The News a Year Later (2019)

Time (overdue) for the Annual Catch up.

The latest news is about Daniel Rosenboom’s fantastic book, The Boom Method (BQ-201) This has been the hottest new item that people are snatching up and heading for the practice rooms. You can see why when you link over to it and read what people are saying about, both from the Hollywood studio heavy hitters to the LA Phil trumpet section.

I spent June of 2018 working on Carl Roskott’s Concerto for Trumpet (BQ-195) We brought out the trumpet and piano version and then began working on the full orchestra score and set of parts. That project is in its more-or-less final proofing stages. I would love to have someone play it with an orchestra to be the final check up - and no rental fee would be assessed for that!

Neil Mueller’s Orchestral Souvenirs (BQ-193) (duets on over 50 famous orchestral trumpet passages) finally got finished before Thanksgiving. Neil has drawn on all of his previous experiences in his earlier three duet collections and this one is a winner on all fronts.

Stanley Curtis’s Advent for Trumpet, Soprano and Piano (BQ-199) is a beautiful work ideally suited to church and recital settings.

Jon Nelson’s arrangement of Schoenberg’s Kleine Klavierstucke (BQ-196) for brass quintet and percussion. This is the initial offering in a Meridian Arts Ensemble Folio. Second on this was the Bach/Nelson Contrapunctus VX, Est is genug (BQ-197) for quintet and percussion (vides and xylophone)

Mark Ponzo’s very popular Complete Sight-Reading Etudes Collection (BQ-194) makes the transition from treble clef to bass clef.

In that category, two other titles now available in bass clef are A Tribute to William Adam (CDM2) and the Cichowicz Long Tones and Flow Studies (MC 10013)

The News in March 2018

The News in March 2018

I was surprised to see that the last news update was way back in June of 2017. Last year was a hard year.

Back problems slowed me down considerably. But the last seven months of Pilates sessions have proven to be an excellent way to manage the issue – and I am most thankful for that!

Since the year’s end, things have kicked into a higher gear. Last June I mentioned the two pieces of Faure edited by Jean-Louis Couturier, Two Duos for Two Trumpets and Piano (BQ-188).

and the Fugue for Four Trumpets (BQ-189).

In the Fall, Charley Davis’s publication, Tribute to William Adam, His Teachings and Routines, was the center of activity. We were deeply enmeshed with helping him make housekeeping edits to the book and finally arrived at what we feel is a superior presentation. Many thanks to LeAnn Splitter for her proofreading SuperPowers!

Isaac Smith sent me a brass quintet (Ekphrastic Dances for Brass Quintet) that I found very attractive and we brought it to published form in December 2017 (BQ-192)

In relatively quick succession we have added two excellent arrangements by Cathy Leach – Rossini’s William Tell Overture for Seven trumpets (BQ-190)

and a Saint-Saens Romanze for brass quintet (BQ-191).

I am helping Michael Cichowicz do a trombone version of the Vincent Cichowicz Long Tone Studies and Flow Studies (one book).

And there will be a bass clef version of Mark Ponzo’s Complete Sight-Reading Collection (BQ-90) in the near future.

Neil Mueller is at it again and his latest Masterpiece Duet collection will be called Orchesral Souvenirs. We are just coming up with the first draft of what will be a hugely enjoyable collection of around 60 different orchestral passages cast for two trumpets. This will take some time to come to publication as we also have to seek print rights from ten different publishers to quote from various copyrighted works. Watch for this in the summertime, hopefully.

More immediately, we are happy to tell you we can now supply a really exceptional book by John Daniel. Special Studies for Trumpet is a self-published work that John has had available for a few years and has attracted a tremendous following. I’m happy we can help to extend his range of sales – so check this out. (JD-001)


Where have you been?

If there isn’t anything New, is there anything worth talking about?

If someone asks you “where have you been?” because they haven’t heard from you in a long time, it could either be that not enough has happened to warrant talking about or too much has happened to be easily described.

