Music to Move the Masses: How Leaders Use Music

Politicians, motivational speakers and sports coaches all use music to energize, motivate and inspire their audiences. The Sync Project takes a look at some of the best examples of our time.

In the wake of the unprecedented events of the recent US election, it’s worth listening to the music that each of the two candidates used to inspire their audiences. Hillary Clinton’s team even released the Official Hillary 2016 Playlist, packed with millennial-appeal tracks like Demi Lovato and Jason Derulo’s Together to back up the “Stronger Together” message of her campaign. Contrast this with the music played by president-elect Trump at “Make America Great Again” rallies, with tracks like John Mellencamp’s R.O.C.K in the USA and Born on the Bayou by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

JUMP AROUND

Politicians are not alone in this use of music to inspire and carry a message. Another great example of someone who uses this technique is American motivational speaker Tony Robbins. Before and during his live events — which consistently sell out to massive crowds — Robbins uses music to build energy, unleash emotion and draw the crowd together. Music is so much a part of Robbins’s shows that his website even has a list of tracks commonly used at his events. It features familiar songs like American Pie by Don Maclean (universally appreciated and likely used to bring the crowd together as one); Jump Around by House of Pain (perfect for when energy levels start to drop and you want everyone to, well, jump around); and Clocks by Coldplay (for those moments of euphoric epiphany that are the reason people go to see Robbins the first place.)

Robbins is in fact not the only one to have used Coldplay for motivational effect. During the European professional soccer season of 2008–2009, coach Pep Guardiola chose Coldplay’s track Viva La Vida to inspire the FC Barcelona team before games. With its upbeat pace and feeling of gathering momentum, the track appears to have been a smart choice as that season Barcelona won all six competitions they could possibly have played in — a feat that no team had ever pulled off before.

music therapy

DON’T LET THE DOPAMINE DROP

It must have been a tricky gamble for Guardiola, because we all know that feeling of “oh no not again” when a song is overplayed. As Psychology Today points out in an article from 2012: “Predictability… can make songs you love seem mundane by reducing anticipation and creating a rut. Randomness in music has been linked to increases in dopamine.”

Guardiola thought was using the track as part of a self-reinforcing virtuous circle: the team listened to it, got psyched up, and went out and won the game — week after week after week. Rather than getting tired of the track, the players presumably came to associate it with winning, and with a pre-game feeling of “we can do this, we’ve done it before, now let’s go and do it again.”

Fortunately, there’s a bit of research to backup the intuitions shared by sport pros about the power of music. Studies have examined the support of music during sports and athletic training, all the way from warm-up, exercise and recovery, and shown it has real physiological benefit.

Scientists have studied runners and cyclists during their exercise routines and shown that movement to so-called “motivational” music helped runners have lower lactate levels. Cyclists completing high-intensity interval training showed felt less tired after giving it their all when music was used during the exercise. Sync Project launched it’s first study last year with Hintsa Performance to evaluate the effects of personalized music on high-intensity interval cycling.

Music therapy

The benefits also extend to warm-up routines where music raised heart rate and increased peak anaerobic power during their workout. It turns out music can even make you like exercise: a recent study showed when people listened to music or watched music videos when exercising with considerable effort they reported more enjoyment than without it. Research has also shown that music can help with recovery after strenuous exercise, by motivating listeners to move after their workout and reduce lactic acid buildup.

Some tracks seem to become forever associated with sporting prowess and success, such as the title tune from the 1981 historical drama “Chariots of Fire.” The film is about two British athletes competing in the 1924 Olympic Games — one of whom is running against all odds — but it’s the theme by Greek composer Vangelis for which the film became iconic. Vangelis in fact won an academy award for the film’s musical score, the title track of which has been associated with the glory of sporting achievements ever since. It was even used during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, having seemingly made a leap into popular culture forever.

Written by Marko Ahtisaari, CEO and Co-founder Sync Project


Originally published at syncproject.co on November 23, 2016.

Sync With Others to Feel Closer

Music automatically moves us. Even if you are sitting absolutely still, your motor cortex is still active when you listen to music.

