Saturday, May 7, 2016

TAPS East Coast

TAPS, ya'll. TAPS made me not hate excerpts. For those that know me, this is a huge deal. Let me explain.



My undergraduate education began with assignments of only snare drum, and almost exclusively excerpts.  If you're looking for a way to get rid of a student, I suggest this route.  Not only was I not yet mature enough to have the focus and discipline to learn these, but they were killing my motivation to practice. I wanted to practice; I was desperate to learn.  Sure, my buzz rolls got pretty good, but I hated the rest of it. I dreaded practice, which as we all know, really sucks.

Luckily, my ornery side kicked in and I just started learning marimba pieces in my own time, so the music student was saved!  But that first semester of school has never left me.  Since then, any time a person mentions excerpts, I cringe.  With less self control I'd act like Michael from The Office.


In grad school, the quickest way to get me to leave a room was to talk about excerpts. Was I being a downer at a party? - say the words Messiaen, exotic, and birds in a sentence and I'm outta there.  Party restored.  It became a joke of the studio.

So, when I say that TAPS made me not hate excerpts...this is a reeeeeally big deal. Firstly, Ted Atkatz is awesome. You want to talk about being true to your musical self, he's one to interview.  And the insight, advice, and completeness of his approach to teaching the orchestral musician - NOT  the excerpts (there is a HUGE difference) - is refreshing.  Also, he's really funny. Put Ted and Casey Cangelosi in a room and watch the shenanigans unfold.  Musically brilliant shenanigans.

And normal shenanigans.

But let me be clear, TAPS isn't only about excerpts.  Sure, there's a mock audition, and the chance to win cymbals, a snare drum, and a tambourine, but each faculty member brings something different to the table, too.  At TAPS East Coast, there's me, Casey, Shaun Tilburg, and Ted.  The structure of TAPS allows faculty to attend each other's classes, establishing a sort of roundtable structure to the event, not a dry lecture environment.  As a non orchestra-focused player, I look forward to contributing to the days with a marimba masterclass and discussions about movement, injury prevention, and performance anxiety.

Why am I sharing this?

Because there's still time to sign up for TAPS East Coast. And! The video application has been waived, so signing up has never been easier.  1 online form, 2 recommendation letters, and $75 later, you'll be joining us in beautiful Sidney, Maine for TAPS East Coast.

In addition to classes, a mock audition, and prizes, there will be a tour of the Vic Firth factory, which I'm really excited about! I've never toured something like that before.

 Here's the Mock Audition rep. Perhaps you already know it, and were contemplating purchasing your own cymbals or snare drum...you may as well win them, attend some great masterclasses, and have some ridiculous laughs in the process.

Learn more on the TAPS Facebook page and Ted's website.


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