Tips for Beethoven Symphony Trumpet Performance

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in Classical Trumpet, The Creativity Challenge | 0 comments

November came with a big project for us at the HK Phil performing the 9 Beethoven Symphonies with our music director Jaap van Zweden.  It was an intense month! The boss has very high standards for Beethoven, it was hard work, and it came out very well.  After thinking about and playing Beethoven symphonies for a month I have some performance tips to share with other trumpet players on this important segment of the orchestral repertoire.  Keep in mind these are only my opinions and there are many ways to approach any subject.  Without further ado here we go: First of all, Check Your Ego at...

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The Lost Art of Classical Improvisation

Posted by on Nov 30, 2015 in Classical Trumpet, Philosophy, The Creativity Challenge | 0 comments

Today for Week 14 of the Creativity Challenge I would like to share some thoughts I have on the lost art of improvisation in classical music.  In my opinion improvisation is one of the most important and helpful practices a musician can perform, yet one of the most neglected. Today classical music and musicians suffer greatly as a result of this neglect.  Musicianship is first and foremost about expression, and only through the practice of improvisation can we can discover our true artistic voices. Improvisation is the essential practice of true musicians. Improvisation was the main tool of...

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The Hong Kong Brass Quintet Plays Killer Tango

Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 in Chamber Music, The Creativity Challenge | 0 comments

Today for Week 12 of the Creativity Challenge my colleagues and I of the Hong Kong Brass Quintet are pleased to release this live performance video.  It comes from our performance on RTHK’s Morning Brew with Phil Whelan on November 2, 2015, playing Killer Tango by Sonny Kompanek. The HKBQ has been in existence for three years now and we all enjoy playing together very much.  It’s a welcome departure from the orchestra brass playing paradigm, and very nice to play some real melodies and extended passages of music together.  For more from this group please visit our Facebook page...

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Meditation from Thaïs for Trumpet and Guitar)

Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Chamber Music, Classical Trumpet, The Creativity Challenge | 0 comments

Today for week 11 of the Creativity Challenge I am pleased to present this video of myself and great friend and music colleague Soujit Ghosh on this version of Massanet’s Meditation from Thais, arranged for trumpet and guitar.  It’s a beautiful piece, and a favorite of mine and Soujit’s as we both love meditation.  I recorded this track previously on my album Elevation.  Sometimes when I am in the parks of Hong Kong I see the old Chinese guys doing qigong while listening to this track on their little radios.  However it’s always a version with the violin.  I hope...

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Elevation Solo Album Release and the Myriad Benefits of Recording

Posted by on Oct 27, 2014 in Classical Trumpet, Music Production, Solo | 0 comments

I am delighted to announce the release of my album Elevation, my fifth album as a producer and my first as a classical solo artist. Elevation is the result of almost two years of work and was a tremendous learning experience for me as well a very enjoyable artistic process. The album is now released electronically and if you’d like to download the album or a track please visit CD Baby, iTunes or your favorite online music retailer. I made this album without the expectation of making money or being famous; those are not things that happen as a result of making a self-produced solo...

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The Essential Role of Modeling for Mastery and Rafael Mendez

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Classical Trumpet, Solo, Videos | 1 comment

One of the most effective and time tested methods of getting better at something is modeling. I highly recommend the power of modeling for the development of any skill in any area of performance or life. What is modeling exactly? It is a simple three step process: 1) First find someone (or something) who does well what you want to improve. 2) Study your model carefully, over and over. Notice, learn and internalize every detail you can. 3) Finally, do your best imitation of your model, compare the results, and then repeat the process of 2 and 3. For musicians I highly recommend the...

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