This special link between movement and sound is thought to have been around since music began. It has been proposed that through its capacity to synchronize movements of individuals, music made it possible for us to cooperate more efficiently and thereby survive as a species. Music can therefore be thought of as an inherently social phenomenon, and as something that exists to move us in synchrony, in order to help us bond.

This aspect of music perhaps explains why one of the most common ways of enjoying music is at a concert setting, or at a dance party where we are also able to move together. But what actually happens when we move together to music? Is the thought of bonding through dance just a theory or is there evidence to support that dancing truly makes us closer to one another?

A recently published study¹ revealed the surprising effects of merely moving together in synchrony.

In the study, 94 participants first learned four basic dance moves. Then, they were asked to dance together with three unfamiliar individuals. Each participant had their own headphones through which they heard music, as well as short instructions on which pre-learned dance moves they should execute. This use of individual headphones made it possible to look at the effects of synchronized movement independent of the effect of study participants all being exposed to the same sound stimuli. (As a side note, having people listen to music from headphones but still dance in the same space is called “silent disco”. And it seems to be getting quite popular at the moment!)

Study shows dancing in synchrony increased pain threshold ratings

Image Credit

The silent disco created in this study had three different conditions for dancing together: in the synchrony condition, all participants executed the same dance moves to the same music. With the partial synchrony condition, the participants danced the same movements to the same music, but at different times, meaning that no two individuals were doing the exact same move at any point. In the asynchronous condition, the participants danced completely different moves, meaning that each individual’s dance had a completely unique set of moves. In addition, in the asynchrony condition, the music pieces were not played at the same time for any participant.

Before and after the dancing session, the participants were asked to rate the amount of social closeness they felt towards the other participants they had danced with. In addition, as a more objective measure of bonding, the pain thresholds of the participants were measured before and after the silent disco.

Why did the scientists measure pain thresholds? Interestingly, elevation of the pain threshold may be used as an indicator of social bonding. According to the article, previous research has shown that synchronous activity with others like group exercise or synchronous rowing elevates pain thresholds; implying the group activities actually made it easier to deal with pain. It has been suggested that this happens because such activities activate the endogenous opioid system — triggering release of our body’s own painkillers. The release of these endogenous opioids has in turn been associated with feelings of closeness towards others.

Image Credit

According to the results of the study, dancing in synchrony with others increased pain thresholds, and also resulted in significantly higher ratings of closeness, than dancing in partial synchrony or asynchrony. In other words, moving together to the same music in synchrony made the participants feel closer to each other and also increased their tolerance for pain, possibly signaling an increased release of the body’s painkillers in the synchrony condition.

In summary, moving together with others to music can act as a quick icebreaker — making you feel closer to previously unknown people. As an added bonus, as well as a potential mechanism for increasing closeness, synchronous movement may also increase your pain threshold. This finding is an important addition to the body of literature showing that music listening can be used for pain management. Perhaps including a social aspect to enjoying music could increase its analgesic effects?

WRITTEN BY KETKI KARANAM AND MARKO AHTISAARI

References

  1. Tarr, B., Launay, J., & Dunbar, R. I. (2016). Silent disco: dancing in synchrony leads to elevated pain thresholds and social closeness. Evolution and Human Behavior. DOI:/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2016.02.004

Originally published at syncproject.co.

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

A Time to Kill iTunes: What next?

Hell-tinged iTunes

A Time to Kill iTunes

“It’s like giving somebody a glass of hell in ice water.”

Okay, so the quote above isn’t actually a quote. Well, I said it on Twitter, but it’s not a famous quote. Nor does it technically make sense. But it is, of course, a play on a famous quote.¹

A decade ago, on stage at the (then-called) D conference, Steve Jobs was asked by Walt Mossberg about Apple’s decision to bring iTunes to Windows. “It’s like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell,” Jobs quipped.

It was and remains a great line. But times have also changed.