What if both of those are true? The thickness of the national political atmosphere has been offset by the thinness of the Balquhidder Music atmosphere over the last six months.  Whichever way you feel about the issues, I just wish we could discuss and support the side we want rather than demonizing the side we don’t want.  I’ll leave it at that.

On top of that I’ve been concentrating more on updating my printing files for the 189 items in the catalog.  I haven’t added anything new except for two editions by Jean-Louis Couturier. One of those is Two Duos by Gabriel Faure, edited for two trumpets and piano, and the other is Fugue a 4 by Charles Lenepvue, edited for four trumpets or trumpet choir. Both are unique and interesting additions to the repertoire .

Overwhelming all of those things has been a back issue, first thought to be a piriformis problem and then diagnosed as spinal stenosis. As the advance of age demands payment, the spinal discs can degenerate and be more sensitive to strain and pressure. The result has been, in my case, of five months of intractable nerve pain on my right hip and leg.

I know that many of you reading this have also had similar problems – you know how much fun this can be.  As of this writing I have now had three spinal injections, one for the Facets, and two epidurals for the discs. The first two have effected a great improvement and I am hopeful that the third (of two days ago) will carry the issue to a return to painless normality.

Then I can resume a fitness program designed to strengthen my core to help support those degenerated discs and get on with life with renewed gratitude. So there, in a nutshell, taking everything into account is why I haven’t been writing any messages for a long time. Added that to the fact that I am still supposed to be sedentary for the next few days to allow the injected medicines ample time to be absorbed to maximum effect.  So I sit here typing and you are the victim of my blathering.  Bwwaaahhaaa.

But on the subject of what Balquhidder Music is doing these days and how it might (or not) interest you.  As I said before, those two Couturier editions are all that have been added since last summer. And many of you have either a few or a lot of Balquhidder Music books and ensembles. 

But with 189 titles, I doubt that even the most ardent collector has more than half of those.  It’s impossible to keep up with all that stuff and the fact is that we commonly don’t use more than a dozen books of exercises in all of our years of practice. 

One of my colleagues opined that there are only five books in the whole Robert King catalog and all the others are variations on those five.  But then he said, “so why shouldn’t yours be one of those too?”  And so, yes, mine are in there too.

I have found value in every one of the books I’ve published through Balquhidder Music and I think everyone else would too.  But as I said, who can keep up with this stuff?

I think the best I can do is shoot out some more frequent notices, simple and direct, to the mailing list, to remind you of titles you may like to add to your library. Any one of these could be the perfect thing for one student or another and it is good to stock one’s library with many different medicines.

I’ve never been much of a promoter – it’s just not something that intrinsically interests me. So that’s another reason I haven’t been on the keyboard here every month. But all things come to an end, right? That goes for my radio silence as well.

Below are the links to the two Couturier editions. In the weeks ahead I will pop out more frequent reminders of other books or solos or ensembles. I hope you will find them helpful and not annoying. Let me know either way.

And I will hope that I will not be chained to the typewriter again by medical necessity. We both need to get on to other activities. Have a great summer – it’s a special time of year that gives us a chance to push “reset” in our life’s journey. And we never know how many “resets” we have left.






Why Transpose?

Why Transpose?

I once met someone who said she liked to transpose. I didn’t know what to say. I never “liked” it – just did it out of necessity. In the orchestral trumpet world it cannot be passed over. You have to learn it.  And one of the best ways is through duets – you share the struggle. And if the music is good, then you also share the enjoyment.

Yet there is a lot more to it than a simple, archaic technique that some might equate with hazing rituals. First of all, the perception of the workload is different.  If you saw a Strauss tone poem or a Bruckner symphony all written out for C trumpet, you would think, “wow, that’s really high and long” (well, it is of course) but when the notes are written for F trumpet, the visual image is of a fourth lower. It makes it seem more reachable and the sound you produce is actually fuller.

