Category Archives: Education

MusAid-Empowering Musicians Around the World





The MusAid Fellowship Program from Emanuele Michetti on Vimeo.

MusAid connects musicians across the globe through educational exchanges designed to inspire individual and community transformation.

Through the MusAid Fellowship, musicians have the unique opportunity to teach, perform and develop their artistic leadership ability at socially driven music programs around the world. Through our innovative and immersive program, MusAid seeks to empower a new generation of globally and socially aware musicians.

ABOUT

MusAid is a 501(c)3 non-profit that connects musicians across the globe through educational exchanges designed to inspire individual and community transformation.

Through the MusAid Fellowship, musicians have the unique opportunity to teach, perform and develop their teaching ability at socially driven music programs around the world during two-week long summer workshops. Through our innovative and immersive program, MusAid seeks to inspire a new generation of socially and globally aware musicians.  Alongside empowering the Fellows that attend our workshops, MusAid tailors each summer workshop to the specific needs of our partner schools in order to provide them with the tools and knowledge necessary for their growth and self-sustainability.

HISTORY

Founded in 2008, MusAid has supported music schools and orchestras in Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Burma, Haiti, Belize, El Salvador, Bolivia and the Philippines with donated instruments and volunteer teacher training workshops through the MusAid Fellowship.

WHY MUSAID

The impetus to begin MusAid arose from the founder, Kevin Schaffter, who while living and studying music in Asia, saw the struggle and difficulties that many musicians face in various parts of the world from having poor access to proper educational opportunities and music instruction.

It is heart wrenching to witness the dreams and aspirations of musicians crushed by the lack of the most basic materials necessary to pursue their art. Our vision is one where artists from any cultural or financial background should be granted the opportunity to share their unique artistic voices with their community. In this world of materialistic ideals it is too often forgotten that the greatest contributions to art come from within each individual and collectively, through the international language of music, reveal the simple and beautiful similarity between all human beings.

Arts are more crucial now than ever before. Globalization has shrunk the world, increasing the need to preserve cultural diversity and identity. The arts, including music, have always been an integral part of every society and are a pure reflection of the creativity, the search for beauty, and the spirit common in all of us. Music has an immense power to inspire, to heal, touch hearts and emotions, and to uplift us. It allows humanity to set physical and political differences aside, and to work in harmony to produce something universally appreciated.

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How to Secure Funding for Musicians and Record Labels

Securing funding and investment is a great way to get independent record labels and music projects off the ground, and cover the many costs that come with producing music, touring and running a successful label as a business. We are often asked about ways to get funding for musicians and labels, so here’s a guide to the basics and some of the best potential sources.

Funding for musicians & record labels

 

Getting outside funding for your music isn’t easy, so it’s important to take time to research your options, decide what’s best for you, and don’t rush into any major decisions too quickly.

Before we get into the types of funding available to independent label owners and artists, here are some key things to consider.

 

The basics of securing music funding

 

Finding a trustworthy funding source

First and foremost, you’ll need to find where your funding will come from. Make sure your source is reliable.

A bad investment or loan source can cause all sorts of problems down the line, so watch out for extortionate interest rates or investors looking to take more control of your company than you would be comfortable with. Do your research; don’t just take the money and hope for the best.

 

 

Know how to approach

Different sources of funding and investment will require different approaches, but the best place to start is by writing a record label business plan. You’ll need to know the aims, finances and forecasts for your business inside out, and writing a clear plan is a great way to get it all down on paper, whether you’re seeking investment right now or not.

Also, when you apply for funding, make sure to check every single detail of your application. Follow any application guidelines to the letter, check for spelling and grammar and get someone else to proofread it. You don’t want to blow your chances over an avoidable mistake.

 

 

Decide how much you need

It’s always wise to work out a watertight budget before you start looking for investment. That way you can decide how much you need, rather than how much you want.

Generally, there’s no such thing as a no-strings-attached investment, so taking too much money could be unwise, especially if it comes to paying it back. In contrast, taking too little cash could be a bad move, leaving you out-of-pocket before you get the chance to make a return. Think very carefully about how much funding you’ll need.

 

 

Spend it wisely

This should really go without saying, but plan exactly what you’re going to spend every penny of your funding on beforehand. Don’t splash it all on Dom Perignon and Gucci threads! Make a sensible and realistic plan for your cash flow.

 

 

Types of funding for musicians & labels

  

Start-up loans

Start-up loans are one of the most common ways in which new businesses get the funding they need to grow and develop. You can approach major banks for a business loan, but you’ll need to make sure your business plan, credit score and research is all up to scratch to stand a realistic chance of securing a loan. Also, label owners based in the UK can get help accessing start-up loans with the Professional Record Label in a Box package.

Don’t rely on high-interest lenders. It may seem like an easy way to get some quick cash, but you could end up owing much more than you can afford.

