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fun pop music

 

Getting ready for the East Enders gig and transcribing Uptown Funk. Lovin' it.

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VVQ at ESCS

 

Thanks to Diane Cline with El Sistema Somerville for bringing the Vintage Vocal Quartet to perform at East Somerville Community School today. The kids made a great audience and asked excellent questions at the Q&A. I hope we convinced a few of them that singing and playing an instrument are mutually beneficial, and super fun.

I knew it!

 

Here's an article that confirms something I have long taught: when your voice is tired, it's okay to phonate! Just be careful!

DYAD shows

 

New music and new gimmicks for DYAD are rearing their heads this spring, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.  We are adding songs by Samuel Barber and Hall & Oates. Mark Shilansky (recently featured on NPR and in the Boston Globe) is singing and holding down the piano seat while I sing and play assorted instruments (bass, mandolin, and trumpet). Following a concert for the 30th anniversary of the Concord Community Music School last week, we will be doing shows in Jamaica Plain (Boston) and Somerville.  Check 'em out.

CCMS

 

Last night I performed at the Concord Community Music School.  This is a non-profit music center that serves 1,600 students and gives out loads of scholarships for lessons and ensembles.  It is their 30th anniversary celebration and many alumni of the program came back to perform including Audrey Budington and Mark Shilansky.  I was blown away by the community support and love this program gets, and by the tireless dedication of the founder and director, Peggy Senter.  Here's to another 30 years!

New band coming soon

 

After performing with the vocal ensemble The Four Freshmen on several tours in 2014, I was amazed by the passionate fan base for vintage vocal group music.  The Freshmen all play instruments and sing in four-part harmony, which makes them appealing to audiences and also economical as a touring entity.  I am launching a new quartet comprised of 4 singer/instrumentalists to showcase the work I have been doing over the last several years at Berklee; namely, transcription and performance of vocal ensemble music of the big band era.  Stay tuned!
In the meantime, enjoy these vintage vocal group videos

Little Pony transcription

 

Just finished work on a vocalese piece for my students.  Little Pony was written by Neil Hefti and recorded in 1951 by Count Basie's band. The tenor saxophone solo by Wardell Gray was lyricized by the great Jon Hendricks, who recorded it on "Sing a Song of Basie" with Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.

You can see and hear the transcription at a slow tempo here.

Singing while sick - tips

 

Sometimes students say they are "too sick to sing" because they have a cold, and they let their practice slide.  Even when you are struck by the common cold, try 2 things:

  • mental practice.  Imagine yourself singing the pieces, see how many mistakes you make.  Do it in real time.  This helps, believe it or not!
  • slow, low, gentle warmups like humming, oo, ee.  Use only the easiest part of your range and concentrate on getting clarity in your tone.

Taylor House Friday

 

DYAD is a fun project I have been doing with Mark Shilansky for a few years now.  We do all kinds of music, jazz pop, originals, all with a fresh, intimate, interesting take.  We love this music and it shows.  Live at the Taylor House, Jamaica Plain, MA this Friday.

So you want to come to Berklee?

 

I received an email from a student who is planning to attend Berklee.  The student asked me for advice on the school.  Here's my response.

-------

Hi [prospective student],

I'm glad to hear you are pursuing your interests at [community college].  I went to a community college myself and it's a great bargain.

Students who do the best at Berklee tend to have a passion for music that makes them not realize they are "missing out" on other things (like a social life).  They tend to come in with a great deal of knowledge about one style but are open to exploring others.  They don't think of classes, homework, rehearsals, etc. as a chore but as an adventure.  They understand that sometimes you learn the most when you try, and fail.

Berklee is a big school (4000+ students), which is its strength and its weakness.  There are so many choices for teachers, courses and peer groups that no matter what your focus you will find others who have the same.  The weakness of Berklee's size is that no one will hold your hand through the program unless -- emphasis here -- unless you ask them to.  You have to understand when you need help and have the confidence to go get it.

Best of luck to you,

David

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Next appearances

  • February 14, 2018
    Arsenal Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA
     
  • February 17, 2018
    Parish Center For the Arts, Westford, MA
     
  • April 7, 2018
    Linda Marks Salon