Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hello From Atlantic City

Greetings. I am in my hotel room at one of the leading casinos (I think it's the one that has its own brand of vodka), attending the NJEA Convention. Some of these comments are going to be digested and included on my school website, but are included here for immediacy's sake.

First of all, the NJEA absolutely has to do something about seminar scheduling vis a vis nutrition acquisition. A few years ago, the NJEA elminated the sale of food in the convention hall. This is now overloading the few restaurants within walking distance of the convention center. It took me ten minutes to walk to Quizno's and another ten minutes to walk back when I realized I couldn't possibly be waited on in ten minutes. How I survived all day on a pack of Hershey's Kissables, I'll never know. We had some wonderful food in the Ocean County hospitality suite, which functioned as my dinner along with some colleagues, Bev and Gina.

I participated in three useful seminars today. First, Wilbur Wittemann, who I've never had the pleasure of playing for in spite of my fifteen years making music in Ocean County, talked about jazz pedagogy and why it's important for the jazz players of tomorrow to know about their past. He says that every jazz instrumentalist should know at least five artists on their instrument. (Those lists appear on Wittemann's website.) Wittemann told some great stories about his Lakewood Jazz Festival events, where he invites big name jazz stars (the first of whom was Dizzy Gillespie, the latest being drummer Dave Weckl) to play with the local students.

Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, appearing on behalf of Conn-Selmer, makers of many brands of band, orchestra and percussion instruments, gave a rousing lecture on how to motivate students to do their best. (Dr. Lautzenheiser is also one of the authors of Hal Leonard's "Essential Elements 2000" band method.)

My final seminar of the day was with Ed Sueta, the veteran band author and publisher, demonstrating his latest recorder book, "Be A Recorder Star". Sueta has designed a one-piece recorder make of unbreakable ABS plastic, motivational tools including books and stickers, and a carefully designed method book which makes learning the recorder a heck of a lot of fun. I know, because I learned along with about 150 other people in the lecture hall. We all got to keep our recorders, books and other paraphernalia, and some lucky audience members won alto recorders and tabletop music stands.

More convention fun tomorrow. It's pretty much bedtime now. Good night.

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