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August 11, 2011
The “OK Fellowship” group at our church is sponsoring a performance of the Youth Banjo Band from Sagemont Church. I have never heard the band, but I have heard wonderful things about them. If you are interested in attending this concert, click HERE for directions and/or more information.
If I am allowed to have a favorite, I would have to say that Celebrations is my favorite of all my books. Besides the fact that it’s fun, challenging and unique, as a complete work it has a significant meaning to me in my life.
I began writing duets again in the early part of this decade. At first I only wrote them for fun. Then I decided to make a project out of it. Then personal tragedy struck and the duets came to represent second chances. In that sense, it’s not just another duet book. My heart and soul is contained within it’s pages.
That said, the book is laid out in a way that lends itself very well for use in private lessons. The individual duets are arranged in a progressive order spanning from easy whole-note duets and progressing to virtuosic duets that present a challenge to most professional players.
Here are a few comments people have made about Celebrations over the past several years:
David H. Bailey – The David Bailey Music Studio, New Hampshire
“I have used Celebrations in my private teaching since I first received the book, and have to say that the wide range of styles as well was the wide range of difficulty in the duets makes it a perfect addition to any teacher’s library. The students who have played the duets with me have enjoyed them, as have their parents who heard them through the closed door of my studio. It’s a great book at a great price and will provide a lot of great music-making.”
Chris Gekker – University of Maryland:
“Your duets have been a great addition to my teaching. I like to do some sight-reading at each students’ lesson, and in your book there is so much variety and range of styles. Some duets are very simple, which can be deceptively challenging, and others have intervallic and rhythmic demands that are quite ambitious. I also appreciate the “swing” duets, of which there are a number: gone are the days when any trumpeter can ignore being able to play well in this manner. Congratulations on such a fine book, and I’m grateful for your contribution to our quest of becoming better musicians and trumpeters.”
“Just received the books. What a wonderful, cheerful, joyous book Celebration is! I intend to “beat my students up” with it. It has something for everyone, from beginner to professional. It’s a playing encyclopedia, pure and simple.”
Lonnie Lalanne – Freelance Trumpeter – Houston:
“I’m on 74, 75 and 76 in your duet book. Man, I just want to thank you for this stuff. It’s really perfect for a pro player to cover those styles and I’m gong to tell you the truth – you’re kind of a jerk though – some of that stuff you do, man, that trickery – I really like it. Thanks Eddie.”
Celebrations was also reviewed in a recent issue of the ITG Journal (Page 99). The reviewer, Brian Winegardner, says:
“The musical quality and ingenuity found in these short compositions is unique, making the playing of these duets extremely enjoyable. Eddie Lewis has created an extraordinary collection of trumpet duets. The variety of styles and difficulty levels found in Celebrations make it a valuable and versatile duet book for all trumpet players, from a high school student to a professional.”
I’ve noticed lately that there’s not much in the way of business advice for Christian business owners online. This is especially true when it comes to marketing and sales. The closest sources I’ve found to what I was looking for have been mere justifications for what the sales people are doing. There is a gaping hole in the spot where God centered advertising should have been.
I understand that many people use verses like Proverbs 16:2 to justify taking things from the world and using them in a Christian context. This certainly works for music. Church musicians have taken the music of the world and changed the lyrics, ONLY the lyrics, to turn it into something that praises God.
However, I do not believe this works with everything in our lives. A blatant example would be someone who commits prostitution for God. This doesn’t work the same way as the music does. Prostitution is a sin and God desires obedience before sacrifice. Committing such a sin for Him is disobedience to His word.
Well, the same is true for advertizing, marketing and sales. I do not believe we can use the sales techniques of this world because I believe they are all based on the fruits of the flesh. Today’s sales techniques encourage others to act upon their flesh nature and to sin. If we use this kind of advertizing, then we are guilty of the sin of leading them to sin.
I wrestled with this for a few months before I submitted it to God and asked the Holy Spirit what He wanted me to do. I tried to find an answer to this seemingly complex problem. How can we, as Christians, compete with businesses who use these proven strategies of appealing to the flesh nature of man to get the upper hand? It is a competitive market and I struggled with the question, what can we do to get the edge over them? Certainly, God wants God centered businesses to thrive over businesses that turn their backs on Him. But how do we sell ourselves without falling into those same practices?
The answer is a simple one. After I realized I was trying to do it all myself again, I submitted this to God and asked the Holy Spirit how it should be done. I don’t know yet how to implement His answer, but when it comes time to do so, I will pray for guidance again.
The Holy Spirit told me that every ad, every piece of marketing we release, should bless the people who read it in some way. It’s that simple.
Like I said, I don’t know how we will do that yet, but the answer resonates with me. I feel God’s peace within me when I look at our advertizing this way. If the objective is to bless people, then I don’t get that same unsettled spirit I used to get when I consider doing things the traditional way, the world’s way.
I will write about this again after we do what the Holy Spirit told us to do. I think it would be a great testimony to write these things and share them with you so the world will know that there is another way.
The previous half of this post was written at least a year ago. Pearl and I have been looking for ways to bless people through the business ever since. This is not as simple and straight forward of a task as it may seem. Blessing people doesn’t always mean just giving them whatever they want.
I was thinking about this recently in the context of buying gifts for people. Pearl and I really like to bless people with gifts, but there are certain gifts that aren’t really blessings. It’s common for people to give bottles of liquor as gifts, but that sort of gift is not a blessing, it’s a curse. Giving a gift of liquor makes us enablers. It sends a clear message that we think drinking alcohol is a good thing. When considering what gifts to buy people, bottles of liquor cannot be on the list.
