The valve-less scale exercise.
This is an advanced exercise for trumpet players to help develop embouchure strength, pitch surety and control.
- Play a strong low F to establish pitch.
- Remove the tuning slide and play the same note. Hold the instrument lightly and finger as if playing normally.
- Slowly, play up the F major scale trying to pitch and centre each note. This will be very difficult to start with especially the first 3 notes after the F. The G, A and Bb are outside the natural harmonics on the leadpipe.
- As the notes begin to sound more easily, play the F major scale up and down slowly. (Always finger the notes as if playing normally)
- Finally, replace the tuning slide and play the F major scale again slowly without the valves.
This exercise can be extended into other keys and also into playing melodies. I like to play ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ after the scale exercise.
Caution! This exercise is extremely tiring and should only be performed after a good warm up and rest for 5 minutes before continuing practising.
Never play this exercise in the ear shot of a fixer! They won’t understand and will think you can’t play.
This article is from the brilliant ‘Secrets of the Musical Mind’ where you can hear the full pod cast and many more great interviews with musicians around the world. Freedom for Musicians would like to thank the team for sharing this article.
Larry Meregillano is a Bach artist/clinician. He started his professional career playing in big bands in San Diego
A year later, Mr. Meregillano joined the gospel group Truth and soon after went on to perform and tour with The Bill Gaither Trio. While traveling and recording with The Bill Gaither Trio, he also recorded with Sandi Patti, David T, Clydsdale, Ron Huff, Don Marsh and many others.
In 1980, Larry returned to California and became the lead trumpet player
for the world-famous Disneyland Band. In the late 1980’s, Larry was hired to play in the PTL Television Orchestra with Jim and Tammy Faye Baker. From there he joined Princess Cruise lines as Musical Director.
After many years, Mr. Meregillano moved to Orlando, Florida, where he performed with many bands at Walt Disney World, MGM Studios, Epcot Center, Universal Studios and Pleasure Island. He has also been the Musical Director and performer for many cruise lines including the world-famous Queen Elizabeth 2.
Larry has toured with the Temptations and The Four Tops, and has been a sideman for Rosemary Clooney, Joe Williams, Jack Jones, Bob Hope, Celia Cruz, Frankie Avalon and many, many others. Mr. Meregillano has recorded with many artists including Hubert Laws, Latoya Jackson, and Rick Dees.
Mr. Meregillano can often be seen playing with The Tom Kubis GWC Big Band and is a busy freelance musician playing recording dates, theater and stage shows in the Los Angeles area and around the country.
JN: This podcast is about the psychology of peak musical performance. And in order to talk about performing at our best, sometimes we need to talk about times when we weren’t at our best. So can you tell us a story of a time when you expected to play well but it didn’t work out as you thought it would? And then how you dealt with it.
LM: When I was 19 years old, I was a featured soloist in my father’s church. I had decided to change my mouthpiece just a couple of days before. So there’s always a learning curve when playing a new mouthpiece, and when I got up to play the solo, I couldn’t make it halfway through. There were a few hundred people there. My lips just collapsed.
So how did I deal with it? For all the hours and hours of practice I had put in to that point, I felt as though my trumpet had let me down, that I had let myself down. So I slammed my trumpet down in the case, marched out of the church and walked the 5 miles home. I was so upset (laughing). Today, I deal with things like that a little differently. But that was progbably the worst moment of my young career. I was so humiliated and so let down.
The problem with the trumpet is no matter how good a musician we are, if the physical elelments are not happening, we simply can’t get the music out of our bodies. No matter how much we study, how much we know the style, intonation, how music should flow. If we don’t have the chops to produce the tone, we are nothing. That’s why trumpet players are notorious for calling themselves slaves to the instrument. WE always have to practice every day, certain rudimental aspects of playing. Otherwise we could very easily make a fool of ourselves, no matter how high up the ladder we might be.
JN: What was the difference between your old and new mouthpiece in that story?
LM: I think I was playing a Bill Chase Jet Tone. Remember this was the 1970’s. Bill Chase was all the rage and I wanted to sound just like him. So ultimately, I just didn’t have enough time to make the adjustment physically in that particular case.
