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(Post-)Midnight Musings…

Often, late nights in random hotel rooms are the rare, quiet moments when my mind is free to wander, and to ponder the peculiarities of my life…

How is it that somebody who grew up in a random English resort town, and was a handed a trumpet as a child, with no previous interest or impetus to play it, now resides on a different continent, and regularly makes music with, and is accepted by, some of the greatest musicians one could ever hope to encounter?

It makes no sense, yet this is where I find myself. To say I’m fortunate would be the understatement of the century…

If you have children, always encourage them to follow their passion. I was lucky that my parents did and do. There were times when they, and I, were unsure but it has, undoubtedly, panned out. It could be music, or it could be literally anything else. Just know: if you love what you do, then you’ll never resent a days work, in your life….

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I Should Be Sleeping…

I’ve been making an effort to consistently sleep a little more, lately. Between playing rehearsals and gigs, teaching trumpet lessons, making YouTube videos, running my social media, and the myriad other things that fill each day, it’s easy to let it slip. It had become habit to regularly only sleep 5 hours a night, at most.

While I was trying to recover from the jet lag associated with my recent trip to Abu Dhabi, I really tried to sleep more than that. I was, honestly, exhausted. What has been noticeable is how much more productive I’ve been during the days since, which have generally still been pretty long.

With that being said, there are still clusters of days where there is lots to do, to get ahead of the upcoming schedule, and sleep has to slide a little. The last few have been that way. I had hoped to be finished and in bed an hour ago, as I have to get up at 5am to go to the airport – tomorrow is an out-of-town gig day. Writing something here was the last remaining thing on my to-do list. I enjoy the satisfaction of crossing everything off that.

Time to post this, and go close my eyes. I really should be sleeping…

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The Cuban-Khaleeji Project at NYUAD

Last month, I spent 10 days in Abu Dhabi, in residence at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Arts Center with the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. With our director, Arturo O’Farrill, and a number of guest artists, we explored the middle eastern roots of, and parallels with, Latin Jazz.

The rehearsal process and resultant concert was a remarkable experience. It was broadcast live on Facebook and, subsequently, it’s been uploaded to YouTube. If you missed it, here it is for you enjoy in its entirety.

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Just Start!

In today’s world, there are many distractions, between the numerous things that pop up on our phones, to things that real life throws at us. If, like me, you’re prone to procrastinate then it can be a minefield, and productivity can go completely out of the window.

Whether simply working through a to-do list, prioritizing practicing over other jobs, or following inspiration and trying out a new idea, there’s one notion which really helps to keep me on track. Just start!

Sometimes, the biggest barrier to entry is simply beginning. Put aside as many potential distractions as possible and just start.

I’ve been pondering starting to blog again for some time. I’m going to try and post daily thoughts for a while. We’ll see how it works out. Now this first installment is done, I can check it off and go practice. I suggest, as usual, that you do the same!