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How To Choose the Right Dance Classes for You?

How do you chose the right dance class? Its a big question – but this is how I would break it down.

What style of dance do you like?

Lets be realistic – if you are significantly unfit and uncoordinated taking up classical ballet classes is going to be a huge challenge. Maybe you should start with beginners Ceroc classes or Rock and Roll? That said I took ballet classes when in my 20?s – totally unfit, very inflexible – I had a great time – but I was useless!

If you have a partner to dance with then you may want to specific partner dance styles (ballroom classes, rock and roll, sequence to name but a few). If your partner is same sex that is not too much of a problem as there is a strong same-sex dance dancing community in Wellington (and no you don’t have to be gay to join).

If you are single you have a number of choices. Many ballroom dance classes and all Ceroc classes rotate partners so if you don’t come with one you will have one soon enough and you will get to meet lots of new people. Alternatively you could consider styles such as Jazz dance, line dancing, belly dancing or even pole dancing (ladies the last two) which are solo dance styles.

What Sort of Music Do You Like?

If you hate 50?s music don’t go to rock and roll dancing. If Egyptian/Middle Eastern music is not your thing then reconsider belly dancing lessons!

Location of the Dance Classes

Driving from Upper Hutt to Wellington for classes maybe multiple times a week is a big commitment in time and petrol. Look for local dance classes Eastern Suburbs if you don’t want to do a lot of driving or you rely on public transport.

Women and Music

My composition class/seminar was composed by thirty guys and one girl. I remember our teacher (he was a joker) explaining how every time he asked a question, she would have to answer first, because, you know, ladies first.
And then I asked myself, only one girl? Do girls struggle more than guys when it comes to convincing their circle of people (parents)? For general audiences—and that includes most of our parents—the image of the musician is a dark one. Musicians mean for them: bar musicians; long haired creatures with electric guitars and dirty t-shirts.
I met a girl whose father, a musician himself, didn’t want her to follow his steps. He explained how hard this career is, and there was no way his little girl will go through hell like he did. Perhaps that’s the reason we only had a girl in our seminar.
Well, the good news is that 2014 is a good time to be a happy woman and major in trumpet performance; because you can.
Don’t get caught in people’s opinion of what you should or not do. Yes, listen to your parents but if you like the trombone, you know, they offer degrees in trombone performance for a reason. You can work and EARN MONEY doing trombone stuff, right?
Get your parents informed.
As for yourself, happiness is more important than money. Go after what makes you happy, not for what women “should do.” Trombone is what you should do whether you are male or female—because it makes you happy.
If you are a woman, I salute you. You are reading the best blog for classical musicians in the world :), joke behind and more importantly, I would like to hear what’s been your experience. What struggles did you have and what did you do to overcome them.

The Last 10 Minutes of Practice

You look at the clock on the wall, one hour left. Crap! You can’t go, not until five o’clock sharp.
Whatever you are doing I know it’s not fun because you are looking at the clock. Time passes slowly. You may be practicing a tedious etude or working a bad shift. And then you think again, why am I here—why do I have to do this?
Is this really going to help me?
Chances are that the answer is YES. Hard work ALWAYS pays off. But how do I put up with it?
Here’s a tip: The last hour is the hardest, and the last 10 minutes are almost impossible to finish.
Because as Steven Pressfield said in his War of Art, Resistance gives all it has to beat you down when the finish line is visible.
The last pages of your book are going to be the hardest to write, and so do the last measures of your etude (to play or study).
Keep that in mind and when the time comes stay strong, man up and scream “I am beating you arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh” and then focus and then do your best job.
Awareness is the first step, the second is screaming (it can be in your mind but you must do it, it will give you the courage).
And that my dearest colleague, is how you get the job done

The Chatter in Your Head

The chatter in your head is keeping you from enjoying the moment—and from learning. When you read a book and realize you are just reading but thinking about something else, the chatter got your attention. Either you go back and reread that paragraph, or stay chatting with your own thoughts.
That chatter is evil. It kept you from enjoying your book, but it didn’t stop there. When you are studying your Brahms symphony, you enjoy the first couple of minutes and then the stupid chatter interrupts again. The music keeps running, you still wearing your headphones, and your mind is in Pandora with Jake Sully.
Freaking chatter is everywhere. You start with your scales, playing long notes to warm up and after 7 minutes, bam! You play in automatic mode while the chatter explains in detail how boring the exercises are, how beautiful the day is, and how great will be if John could pick you up at seven instead of at seven thirty. Your scales are ruined.
Everything is when chatter interrupts.
So, how do you ignore the chatter?
I’ve found meditating very helpful. You train your mind to stay still, and then you can transfer your skills to your every day life. Here is the workshop I’m doing now. You can also go to and try their free audio sessions.
If you have to choose one, then grab a copy of this month’s selection for the TCM book club (The Inner Game of Music). It tackles the chatter topic in detail and provides you with exercises and solutions to shut the inner voice.