JN: Not everyone listening to this is a trumpet player, so not everyone knows that the slightest chance in any part of the mouthpiece can make a tremendous difference in how it feels to the player. It usually takes a little while for your body to get used to a new mouthpiece. So looking back at that experience, aside from the obvious of playing a new mouthpiece before you were used to it, what could you have done differently in that situation?
LM: The way I handle it today when I’m not 100%. The fact of the matter is the audience had no idea I was struggling. I should have been more gracious, put my horn down, smiled and got on with my day. That’s the way to handle it. As long as you’re doing your very best at any given time, you’ve done your best to prepare, you’ve done everything you can do to make a good performance, there’s no reason to feel bad about missing a few notes. I probably remember it worse than it really was.
So how I handled it then as a new pro player was a lot differently than today. Today I would just laugh it off. But then I internalized it. I got mad, I stomped 5 miles home.
JN: Perhaps there was some slight ego issues you had to work through.
LM: I don’t know if it was ego or if I was just so disappointed in myself. I had tried so hard, practiced several hours a day. But today, you realize that your worst is still at a level that’s acceptable. You just relax and roll with it. Collect your check and go. You split a note, you might miss an entrance. The best advice in such a situation is when you’re not feeling well and not up to par, hide what you can’t do. Let them think you can do it. You don’t have to show them if it’s not written.
Sometimes we’re just too hard on ourselves and we want to sound like Maynard Ferguson when all we’ve got is Herb Alpert. No disrespect to Herb Alpert, but I want to sound like Maynard!
JN: What’s the highest profile gig you’ve ever done?
LM: It’s hard to pick one out, but since this podcast is on the topic of performance anxiety and such, let’s go back to 1980. At the time, I was working at Disneyland and I was chosen to be the lead trumpet player of the Disney show that performed there for their 25th Anniversary. We took the show to New York City with part of the United Nations delegates. I got so nervous. Here I am sitting with the top guys on Broadway, all these high profile figures at a black tie event in at Lincoln Center. I’m 23 years old.
My mouth was getting dry, so I drank a bunch of iced tea before the show. Fortunately for me, the show didn’t last that long. I nailed it, but I don’t think I’ve ever had to go to the bathroom worse than I did during that gig. It was rather painful (laughing)
After the show, one of the top Broadway players came up to me back stage and said, “Larry, come move to New York. I’ll put you to work right away.” I’m just a kid, 23 years old. Scared to death of the Big Apple. I often wonder how my career would have ended up had I taken him up on his offer. But I was working quite often at Disney and I really didn’t need another job.
Another high profile gig was for the opening of Pocahantas, again in New York City. They had several acts on, and I was up there with a rock and roll band from Disney World. And there were 450,000 people there at this live concert. I’m having fun, no dry mouth, no issues at all. I just had a great time. I play a jazz solo, and I’m having fun until I look over my left hand shoulder and who’s watching me play but Wayne Bergeron? He’s just staring at me.
Wayne was lead trumpeter with the Disneyland band, this is early in his career, so that didn’t bother me too much. But then I looked over my right shoulder, and there stood Arturo Sandoval. He’s staring at me too. I suddenly started shaking in my boots.
So the huge crowd didn’t bother me, but those two people did. Interesting how that goes.
JN: What do you think the difference between this time when you’re playing in front of 450,000 people with no problems, and playing at your dad’s church where you fell apart in front of 300 people?
LM: I was 19 years old when I fell apart. By the time the first gig I mentioned came, I was 23. I had grown a lot, had a lot more experience. And at the second gig, I was in my 40’s. So as you grow as a pro musician, you just learn to adapt this mindset that you’re as comfortable as you are in your own living room. Doesn’t matter who you’re playing for.
In the 80’s, I was one of the trumpet players in the TV series, “PTL Show” with Jim and Tammy Baker. Every day, I’d have to remind myself that at the end of my microphone were as many as 68 million people listening on a live cast. There’s no taking back a clam. So it’s okay to have a little bit of edge, a little bit of stage fright. It’s motivation to heklp you concentrate on what you’re doing. So we’d get comfortable, laughing with each other and all of a sudden the producer is saying, “5,4,3,…” And you’d better play that note correctly.
