Texas Brass Ensemble at Kingwood Park High School

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Photo by Pin Lim at forestphotography.com

Texas Brass – Almost a Rock Concert

Last week was a slow performance week with only one gig, but it was one of the most well received performances the Texas Brass has ever had (that I can remember). The audience of a few hundred high school students was so enthusiastic about the music that the teachers felt a need to remind them to behave themselves. It was almost like a rock concert.

I have been pondering the students’ enthusiasm since the performance, wondering what made the difference with those teenagers. I have performed literally hundreds of school concerts and I don’t ever remember playing to such an enthusiastic audience at a school.

Oh, and these were general students in the audience, not only band students.

Were they more educated in music to know what we were doing? When people took solos, the kids applauded as if they knew that it was appropriate to do so. Surely that requires some education?

Or perhaps they have had school concerts like this more often than most schools? Did a previous performer teach them about concert etiquette?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I am quite impressed with their behavior.

Chatting to the Band

After the performances, we were invited to visit with the top band and discuss music careers with them. I tried to say as little as possible because I am the low man on the totem poll when we have people like Dave Kirk in the band. Dave is the tubist with the Houston Symphony and his input about making a living in music is far more valuable than anything I might offer.

I did tell the students that being a full time freelance player is probably the most difficult way to make a living in music. I realized afterwards that this might have come off as sort of one-uppish. I didn’t mean it that way at all. I really wanted to discourage people from pursuing a freelance career. It truly is a very difficult way to make a living and the rewards do not validate the effort. I will discuss this in another blog some day, but I have very strong feelings about this topic. I do not encourage students to follow my footsteps.

Unfortunately, when I do try to discourage students this way, I sometimes feel as if they think I am saying I am unhappy with my career. No, I am not one of those miserable, bitter musicians. When I discourage students, it is for their sakes only. It is not an expression of discontent.

Looking Ahead

Okay, let’s see what the next week has in store:

I’ll be playing my annual gig with my good friend Jay Burman. Jay was the drummer for Pat Hill’s band (Toomey Starks Band) and we have been good friends since then. Jay hires me every year to play the Purim Ball at Seven Acres (Jewish Senior Care).

Then Saturday night I’ll be playing with the Ronnie Renfro band for a wedding reception.

Not a heavy performance week, but then I also have a lot of business stuff to get caught up on.

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