 

 

Arts grants

Arts grants are a great option for creative professionals looking for a bulk cash sum to get their project off the ground, especially as you usually won’t have to pay anything back. These grants aren’t available to just anyone and they can be incredibly competitive, so you’ll need to prove you deserve the money and demonstrate how you’ll use it.

 

There are a few ways to apply for arts grants. If you’re based in the UK, you can apply for grants from Arts Council England, PRS and other sources.

For artist and labels in the USA, opportunities for grants are available from New Music USA, National Endowment for the Arts and more.

Musicians and labels in Australia can apply for grants via organisations including Australia Council for the Arts and APRA AMCOS.

 

USEFUL LINKS FOR ARTS GRANTS

United Kingdom

Help Musicians UK

PRS Foundation

Arts Council England

Musicians Union

North America

New Music USA

National Endowment for the Arts

Grant Space

Australia

Australia Council

APRA AMCOS

 

 

Music and arts grants are not just limited to these examples. There are other funding opportunities out there for artists and label across the world, and with a little internet research, you may find more schemes to apply for.

 

 

Private investors & sponsors

If your music is making an impact across the local, national or even international music scene, you might just attract the interest of private investors or sponsors. This type of investment can offer a much-needed cash injection, new promotional opportunities and more.

Sponsors and endorsement can come from a variety of sources, from music brands, to soft drink, sports and alcohol companies. Rather than just sitting back and waiting for sponsorship, you could approach the brands that you think are a good fit for your artists or label.

It’s important to remember that large music companies and brands receive hundreds of sponsorships pitches a week from labels, bands and musicians, so you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. Focus your pitch on what you can do for the sponsor, rather than what they can do for you.

 

 

Crowdfunding

If your artists have a large and loyal following, but you’re low on cash, a music crowdfunding campaign offers a great way to get the capital you need. Maybe one of your artists want to produce a new album, but doesn’t have the funds required for studio time? Or perhaps you want to take a band on tour, but don’t have the gas money to get you there?

If you’ve got an army of die-hard fans, why not go directly to them for the money you need to produce new music or put on live shows? Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Patreon provide an simple way to receive payments directly from your fans.

You could also consider using Pledge Music, a crowdfunding platform set up specifically to help musicians and bands fund their projects. 

 

 

Raise the cash yourself

If you want to stay in complete control of your own cash flow, raising the money you need to grow your label yourself is the best option. They are plenty of potential revenue streams for independent labels and artists to tap into, including sales, streaming and performance royalties, tickets sales and merchandising.

 

There are plenty of funding opportunities out there for musicians and record labels, but getting hold of the investment you need requires careful planning. Take your time, do your research and don’t rush into any big decisions lightly.

 

Do you have any questions about securing funding for your music project? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to help!

 

The dichotomy of music

Guest writer Mandy Edwards

With another reported suicide of a member of a high profile band, I can’t help but feel sad. Not only for the fans of Linkin Park and Soundgarden, but for the music industry as a whole. I massage backstage at high profile gigs and I am reminded of a gig I worked at a few years ago. One that left me feeling unclean, shocked and perturbed. It’s what started a hiatus from that world, because it was a stark lesson of how dark it could go.

They say never meet your idols. You soon realise the ones that ‘make it’ are still stumbling, confused incomplete humans like the rest of us. Trying to find a way to be whole or find some semblance of home or comfort. For many musicians, I think music can be therapy. A way to exorcise the demons, make sense of them, deconstruct them. But I find some musicians never find healing.

I recently had my first guitar lesson after being hypnotised watching Haim rock out on stage at Glastonbury. It made me feel I wanted to ‘be’ them. I can understand the tacit nature of music. How it can speak to you. How it can be addictive. How it can be a natural high. Maybe that’s why so many musicians turn to drugs. To recreate the high they have on stage. Even just watching the 3 guitarists that make up Haim made me feel like I was on some other planet. I can only imagine the magnitude they felt being up there and seeing adoring fans totally rocking out and vibing on their music. What a let down it must be to head onto a tour bus, or go for a Big Mac at Mcdonalds afterwards and thinking ‘people adored me 20mins ago!’ It’s one rocky bump back down to earth.

It’s taken a while for me to love music again, simply because I massaged at a gig of someone I was a fan of. Don’t get my wrong, they weren’t someone I had idolised as a teenager. It didn’t run that deep and thank god it didn’t. Before I even arrived I had pages and pages and pages of Do’s and Don’t’s –  I wasn’t allowed to talk to them even. Of course this musician will have to remain nameless, but all I can say is, they were one of the high contenders. You couldn’t get much bigger in stardom and fame at the time.

I was positioned in a dressing room opposite Costume. My backstage pass was only for that small stretch of corridor. I could hear whispers from one security guard to another. Serious conversations, stressful conversations and I could see the panic. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife. Everyone ran around covering cameras backstage, at the stars request.