The next aspect is more subtle. It has to do with tone centering and ear training. One of Vacchiano’s students told me he never played anything in a lesson on the written pitch. If he was assigned an etude to be transposed to D trumpet and brought it in that way, Vacchiano would tell him to now play it for E-flat trumpet instead.  Of course, you quickly realize that you had better prepare any given etude in all the keys you can think of.

Vacchiano once told me, “I don’t ask much of my students. I just want them to be able to play any song in any key”. This constantly casting around for transposing music came to Vacchiano through Schlossberg who considered it a very important part of the player’s education.

I believe it has a hidden benefit too. When you are always playing a pitch other than the one you see written on the page, you become much more conscious (in an unconscious way) of where your tone is centering.  That results in a better honed and more positive tone production – and the good result of that is the cascading beneficial effect on everything you play.

So there is much more going on in the learning of transposition than just a matter of deciphering orchestral trumpet parts. Every trumpet player should be well-schooled in the art whether they are playing orchestra, band, commercial, pop or jazz. Every aspect of trumpet playing is improved through the discipline of transposition practice.  Every lesson assignment should have some transposition included.

Back to the duet business. There are two duet books with moving transpositions available from Balquhidder Music. Gordon Mathie’s Telemann duets and Bob Haley’s Bach Two-Part Inventions. I would peg these as Intermediate and Advanced levels.

The two together would normally sell for $23.95. But now, while supplies last, they are paired together for $16. And if those two books are the only items in your particular order, half of the normal postage cost (for US addresses) will be refunded to you after sale.

August is here

Happily, the Kirkland book, Wind Band Excerpts for Trumpet and Cornet, has been thoroughly rehabilitated and is up for sale once again. Books like this, that feature re-engraved music from other sources, is especially difficult to make accurate. By the same token, that's the need the player has who will practice from these pages. So anyway, not we feel it is ready to roll. Thanks - and if you run across a copy that does NOT have "Corrected Edition, August 2016" on page two - dump it and trade it in for a free replacement. Write me on the Contact page.

Summer? Already?

We are presently doing a thorough proofreading and correcting of Anthony Kirkland's Wind Band Excerpts for Trumpet and Cornet. Frankly, there were a lot of things that escaped us before we began printing in May. And forty customers, including those at the ITG, have been informed that they will get a free replacement book when the TRULY final version is ready. AND they will have a collector's item of a uniquely flawed book. [Is that what they call Spin Control?]. Hmmm.

Anyway, this is why you will not find the book in the website right now. I took it down until we get it fixed. When it is fixed it will go back up for sale.

On the other hand, be sure to notice that the National Brass Ensemble CD of Gabrieli (and John Williams) is now available - as is a special deal if you buy the Michael Sachs The Orchestral Trumpet and the CD together.

So yes, it is summer already.  But not yet time to start making back-to-school noises. I hope you are having an enjoyable and productive summer - it's all too short. ROB

International Trumpet Guild Conference 2016

International Trumpet Guild Conference 2016 Anaheim

              When you take a car trip from north of downtown Los Angeles to Anaheim, as I did last Tuesday, you cross an incredible swath of humanity. And if Waze directs you through a variety of neighborhoods in the attempt to guide you through the fewest stops and in the shortest time, the portrait of the city is greatly magnified.

              Here I was, going to Anaheim to attend the International Trumpet Guild Conference, the sort of annual pilgrimage the trumpeting elephants make in Africa as they follow the seasons from watering hole to watering hole. But this event for trumpet players is marked by inspiration, incredulity and mostly a great deal of community.

              As I threaded my way across the savannah of Los Angeles I was struck by the millions upon millions of people that seem to be leading perfectly normal lives of varying comfort without ever picking up a trumpet or caring what happens to trumpet players. It was an instructive lesson in understanding that I was about to immerse myself in a familiar but extremely arcane corner of human horticulture.