JN: It’s just a matter of making those nerves work for you rather than against you.
LM: Absolutely. A little bit of nerves is good for you. You’re on edge, you’re concentrating, ready to go. The worst thing you can do is be in a situation like that and be lethargic. That does happen to us as professionals. Day after day, it can get lackadaisical, you’re not concentrating.
JN: Larry, you are now on the Hot Seat. Do you think you can stand the heat?
LM: I think so.
JN: It’s 5 minutes before you go on stage for an important performance… What are you doing?
LM: It depends on what I’m doing, whether it’s a Broadway show or an entertainer I don’t know. I’m looking at the book. What will I play, what are the key changes, how should I pace myself? I’ll do an instrument inventory, mutes, oils, right mouthpiece, etc. Most important is the mental preparation. You can rehearse the show in just a few minutes by flipping through the book. Make sure it’s in order. Every aspect of musical performance I’ll review prior to playing.
JN: What’s the best performance-related advice you’ve ever received?
LM: Think before you stink.
JN: Can you share one tip for our listeners to help deal with stage fright? (Physical, mental, etc.)
LM: I struggled with this for a long time. What I’ve learned is just relax. Luck is when opportunity meets preparedness. When you’re prepared, you have confidence you’re not going to clam up, that your chops are up to par, that you’ll play what you need to play. If I haven’t practiced before a performance, I’ll be nervous because I’m not 100% sure how it’s going to go. But when my guns are loaded and ready to go, I have confidence to know it’s okay. I can do this.
JN: Imagine you’re on stage. It’s the end of the performance and the audience is on its feet, applauding. They don’t want any more and they don’t want any less. Everything is perfect. What have you just done? Give details: Venue, repertoire, band mates, etc. Get Creative!!!
LM: One of the most poignant memories I have in my career was a Latin weekend at Disneyland and Celia Cruz was there. I was doing a trumpet battle with a friend of mine at this show. We went back and forth, Celia is calling for us to keep going. We kept answering each other and we ended up on a double high D together. And spontaneously, the entire crowd stood up on their feet, yelled and cheered. That was one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had. That was a special moment, and I’ve had many that are similar to that.
JN: Larry Meregillano can be found on the web at trumpetlegacy.com. Larry, thank you for being on the podcast, and for bringing us one step closer to understanding the Secrets of the Musical Mind!
LM: Thank you for having me. It’s been a real honor!
Wynton Marsalis is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of American culture. He is the world’s first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz spectrum from its New Orleans roots to bebop to modern jazz.
By creating and performing an expansive range of brilliant new music for quartets to big bands, chamber music ensembles to symphony orchestras, tap dance to ballet, Wynton has expanded the vocabulary for jazz and created a vital body of work that places him among the world’s finest musicians and composers.
The Early Years
Wynton was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 18, 1961, to Ellis and Dolores Marsalis, the second of six sons. At an early age he exhibited a superior aptitude for music and a desire to participate in American culture. At age eight Wynton performed traditional New Orleans music in the Fairview Baptist Church band led by legendary banjoist Danny Barker, and at 14 he performed with the New Orleans Philharmonic. During high school Wynton performed with the New Orleans Symphony Brass Quintet, New Orleans Community Concert Band, New Orleans Youth Orchestra, New Orleans Symphony, various jazz bands and with the popular local funk band, the Creators.
At age 17 Wynton became the youngest musician ever to be admitted to Tanglewood’s Berkshire Music Center. Despite his youth, he was awarded the school’s prestigious Harvey Shapiro Award for outstanding brass student. Wynton moved to New York City to attend Juilliard in 1979. When he began to pick up gigs around town, the grapevine began to buzz. In 1980 Wynton seized the opportunity to join the Jazz Messengers to study under master drummer and bandleader Art Blakey. It was from Blakey that Wynton acquired his concept for bandleading and for bringing intensity to each and every performance. In the years to follow Wynton performed with Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Sweets Edison, Clark Terry, John Lewis, Sonny Rollins, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams and countless other jazz legends.
