by Eric Reed
January 19, 2011
In three months since joining the Canadian Brass, I've learned so much! It has been an amazing experience, and it's an incredible honor to be a part of a group with such a storied place in the history of chamber music. Since September, we've been to the east and west coasts of North America and everywhere in between. We spent a week in Venezuela, and are headed to China in less than a week! It's tough to keep up with this schedule, and to maintain some sort of a normal life when I'm at home in New York City. But like I said, I've gained a lot from the experience so far, and would love to share some of this perspective on chamber music, the Canadian Brass and life as a musician with the HornZone readers!
Maybe it goes without saying, but the most important things for me in the new job have been staying in great shape and preparing the music exhaustively. Behind the scenes, though, being a part of a busy chamber music group comes with a lot of responsibility. This includes a lot of emailing, scheduling and organization, things that with diligence and careful practice early in one's career can make a huge difference in how effective and successful they are as a musician and colleague.
Speaking of effective communication, one trademark of the Canadian Brass is our audience engagement and communication with our concertgoers. I'd challenge all young musicians and music students to begin thinking at an early age about creative ways to engage and communicate with their audience. In this day and age of orchestras downsizing and (heaven forbid) even dissolving, these interactive aspects of performance are becoming increasingly important in order to be marketable as a professional musician. Not only does Canadian Brass pride itself on entertainment and total engagement in performance, but we like communicating with our audiences and communities before and after performances. We do this mainly through our website (www.canadianbrass.com) and our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/canadianbrass). Aspiring chamber musicians and soloists MUST create ways for their audience to find them on the Internet. It's great for the audience, as well as being fun and gratifying for the performers too!
Finally, I've been really inspired by our trumpet players, Brandon Ridenour and Chris Coletti, not only by their playing, but by their great arrangements for the group. Especially as an aspiring chamber musician or group, it's important to make your own arrangements or adaptations, so that you can find your own unique sound and give the audience something they've never heard. I personally wish that I had started learning to arrange and/or compose at an earlier age. Like anything, with a lot of practice it becomes easier and more fun with time, and improves a musician's ear and knowledge of music theory, qualities that make a musician well-rounded and in demand (which is what we all want, right?).
Happy practicing, everyone, and I hope to see you out on the road with Canadian Brass. Find us online!