              Like in the movie King of Hearts, here were all manner of trumpet players let loose upon the town square and we all thought we were normal. Only the hotel staff knew the truth - yet to them this was just another twist of the kaleidoscope of human nuttiness. Now that I am at home again, the hotel is probably experiencing a completely different group of nuts all walking around thinking they are normal. You’ve got to love it.

               Now, I can’t give you a lucid and wide perspective of the entire happenings of the conference. I was sitting (and standing) in one room, at two tables, smothered with the printed offerings of Balquhidder Music, trolling for customers and friends alike (usually one and the same) and instead of running around from place to place, I had the conference coming past my place like a parade.

              First of all, it was fun. You know how sometimes you want to have dinner with friends and you have to pour over your schedule books and look for a date that works for both of you?  And sometimes that date is weeks away? But you better grab it or something else will happen and squeeze you out. This is the way of the annual conference.  And there is a subtle comfort in being around like-minded (or should I say like-muddled?) people – and trumpet players (like other instrumentalists) have been selected by their instruments for certain personality combinations.

              And the purpose is not only to perform and demonstrate and instruct each other but the simple act of BEING together which is the true glue and the true battery recharger for those who are otherwise sprayed out into the hinterland with only marginal or electronic connections with other similarly afflicted folks.

             One might observe, peripherally, that trumpet players taken out of mixed company can often prove to be very civilized and interesting people. But of course, I have an uncontrollable bias. My trumpet card is fully punched and I am a Life Member. So I can’t give you an unbiased picture. I have no idea where on earth you might find one.

              Anyway, the more objective report could tell that that a lot of music crossed the Balquhidder table – over 95 different titles in various multiples - and is now heading back to many of the United States and locations in Latin America, Europe, and China. 

              Once the waves have reached their furthest extensions they will gradually turn around and head back to the next conference, gaining speed on the way. So it is with the elephants, as it is with the trumpets. And so it is with the Trombone Association and the Clarinets, Banjos and you-name-its.  In fact, Kazue just got back from the Major Orchestra Librarian’s conference in Helsinki a few weeks ago. Now who might imagine a more eclectic group than that?

              So another ITG has come and gone although the clean-up will likely be as time consuming as the build-up.

It was a pleasure!

         As to pure information: even after six months of exhaustive proofreading and tweaking, the Anthony Kirkland book, Wind Band Excerpts for Trumpet and Cornet still has a few errata. With the help of LeAnn Splitter, Tony and I are launching into that project. I have compiled an email list of those who have purchased the book already so I can notify and inform.







Orchestra Tour

2016 European Tour, Los Angeles Philharmonic

We are finally home, and it is now 5AM (thank you, Jet Lag), after tagging along (as subaltern music librarian) on a concert tour of Europe with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

It was a special position to be in, listening to my colleagues play outstanding concerts in special halls and not having to do any trumpet practice myself (I often did I wonder what that would be like).

It began with a three-day stay in New York, where they played at the newly re-named David Geffen Hall (former Avery Fischer), which is due to be gutted and rebuilt beginning two years from now.

After the two orchestra concerts, the bulk of the band took off for Amsterdam but the brass section remained behind to perform Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. They had a rehearsal in the early afternoon which had them playing it through about six times in a row – largely for the television crew to work out camera angles. Then they had a three-hour dinner break and the show began taping about 5 PM.  You can watch the finished product here, done in one “take”. I got to sit in the audience, in the balcony of the 500-seat theater and directly in front of the ensemble – what a thrilling experience that was!

Myself, Tom Hooten and Chris Still

Myself, Tom Hooten and Chris Still



As soon as that performance was finished, it was off to the airport for a 10:30pm flight to Amsterdam, arriving about 10:30am local time.

The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam

The concert of Mahler’s 3rd Symphony was performed at the famous Concertgebouw Concert Hall. Other features of the three-day stay in Amsterdam were visits to various incredible museums and Kazue and I took a tour of the windmill country and small towns. In Amsterdam, it should be noted, there are 800,000 residents and at least 600,000 bikes. There are bike paths everywhere and don’t be caught walking in them – that bike warning bell may be the last thing you’ll ever hear!

