get wrapped up in getting the facts right: playing the right notes and the right rhythms. This is of course critically important, but can not come at the expense of having storytelling as our primary focus.

We need more stories!

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Casals on Perfect Technique

“The most perfect technique is that which is not noticed at all.”

-Pablo Casals

This should be the ultimate goal of any performer and one that takes years of discipline to achieve.

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