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Bustin’ Through the January Funk

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Bustin’ Through the January Funk

Hello again! I hope the dust has settled and you’re all getting a minute to rest and take a nap after the busy holiday season. Now that we’re starting the slow winter creep, here are some things I do every year to help get my year started on the right foot.

Take a walk! 

I’m always thrown for a loop when the New Year jobs are over and the social vibe is gone. When I’m working a lot, I’m also socializing a lot, and losing both at the same time can be depressing. I take one long walk a day, no matter how cold it is. It gives me something to look forward to every day, and the fresh air does wonders for warding off the seasonal depression that comes with the dark days. It also helps burn off those holiday cookies and cocktails that were oh-so-fun going down the hatch! 

Start something new!

Even if it’s just a new routine on the horn, I force myself to try something I’ve always wanted to do. An iPhone game, a new language, a new recipe: there’s probably already an app for it. It helps me transition from a busy calendar to a bleak one with minimal depression. This year, I’m taking on some new baking ventures that I didn’t have time for in December!

Do stuff!

Is there a park you’ve wanted to see? A movie you missed? A museum that you should have visited long ago? A new store that had a grand opening in October and you  never made it? January is a great time for eventing because the crowds have died down and you can enjoy these things with a little space. I definitely have some new playgrounds on my list to run around in with my crew.

And if all else fails...

Seasonal depression is a real thing. Post-busy-season hangover can be a real bummer. If I find myself wallowing in the middle of the day and I can’t pick myself up enough to see the positive, I force myself to text a friend. A “Happy Belated New Year” can snap me out of a spiral, and sometimes I pull together a hang of my own. Musicians are trained by themselves, but there’s no reason we have to stay that way.

 

Best wishes for good winter months! ❤️  What do you do to beat the blues? Comment below.

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Man of La Mancha!

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Man of La Mancha!

This production of Man of La Mancha, at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, CT, is touching and incredibly well-staged. Here are a few things that make this special production work from an inside view!

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 New Season, New Complaints

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New Season, New Complaints

It’s officially fall! With this new season often comes that wave of dread when the black ink layers upon itself and you wonder “how am I going to play THIS much music?” If it doesn’t come in these crucial months, it can get extremely depressing and frustrating, and it seems like there’s no way to ever just be happy. Is there ever a state of being a musician where there’s no reason to complain?

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What’s in a Union?

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What’s in a Union?

Democratic primaries for state elections have just happened in New York and, while politics are very much on everyone’s minds these days, it turns out that the musicians’ union here, Local 802, is having elections of its own. As a non-employed musician pondering the candidates, I ask myself “What should I be getting from the union?”

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Playing While Under Duress

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Playing While Under Duress

I can't pick and choose when I'll get called to play on someone else's show or be given the opportunity to learn someone else's book, so I make do with what I have.  And yes, sometimes that means playing through extreme pain that ISN'T a muscle injury that occurred from overuse of my embouchure.

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The Legacy of Aretha Franklin: Musicianship

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The Legacy of Aretha Franklin: Musicianship

If someone asked me what I knew about Aretha Franklin, I could rattle off the top five hits, just like anyone else, but I knew very little about her life.  What I read was both shocking and inspiring. I'm honoring her legacy by sharing some of the things about her that moved me.

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An American Hero: A World War II Musical

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An American Hero: A World War II Musical

One of the most gratifying projects I've been a part of this summer was working in the pit of An American Hero:  A World War II Musical as a part of the New York Musical Festival, or NYMF Kenneth L. Stilson did a great job writing a book that makes you feel like you're hanging out in a time from long ago, and Cody Cole wrote music that is funny, dramatic, and haunting at times.  He pulls from many sources of inspiration, and melds them together pretty seamlessly.

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Redefining Success

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Redefining Success

Many of us classical musicians are programmed from the get go to pursue traditional careers. This can result in many talented people questioning whether or not the classical dream was really theirs in the first place.

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On Being a Kind Freelancer

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On Being a Kind Freelancer

Some recent conversations I've been having with colleagues have got me thinking about the importance of being kind to others that we meet on the job, on social media, and especially those who are often not kind to us.

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Makeover!

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Makeover!

Spring has finally sprung here in NYC. With the change of seasons comes the inevitable wardrobe switch from hats to sunglasses, parkas to anoraks, boots to fun flats and, as an added accessory for me, a new brand of horn!

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Playing Like it's the End of the World

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Playing Like it's the End of the World

This sentiment has guided almost every major musical decision I've made in my career.  From choosing summer festivals to reading scores, I often ask myself: "if this is the last time I get to play this piece, is this the decision I want to go out on?"  It has permeated the way I listen to music, and it's probably what keeps me locked into the passion I have for being a horn player. 

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Reality Show Realness

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Reality Show Realness

The babies are asleep, the toys are picked up, the kitchen is cleaned, and it's too late to practice anymore.  As is my wont to do, I started wondering why I can't get enough of this seemingly junky TV.

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