The Netherlands is a country that knows water quite intimately. On our first day there it was nice and sunny but we soon discovered that was a rare occurrence.  On the windmills tour our guide made a special note of telling us that even though it was a gray and overcast day, it was beautiful – because it wasn’t raining! Coming from drought-stricken California, this was a mind-bender.

After Amsterdam it was off to Paris.  One of the high points for me was that friends from Germany joined us. Of course, one wants to dine well in Paris and we were joined by Jean-Marie Cottet and his wife, Judy Chin, at the "boeuf sur le toit", formerly a famous jazz place in Milhaud and Cocteau’s time.

Jean-Marie, Judith, Edith, Ralf, Judy, Me

Jean-Marie, Judith, Edith, Ralf, Judy, Me

Here is a picture – Jean-Marie Cottet across the table from me and Judy to my right. Others include Judith Zaiser and Ralf and Edith Rudolph. The food, the wine and the company were just superb! (You will recall that Jean-Marie is the composer of all the piano accompaniments to the Charlier etudes).

Edith, Ralf, Me, Uwe, Kazue, Judith

Edith, Ralf, Me, Uwe, Kazue, Judith

The next day, after a magnificent and heart-stopping performance of Mahler’s 3rd in the new Paris Philharmonie, we repaired to a small restaurant with Uwe Zaiser joining us in the meantime. Finding the restaurant was quite an accomplishment because most of the places were closed – it being a Sunday evening (it’s not like New York in this regard).

Paris Philharmonie

Paris Philharmonie

Luxembourg -  look at the organ pipe cases - they spell 2005, the year the hall was built .

Luxembourg - look at the organ pipe cases - they spell 2005, the year the hall was built.

From Paris the tour continued to Luxembourg – a two-hour fast train ride away. This was a quick turn-around as the following day we flew to London for three concerts at the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican Centre

The Barbican Centre

The concerts went very well and we managed to get in a few museums and sights – I might add, this is much easier as a non-trumpet player since practice time on tour is often hard to find but every bit as necessary as normal – in fact, more so. I missed many things on previous tours when I was a playing member of the orchestra because I couldn’t go there as a tourist and do my job well at the same time. So I was happy to have this non-playing experience although it means being with the music from the outside rather than the inside.

The Jugged Hare menu

The Jugged Hare menu

Check out this menu from The Jugged Hare, where we had a meal. Some really unique dishes here and a very British atmosphere! On our last morning we had a chance to see a little bit of the British Museum before beginning the long journey back to Los Angeles.

The British Museum portal

The British Museum portal

The orchestra musicians played a very fine tour, got lots of rave reviews from the newspapers and they have my extreme admiration. I count myself as a supporter and proud former member of the trumpet section.

To those whose music orders have come in during my absence, thank you for your patience – I will be mailing music out tomorrow.






Out of town

The shipping department will be closed March 12 - 27. Email will be checked regularly. Orders that come in during that time frame will be shipped on March 28.  We apologize for the inconvenience! 

Postage Rates

Priority rates from the USPS have gone up by around 10% but overseas rates have nearly doubled. I'm sorry to have to pass this on. I just mailed a book to Japan and thought it would be about $12. In fact, the charge was almost $23.

Old Technology

  People’s concepts about what they are willing to pay for music often leave out some very important aspects. Their view consists only of the here and now. They see a book that costs $32.95 and maybe think they should not have to pay that much.

  Let us forget for the moment that they might find another copy somewhere and then scan it. Let us just suppose they simply think $32.95 is too steep.

  I bought my only “Clarke’s Technical Studies for the Cornet” in 1962 for $2.25. It was published by Carl Fischer from the original plates of Clarke’s own publishing in 1912. 

  What did my $2.25 investment get me? I still use the book today.  It is pretty beat up but the music is all there and just as readable as when I first opened it fifty-four years ago.