Wynton assembled his own band in 1981 and hit the road, performing over 120 concerts every year for 15 consecutive years. With the power of his superior musicianship, the infectious sound of his swinging bands and an exhaustive series of performances and music workshops, Marsalis rekindled widespread interest in jazz throughout the world. Wynton embraced the jazz lineage to garner recognition for the older generation of overlooked jazz musicians and prompted the re-issue of jazz catalog by record companies worldwide. He also inspired a renaissance that attracted a new generation of fine young talent to jazz.
A look at the more distinguished jazz musicians of today reveals numerous students of Marsalis’ workshops: James Carter, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Harry Connick Jr., Nicholas Payton, Eric Reed and Eric Lewis, to name a few.
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Phil Parker Ltd are pleased to welcome Eric Miyashiro to 85 Hampstead Road !
Eric Miyashiro is an Internationally acclaimed trumpet player. His playing is characterized by a term used on his web site,”StratosphERIC”. Miyashiro is well known as a powerhouse Big Band lead player but he is also a first call classical symphonic musician. Eric is comfortable playing all idioms. He is a Yamaha Performing Artist and clinician.
He will be interviewed for live broadcast by Jazz fm and follow up with a clinic in our seminar room. Playing and listening places are limited so book now to avoid disappointment.
Born and raised in Hawaii to a musical family, Eric is now one of the most in demand soloist/clinician in the world. He spent his early days in Honolulu studying both classical and Pop/Jazz music, later moving to Berklee Collage of Music to continue his education. Since leaving school, he has toured worldwide with: Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power, and performed with many other artists and orchestras around the globe. Eric now resides in Japan, where he is the first call studio/session/solo player, and is also very active as a leader of his own bands; EM band and the Blue Note All Star Jazz Orchestra. Eric’s versatility has been showcased in many television shows, radio, and film scores. He is also known as an accomplished composer, arranger, and producer.
Eric is a visiting trumpet/popular music professor at Kunitachi College of Music, Showa Music Academy, Senzoku Gakuen College of Music, and Osaka University of Arts.
Eric Miyashiro is an International Yamaha Performing Artist.
Visiting and subscribing to Algirdas’ Youtube channel is an absolute must for euphonium players and brass players in general. His insights into brass playing and presentation are inspiring and highly entertaining.
Originally from Lithuania, Algirdas Matonis started playing euphonium at the age of eight. In 2000 he entered his first ever competition which was ‘Juozas Pakalnis Woodwind, Brass and Percussion Solo Competition’ held in Lithuania. At only 9 years old Algirdas managed to win the 8 – 13 age group. This was the beginning of his active participation in various music events. Algirdas continued to enter and win solo competitions throughout his teenage years. 2009 was his last year as a teen competitor. He was offered to perform as a soloist with the Lithuanian Military Band at the ‘International Band and Orchestra Championships’ held in Lithuania where he received the best solo player award and performed at the prestigious ‘Siemens’ arena in front of over 5000 people at the Gala event.
In 2010 Algirdas Matonis decided that he wanted to pursue the life of a professional euphonium player. He entered the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where he studied under the guidance of the legendary euphonium pioneer Steven Mead. In 2014 he got his Bachelor degree and was awarded with entry scholarship for his Master’s degree studies.
During his study years at the RNCM he kept actively performing as a soloist. Algirdas was invited to perform as a guest artist at the biggest low brass festival in the world, ITEC, in 2012 and 2014. In 2013 Algirdas won the ‘Fodens’ open solo competition in UK and received a Besson prize award. As a part of prize he was invited to perform as a guest soloist with the only full-time professional brass band in the world, the River City Brass Band in Pittsburgh. In 2014 Algirdas did a concert tour with the band, which led to a scholarship at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a move to the U.S.A. a year later.
Since 2015 Algirdas has been living in Pittsburgh, where he started playing with River City Brass on regular basis as well as continuing his Master’s degree in music performance. At the moment Algirdas is an actively performing soloist with various solo recitals under his belt, having performed at venues in the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Scotland, USA and Austria. Very recently he performed an opening recital in a well-recognized festival in Lithuania called “Sugrizimai”. His performance received positive reviews from music experts and critics through multiple music magazines and public media. Algirdas’ upcoming season schedule is looking extremely busy, filled with not only solo and brass band activities but also many innovative projects which will take place in the near future.
