361 more days to go…

So, Christmas is pretty much all done and dusted for another year. Each year it seems to fly by all too quick and, sadly, the magic it holds as a child seems to have worn off now I’m (allegedly) an adult.

However, I had a lovely Christmas period. Busking, spending time with Amy and her family, and my own, coupled with good food and good drink (plus 7 points out of 9 for the Alex!) meant this festive season has been a good one.

Doesn’t it go quickly though. After all the build up, blink, and it’s gone.

Still, like the title of this post says, just 361 more days to go!



Wycliffe Gordon. Trombone superstar.

Have a listen to this…


Cor… Let’s be honest, the band behind him are pretty spectacular (the Cory band), but wow, this man puts them in the shade!


Edit: Just chanced across this too… the conducting in Toccata In D is really rather something – it that itsn’t directing music… I don’t know what is!


Rocket Science

I mentioned a while back that one of my pupils had sat their playing exam on Tenor Horn. They sat Grade 4, and I was delighted for them when they told me their results had come back and they had passed with a distinction and a score of 138/150.

I was delighted for her and told her so. However, I’m not surprised. At the conclusion of the Fodens gig I went to watch the other week, I was talking to a gentleman named Kevin who used to conduct a band at the same time I played there. He is now a renowned local brass teacher in the local schools so he knows his gravy. We were discussing many different players, particularly ones who shine through with that little bit of star quality. There was one young man in particular (taught by Kevin, and attends the Lions Beginners) who we were both impressed with. The quote given to me was ‘he goes home and practises, is always early for his lesson, listens well and works hard.’

So does this girl. That’s why I wasn’t surprised at her result. This is the same pupil who won her section in the Lions Slow Melody Concert and came both first and second in the duet section too. Kevin and myself both agreed that there is no rocket science involved in brass playing (good job really, have you ever met a bass player? 😉 ), but listening, practising and hard work are the key bits – this girl does all three.

It really is a potent combination.


Writing, or typing, is my current medium of choice due to a flu virus that I’ve picked up, rendering speaking rather painful. It’s something of a tradition that I pick up a cold around Christmas time – this year I’m just glad it’s – hopefully – arrived early so I can get over it by Christmas itself.

A word on ambition

Last night I realised an ambition of mine.

Due to Nigel, the regular conductor, being unavailable to conduct the Lions Youth Band in their annual concert in Cheadle, Staffs, I was asked to fill in for the night.

Since I started conducting it’s something I’ve always wanted to do; to conduct the band that started me off as a player in an evening concert. Last night I got to do just that. Ok, so it wasn’t the biggest of most important concert. But I’m proud I got to do it. It’s a night that will long live with me.

Particularly because it was freezing!

That was the week…

…that was.

Wednesday was the highlight of the working week. The Fodens concert was, simply, excellent. What an enjoyable evening. 17 talented local brass playing youngsters performed in the Spotlight Concert – including two of my pupils – before an 11 piece from Fodens took the stage. Their audience-friendly programme included a WW1 memorial spot went down a treat with the knowledgeable crowd.

However, the weekend topped Wednesday. On Saturday one of my pupils took her Grade 4 exam, playing with great style. She came out smiling, and sounded great from in the corridor. Now it’s just a case of waiting on her result.

Then on Sunday it was the Lions Slow Melody Contest and I was delighted with the results that my pupils received. One won her solo section, won her group section as part of a quartet (and came second in the same section as a duet), whilst another won her section. Finally, another pupil won the James Gorse Memorial Award for ‘Most Promising Player’ in the contest. The day ended with a Lions concert, in which my Beginners played superbly.

I say the day ended with a concert…actually, mine ended with a – if I do say so myself – well deserved pint!