Today brought the news that Apple would soon be distributing iTunes through the Windows Store for the first time. This may not seem like a big deal — again, iTunes came to Windows over a decade ago — but it is a big deal in the context of the forthcoming Windows 10 S operating system, which will only be able to run apps distributed through the store. So, without this move, every iPhone user who buys one of the new Surface laptops wouldn’t be able to sync it with their machine.

Anyway, the jokes came fast and furious on Twitter after the news was announced. But what’s actually funny here is that the jokes are basically the exact opposite of the one Steve Jobs made. Whereas Jobs noted that many Windows users would write to Apple to tell them that their favorite software on Microsoft’s OS was iTunes, no one says that anymore. In fact, no sane macOS user, myself included, would dare say such a thing about iTunes. Because it has been awful for the better part of this past decade now.

In fact, at this point, it’s old hat to rag on iTunes. It has been so bad, for so long, that the joke is stale. And yet, somehow Apple doesn’t seem to be in on the joke. Because if they were, surely iTunes would no longer exist.

Yeah, yeah, I know such software has to exist for a huge number of users. Mainly those who still want to sync their music (and/or files) from their computer hard drives without using the cloud. It is 2017. And yet this is still a thing. And it is a thing for many people.

But there’s no reason that such software has to be iTunes. Apple could easily make a more svelte piece of software that handles the syncing tasks. And they should. Because iTunes is a bloated piece of junk.

Most of the time when I listen to music these days, I do it through my iPhone. This is true even if I happen to be using my computer. It’s just so much easier and better to play music through my device than through my desktop. Earlier this week, I found myself loading iTunes for the first time in a while to try to listen through my MacBook and it was a comedy of errors.

Pop-up alerts galore. Sign in screens. TOS updates. Then came the automatic downloads. iTunes decided I might want to download all six seasons of Lost in HD right then and there. And a bunch of other old shows. Like a terabyte of data. Even more beachballs.

 

JFC

Did I mention this POS (piece of software, of course) is still called “iTunes”? TV shows. Movies. Podcasts. Audiobooks. Apps. iTunes U. Ringtones. They’re all shoved into this one piece of software. “Tunes” are now a minority.

Of course, said tunes are still probably the most useful part of the app. After all, Apple Music is now a part of it as well. That’s the entire reason I tried to load iTunes. 30 minutes later I was still doing tasks and trying to figure out how to actually play music.²

Here’s what Apple obviously — obviously — should do:

  1. Create the aforementioned new syncing app for those old-school non-cloud users.
  2. Apple Music should be its own app. This would include streaming music, your music stored in the cloud, and anything you’ve downloaded.
  3. Then there should be a separate app for the iTunes Store (which should absolutely, positively be rebranded — again, “tunes” are a minority and the concept of buying individual “tunes” is quickly fading into time).
  4. The macOS App Store app should be expanded to include the iOS App Store (where you could find apps and “push” them to your iOS devices).
  5. Podcasts should be its own macOS app.
  6. iTunes U should be its own macOS app.
  7. Audiobooks go into iBooks.
  8. Movies/TV should be its own macOS app — on iOS (and Apple TV), this is now called “TV” which is fine I guess because it’s the delivery mechanism typically associated with such content. But something to interplay movies into the mix would be better, honestly. I could see something like “Hollywood” working to some extent (and plays nicely with Apple’s California themes), but it’s also probably too region-centric in an increasingly global world for such content…

In other words, this should all work exactly as it does on iOS. The Apple Music app on macOS would be the same as the “Music” app on iOS (which is also confusing given it has the same logo/branding as iTunes on macOS).

Again, this is all so obvious that I’m sort of dumbfounded it hasn’t happened yet. Instead, we’re left with this bloated piece of garbage humorously still called iTunes that people generally hate.

And now Windows Store users will get to hate it as well. Swell in hell.

If you have a music story you would like to publish with us, click here to find out how.


The Heroes Band: Regents Park Bandstand, London

The Heroes Band

The Heroes Band In Regents Park

The bandstand in The Regent’s Park is located on Holme Green, between the boating lake and Inner Circle. It was moved from Richmond Park to The Regent’s Park in the 1970s.