Matthew Winter is currently solo bass trombonist with the Finnish Radio Symphony. A position he won while an undergraduate student at the Juilliard School. We talk to Matthew about his experience playing with the orchestra, the differences between auditions in the United States and Europe, his audition preparation process and also ask for general audition advice.
- How long have you been playing with the Finnish Radio Symphony? Is the experience what you expected?
I started playing in the Finnish radio orchestra in the 2015/2016 season on a one year contract (via tape audition) after my mentor and former teacher at Juilliard Denson Paul Pollard decided to leave his position with the FRSO and return to the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. I won the full time position at the end of the season in May.
I have to say I had not heard many recordings of the orchestra prior to moving to Helsinki. But I was really impressed with the quality of musicianship and how welcoming everyone was.
- What have been some of the highlights playing with the orchestra?
There are many benefits to playing in the FRSO. One is that we tour a lot. In fact during my first season we did a tour of Japan as well as one in Austria. The Austrian tour was especially fun for me because I had always wanted to visit and it was my first time there. The program included Shostakovich’s fifth symphony, Adams Short Ride in a fast machine, as well John Adams Violin Concerto Sheherazade.2 with the great violinist Leila Josefowicz.
The other thing about the FRSO is that we record multiple cds every year. My very first rehearsals with the orchestra were for an upcoming cd of compositions by Erkki Melartin and Magnus Lindberg. Magnus Lindberg was present for the recording which was very exciting. Its always a treat to play music for the composer. The camaraderie in our Low brass section as well as the rest of the orchestra was especially great when we were recording.
- How many auditions had you taken before the Finnish Radio Symphony?
Finland was my 9th audition.
- How was your audition day? How did it compare to other auditions you have taken?
The audition was two days. The first day we played a preliminary round and the second day we had a semi final, final and super final round. All prelims and semi final rounds were behind a screen, which is fairly similar to my experience with other auditions. However, the first round consisted of a solo work, Norman Bolter’s Sagittarius 2, and then excerpts which is different than many auditions I have taken where you play excerpts first and solos in the later rounds.
The convenient thing about those two days was that they were extremely well organized by the orchestra management. Everyone had their own rooms to warm up in and things went almost exactly according to schedule which doesn’t happen at most auditions from my personal experience.
- Was your experience taking an audition outside the United States what you expected? Were there differences compared to auditions based in the United States?
This audition was actually my third European audition so I had a vague idea of some of the logistical differences between auditions in Europe vs. the U.S. As I said earlier the European auditions often start with a solo which in the U.S. is not typically the case. They also do not auto advance candidates like in the U.S. Everyone has to play a preliminary round regardless of their qualifications. Another interesting thing about many auditions in Europe including Finland is that the committees listening are much larger. In the Final round for the FRSO the screen came down and there were over twenty people including the conductor sitting in front of me, which was a bit surprising and uncomfortable at first. I remember finishing my Final round and the whole committee applauding (which they do for all finalists) and not being quite sure whether to bow or to just give a quick nod and leave the room.
- How did you feel after your first round? Did you expect to advance?
My first round felt very secure. But I recall being very nervous before hand and knowing that a job that I really wanted was on the line. However I committed to going for it and I felt confident afterwards that I would advance.
- What are some musical factors that you believe help set musicians apart at an audition?
One of my colleagues in the FRSO Darren Acosta had a very good answer to this question. He said there are three different levels of playing in an audition. No. 1 is having the basic fundamentals such as sound, pitch, rhythm etc. No. 2 is the basic sense of style for each excerpt. In other words playing with appropriate dynamics, and articulations. No. 3 is being able to communicate emotionally with your listener, which is very rare to hear in an audition. But if you can achieve that you can really set yourself apart from everyone else. I think the candidate who can let go of the technique to a degree and really take a risk musically is at an advantage.
- How did you prepare for the audition? Did you follow any kind of regimen?