   Fifty-four years is a long time.  That book lasts longer than your cell phone, your television, your computer, your car, your clothes washer, your dog, your job, maybe your house and maybe your marriage. It uses no batteries and no electricity. There is no software interface between the user and the data. It is totally recyclable and yet it has cost me only 4 cents per year to use!

  It is even more cost effective than the time you’re going to spend ripping it apart and scanning it. But people don’t consider that. Even if it cost $32.95 that would still only be 61 cents per year.  Where else can you get a deal like that? We have to face it – paper music is one of the greatest deals on Earth.

  Yet people these days often feel like it is too expensive. And now they don’t even have to spend the time to scan it themselves – other Robin Hoods have done it for them and will post the files on the Internet as free downloads, whether it is still under copyright or not.

  And only because the advance of technology has made all of this possible.

  It has made it much easier to copy and reproduce the books but much harder to live up to the ideals of what you know should govern that question.

  There are pluses and minuses to everything.  Quite frankly, if it weren’t for the Internet and all of the modern copy and reproductive equipment now available, Balquhidder Music wouldn’t have survived this long. Is there a net gain?

  Once upon a time, Mao Tse Tung was asked what he thought of the French Revolution. “Too early to tell”, he replied.


How Letters Home came home

     Well then, here it is a New Year and some folks are just getting their first snows of the season – it always looks wondrous at first, doesn’t it?

     Then here is a little story for you to read as you look at the first snow and contemplate the winter months ahead. It is about the making of an iPad book.

Letters Home from the Great War 1916-1919 

The Origin of the Letters

     Can you imagine spending three winter seasons slogging through mud, snow, freezing rains and gunfire while living and sleeping in all manner of uncomfortable situations? As well as the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons of those years? That’s what my Father did as a young Canadian soldier in France, Belgium and then Germany during the Great War. That was in 1916-1919, one hundred years ago.

     During the whole time, he wrote home to his family every week.  His Mother kept all those letters. They have been a family treasure ever since. Fifty years later my sister Julie transcribed them from the originals. And then she did it again years later when she got a computer.

Our Story

     Starting in about 2008, my two sisters and I embarked on the task of creating a website to archive all of these. Anne scanned each of the more than 700 pages of the originals, I did the layout work of matching the scans to the typescript and then Julie proofed the whole thing again. We ended up with over 700 PDF pages which we set up on a website. That much process took us 18 months to complete.

     We had little way of knowing whether the site got much traffic and I kept thinking it might get more notice if I managed to get it into book form and put it up in iTunes with the rest of the music publications from Balquhidder Music.

     So I went through another arduous process of changing the format to accomplish that goal. It was finally uploaded in 2013 only to be told by Apple that because the format was all taken from PDFs only, that the text was unsearchable and therefore not a candidate for publication. Woof. Well, I was too exhausted with it by that time to consider changing it to suit.

Take Two (or Our Story Revisited)

     Three years later, in August of 2015, I decided, OK, what the heck – let me see if I can re-construct this and make it work. I had all of the JPGs of the original letters (thankfully still in the computer and accurately dated) and all of the PDF text that we had used in the first attempt.

     What I needed to do to make the text searchable was to select and copy each PDF text page, section by section and then paste them all into one long Word file. That would give the text the coding necessary to allow a search function to troll and find any word or phrase you asked for. Then followed the time-consuming laying out in iBooksAuthor text, pulling in the JPGs of the original letters to intersperse as a running narrative, and adding photographs from the time of the original era and photos of places spoken about in the text- in total 400 pages.

     The text selecting turned out to be very temperamental but at least it did work. Over the course of five months (August-December) I just kept gnawing away at it, fifteen minutes here, an hour there and so forth.

Now it was ready – and the text was searchable!


     The hard work was rewarded on January 8, 2016 when this latest version of the book was published in the iTunes Book Store as a Glen Lyon Books publication. In the Foreword there is a description of my Father’s family and his upbringing, as well as an Afterword which tells about the rest of his remarkable life. It’s sort of a mini-biography.

