09/20/17

The Creative Hornist – book – Contents: Parts 5, 6, & 7

The Creative Hornist – Contents

Part 5: Composing

Ch. 19 Composing Made Easy

Ch. 20 Blueprint for Success

Ch. 21 The Ultimate Etude Machine

Ch. 22 Performers as Composers

Ch. 23 The Personal Etude

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09/19/17

The Creative Hornist – book – Content: Parts 3 & 4

The Creative Hornist (published late September 2017)

Part 3: Inkiness Playing: The Benefits of an Aural Approach

Chapter 10: Recreating Recreating: Using Aural Tradition to Add Pizzazz to Interpretation

Ch. 11 The Ears Have It

Ch. 12 How to Have Fun on the Horn with Friends and Without Ink

Ch. 13: Technique Through Tunes: Using Familiar Tunes to Develop Technical and Aural Skills

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09/7/17

The Creative Hornist – Content – Part 2

The Creative Hornist – new book

Contents of Part 2: Adding Wow to Technical Routines

Ch. 6 – The End of Scales

I. Introduction

II. Alternate Scale Proficiency Test Preparation

III. Making Music

Ch. 7 Spicing Up Technique

I. Warm-Up Spice

II. Scale Spice

III. Arpeggio Spice

Ch. 8 – Card Deck Workout

Ch. 9 – Adding Variants to Practice Routines

 

09/6/17

The Creative Hornist – Part 1 – Content

New book: The Creative Hornist

Contents of Part 1: Getting Started: Who’s Afraid of Big Bad Creating?

Ch. 1 – Being Columbus

Ch. 2 – Do You Ever Play Your Horn?

Ch. 3 – Beware of Philip Farkas

Ch. 4 – “Often It Is the Horn Player”

Ch. 5 – The Creative Habit

09/5/17

NEW BOOK: The Creative Hornist by Jeffrey Agrell

My new book will be released on amazon.com in the next couple weeks. It is The Creative Hornist: Essays, Rants, and Odes for the Classical Hornist on Creative Music Making

I am in the last stages working with the formatter/designer and cover artist; as soon as that is wrapped up, it will be released.

The Contents are in arranged in 7 Parts (30 Chapters), plus an Appendix (extra stuff!):

Preface and Pep Talk

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04/15/16

Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians, Vol. II is out!

Improv Bk Vol. II My new book was just published by GIA! The first volume of Improvisation Games for Classical Musicians was published in 2008 with something like 566 nonjazz, non-notated (i.e. prose descriptions) games (much better word than “drill” or “exercise”), 354 p., with generous sections of explanatory material and resources for further study. This new volume is the result of about nine years of collecting and inventing new games. It contains 642 new games in 374 pages; there are fewer categories than in Vol. I (which is not labeled Vol. I, by the way), but there are mostly more games per category and there are some new categories as well (e.g. Movement Games). There is less explanatory material – just summaries; didn’t want to repeat all that in Vol. I, with perhaps just slightly less in Resources (more new material). But there are considerably more games, and many of these games come with variations (up to 18 variations on occasion); most teachers will be able to tweak these games and variations to suit their needs as well as be inspired to invent new ones, so these 642 can easily become thousands and thousands. And note that you can repeat games and never have them be the same twice.

If you are new to these improv games, you probably should start with Vol. I and absorb the explanatory material. If you have your copy of Vol. I, you will want to order Vol. II and enjoy the vast array of new ideas and offerings. And: once you have taken some games out for a spin, I always appreciate feedback on how it went. Or your ideas for new games. I will post a few of the new games here as samples, and would be delighted to post some of your new games as well if you would like to share.

In any case, have fun!

06/2/15

Enhancing Musical Creativity with Meditation (guest post)

By Doug Hanvey

As a music teacher, and former instructor of an undergraduate class on mindfulness meditation (at Indiana University Bloomington from 2007 to 2014), I am fascinated by the many possible applications of meditation to music. One of these applications is creativity.

The Source of Creativity

Albert Einstein said “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science.” Like most geniuses, Einstein understood that the source of creativity is beyond the mind. And, of course, what is beyond the mind is mysterious – at least to the mind!

Musicians can upgrade their creativity by becoming more familiar and comfortable with the mysterious place from which all thought and creativity arise. Meditation is a proven way of doing this.

Now, I realize that by using terms such as “beyond the mind” and “space of awareness,” I can be accused of New Age philosophizing that has no practical relevance to everyday life. Yet, as evidenced by Einstein’s appreciation thereof (not to mention that of many other artists and scientists), getting comfortable with the space beyond thoughts is as practical and useful as tying one’s own shoes, particularly for creative activities like improvising.

Meditation is a superb practice for any creative musician. Let me tell you about two types of meditation, both of which I’ve practiced extensively, and both of which I’ve found to be extremely powerful for boosting creativity.

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12/14/14

Teaching Improvisation with Matt Van Brink

MattVanBrink2Every so often I receive an echo from improv people out there in the real world who are making it happen, changing lives, translating theory into practice, discovering new stuff, experimenting, teaching, learning. I recently got a wonderful note from one of these folks: Matt Van Brink of the Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art of Bronxville NY who passes along in detail some of his recent improv adventures. With his permission and to extend the learning of us all I reprint his letter here. Thanks, Matt!

Dear Jeff —

I just wanted to let you know how great it was to use your book during my two-week summer composition and songwriting intensive [ http://goo.gl/0CZuPC ] this past August. I had a group of twelve students, ages 10-17, some who had written compositions before, some who hadn’t, but all of whom chose to spend two weeks working on new pieces. By the end of the camp, each student had composed a short piece and presented it in what turned out to be an impressive and heartwarming concert. Two students wrote songs that they played and sang themselves and the rest composed instrumental works.

But since there are many, many hours to fill during this 9-5 Monday to Friday camp, we have a nice opportunity for play, which I strategically put at the beginning of the day. I’d like to share with you the daily schedule, since the improv component fit in at the perfect time of day for it.

Part 1, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Stretching & alignment, Improvisation & games, a short break, theory, and deep listening (whose playlists I would improvise).

Then after lunch, Part 2, from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Clausura I (individual work on their pieces in the practice rooms), Kickball and running around, Canons & chorales, Clausura II or guest musicians, and a short warm-down at the end of the day.

For improv hour, I had them bring their instruments, so we had a nice motley assemblage of clarinets, guitars, singers, pianists, and a saxophone. And everyone took a turn on the Orff marimba and had a go inside the piano. The students loved almost every game that I presented to them. We started out on the first day with “what’s in a name” and it was a huge hit. We discovered a few of us had names whose syllables and stresses matched, so we even tried one’s tune with the other’s name. It was really playful and set the tone well for the improv segment for the next two weeks.

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