My preparation for this audition was very intense. Prior to the audition I decided to send an email to Mark Inouye (principal trumpet of san francisco symphony) and ask him how he prepared for auditions. He said he would play through 6-7 excerpts, record them, listen back at half speed and take very specific notes on each excerpt. Then practice those things he had written in his notes and once he was finished, he would repeat the same process with 6-7 other excerpts. I really can’t thank Mark Inouye enough for his advice. So I did this regime 6 days a week for 4 weeks. When you pratice this much its good to take a day off from audition repertoire. In addition, I compiled a playlist on spotify of all the orchestral works and solos on the Audition list. Then I would do a mock audition nearly everyday. I would either do this for my tape recorder, one of my low brass colleagues or other members of the orchestra. This was very helpful. The more different instrumentalists you can play for the more you learn about your strengths and weaknesses as a performer. It also gives you great insight as to what audition committees want to hear.
- What advice can you offer to those on the audition circuit?
I would say that the biggest assets we have as musicians are work ethic, diligence and personality. If you are willing to put in the time, never quit and allow yourself to be who you are, I believe you will succeed eventually. There’s a Babe Ruth quote aboutdiligence I find very motivating. “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.” We have to understand that its important to be content with our playing and musicianship regardless of whether we win an audition or not. We need to keep reminding ourselves why we chose to perform in the first place, that way we can persevere through difficult times when we don’t get the results we are hoping for.
Matthew Winter is currently the solo bass trombonist of the Finnish radio Symphony Orchestra. A position he won while pursuing his bachelors degree at the Juilliard School. Previously Mr. Winter was also a member of the Verbier Festival Orchestra for two summers.
In addition to this he has performed with distinguished ensembles such as the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the New York City Ballet Orchestra. He has worked with great conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Paavo Jarvi, David Zinman, Manfred Honeck, Alan Gilbert, Michael Thilson Thomas, Ivan Fischer, and Gianandrea Noseda.
When Mr. Winter is not playing trombone he enjoys composing and playing the piano. His trombone quartet “ildiko” was premiered at the Juilliard School in 2014 for the non-major composition competition and was selected to be performed in Alice Tully Hall. This work was also premiered in Spain in the summer of 2015 and recently in Finland and Estonia.
Odyssey OFG1300 Premiere Flugel Horn Details
The OFG1300 Premiere Flugel Horn is ideal for the trumpet player that needs to have a flugel on certain occasions. The response and intonation of the Premiere Flugel Horn coupled with high quality materials that have been carefully chosen to enhance the sound and playability of the instrument make this ideal for both experienced players and teachers. The rose brass bell and lead pipe provides a warm, rich mellow sound. (Also available in silver plate with gold accents)
High Quality Design
The Odyssey Premiere range of instruments has been designed by Peter Pollard and built to the highest standards of workmanship, using superior quality materials and class leading design features to give you the best possible instrument. You can be assured that as much thought, care, emotion, skill and detail as you apply to your music has gone in to the instruments Odyssey have created for you to enjoy.
Included Denis Wick Mouthpiece
All Odyssey Premiere Brass Band instruments now include a famous Denis Wick Classic Mouthpiece. The original Classic design gives clarity, precision, and a very easily controlled, centered sound. It also adds more brilliance and richer upper overtones than the convex outer profiles of other designs. Very responsive and easy to play, the Classic has excellent flexibility with a rich tone.
Everything You Need
Complete with its own custom designed carry case, with accessories, each instrument is individually serial numbered providing peace of mind and traceability should you wish to insure your treasured instrument. Also included with this instrument is a mouthpiece to make sure that you can start playing straight away.
Rose brass bell and lead pipe
Clear lacquer finish
3rd slide throw
Three water keys
Bell Diameter: 152mm / 6″
Bore Size: 11mm / 0.43″
Zero-gravity “Back Pack” hard foam case, canvas covered, plush lined with shoulder straps
Accessories: Gloves, cleaning cloth, oil
Over the past eighteen months, trombonist, teacher and bandleader Marcus Reynolds has had his eye on more than sheet music and big band charts. He’s been poring over technical drawings and specifications, in order to develop a simple brainwave into a new training device – a device that could revolutionise the way people learn and develop their brass instrument technique.
Launched in 2003 and now with over 590,000 customers, Gear4music.com is a leading retailer of musical instruments and music equipment. You can buy music gear from orchestral instruments to rock ‘n’ roll, including guitars, drum kits, digital pianos, saxophones and cellos, plus leading recording and studio equipment.
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