Clinic Performance Videos

As promised, here are some video clips from my clinic on solo playing at the Louisiana Music Educators’ Association 2010 State Convention.   This was the first time in a long while that I’ve recorded my playing on video, and it was quite interesting editing the footage and working with a new (to me) piece of technology.  I used a Canon Vixia HF R10 with a Sony ECM-MS907 microphone, and overall I was very pleased with the results.  I plan to post a bit more in the future about using this device, and I also have some other video recording projects in the works.  One thing to point out on the video that I will definitely fix in the future is the background hiss.  I put the camera in the very back of the conference room, and turned the microphone levels to the maximum.  In hindsight I realize this wasn’t the best configuration, and in the future I’ll move the camera much closer and turn the levels down.  As for my playing I was also pretty happy with things.  Were the performances perfect? – nope – but musically I think they were effective, and I hope that the demonstrations gave a general idea of how each piece is supposed to sound.  This was not my first presentation of this type, and the more of these I do the more I realize how difficult the whole “talk for a while then perform” thing can be. Just remember that when you watch a really good clinic/demonstration, a tremendous amount of work and preparation has usually gone into it, even (and especially) if the presenter seems totally at ease and makes things look easy.  NB: These videos are produced in HD format, so if your internet connection will allow, dial up the resolution all the way to 720p by going directly to the actual YouTube video (click on the link at the top) and using the menu in the lower-right portion of the player window.

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2010 Louisiana Music Educators’ Convention

I spent a few days last weekend at the Louisiana Music Educators’ Association 2010 State Music Conference, which is held annually in Baton Rouge.  As always, this year’s conference was very well organized, with a variety of clinics, performances, and exhibits.  You can view the entire conference schedule here: 2010 LMEA Conference. I presented a clinic on Monday morning at 8:00am (!) titled “Strategies for Successful Solo Performances.” Although I was a little disappointed in the sparse attendance at my session this year, the handful of people who were there seemed interested and I hope they got something out of the presentation.  I did manage to record my clinic on a new camcorder, but am still working on the technical details of editing and converting the content to a web-friendly format.  When it’s ready I’ll post a few clips from the presentation here for those who might be interested.  The idea for this presentation came from a desire to see more solo performances from high school and middle school horn players, either in the form of  public performances or participation in district and state solo/ensemble festivals.  I think many of the high school and middle school horn players in Louisiana (and elsewhere) could benefit from positive experiences as soloists early in their musical education.  Do they need to play Strauss 2 as high school seniors? – not necessarily – but incorporating solo literature into the usual diet of scales and etudes is a good place to start.  I divided my presentation into the following parts:

Practice Strategies

Suggested Timetable for Preparing a Solo Performance

Repertoire Recommendations/Guidelines

Dealing with Performance Anxiety

Stage Presence

Tips on Rehearsing with Piano Accompaniment

Horn/Piano Placement Options

Sample Solo Repertoire (Demonstration)

Readers of this blog will find many of these topics familiar as I’ve covered them in several posts over the last few months.  Some of the material was written prior to its inclusion in a blog post, while other parts (Stage Presence) were written specifically for this blog and later adapted for use in the presentation.  For the final part of the presentation I was joined by Mrs. Coralie White, Associate Professor of Piano at ULM, to demonstrate some basic solo literature.  I picked three pieces which I felt were appropriate for a middle school, intermediate high school, and advanced high school student – an arrangement of Allerseelen by Richard Strauss, Romance by Saint-Saëns, and Reveries by Glazunov.  Once I get the video recording edited down I’ll probably post those performances to YouTube and this blog.  You can also check out the handout from the presentation here. Boldin – LMEA Clinic Fall 2010

In addition to presenting, I also spent some time observing the All-State ensembles and talking with prospective students.  Throughout the weekend high school students can come up to the various college displays and speak with faculty from those schools about auditions, scholarships, and the music program in general.  I usually try to get in touch with the horn players in the All-State ensembles prior to the convention, and then follow up and speak to them in person sometime during the weekend. I enjoy meeting and talking to these students, and the convention in general is a great way to network and build connections throughout the state. The horn sections in the orchestra and bands sounded great at the rehearsals – Louisiana has some very talented young players!  I wasn’t able to stay for the band concerts on Monday, but I’m sure they went well.  LMEA also brought in some wonderful clinicians to work with the All-State ensembles: Ralph Ford from Troy University (Concert Band), Dennis Fisher from the University of North Texas (Symphonic Band), and Tonu Kalam from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Orchestra).

If you are a music educator at any level, I encourage you to get involved with your state’s music educators’ association, and consider attending their annual conventions or conferences.  It’s a great way to meet fellow music educators, as well as build up your experience and professional development.

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