Weird practice places #3 - Nara (Tōdai-Ji) by David Byrd-Marrow

This day was crazy. We managed to be in three major cities in one day. Woke up in Osaka,

 Umeda Sky Tower

Umeda Sky Tower

then scrambled to and through Nara

 Still not sure how friendly deer are...just glad that there isn't any video of this encounter.  

Still not sure how friendly deer are...just glad that there isn't any video of this encounter.  

and finally made it back to Tokyo. Somehow I stole some moments of PT at the big Buddha hall. 

 Nothing to see here. Except a huge Buddha inside. (Tōdai-Ji) 

Nothing to see here. Except a huge Buddha inside. (Tōdai-Ji) 

There weren't as many confused "wtf, is this guy doing looks as you would expect. Keep in mind that I had my trusty practice mute (see post #1). That thing is sneaky.  

Weird practice places #2 - Kyoto by David Byrd-Marrow

I haven't chosen a favorite city in Japan, but I wouldn't argue with someone who chose Kyoto. This place is so cool. And chill. And so cool. I wish I was here long enough to check out the music scene, but these days are loaded with some majorly aggressive tourism. I may not even carry my horn to Kiyomizudera.  

So I had a short session in Gion today. We actually stayed in Gion the last time here. It's the part of town where, just after work and right before dinner, you'll see the Maiko-han and Geiko-han (Geishas) headed to their respective houses. 

And then then there was me: 

 この写真に見えるより京都はもっと綺麗どすよぅぅ。 

この写真に見えるより京都はもっと綺麗どすよぅぅ。 

じゃ、以上。明日はすごく忙しいですから。 

 My heart goes out to horn players who have to commute in Japan!

My heart goes out to horn players who have to commute in Japan!

Weird practice places while on vacay in Japan, with my mom. by David Byrd-Marrow

Holy moly it's been a long time since I wrote something here! 

 

Before the 2016/17 concert season starts back u, I'm going to do a big family kumbaya with my mom and my wife's 'rents. I need to hit the ground running when I get back, so I'll be hauling the horn around and inevitably practicing in places usually not associated with horn practice. Luckily I have my Wallace practice mute (thanks for the tip Geoff!), so I should be able to do it pretty stealthily. 

 Silent, but deadly... 

Silent, but deadly... 

So to kick it off, even though I'm not quite IN Japan yet, here's weird place number one. The inspiration for this series: LAX - terminal 5 - gate 52. 

 Yee-haw! 

Yee-haw! 

Chaos Management by David Byrd-Marrow

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One of the well known delights of being a freelancer is, of course, the variety of styles we encounter throughout the concert season. In New York, these stylistic extremes can be quite radical. This week I'm finding myself rather shellshocked by this phenomenon, although it could also just be the fact that the weather sucks butt this weekend. Without going too much into detail, I went from playing free improv at the Jazz Gallery to playing Chausson solos in an orchestra, and the transition left me a bit dazed and confused. 

I met Yo-Yo Ma again last week, while recording with The Knights. The first time was when I was in high school. He was playing a concerto with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and was kind enough to drop by my school, on a Saturday morning, for a crowd of about twelve people. We sat there, and he played and answered questions for over an hour. Then he went on about his day as Yo-Yo does. This is the characteristic that makes him special. Generosity. He's never daunted by the thought of never-ending workday, or a crazy travel schedule that's bookended by concerts. Most everyone is wowed by his musicianship. He is maybe the greatest cellist, and perhaps one of the greatest musicians to have ever lived. But, if you've ever seen him offstage during breaks and commutes and meals, these are the times where you start to wonder with serious amazement "How does he do this??".  

Generosity. Yo-Yo's energy comes from a place of selfless availability. I heard a story during the week, that someone in the orchestra had played another concert with him before. During this series, there was a day that Yo-Yo had to play Strauss' Don Qixote twice in the same day. Upon completion, he was asked how he never gets tired. As I was told, the answer was that he realized at a certain point in his career that much would be expected of him, and he decided to meet the task and never tire of it. Whoa. 

I mention Yo-Yo not just because I recently worked with him, but also because he is a great example of someone who has to consistently be flexible. So, since it's impossible for me to know very much about the way Yo-Yo's mind works, what if I assumed that the source his limitless energy was also the source of his limitless musicianship? What would happen if I approached my career from a spirit of willingness and availability to those around me. What kind of person does this create? How would that change my life? To us humans the thought of it might seem exhausting, but it's also a little inspiring, and I think somewhere in that inspiration is the blueprint for this lifestyle choice. It seems like a totally viable way to approach the sometimes chaotic freelance life. When the notes just won't stop coming, embrace them (yack, I know, but I really do believe this).

All this being said, perhaps the best way to deal with the turmoil that life throws you, musical or not, is to make yourself fully available to it. Welcome it. 

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2K15 by David Byrd-Marrow

 アケオメコトヨロ!!!

What would we do without New Years?

I found myself mulling over the usual New Year's rituals this past week. The resolutions to lose weight, gain knowledge, treat others the way I'd like to be treated, treat myself better, eat less treats, etc. While considering which of these bowling pins of expectation I would hurl myself into this year, I thought about how nice it is even just to have this point of reflection. 

In a way Humans are just a collection of cycles. Breaths, blood circulation, blinking of the eyes. So it's only natural that we go macro with the whole concept, and highlight the trend in everything around us. 

I estimate that I've got about 18 New Years under my belt, at which I made conscious note of my existential circumstance. That makes me an adult on the subject, if just barely legal. Every time this time of year comes around, I find myself desiring similar things as the last. Don't worry, I won't list them, as they are usually just the garden variety, stock Hallmark card list of vanilla resolutions. If I ever needed an exhibit in defense of my normalcy, I could simply present my New Year's resolutions for the past two decades, and it would be the end of any dispute. Nothing to be ashamed of, if a bit unimaginative. 

That being said, I find it quite nice that once a year I can be fully reminded of these mundane, yet sturdy plans. It's like when you fly with the cape in Super Mario Bros. 3. Each year is like a little wind in your sail that helps you coast along. Why not once a month or week? It could only be helpful, right?

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Good luck and all the best in 2015!