raystrobel47: (Play brass)
Today, during "concert band" (it's a flute, trumpet, and alto sax), the flute player was absent. I got the flute that's been rented to play it. I've been teaching the kids Sousa's "Washington Post", from a score in all B-flat parts.

Because the trumpet player wanted to play the top part instead of the second, I transposed down a whole step on flute, an instrument I'm not too familiar with, and I've rarely read music of any difficulty on it. Felt kinda nice.
raystrobel47: (Play brass)
At Chatham, I teach what's called "Talent X", which introduces the different instrument families to the young kids who attend. I, of course, teach the brass instruments. Amy G., who teaches woodwinds, (and happens to be the daughter of my CMU composition professor) is an oboist, which means she also plays English Horn. Well, I got to play it today, and dooood was it cool. I remember taking oboe for my woodwind methods class, and I surprisingly did quite well on oboe, helped probably by the fact that as a trumpet player I'm used to lots of resistance in producing the sound. The English Horn had a beautiful mellow tone, and once I got a couple of notes I started to get a feel for the lower range and even some above the break.

The best part is that she began to teach me to play the "Going Home" theme from Dvorak's "New World Symphony". I had surprised [livejournal.com profile] fiannaharpar last week by calling her and having Amy play that into the cell phone. :-) In fact, I hadn't even realized that she was teaching me that theme until I got the first two or three notes. (C and E-flat, on the E-flat english horn. you figure out concert pitch.) Unfortunately, my last private student of the day showed up right as I was getting into it. Amy even commented that I had a pretty good sound on it too. Squee!! Ok, I totally wouldn't mind having one of those around, except that I am not in the position to make my own bloody reeds.
raystrobel47: (Kanji)
Koto behind cut. Cut to koto? Say it 5 times... )
raystrobel47: (Whoa!!)
Today we met up with [livejournal.com profile] fiannaharpar's dad while he's in town for a few days. We had dinner with him last night, and went to the Phipps Conservatory today followed by dinner at Mitchel's (formerly Charlie's, formerly G's) for wings and bar food. It was fun, and nice to watch him interact with Pookie.

But when we left Phipps, he wanted to give me something. He drove his vehicle around to my car, then brought out some kind of silk-covered cover and a long piece of fabric. Then he said, "Wait, there's more." That's when he pulled it out.

He bought me a 6'koto.

Apparently, he got it an auction at which he was looking for a chair. At least, that's all I know he was going to get from previous phone conversations. This was totally unprovoked, I swear. I was not thinking to myself, "Gee, I wish my father-in-law would get me a 6' koto at a local auction!" Oh, and not only that, it belonged to the co-producer of Dawn of the Dead. According to the magic Wiki, that's Richard P. Rubinstein.

The instrument is beautiful. The fabric is a cover for the koto. I need to get many things, though, like bridges, picks, new strings, and a method book for the damn thing. Y'know, simple things that everyone who's everyone has for their koto. You understand, right??

Holy frickin' cow.

I will be taking pictures and posting them later this week, of the current condition of the instrument. I'm still slack-jawed when I think about it. He so totally didn't have to do that. I can't wait to get this puppy slicked up and playing it.
raystrobel47: (Play brass)
This past week I have been showing my campers in Talent X Brass (introducing little kids to and teaching them about brass instruments) uncommon instruments. I'd already shown them the basics- trumpet, trombone, French horn (lent graciously by another instructor) and tuba (also graciously lent by a counselor who's looking to get her masters degree in it!). The kids even got a chance to play the trumpet, some of them the trombone. And since I had some different instruments, I thought it'd be a great way to fill time instructional opportunity to show them some unusual brass instruments. Many of those kids will never see those instruments again.

I brought my trumpet in D, which I bought from an owner of a used CD shop in Oakland who had it hanging on one of the walls. It was all tarnished, couple valves stuck, mouthpiece stuck, but other than that it looked fine. I offered to buy it and the owner agreed. The money I've made playing wedding gigs with that has more than paid for the instrument.

I brought in my straight horn that I use for SCA events and a little Moroccan straight trumpet bought at ...10,000 Villages? It's only 2+ feet long and used more like a festive noise maker, but a brass instrument nonetheless, and the kids got a kick out of seeing it.

But the one that I found enjoying more than I thought I would is my E-flat horn. It's like a piccolo tuba. Literally. Or a mini-baritone. It was made in Cleveland, about 50 or so years ago, and I bought it for $50 from the woman who *used* to teach talent X brass. That was a major steal. I really enjoy its sound. It is conical, like a tuba, euphonium, and cornet, so it has that beautiful mellow sound. The mouthpiece is an interesting relic, as it's shaped more like a bell than a cup, and I can play the fundamental on the horn. That's the absolute lowest sound possible on a brass instrument, yet no standard mouthpiece is built so it can be readily played or used. I can put it on my trumpet and play the fundamental there, too! If you're confused, come over to my house and I'll show you! :-)