     You might think this has nothing to do with music. You’re right.   We have taken this project on as a tribute to what our Father went through years before we were ever to know him as a man. To us, these letters have a sort of magical quality that speaks across the century.

     You'll read about the ship voyage across the Atlantic, the training in England, being sent to France, seeing his first aeroplane, surviving the Spanish flu that killed 50 million people worldwide, the wonderful leave times in Scotland and Paris, the ways in which they entertained themselves and always sought to keep their families from worry…….and (we know it was coming – when he first learned that “the war is quit!”)

     More than seeing it in a two-hour movie and then driving home, you will begin to taste the life that people led 100 years ago – their hopes and expectations and their ability to endure long periods of sometimes grinding inactivity. Most of us in this age of instant electronic stimulation will consider this nigh impossible.  But it’s not. Read it slowly – you will find many a surprise and reason to pause for thought.

Where to buy this book

 Letters Home from the Great War (iBooks only - Not available in hard copy)

     So - we have no way of knowing how you might receive this narrative.  We’ve done what we set out to do. What does it mean to you? If you throw down the $12.99 to buy and read this book we hope that you will gain something worthwhile from it – probably in ways we would not anticipate. And even if you don’t buy it, know how much went into this labor of love by having read this much.

     If you do get it, please let us know what you came away with (besides a hole in your wallet). It’s always interesting to hear other people’s perception of something we think we know – and are broadened to hear other angles.

Snow bound?

I hope you don’t get snowed in this winter – wherever you are – but if you do, this book could be a warm companion.

It’s only 100 years old.

Best wishes to you for 2016!


E- books

The E-book expansion

      This last week’s work culminated in getting eight duet books uploaded to iTunes to celebrate the advent of the iPad Pro. The Pro has the size of screen that can make these duet books a feasibility.

     Please check the listings under Recent Publications to see the titles, covers and to links to iTunes on the appropriate pages.  While many may prefer to practice and play at home from paper, we are frequently in motion to gather in the different aspects of the musical life we’re carving out for ourselves.  Taking your library with you on an iPad Pro can be a huge help in feeling well supplied for every eventuality and every student.

     When I was sending out some notice on Face Book about these duets prepped for the iPad, one colleague wrote to say “don’t forget us Android users”.  I told him that in fact I’ve had a dozen books uploaded to the Google Play Store for three years and there have been no sales whatsoever. Additionally, he was only the second person in those three years to express any interest in having things available for Android. So what conclusion could be drawn from that?

     When I told him that I had a dozen books in the Google Store he said he had not known. He subsequently explored there and made a purchase. I’m glad he brought it to my attention, and I’m glad he got something.

     I have no way of knowing the ratio of iPad to Android tablets being used in the musical community.  But by virtue of the sales I’ve experienced, it seems to be about 99 to 1 in favor of iPad.

     Some of the reason has to have been that until only recently, the Android tablets didn’t have a large enough screen to make reading music from them a promising adventure.  Other factors might be that making books for the iPad through iBooksAuthor, I can add audio and video clips that greatly enhance the interaction of these books. To my knowledge, no such capabilities exist in the Android book system.

     If you have either a Mac or a PC, these books can be purchased through iTunes and viewed on your computer – in many instances this means a considerably larger screen than any tablet now in common circulation.

     Things change all the time. I have seen a Panasonic 20” tablet with 4K resolution and it is pretty scary. Right now it is too expensive for general use but in time that will come down.  There is a very interesting Sony tablet at 13.3”, very thin and light – and flexible – but basically “just” a reader. But it represents a possible new avenue.

     I don’t think the E format will ever replace real paper books in humans’ hands. But the E versions do have a significant place as a secondary library resource for individual musicians. The demographics aren’t there for the big publishers but for a smaller one like myself, can take the plunge and at least get in the pool. Only time will tell if the pool will get warmer or just be drained.

