Midwest Clinic Roundup

As promised, here are some summary thoughts on last week’s Midwest Clinic.  Prior to leaving for Chicago, I listed some basic goals I wanted to meet while at the conference.

  • Check out some other clinics
  • Attend the CSO Brass concert
  • Exhibits, Exhibits, Exhibits
  • Attend Concerts
  • Reconnect with friends and colleagues
  • Update my blog

I’m happy to say that I was able to achieve all of these goals – at least to some degree.  I did attend a few other clinics, which you can read about in my previous posts, but as always there wasn’t enough time to attend everything that looked interesting. Two sessions I really would have liked to see were “Injury Prevention for Musicians,” presented by Paula Brusky, and “Brassed On: A Guide to Expressive Brass Playing,” by Gregory R. Jones.  Although I wasn’t there in person, I did download and read over their clinic handouts (here and here).

Next on my to do list was attend the CSO Brass Concert.  In an earlier post I mentioned that I had more to say about the concert, and thinking back over the performance, a couple of things really stood out to me.  First, the CSO brass section blends and matches like no other section I’ve heard. While their particular approach and sound concept may not be to everyone’s taste, their musicality and total awareness of each other is undeniable.  From tuba all the way up to piccolo trumpet, the section blends and projects a unified sound. The second thing I noticed was that although some players seemed fatigued (or were just having an “off” day) – perhaps due to Mahler 6 rehearsals earlier that week – they didn’t let that get in the way of the overall product.  Yes, there were some missed notes, which I can assure you happens in live performances, but they were clearly overshadowed by the quality of sound and phrasing.

I’ve already mentioned the sheer number and diversity of exhibits at the clinic, so I won’t go on too much about them. I did make a few purchases (books and recordings) a few of which I’ll be reviewing on this blog in 2012. I’ve listened to snippets of all the recordings, and the ones that really stand out to me so far are J.D. Shaw‘s recording with the University of New Mexico Wind Ensemble, and the Canadian Brass, Brahms on Brass.

There isn’t too much else I can say about the other concerts I attended, other than to note the extremely high quality of all the ensembles, both student and professional.  I spoke with some old and new friends, although I would have liked to spend more time with them.  And luckily, I was able to find some time each night to write regular blog posts. I also want to thank my wonderful wife Kristen for accompanying me on this trip – as always, her love and support were invaluable!

I know most of my university colleagues are now on break for the holidays, and I’m also looking forward to a few weeks of rest and relaxation.  Of course I’ll still be practicing for some performances coming up in early 2012, but I plan to dial things back a bit and enjoy some time with friends and family.  I may write another post before the end of 2011, but if not, I wish all of my readers a safe and happy holiday season. See you next year!

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