Music Projects Galore

If music be the food of love, play on. ~ William Shakespeare

PianoBooksThrough the last ten years I have been collecting piano books with the idea that I might co-opt one of the songs to create a sax quartet. I did this once for my grandson for a school ensemble contest. My son has encouraged me to write solo transcriptions, quartet music and the like saying that it would improve my playing skillz.

Seventh String sez, “What I am talking about here is the process of working out how to play and/or write out a piece of music starting with just a recording of the piece – a commercially released CD perhaps. We would usually be talking about non-classical music as most classical music can be obtained as printed music.

You will also hear classical musicians speak of “transcribing” to mean adapting a piece of music written for one instrument to be played on another. Thus when John Williams plays Scarlatti sonatas (originally written for keyboard) on the guitar, these would be called “transcriptions” although he didn’t need to work them out from a recording because you can buy the published sheet music (for keyboard) in a shop. Non-classical musicians don’t often use the word this way because they customarily rearrange music for their own combination of instruments all the time anyway.

sheet-music-1200The effort involved in transcribing music from recordings varies enormously depending on the complexity of the music, how good you ear is and how detailed you want your transcription to be. If you merely want to write down the chords to a very simple song then if your ear is good you may be able to scribble them down in real time while the music is playing. At the other extreme if you are attempting a detailed transcription of complex music then it can take hours to transcribe a single minute of music.”

Read more at:

Truth is that I have not touched these second hand books. So now my quandary, do I hold on to the two shelves of piano books, hoping to use them in the future? Or do I release them back into the wild to find a new home. Ah Spring cleaning.

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Pay Raise and Retirement Tips and Tricks

“I believe that the biggest mistake that most people make when it comes to their retirement is they do not plan for it. They take the same route as Alice in the story from “Alice in Wonderland,” in which the cat tells Alice that surely she will get somewhere as long as she walks long enough. It may not be exactly where you wanted to get to, but you certainly get somewhere.” ~ Mark Singer, The Changing Landscape Of Retirement – What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You

RetirementMy guidance to friends and family (or basically anyone who will listen): Most people don’t know what they are worth or how valuable they would be to any company. In the past, I have started looking around to find a better paying job and suddenly found that I had a huge, and I mean 50% huge, pay raise with some really nice words about how they’d like me to stay. Note, I hadn’t told anyone I was looking elsewhere for a pay raise.

Two, later in life (after my 40s) every time I got a pay raise, half of it went into my retirement savings. I still got a raise and I never missed the other half because it was like I never had it. I think they call this method “paying yourself first”.


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Scotty, Beam Me Up

What!? Is the transporter broken again? When will it be back on line? Really, sometimes I wonder if those clowns at Starfleet maintenance know the difference between a Heisenberg compensator and a sonic screwdriver.


Beam me up, Scotty” is a catchphrase that made its way into popular culture from the science fiction television series Star Trek. It comes from the command Captain Kirk gives his chief engineer, Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, when he needs to be transported back to the Starship Enterprise.

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Artists First: Since 2006, ReverbNation has helped millions of emerging Artists build their careers. We’ve connected Artists to venues, festivals, brands, publishers, labels, and the fans themselves. ReverbNation’s mission puts Artists First.

Our powerful career management and online marketing tools, combined with rapidly growing A&R capabilities and broad industry relationships offer emerging Artists from around the world access to the global music industry.

The results speak for themselves. ~ Reverbnation


Last year I put my band on the site. It didn’t cost me anything and was easy to set up. A year later and I am happy to say I am so pleased with the site I might close down my other Internet page. Here are the highlights:

  1. Stats, data, and info ~ this place provide data on everything from who comes to your page, to who friends you, to how many listens music you post on the site gives.
  2. Networking ~ is just too easy. When I put an event on the reverbnation site, it props to where ever I want. Currently I have it going to Facebook on both my own profile and the band profile pages.
  3. Music ~ we did a CD last year and I have promoted the heck out of those recordings. It is an easy way for customers to review our sound.

