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James Goldapp: Blog

I play background easy listening and dinner music for special occasions.  If you live in the Branson-Springfield area, please mention my name to folks who might need my services.  I use recorded tracks and play the clarinet, sax, flute and piano as the solo instruments.  I can also provide larger groups and vocalists as needed.
I play all kinds of music, but mostly jazz, smooth jazz and pop tunes.  Check out some of my tracks on this website.
Thanks-James Goldapp

Life as a musican-#2

Posted on April 25, 2011

I have been reading lately that many music teachers may lose their jobs next year because of budget cuts.   This concerns many of my colleagues in the band teaching world.  When I was teaching band in Texas, I also worried about this possiblity.  As humans we do not necessarily like change.

I shocked several when I guit teaching after twenty one years to pursue a full-time playing position in Branson.  We moved within two weeks, and I was playing a show the day after we arrived.  It was a scary thing to do at the time.

After three weeks, I was forced to move to another show in town.  Since then, several of the shows I have played closed or did without the horn section.  There are probably less that ten horn players left in town now.  Several of the shows use tracks instead of live musicians.

My point for mentioning this, is that I am still here after arriving in 1996.  I am blessed that I can teach privately, play the organ and do choir at church, and am able to play ever once in awhile.  We have had to "downsize" as they say, but I continue to still "get fatter"!  So we are still eating.

I encourage my teacher/musician readers to be receptive to change.  I often thought I was entitled to my band job when I was teaching.  I have learned that as musicans we need to remain flexible and find other ways to use our talents.

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Life as a musician

Posted on March 4, 2011

Hope you have been practicing your axe.  Got to keep those chops in good shape for your next big event.  Well it is that time of the year in Branson.  Some shows are finally opening up.  Others look like they may stay closed this year.  We have had several horn positions in town go down this year.  If you go to a show thank them for having live music, and better yet thank them if they have a horn section.

If you are a praying person, say one for all the un-employed musicians in this world.  We need your help.

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Getting Started Teaching Band

Posted on February 10, 2011

I'm sure many of you are entering contest season in your area.  This can be a trying time for young directors.  With budget cuts, testing, and all kinds of other problems, your rehearsals might be frustrating.  Try to ignore as much of that as possible when you step on the podium.  Get a firm grip on your baton and get to work.

Something that might help you decide what to work on, is to record your rehearsals.  Some people even video their rehearsals to help them know where they need to improve as a teacher.  Recording the sessions can help you hear things you may have missed during the rehearsal. 

Many young bands get lower ratings because they "sound young"!  Do your best to teach your students to play with good tone qualities and especially how to play intune.  Yes, right notes and rhythms are important, but intonation is probably the most important skill they need.

Teaching your students to listen and learn what "sounds good" is one of the most important skills a director should know.  There are several books one can read on the subject, but hearing other groups might be a better example.  Have other directors listen to your group live or on tape.  Learn to take advice.

And finally, I always blame the director if the kids don't do well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Remember if you don't make a first division, you are not a good director!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  No pressure----------

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As your rehearsal starts, be very business like.  Speak in a nice tone of voice, but be firm.  Try to anticipate problems before they happen, so you don't seemed suprised when they occur.  Getting the routine down we have talked about will greatly increase your ability to cope.

Get the students playing as soon as possible.  Evaluators like that.  Do not allow yourself to waste time on things that keep you from rehearsing.  I always wanted to have my lesson ready to go when the tardy bell rang.  Establishing a good warm-up routine can be very important.  The Remington trombone warm-ups are great for the whole class.  Our college band director here uses the Essential Elements Book #3 as he begins to rehearse.  Everyone in unison, good for developing pitch.  There are plenty of good junior high and high school level warm-ups available.

You have to be prepared to teach as you rehearse.  Mentioning things that make your students better players is always a good idea.  How to breathe, watching the conductor, listening for pitch, sitting correctly.  These things must be stressed everyday.  I like my students to sit up on the front part of their chair.  This requires them to be physically engaged as they play.  When there is a time to relax, let them.

When you begin to rehearse your tunes, know exactly what you want to get done.  Sometimes just playing a section over and over is good.  Other times certain notes, phrasing, etc. must be fixed.  Again, knowing alot about every instrument can help you develop a good band sound especially if you do not have alot of help.

Talking about all these things is good.  However, knowing how to teach embouchures, articulations, counting, breathing, etc. are important too.  I like to think of teaching in this context:  suppose you were taking golf lessons from someone who has never played golf.  They have no practical experience.  That is why I feel strongly that we should contiune to play our horns until the day we die!

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