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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: New Orleans

The Meters: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

The Meters are a funk band from New Orleans. Their music is stripped down, not flashy, and just oozing with groove and character.

If you or a student of yours are looking for a way to work on groove, you can use this album as a tool.

Three Ways to Work on Groove:

  1. You can have them sing along with any of these tracks. Have them start with just one note and encourage them to make it "fit into the song." Be sure to point out that fewer notes are better than a lot of notes when starting out.
  2. Next have them play along with any of the tracks on just one note. It is pretty incredible how quickly even a young player will start to feel the concept of groove when they play along with an album like this.
  3. Finally, have them play some very basic hand percussion along with it. A shaker, claves, anything laying around the band room. You can also have them march around the band room in time with the music to feel the groove.

I've seen this kind of thing work wonders with students of all ages and ability levels.

Happy grooving!

Jazz Funeral in New Orleans: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

The traditional New Orleans jazz funeral is a beautiful way to celebrate the life of someone who has passed away, rather than mourning their death.  To see one is an incredibly powerful experience and this video captures it perfectly.

This funeral was in honor of tuba player Kerwin James who passed away in 2007.  It is hard not to tear up watching this celebration of life.  My favorite part is when they lower the casket and rock it back and forth so he can "dance one last time."

I hope traditions like this one never die.  God bless New Orleans.

No BS! Brass: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

This past week I was soloing with the Bird High School Wind Symphony outside of Richmond and had the privilege of meeting the tuba player for Richmond's No BS! Brass, Stefan Demetriadis.  I've been a big fan of his and the entire band for a while now.  They are a fantastic brass band in the New Orleans tradition but they've absolutely got their own sound. Any band that describes themselves as "fearlessly combining elements of James Brown, John Coltrane, Michael Jackson, and Led Zeppelin" has got my attention.  Stefan holds down the low end like a champ.  This video is totally kick ass.


Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

I have evidently been living under a rock because I had no idea two of my favorite musicians headlined an entire concert together.  Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton are both institutions on their respective instruments and in music in general for a good reason.  This is just fantastic. Every person on this stage is expressing a strong musical opinion without stepping on each other's toes.  Tons of exclamation points going around this band and no question marks at all.

The slow, relentless groove alone is enough of a reason to play this for any young musician.  I don't know how many times I've been told that slow music is "easy" by young players.  Slow music ain't easy.  In fact, it's the hardest music to play in the world.  The slow groove in the first half of this clip wouldn't have budged if the hall had caught on fire.  As it should be.  This is how "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" goes.


Lenny Kravitz and the Voice of Praise Choir: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

This clip embodies everything I love about music.  Lenny Kravitz, the singer/instrumentalist/songwriter, was hanging out in New Orleans when he heard a band and choir covering one of his songs.  Even if you are the biggest Lenny Kravitz fan, the rest is best described by just watching the clip. The whole thing is summed up by the expression of the acoustic rhythm guitar player the moment that Lenny sits down on the drum kit.  I just think this clip is the perfect example of pure joy that only music provides in my life.  And how about this kid on guitar?!?

This is just awesome.


Monday YouTube Fix: Rebirth Brass Band

Andrew Hitz

New Orleans might be my favorite city in America.  The food, the architecture, THE MUSIC! This is a video of the Rebirth Brass Band "Do Watcha Wanna" while taking a stroll through the French Quarter. Imagine stumbling upon this as you walk down the street! Happens all the time in New Orleans. It says this video was taken the day before the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival a few years ago. Every single aspiring musician in the world should drain their bank account dry in necessary to attend Jazzfest. To try to even begin to describe what it did to help shape me as a musician the 4 times I attended in both undergrad and grad school would do it a disservice. I grew up as a musician the first time I spent 4 days soaking it all in as a 20 year old visiting from Chicago.

Jazzfest is life changing for everyone but especially for musicians. Get there at all costs!



Monday YouTube Fix: Louie Armstrong

Andrew Hitz

Put in the most simple terms, if you are a player with even 5% of the style, conviction, and intent that Louis Armstrong brought to the table, you will make your living performing. He had it all: technique, phrasing, tone, style, desire to perform, everything. We can all learn from Louie! Amazing trumpet playing, amazing singing, amazing stage presence.

And the fact that this video has over 5 million views gives me hope for the human race.

Enjoy and have a great Labor Day!

(Talk about a burning trombone solo. Yikes!)