Ted’s essays

trombone trio

After four years of wishing I could find, and looking for someone to play trombone with, I began growing my own trombone trio. I found a couple of lads interested in learning, gave them each a trombone and began giving lessons near weekly. As with nearly everything else I do, I am underqualified, but the best I can find who will actually get the job done. In this case, both are in homeschooled families, so I am The Music Department of their school. I bought other instruments, and gave a few lessons, but the trombonists are the only ones who have stuck with it, now going on five months. We recently got into the more enjoyable phase where we can […]

making music for your health

You know you like it. You run your electronic music-producing electronics A LOT. Those of you who play a musical instrument, or sing feel good while you are doing it, as well as afterwards. Numerous studies show increased health, learning ability, brain capacity and more in those who make music – in any way… that includes the didgeredoo, the love of one co-author in the article below. The two of them studied and quantified the effects. Add this as one more research article supporting musicianship as a positive for humans. Click the links to the article for the whole thing. I admit to cutting out the didgeredoo-centric part as that is not my thing. The website has A LOT about […]

trombone humor

this is a bass

Jacqueline du Pré

Shortly after the turn of the century, I went searching for an affordable turntable. I had a modest-sized, high-quality collection of vinyl LPs, many of which I longed to hear. I purchased a BIG old-school stereo system from a retired couple who “upgraded” to a modern surround sound … for less than the price of a turntable! It included four two-and-a-half-foot-tall speakers, two of which were HEAVY Yamahas, a 400-watt amplifier capable of driving all four, twin-cassette recorder/player, 5-CD changer, AM/FM receiver, 5-channel equalizer and the all important Pioneer direct-drive turntable. Just before our 2013 move to The Bitterroot was the last time I heard the big stereo play. Tuesday a friend helped me get it going, but pointed out […]

winning trombone bid

I “won” an eBay auction on a horn I just had to hold. It is probably around a 1950 build from Elkhart, Indiana – a time and place some famously good playing horns came from. For $68 + $38 shipping, I HAD TO take the chance I would score another nice playing horn … I’ve been pretty lucky at buying and restoring lately. It is an American Triumph made by Harry Pedler … the production line and artisans that became Conn, that produced my Conn 6H, among other vintage desirables. My initial straightening of quite badly bent inner slides along with a serious session for upper and lower parts in the bathtub was happily rewarded, but that merely took it […]

ragtime

In February I finally got around to checking out the monthly gathering of Bitterroot’s Ragtime Society. It looked good and they encouraged me to bring my horn next time. March 5th was next time. I brought my horn. Mom and Missy also came along … my fan club … hadda make sure somebody liked the noises I made. Ragtime is not familiar territory to me. Tunes I have experience with are Dixieland, Swing, Jazz, Big Band and the like. But, Hey, these people let me play trombone! 🙂 I HOPED to play along in a quarter of the music, enjoy it all and end up with some sheet music to play with between now and the next meeting. I was […]

instrumental

In public school 4th grade, kids who “got it” with the plastic flutes the year before were offered loans of real instruments and lessons in their use. Trombone was IT. I turned down all proffered alternatives until a trombone became available. It was the only sound I was interested in making; instrument I wished to play. Many decades later, acoustic bass snuck in as a possible interest. If ever I had to play something other than trombone, I decided the upright bass would be it. Fate delivered me to a place where I have been unable to find people to play my trombone with, but a bass would be enthusiastically welcomed. I still enjoy playing my horns with my ‘band […]

rhythm

There! You can read music.

this Saturday: Darby Ham Jam & String Fest

The Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC) members built, support and operate several radio repeaters in Ravalli County. These greatly improve two-way radio communication and expand the distance operators can reach to share information … communications that could be vital in case of emergency. The event this Saturday is an attempt to afford repeaters in the South Bitterroot – that is, to reach up the East and West forks. These areas often do not have emergency phone service OR radio communications. BARC can solve that. The Darby Community Hall will have tables rented out at $10 each. Plenty of tables are still available. Bring your stuff after 10:30 Saturday morning. For Sale items could be typical Ham Fest fare, crafts or […]

trombone hangers

The best advice serious professional trombone players give regarding storing your horns goes something like this: I have never seen a trombone damaged by falling from inside its case. In other words, the finest trombone stands on the market today are less safe than putting your horn away whenever you are not holding it. But, I play them a lot less if I have to open the case, put them together, then reverse the process when I’m done tootin’ around. Here is my compromise. They are there for ready access and reasonably secure. Yeah, a 9.2 earthquake would likely wreck them, but they would be the least of my worries and probably wrecked in their cases anyway. Besides, even […]

Ham Jam and String Fest

The Bitterroot Amateur Radio Club (BARC) and its members operate several radio repeaters in the Bitterroot. These enable people with walkie-talkies, mobile and home radios to accomplish two-way communication over a wide area from Darby to Missoula and beyond. While the club members have the ability and willingness to expand the repeater network, they are expensive to set up, costing significantly over $1,000 each for reliable off-grid mountain-top units that can do the job. This Ham Jam and String Fest is an attempt to attract donations that might extend the network of repeaters through Conner, up the West Fork and up to Lost Trail Pass. If successful enough, this network could reach Salmon and from there much of Idaho. […]