I like their culture and modus operandi too. Here’s what they say about that:

We focus on innovation and continual improvement—in our products and with our people. Our entrepreneurial roots lead us to ask tough questions and work hard to find the true answer.We believe that to create great things, to continually bring value to our musicians and the industry, we need an exceptional team. We strive to create an environment that lets each team member excel at what they do best. Yet despite this intensity, we believe that our people have lives outside of work. We not only respect that balance, we also believe that it’s our responsibility to support them there as well.The personality and drive of each employee makes ReverbNation a great place to work. But don’t just take our word for it. In 2013, the company added 24 new employees, made the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing, privately owned, companies, and was voted one of the Best Places to Work in the state.

I recommend this resource to any music ensemble out there, especially if you don’t want hire a web designer to set up your site.

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Music = Life

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


I was putting away my sax the other day and was struck, once again, with the amazing realization of how a 2 hour practice with a good ensemble can seem like five minutes. Why does it seem that time spent with those you love, making wonderful, sometimes sensual music, speeds by so fast? I don’t have the answer, but I’m sure part of it deals with the dopamines flowing free and easy during the exercise. 

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Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.

If you are puzzled by the bizarre “press conference” put on by the White House press secretary on Saturday, the 21st of January, where Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, angrily claimed that Trump’s inauguration had the largest audience in history and accused the Press of faking photos and lying about attendance, let me help explain it. This spectacle served three purposes.


Obama Crowd | Trump Crowd

1. Establishing a norm with the press: they will be told things that are obviously wrong and they will have no opportunity to ask questions. That way, they will be grateful if they get anything more at any press conference. This is the PR equivalent of “negging,” the odious pick-up practice of a particular kind of horrible man (e.g., Donald Trump).

2. Increasing the separation between Trump’s base (1/3 of the population) from everybody else (the remaining 2/3). By being told something that is obviously wrong—that there is no evidence for and all evidence against, that anybody with eyes can see is wrong—they are forced to pick whether they are going to believe Trump or their lying eyes. The gamble here—likely to pay off—is that they will believe Trump. This means that they will regard media outlets that report the truth as “fake news” (because otherwise they’d be forced to confront their cognitive dissonance.)

3. Creating a sense of uncertainty about whether facts are knowable, among a certain chunk of the population (which is a taking a page from the Kremlin, for whom this is their preferred disinformation tactic). A third of the population will say “clearly the White House is lying,” a third will say “if Trump says it, it must be true,” and the remaining third will say “gosh, I guess this is unknowable.” The idea isn’t to convince these people of untrue things, it’s to fatigue them, so that they will stay out of the political process entirely, regarding the truth as just too difficult to determine.

They are laying important groundwork for the months ahead. If Trump’s White House is willing to lie about something as obviously, unquestionably fake as this, just imagine what else they’ll lie about. In particular, things that the public cannot possibly verify the truth of.

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So I dropped my sax …

I was notified that our principal saxophonist (in the WCB) wasn’t going to make it to practice, so I pulled out my Selmer Ref 54 hummingbird to work on the lovely but gnarly alto sax solo in Armenian Dances. It’s a 5/8 and 6/8 time signature. It counted 1-2-3, 4-5 and then 1-2, 3-4-5, alternating almost on whim and then a random 6/8 time and a couple of 3/8. Checkout the at the 4:11 minute mark:

As I went to lower the case, my beautiful, perfect sax dropped about six inches onto a carpet. Oh nosssss! I picked it up and gave it a try, but the whole scale was wonky. Checking the keyworks I note that a couple of the bell pads are not closing and some of the linkage is bent. Sigh …

So I am taking it to my fav tech today, dunno how much that will cost. Fortunately I had my wife’s Ref 54 as a backup but imagine my surprise when I found that the inherent intonation on her instrument was *much* different than mine. And I’m going to be sharing a duet with an oboe. Zutt alors!


Turns out the low C# cup was bent and there was a cracked high F spring. The Eb pad was going bad anyway, I’m guessing here, so two pads (low C# and Eb) were replaced. It took two hours to suss this out. My baby is back home now. Thank you John at Union Hill Winds! It nice to be able to play down to a low Bb and at a whisper.

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