I’d be happy to hear your opinions on this.

An Equinox Postlude

Now that the equinox has slithered past almost unawares, we find ourselves firmer and faster into the Fall season. And yet it still doesn't seem fully engaged.

True, when the schools open up and the kids go back to class, the olive trees decide it's time for harvest - whether you're ready or not. And if you live on Los Olivos Lane, as we do, this annual dropage is a Rite of passage - or maybe massage. The whole process goes on for weeks and by whatever mysterious means the trees throw a sheet of olives and then hold back, throw another sheet and hold back...... and so forth, with the whole month of September being a contest between the broom and the trees.

When cars go down the street you'd almost think you were in a medieval city - the sounds of the tic-toc-tickety-flickit, bugedugebugedugie, swish and poof reminding you of cobblestones and iron rims. And of course the street becomes slick with automotively-processed olive oil. Someday I'm going to dump a whole pot of hot pasta in the street and see what happens next. At this point all I know is that when I get down to the end of the driveway and start back, it  looks almost as if I never swept it - the trees start throwing again immediately. Sigh. 

In the meantime it's free gym-time for upper body exercise and olympic broom handling. And yet at the end of the day, it's not so disagreeable to be out there sweeping off the driveway with the waning and less-fierce sunlight fighting a losing battle as it moves towards its December demise. For the garden professional this has no lasting quality and produces no nostalgia. With their back-mounted Tornado Blowers they simply waft the olives along and pile them up without breaking a sweat. 

But then they have to shovel them up and put them in the big green garden waste bins that we roll out to the street every Monday morning for pickup. And we dare not fill those barrels more than half full so as to not break the hydraulics on the garbage trucks - therefore, it will take a few weeks before they are all gone.

When we first moved here we learned that this entire hillside used to be a big Olive Rancho in some Spanish land-holding. And short of dynamite, there's no easy way to eliminate an olive tree. Someone told me that there used to have been some gentlemen of the Italian persuasion that used to raid the streets in September. They apparently knew the process by which olives are made fit for man's consumption - and none of us new-comers do. What an interesting process it must be - and I'm glad somebody still knows how because I love olives.

But what does all this have to do with brass music, you may ask? Nothing - but should I sit here and do nothing but prepare new music and books all day long? Not my idea of a balanced existence. So I have the olives to contend with, the fence that I built twenty-six years ago to re-stain, my dreams of cleaning my garage, the shopping, cooking (yum) and cleaning and of course some trips to the gym.

In between all those things come working on a new suite of Handel arranged by Tom Hooten for Trumpet and piano, Tony Kirkland's collection of trumpet excerpts from the Wind Band literature, and trying to take care and keep track of all the stuff that's already been published over the last twenty-five years. And re-constructing my Dad's war letters from World War I, 1916-1919 - to prepare for an iBook to be available in iTunes in time for the 100-year mark from when he left Canada to sail for Europe. Can you believe he probably spent time in some French locations that are on his grandson's tour itinerary this fall with a jazz quintet? And may have played some of the same towns in the little Army dance band they formed to send around and entertain the troops after the war was over while those fellows waited to be shipped back to Canada (all of which took about six months!). 

But I digress............

August Last Hurrah

Now that we are entering the last week of August, thoughts turn to preparing for the onslaught of new coursework, new ensembles, new teachers, old issues and new solutions. Or non-solutions? 

Whatever the case, like the picture here, we can provide the tracks in the form of a wealth of musical materials, both pedagogic and performance, but you will need to supply the engine. 

Get your ambition on, your Mojo stoked, your dreams revved and your tender full of fuel. Plan your route carefully but be ready to alter course when you need to, always keeping your end goal in mind. Go for the long haul and take delight in the scenery along the way. Learn from troubles and let them mature your trip. It's up to You. No one else is going to be as concerned about it as You. So do right by Yourself, be generous to others, and go find out what's at the far end of those tracks!