The Big Leagues of Classical Music

You committed to practice for years and leveled up in status and musicianship, now it’s time to move on.
You decide to move forward and enter the Big Leagues.
What you may not know, is that in the big leagues they play a different game.
Entering the big leagues is a brave act; entering the unknown always is.
But once you decide to move in that direction, which is by all means a respectable decision, it’s important to be ready for a huge slap in the face (like never before; minor leagues slaps can’t compare).
Even if you were the king of the minor leagues, you will feel the slap.
As you enter this new world, don’t be discouraged by what it looks like unreachable. The ones ruling that scene started the same way you did.
So, when you decide it’s time to make the upgrade, get ready for your first slap and hold on tight; you are stepping on new grounds played by new rules.
Don’t worry; we are there next to you, surviving the same wave.
I help you, you help me.
I think it’s the best strategy to one day make it up there

On Phrasing

When you play notes, you play notes. When you play notes in a context, you are making sense of the music. When you play each individual note with a correlation to the next one and then the next one, you are phrasing—in other words, you make good music.
To play a phrase, you need to know more about what you are getting yourself into. It’s not about taking the instrument out of the case and playing—that’s playing notes (read the first sentence of this post).
The composer, probably a beast in his field, spent years perfecting his craft. And you will have to as well in order to interpret his will.
Everything worth takes time; every award requires you to become awesome first in order to earn it.
As a growing musician you can learn from everything. Really pay attention in your classes. Be present and learn what it takes to make good music. A big portion of music making is about phrases that sing; phrases that tell a story.
To tell the story that Beethoven wrote for your instrument, honestly, you’ll have to know the guy. You have to learn the reason he wrote it, for whom and where, why, when and who was with him that night.
The more you know, the better you will phrase; and the higher your musicianship will get.

Winter Music Conference 2011

Do you know what the most anticipated clubbing event inside the US is? That could be the Winter Music Conference, according to the New York Times. With over 60,000 participants every year, it really is indeed an event to reckon with in terms of clubbing and techno genre. The WMC is really a week-long festival that provides not just pure techno entertainment, but too as other activities as well for the eager fans to participate in.

Apart from the music festival, a winter music conference participant could also partake on the numerous offerings such as WMC seminars and panels, WMC exhibits, WMC technologies demonstrations, International Dance Music Awards, WMC Demo Listening Workshops, WMC/DMC DJ Spin-off, VJ Challenge and an entire other a lot more of great activities. And for the year 2011, the Winter Music Conference will again be held in Miami, Florida from March 8 to 11. Numerous artists will be featured in the said techno music event.

Clubbing events have been gaining grounds all over the globe, most specifically in the US and also the Europe region where fans are in hordes. In fact, hundreds of techno fanatics would travel all over the world only to participate in a music conference or clubbing events like the Winter Music Conference. And what makes WMC stands out is its assortment of goings-on in the course of the music festival, which could be a good method to maintain the momentum and stay away from boredom from participants.

Know a lot more about Winter Music Conference by means of an event site that caters to such a clubbing event. You could get premium tickets on DJ performances of your option and could even have the correct schedules on who will likely be playing next and when. Should you wish to be a part of this remarkable clubbing event, then ensure to check on an event website for WMC and in no way be left behind anymore on this renowned clubbing event.

Money, Music and Happiness

Everything that IS; everything around you, will one day disintegrate. Every book, computer and trash-cans—all gone—even your instrument (God noooo!). Nothing material is eternal. I’m not talking you into something religious or spiritual, but I think as an alternative to buying stuff for pleasure, we should look for happiness inside us rather than outside.
You kind of have to; you entered the classical music business for the love of the craft, not the money (there isn’t much money in the Beethoven world).
Instead of buying, practice gratitude and enjoy leveling up. Every practice session moves you closer to your goals; you are making good art—that should suffice to make you the happiest person in the world.
But no, we are trained to find happiness in Mercedes Benz’s. Damn system.
Challenge it. Challenge the system and the status quo. Don’t be like others. Be yourself and think as an independent unit. Don’t buy Mercedes because others buy it. Consider cultivating happiness from within so it lasts. Enjoy every little success you have. Chances are your successes are not as little as you think.
Spend your money on experiences (ahem, learn travel hacking) instead of buying Mercedes Benz’s. Play music from the heart and fill it with happiness as you go. Never stop learning.