Regents Park Bandstand, London
Regents Park Bandstand, London

In 1982, the bandstand was the target of a terrorist attack.  The IRA bombed the bandstand on 20th July 1982, killing seven soldiers and injuring 24 others during a concert by the band of the Royal Green Jackets. The bandstand is sometimes called the “Memorial Bandstand” in memory of the dead soldiers.  There is a plaque that commemorates the seven bandsmen who were killed.

Two years after the bombing, the composer George Lloyd wrote Royal Parks For Brass Band, the second movement of which, In Memoriam is dedicated to the bandsmen who died. The piece still features in many band repertoires.

An earlier bandstand stood near the south-east corner of the boundary of London Zoo.

The Heroes Band

On June 11th, The Heroes Band will performing on the bandstand from 3:00pm-5:00pm

The creation of the Heroes Band was the idea of David Vaninetti-Smart, its conductor. In October 2013 David had just completed 10 years as the Director of Music of Farnborough Concert Band of The Royal British Legion, leading it from a small band in to a large nationally well respected concert band, raising funds for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal through concerts etc.It was obvious to him that bands are a useful PR tool to the Royal British Legion by raising much needed funds through musical performances. David thought that it would be a good idea to create a  concert band  to support the Help  for  Heroes charity.

The objective of the concert band is two fold. Firstly, to raise donations for the charity through musical performances and secondly, to bring entertainment and enjoyment to listeners and band supporters.

The Heroes Band
David Vanetti-Smart, Musical Director

 

Come and join The Heroes on June 11th in Regents Park at 3:00pm

The Heroes Band

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





Get to work with Encore: The online home for musicians.




Encore is the fastest way to find and book great musicians for gigs.

We’re building the future of live music – a platform connecting every musician and giving them the tools to further their careers.

Our Mission

We dream of a future where live music is everywhere, where musicians worldwide are brought together and given the best opportunities to advance their careers.

We’re creating:

The online home for musicians. By connecting every musician in the world, Encore are building an invaluable resource for musicians everywhere.

A resurgence in live music performance. By making it easier than ever to find and book great musicians, we enable people to choose unique live experiences over pre-recorded music.

How it works

Fed up of hunting for gigs?




  • Create a profile on Encore.
  • Tell us the job types you want to hear about.
  • Receive alerts by email or in our app, then apply with your profile in one click.
Looking to book a band?
  • Tell us what type of musicians you need
  • Answer a few quick questions about your event using our easy online form.
  • Get matched with available musicians
Within minutes, you’ll receive tailored quotes and messages from outstanding local performers who match your needs.
Encore
Click here to join the Encore family of musicians




The Stunning Work of Cadies Art for Musicians and Bands




WELCOME

CadiesArt – Digital ArtWork is an international graphic design studio specialized in Artworks and Designs for Bands, Musicians, Stamps, Labels and Companies around the world in music industry.

First at all… what I do it’s for a passion. I’m really happy to have so many bands, friends, clients around the world, that respect and love my job, my art at all. I had this opportunity to work near to great bands doing what I love… that’s listen to Metal bands, and making albums covers for them. It’s really appreciated see a lot of independent bands with honest and professional work.

 THE ARTIST AND DESIGNER

Caio Caldas, freelancer graphic designer, from Sao Paulo – Brazil. Artist, Graphic Designer, Art Director and Owner of CadiesArt – Digital ArtWork starting in October 2009.

Caio Caldas has extensive knowledge of the music industry, with experience as a musician, listener and as a graphic artist and designer. Even though specialized in illustrations for album covers, knows exactly what the bands needs and offers an extensive list of graphics and digital services that are necessary in the music business and releases. Propose also prices that works for small independent customers budgets.




CadiesArt emerged due to the interest of the graphic designer, Caio Caldas, for music and rock, since his childhood, where every day was submitted for a new band, awakening his interest in working in the music business someway. Starting the interest in music, choosing to become a musician, getting to play some instruments such as keyboard, guitar and bass, for a long time. Naturally made to approach to other independent and undergrounds musicians and bands. Since starting to have an interest in music genres around Rock and Metal, what caught attention to discover new bands were the album covers and the beauty of their arts, while keeping the relation between the album art and the music. Then got interest in working in the business of Design and Graphic Arts for Music Industry, making graphic arts for bands, musicians, record labels, national and international, with focus in Rock and Metal genres.

