Monday, July 24, 2017

This has definitely been a great summer!  I had the opportunity to travel to Vail, Colorado with the Dallas Symphony to perform the Rite of Spring at the the Bravo! Vail Music Festival.  Aside from getting to make great music, we were able to take some time to go hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park, relax by the pool, and try lots of delicious new places to eat.  It was tough coming back to the Dallas heat after that.  We also were able to visit our families and take some vacation time.

 I'm usually at ClarinetFest blogging each year but will be absent this year teaching masterclasses. Safe travels to everyone going this year!

Friday, March 17, 2017

I'm off to Monroe with my husband to play our next pops concert!  If you're in the area, check out our Frank Sinatra concert on Saturday night. There will be tables set up to bring your own delicious food and it will be a fun time.

Last weekend, I performed in a chamber music concert with the Camerata Winds. The concert was called "Colors of the Winds" and featured recent woodwind quintet arrangements with different colors in the titles such as Dreams of the White Tiger, Blues for Woodwind Quintet, Red Lights!, Pink Panther, March from The Love of Three Oranges, Pink Panther, and The Frog and the Golden Ball. We each dressed in a different color to match the theme.

I also was able to participate in a few races! I ran the Paris, Texas half marathon which was delightful! The course went through picturesque trails, over bridges, and passed by the Eiffel Tower which was complete with a red cowboy hat on top. I also volunteered as a St. Patrick's Day 5k and got to help run some of the timing and finish line activities.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Our last Monroe Symphony concert was a lot of fun and since it was right before Mardi Gras, I was able to enjoy some king cake and crawfish etouffee. Delicious! It was also nice to have a little downtime to enjoy a walk through the beautiful Black Bayou Wildlife refuge and catch up on some reading. I'll be back in a few weeks for our Simply Sinatra pops concert.

This week and next week I'm in the Dallas area performing with Camerata Winds and will make a quick trip up to Paris, Texas to run the half marathon there. Paris has its own Eiffel Tower with a cowboy hat on top of it so what's not to love about that?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Eight Quick Tips for a Successful Solo Competition

Each spring, I help approximately 60 students prepare for their solo competitions. For many of those students, this is their first time performing a solo with accompaniment. It's exciting and fun but can be daunting at first glance. To help with this, I've put together a list of eight quick tips to have a successful solo competition!

1. First, always pick a solo that challenges and stretches your abilities without overwhelming you. This is especially true if this is your first time working with an accompanist. Ask your private lesson instructor or band director for feedback or assistance when choosing a new piece.

2. Once you've selected your solo, check and make sure that it meets all of the requirements for your competition. For example, our high school students here in Texas are required to pick from our Prescribed Music List while most middle students have free reign. You'll want to purchase your solo music with accompaniment early so that you don't get surprised with backordered or out of print music!

3. Listen to as many professional recordings as you can and follow along with the score in front of you. That way, you'll know how your part and the piano part fit together and your rehearsals will go smoothly. Use the tap function on your metronome to get an idea of how fast you'll want to perform the work and begin working up to this.

4. Book your accompanist long in advance and make you get the music to them in plenty of time to learn it before the first rehearsal. This is a great time to communicate what tempos you are planning on working at. Always ask about fees up front so that you can pay them on time.

5. When first rehearsing with your accompanist, it's a great idea to record your run through. You can review this later and see if there's anything that you may have missed in rehearsal. The Tonal Energy app is a nice recorder/metronome/tuner/and tone generator and is affordable for students.

6. Practice performing often for friends and family, especially if competitions or performances make you a little nervous! A run through will also make sure that you are in good performance shape.

7. Make sure that you break in plenty of reeds in advance and that your instrument is in good
working order.

8. Finally, enjoy your performance! You've put a lot of work into this and it is your time to shine and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

2016 was an amazing year for me! I performed with the Monroe Symphony, Longview Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Abilene Philharmonic, Midland-Odessa Symphony, Irving Symphony, and Las Colinas Symphony.  Doing what I love and working with such amazing colleagues is a wonderful gift.  I'm looking forward to the new year!