All of a sudden someone from costume came in with a hanger in hand. She threw it across the room and shouted

‘what a bitch!’

This woman was almost in tears. Tears of anger and frustration. Clearly she was talking about ‘the boss’ and clearly you now know it’s a woman we are talking about.

Then, I bizarrely bumped into a local GP.  He had been given instructions to go to the Artists hotel room. The fact they were due on stage within the hour didn’t seem to matter. He had to examine the Artist whilst she was asleep, administer an injection, which, of course I had no business knowing exactly what kind of injection, due to confidential reasons. He too wasn’t allowed to talk to her. He seem white as a ghost, almost shell shocked. He said ‘I am never doing that again.’

I was a good girl and stayed in my little corridor, but when it was time for the Artist to go on stage I watched from my vantage point to see if I could see them walk onstage. I did see her. She was walking with her entourage of dancers. All I could hear was her telling her dancers the concoction of drugs she was on. She looked back at her dancers and told them clear as day. She didn’t even whisper. Then she looked me in the eye defiantly. It was almost a glare as if to say ‘how dare you look at me! Did you not get the brief? – it was weird to say the least.

Nothing about that night was joyful, creative, inspiring. It felt dark to a point I had to jump in the shower as I got home and I shuddered. It felt like I was witnessing another Amy Winehouse. It felt tragic and it shattered the illusion.

I think that’s what musicians are. An illusion. To create an illusion. To elevate you. To inspire you. Sometimes they may give so much, they are left empty themselves. Each gig chipping away at them, their soul, their identity. A human shaped outline on the stage, like that of a crime scene. It could easily lead to existential crisis. Who am I really? I can imagine feeling like you are in some sort of warped reality. Living up to what people ‘think’ you are, to the point you lose who you really are.

Maybe they felt empty to start with and the adulation was a way to fill them up. To make them whole. Maybe drugs are a way to get up in front of thousands of people and be unwaveringly brave. Maybe performing day in day out and living up to expectations is too hard to bear. Maybe it’s true that all artists are a little tortured. The scared and vulnerable child inside wanting be liked. Hell, even my guitar teacher told me within 30mins he was taken in by a paedophile ring at aged 6 and music saved him. Interestingly enough he played with Amy Winehouse and mirroringly he called her a bitch too. Full of ego. Maybe when you have talent, you can get to the position where ego just runs away with itself. Where you turn into a monster. You are the spiritual saviour for many, whilst you destroy yourself.

I don’t know the story of Chester Bennington or Chris Cornell’s suicide. I didn’t know them personally. I don’t know why they wanted to escape, but all I know is, I want to find the light in the darkness. I want to create. But I don’t want it to be what makes me whole. I don’t want to get sucked into this tantalising power. I want to be grounded and not driven by ego. Is that what gets us all in the end? Ego. This illusion that we are better, special whilst everyone is down ‘there’. I don’t want to look down, but elevate myself to a higher consciousness, whilst also elevating others. Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe the answer is different for everyone. Maybe we just need to realise the interconnected nature of it all. That we aren’t alone. Demons and all. Isn’t that what music is about after all. To connect us. Maybe we just need to reach out more.

Mandy is a writer, traveller and massage therapist for the music and film industry. Visit Mandy’s regular blog here.

If you have a story to share, send it to us: rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

ROGER MOISAN SAYS, “MAKE IT LOOK EASY”

EPISODE SPONSOR

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roger moisanRoger Moisan is famous for having turned down a Pink Floyd gig. He’s the founder of Freedom for Musicians, an online platform for musicians and artists to maximize the potential to monetize their musical skills.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. The perils of “youthful arrogance.”
  2. There’s nothing more important to your performing career than your integrity.
  3. For every failure, there’s a moment of redemption.

ROGER’S WORST MOMENT AS A PERFORMER

“It was wrapped up in youthful arrogance. I had an audition in front of the brass musicians of the London Symphony for a scholarship sponsored by the LSO. I knew I had practiced it enough, although my teacher said differently. I had never rehearsed it with a pianist. AS it went from bad to worse, I was clamming up, my palms were becoming sweaty and I was looking right into the eyes of Maurice Murphy, one of my heroes on the trumpet.

“As we got to the slow section, Maurice walked up to me and said, ‘I think we’ll stop here.’ I had serious issues with performance anxiety after that for several months.”

QUOTABLE QUOTES

  • “I’ve had more fun sharing the story as to why I didn’t play with Pink Floyd than the gig would have been.”
  • “Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. The moment you think you’re prepared, start preparing.”

THE HOT SEAT

Q: It’s 5 minutes before you go on stage for an important performance… What are you doing?

A: Checking, checking, checking. My music, my trumpet, my valves, myself. I also visualize the performance beginning to end, and it’s perfect.