Brazilian, but speak English and Spanish too. Don’t speak german, dutch, japanese, or any other language, so please when you send me an email, you can use Spanish, English or Portuguese.

 THE BRAND

CadiesArt are about 6 years working with Bands, Musicians, Stamps, Labels and Companies around the world in music industry.

Always evolving in graphics softwares on their own since 2007, decided to go to a new professional level, in late 2009, marking the beginning of own brand and design studio called “CadiesArt”, with a focus on design for the music industry.




The studio design emerged from identified opportunity to act as an intermediary in the Music Industry in process services in idealization of graphic designs for small bands and independent labels. Want to contribute to the approach of the listener with the graphic design of the record, contributing to the Music Industry and the sale of albums in their physical format, wich is on CD or Vinyl (LP). CadiesArt wants to restore the importance of the relationship between music and art in download times and piracy in the music business. Music is not only for the ears!

As CadiesArt is a design brand that provides online graphic designs for worldwide, maintains contact with the customers only by e-mail, social networking and online chats.

The brand have already worked for about 40 countries, including the UK, Germany, USA, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Austria, Australia, Canada, Norway, Ukraine, England, Brazil, Portugal, Japan France, Greece, Lithuania, Slovakia, Mexico, Croatia, Russia, Finland and more. It has good recommendations from worldwide.

 STUDIO

CadiesArt has a unique particular studio, not commercial, where all graphic and digital productions are performed. Don’t have professional internal printers, only partcular small printers for quick prints for proof.

 CADIESART TEAM

The CadiesArt team consists of a single professional graphic designer, which has solid experience in the music business and design. Already having past experience as a musician and 6 years working as a freelance designer only for music industry. With great training and above all, motivation to face and overcome the challenges of managing a brand, generating positive results and expanding to worldwide, CadiesArt through the art helps to overcome the difficulties of maintaining in the national and international music industry.

 THE SYMBOL

The Vitruvian Man and CadiesArt Signature.

Inspired by the work of the Roman architect Vitruvius Pollio, De Architecture, which explains the relationship between symmetry and perfection, Leonardo Da Vinci produced his most famous design, which became the world’s most famous design, too: “Vitruvian Man”.




Da Vinci’s drawing is used as a reference aesthetics of symmetry and proportion in the world.

Inspired by the work of these two great artists, CadiesArt’s Symbol represents the Symmetry, Proportion and Perfection.

The slogan “The Man Behind The ArtWork” is the connection of the symbol and man proportions.

On the link below you can see the whole design progress of the symbol:

The-Secrets-Behind-The-Signature

 THE DIGITAL ARTWORK OF CADIESART

My area is Digital Art. All my artwork is 100% digital, with photomanipulation techniques, digital resources, with Photoshop, mostly. I don’t use techniques of illustration and hand drawing on paper.

When we talk about digital artwork, image editing or photo manipulation, Adobe Photoshop is the first thing that comes to our minds. “Photomontage” or “Photo Manipulation” can be one of the most fun things to do in Adobe Photoshop. With the right tools and techniques you can get unique and exquisite photo effects.

In the case of photo manipulation, it consists of fusing several images, photos and graphics – but it’s not only put many pictures togheter, this is only one of the many steps – that, when all together, create a single scene that can result in a realistic scene, a fantasy scene, a surrealist or abstract art.

Everyday I look for a new digital references, a new job, meet new artists.

Most of my time as a digital artist is dedicated to image search, from free or paid stocks and my own image stock that has about 14.913 images, always with high resolution and always respecting their rightful copyrights for use. In the process of idealization of an artwork I always try to have artistic references, before starting to produce it. After this step I start an image search, seeing what fits together and then apply digital techniques. I always try to learn new techniques that can be used in my future work. Design is a process that involves research, dedication, technique, time and above all, creativity.




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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