Ron Eschete – The Most Awesome Jazz Music Guitar Player Ever!

Jazz guitarist Ron Eschete was born in 1948 in Houma, Louisiana and not surprisingly his early influences were jazz guitar virtuosos Jim Hall, Howard Roberts, and Wes Montgomery. After getting his initial guitar at the age of 14, Eschete joined a quartet and was working clubs in Louisiana before he had even graduated from high school playing jazz guitar music. He attended Loyola University where he majored in classical guitar and minored in flute. While there he studied with classical guitar player Paul Guma. Immediately after Eschete left Loyola he was tapped to tour with Buddy Greco. Whilst on tour with Greco, Eschete set his sites on the Los Angeles music scene. In 1970 Eschete relocated to California playing and recording with vibraphonist Dave Pike. Then in 1975 he joined forces with pianist Gene Harris and swiftly established his reputation as a premier jazz guitar accompanist while also releasing his initial collection book of jazz guitar tabs and jazz guitar tablatures.

Over the years Ron Eschete has played with the best talents in jazz including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Diana Krall, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, and many others! Eschete has appreared on the Tonight Show with Diana Krall, The Merv Griffin Show with The Mort Lindsey Orchestra, and The Mike Douglas Show with Buddy Greco. He has played nearly every notable jazz place in the southern California area such as The Catalina Bar and Grill, The Jazz Bakery, Steamers, Donte’s, Carmelo’s, The Parisian Room, and The Lighthouse to name but a few. He has toured regularly and has played important venues from New York to San Francisco.

Eschete cites a 1988 gig in San Diego as a vital turning point in his career. There he started to shed his notoriety as the quintessential sideman – he stepped to the center of the stage and began playing his own material. Long considered one of the best guitarists in mainstream jazz by musicians and listeners alike, he has now taken over the reins and “progressive leader” may possibly be a much better name says preeminent jazz critic Zan Stewart. In 1994 he released his first solo recording for Concord Jazz Record Company called “A Closer Look”, showcasing his masterful fingerstyle jazz guitar sound and his seven-string Benedetto archtop guitar. In addition to this solo recording Eschete has recorded 3 CDs with his trio: “Softwinds”, “Rain or Shine”, and “Mo’ Strings Attached”.

While Ron Eschete’s career has been largely focused on performance, this master jazz guitar player and musician has devoted nearly twenty five years of his life to teaching music at quite a few schools and universities including North Texas State University, Utah State University, Loyola University, Louisiana State University at New Orleans, California State Universities at Long Beach and Fullerton, and Musician’s Institute in Hollywood. Ron has been described as a masterful music chameleon. Switching melodic lines and ideas with fantastic efficiency and beauty, he transforms from accompanist to soloist and from musical master to musical mentor. Fortunately for aspiring guitarists, Ron has published various instructional jazz guitar tab books that teach his harmonic strategies and chord melody soloing concepts.

How to Teach Music

Three students playing out of tune will require three different ways to explain the fix; because each one of them has grown individually. They learned in different ways. Their unique path brought them to the same place (if they are playing the same concerto or having the same intonation issues) through different kinds of challenges. They survived using different techniques, different time schedules and using their own individual abilities—which are drastically different from one another.
Teaching is like an experiment. You try and see the effects, if it’s not what you want, you try something else.
After a couple of hours of teaching you WILL be tired; it cannot be reflected in your teaching.
These students put their trust in you. They believe you can help them achieve their musical goals. And after 4 hours of teaching, you still have to stay strong and identify the problem to find a smart solution—a unique one, for her.
The environment you create through a positive attitude and your commitment will be reflected in the success of the lesson. You are allowed to be grouchy once a year, for human purposes, but that’s it.
It’s a lot of work, but you create artists, what a better way to live life?
One other thing, everything you teach will help you remind yourself of the little details required for an excellent performance. You’ll stay in the game.
Teaching music is a big responsibility, it’s not an extra income opportunity. Take it seriously and you will grow as a person and as a musician.