In between classes, I would pick up that horn and just play it. I can play high and low on it due to my years of trumpet playing and its similarity in size to a trumpet mouthpiece. Because it's in E-flat I can play excerpts from Holst's Military Suite in E-flat trivially because -duh!!- it's keyed in C on the horn! The third valve is hitting part of the casing, and I can't fix that anytime soon, but it's still usable, if awkward. If I could fix it I would, and get it polished up to boot. I may have to keep that horn downstairs because- it's just so damn nice sounding. I guess it's reminding me of the cello in some ways. And Queen: "Little high, little low". I'm sorry if I lost most of y'all on this one, it's just something that struck me since I bought the instrument last year. I could also play alto sax parts, too. That might be something to try.
raystrobel47: (Play brass)
Having seen a bass flute in my recent issue of PMEA magazine, I went to Google images to show my curious daughter how frickin' cool they are. I was then trumped, double trumped, and triple trumped by what I saw. At a site called Contrabass.com, there are oodles of subsonic instrumental debauchery that fascinated me. The site is horribly put together, but I'll give you the direct link to the flutes. You'll see a bass flute, contrabass flutes in G and C, and a hyperbass flute. Click on some of the maker's links to get pictures. They look like cursive 'J's. There's a 'T-headjoint' contrabass flute, where the headjoint goes across like a regular flute, doubles back on itself, but then goes down in the middle, and it looks at least 4' long. Day-um!!

Bonus!

Dec. 30th, 2006 10:02 pm
raystrobel47: (Music)
Today included a trip up to Cranberry for CostCo goodies and, of course, a trip to see Nanny. (my MIL) This afternoon featured basement shopping because a lot of old stuff was going to be given away if not taken first, so our daughter now has a chalkboard easel, and a poster of Snow White from the '70s that used to belong to my Sister-in-law. But the unexpected prize is that I am now in possesion of the girls' Yamaha keyboard that was bought back in 2001 or so. Dude, it has 6.5 octaves (71 keys), touch sensitive, recording capabilities, and it has MIDI capability. So all I need are the frickin' MIDI cables and I can synch up the keyboard with Finale and get some real work done on my music. (when I have the bleeping time...) This just saved me oodles of time, money, and is fun to play with to boot. Yay!!
raystrobel47: (Default)
It's 8:24AM and pooky's still in bed, sleeping. I checked on her around 8, intent on getting her up, but since she was still snoozing, I figured I'd let her sleep. I really don't think she's had a chance to catch up on sleep, and hopefully this'll make her feel well rested.

It's back to crappy weather, after a couple of gorgeous days of what spring should be. It's raining, and won't get above 50, which nixes my plan of taking Lake to the strip this morning. That was another factor in letting her sleep. If it was pretty, I'd've gotten her up to get down there in a reasonable time. It sucks, because I really wanted to go, but dealing with the backpack on a cold and rainy day all by myself doesn't sound like fun.

I accidentaly closed Tiger up in the front room last night. I thought he was out when I put Alfred in his crate for the night, but he must've hid somewhere and, well, didn't get out until this morning.

I got my violin! I put the bridge on, tuned it up, rosined the bow, and did what pathetically little I could. I *would* like to be better on the violin, but it's going to take a lot of practice. I also realized that the blue is in fact painted on, not stained. I know that it's a student model and any degradation of the sound the paint will cause is minimal, because it's not like I'm going to make a virtuoso-like sound on it any time soon. It's still blue. And mine. :-)
raystrobel47: (Tick)
I am on spring break.

I am helping [livejournal.com profile] sk4p empty his house of our stuff.

I am going to get a saxophone today, along with other things.

And, there's a 12 pound package of meat that arrived from my parents this morning. Included are: venison backstrap, venison sausage (german and polish), and chipped BBQ beef from Joe's Barbeque in Alvin, Texas. Oh. My. Deah. Lawd. I haven't had this stuff in a couple of years, and I juxt polished off 2 BBQ sammiches. Yummmmm. I just need to put the rest in the freezer.
raystrobel47: (Trumpet)
Remember this post? Where I shamelessly divulged my instrumental acquisitional desires? Well, as it turns out, our friends Paul and Mary who are moving (you may know them better as Tofi and Genvieve) found Paul's old alto saxophone waaaaaaay back in the attic. It was offered to come live with me.

:-) *bounce*
raystrobel47: (Trumpet)
I'm fiddle-futzing around on ebay, something that I haven't done in about three years, and so of course I gravitate to the musical instrument section. There's a cello being bid on for $41. Yes, a two-digit number, forty-one freakin' dollars. The shipping itself is $49.50! That's under $100 for a cello! Even if it is a sub-par instrument, it's a freakin' new cello for under $100 (if the auction were to end today)!! And now I have the list of instruments that I want to acquire before I die:

-Cello
-Bass guitar with amp
-Flugelhorn
-Double horn
-Alto sax

I actually think I'd be reasonably happy with that. Until the next time I go on ebay... curse them all...

EDIT: Blue beginner violin (yes, blue) for $61, which includes insured shipping/handling. *brain melt*

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January 2011

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