Q: What’s the best performance-related advice you’ve ever received?

A:  Concentrate on the sound. If the sound is horrible, no one wants to hear you. Make it look easy.

Q: Can you share one tip for our listeners to help deal with stage fright? (Physical, mental, etc.)

A: Prepare, prepare, prepare. And when you think you’ve prepared, start preparing. The moment you think you’ve got it put together is when you’re most prone to make mistakes.

Q: What’s a non-musical activity that contributes to your success as a musician?

A: Sport. Playing and watching. The discipline required to play sports can teach a lot to musicians.

Q: 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?

A: I’m at Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms. I’m playing the Arutunian trumpet concerto in front of 3,000 people. It’s gone stunningly well. All those people that were in that terrible audition years ago are looking at me, saying, “Well done, Roger.”

You can now study online one-to-one with Roger Moisan

The Fantastic Flutewise at Abbotsholme 2017

Young flute players always enjoy our courses at this beautiful venue. Book Flutewise today!

Flutewise
Flutewise
Flutewise at Abbotsholme is a fantastic residential flute course for young players from the age of 8 to 18, from approximately Grade 1 to diploma level.  Abbotsholme is a beautiful venue in the heart of the countryside on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border near Alton Towers.
Flutewise
Fantastic Flute Fun with Flutewise at Abbotsholme
The course runs from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 July and it is possible to come for the whole course or one or two nights only.
Discounts available for bookings before 30 June.
Full details can be found on our website.
Flutewise
Beautiful Abbotsholme
The Flutewise Trust is a registered charity and has the highest possible child safe-guarding policies. We have been running course since 1988. During the course, which is staffed by extremely experienced flute teaches and professional players, we cover a wide range of playing, music making and performance as well as social activities. Everything is carefully planned with the individual in mind. Parents can rest assured that their young flute player will have a rewarding time in a safe, friendly and stimulating environment.
Flutewise
The Flutewise Team

The Valve-less Scale Exercise For Trumpet

The valve-less scale exercise.  

This is an advanced exercise for trumpet players to help develop embouchure strength, pitch surety and control.

  1. Play a strong low F to establish pitch.
  2. Remove the tuning slide and play the same note. Hold the instrument lightly and finger as if playing normally.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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.

Study online with Roger Moisan

Introducing Sync Music Bot for Slack — Better Work Every Day with Music

At Slush 2016 in Helsinki we  announced Sync Music Bot for Slack. This first of a kind chatbot delivers daily sets of music to help you work, relax and exercise. You can install it at syncmusicbot.com.

The daily music sets are personalised to you and are based on a combination of millions of crowd-sourced health playlists and acoustic analysis. Over time, as more data becomes available from wearable sensors, the bot will learn from your physiology.

Over 100 slack teams globally have been testing the chatbot over the last month and we’re grateful for all of the feedback and suggestions we’ve received. As a result, the bot includes a lot of delightful details, like social features baked right into Slack, for easy sharing and reactions to music. Read more about the design of Sync Music Bot here.

We all know the feeling when a day starts well, when we are proactive and productive. Music plays an important role in motivation and focus. Today, we want to share Sync Music Bot with Slack teams all around the world who love music. This is the next step on our quest to unlock the personalized health effects of music.

PS: We love Slack!

Budding Music Journalists Wanted

Music Journalists Wanted

Do you have a great music story you want to share with the world?

Guest bloggers
Share your story with the world at FFM

Maybe you want to flex your journalistic muscles and get something off your chest?

Guest bloggers
Shout your message loud at FFM

At Freedom For Musicians, we are always looking for guest bloggers and contributors who would like to post on our website.

You will be fully acknowledged and can include your bio, links, vids, pics etc.

Get writing now and let the world see your words

Guest bloggers
Get your story out of your head and onto the web with FFM

To take part, simply send your stuff to:

rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

For more about FFM, click here

Introducing Rumix: The Great Musical Education Game




Rumix

Rumix-Established in 1996, LM Productions specialises in the development of social and family games which serve to enhance musical skills and help non – musicians participate in a music making process.

The owner and director of LM Productions, Maxim Levy is a veteran music educator, harnessing his knowledge and experience to the task of producing meaningful and FUN games for music students and their families and friends.

The first game, Rumix, a music card game for the whole family, has been on the market for about 3 years. Before that, earlier versions of music card games were developed and extensively tried in various settings. It is only after careful review of the results that the current version of Rumix was released.


Available Now At Amazon





LARRY MEREGILLANO SAYS “THINK BEFORE YOU STINK”




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.

By James Newcomb

Larry Meregillano is a Bach artist/clinician. He started his professional career playing in big bands in San Diego

in the early 1970’s. In 1976, he was hired to play in Tom Ranier’s Show band at Disneyland.

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!





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