There is also another issue of what happens when you bless someone in a way that makes someone else substantially less blessed. For example, I would love to give free lessons to all my students, but doing so would force me to find another source of income and as a result cause the quality of my teaching to suffer severely. I would much rather charge a decent rate and bless the students with high quality lessons than to give away a bunch of substandard freebees.
Another example is actually a more common issue that we deal with on a regular basis. I would love to give free makeup lessons to everyone who misses no matter when the canceled or for whatever reason the canceled. But that would cause other students to go without lessons by locking up precious hours of the week in our schedule. If we don’t know about an absence at least 24 hours in advance, that hour is wasted. Not only can we not place another student in that spot, but it also prevents us from filling that time with other business plans.
You see, blessing people isn’t always so straight forward. We don’t want to bless just one or two of our students and let the rest suffer for it. We want to bless ALL of them. So we have learned over the years that the only way we can do that is to stand firm on our policies. It’s ironic because it makes us look like we are being mean and that we are doing everything we can to NOT to bless people. When we stand firm on our policies, some people think we are being unreasonable jerks. But when we stick to the structure that has already been implemented, it gives us the room in our schedule and the resources to do good things for ALL of our students. That’s what matters to us.
We have many things we are doing to bless people that I don’t have time to discuss here, but I thought this would be a good topic to add here, at the beginning of this blog’s existence. After all, part of the purpose of this blog is to advertise and we want to bless YOU with the content we are sharing. That is our advertising concept.
TO APPEAR AT 2011 KEMAH BOARDWALK JAZZ FESTIVAL
From Bob Morgan…
I was privileged to be a member of the Sam Houston State University music faculty, 1965 – 1976. In the late 60s, I founded/directed the SHSU Jazz Octet, several alumni of which are today very prominent musicians in Houston and beyond. The octet made significant festival appearances in Austin, Corpus Christi, Mobile, AL, Wichita, KS, and elsewhere, and, in 1970, was chosen as “Best Combo” at the Little Rock Collegiate Jazz Festival. As a result of the latter honor, the octet appeared at the 1970 National Collegiate Jazz Festival, held at the University of Illinois/Urbana, sharing the stage with groups from the University of North Texas, Indiana University, and elsewhere. The same year, the octet released a critically-acclaimed album, “Naturally!,” sold internationally via Down Beat magazine.
Of the original members of the octet, fully one-half remain active musicians today, all very successful and prominent in the Houston jazz community. The “veterans” will be joined by more-recent Sam Houston alums for this special reunion performance. Music to be performed will include vintage charts from the “Naturally!” album, plus more-recent material.
All Sam alumni and followers of the SHSU jazz program are urged to attend!
2011 Kemah Boardwalk Jazz Festival
Sunday, September 18, 2011
6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
I 45 south, exit NASA Rd. 1 to Hwy. 146 S
(Allow ample time for traffic, parking, etc.)
(* = SHSU alumnus; ‡ = member of original Octet)
| Bob Morgan, director/arranger
former Dir. of Jazz Studies, SHSU
‡*Kit Reid, trumpet
‡*Reggie Goebel, trombone
Scott Plugge, alto sax
current faculty, SHSU
|‡*Johnny Gonzales, tenor sax
*Gary Zugar, baritone sax
‡*Duane Massey, piano
*Darrell Parrish, bass
*Bobby Adams, drums
And special guest from New York City, *Alva Nelson (piano/arranger),
who is preparing a new composition for the occasion.
The octet’s Kemah appearance will be dedicated to the memory of alumnus George Honea (1953 – 2009). George was a brilliant drummer/percussionist, whose impressive résumé includes four years with The Airmen of Note and a lengthy stint with The Judds. Though never a member of the Octet, he certainly was one of the stellar alumni of the Sam Houston jazz program, and it seemed very appropriate to remember him on this special occasion.
Additional info is available from Bob Morgan: email@example.com
The Kemah Boardwalk Jazz Festival is a joint production of:
The Landry’s Corporation
Local 65-699, American Federation of Musicians
Author: Ramon Ricker
Publisher: Studio PR
Number of Pages: 59
Difficulty Level: 5 – 7
This book has eighteen pages of explanation at the beginning with the rest of the book being dedicated to exercises in fourths. There are 432 exercises in all.
Quartal melodies and harmony are something of an entryway into the world of modern jazz playing. Fourths obscure the tonality but in a subtle way that helps give the improviser control over the degrees of chromaticism. Fourths have a symmetric sound but it’s a symmetry that also coincides with major and minor tonal centers. So it sounds more diatonic than symmetry of half steps, whole steps, minor thirds or major thirds.
I began practicing this book in the early 1980s. It took a long time for any of it to show, but today there’s lot’s of quartal playing in my solos. This book was the beginning of that. I have move forward, developing my own exercises and no longer practice directly out of this book. But I have to recognize the tremendous influence this book has had in my playing.
Another related book is the pentatonics book. The pentatonic scale is built on five notes a perfect fourth apart. Look at stacked fourths beginning on E:
E – A – D – G – C
Invert each of those pitches into one octave and you have the C pentatonic scale:
C – D – E – G – A
So it makes logical sense that a book about pentatonics would go well with a book about fourths.
Available at SheetMusicPlus.com.