ModernTuba Video of the Week! 032111

I don’t know why this exists, but cutting edge topical humor and the beauteous tones of tuba combine here to remind us there are YouTube videos other than Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video. Having said that, I humbly submit the following as the ModernTuba Video of the Week! (May the universe have mercy on your poor soul.)

Bonus points given for the Price Is Right effect at the very end.

ModernTuba Video of the Week! (Irish Edition) 03.17.2011

For those of you who missed the memo, St. Patrick’s Day is the 17th of March every year, not last Saturday and Sunday as you might’ve thought given by how many people pranced around in green, attended parades, and drank green things at local pubs. I don’t think the world is ready for a week-long celebration of all things Irish when that celebration seems focused on giving folks the excuse to get smashed on beer and act obnoxious in the streets.

Having said that, I’d like to honor my Irish roots (of which I am approximately one-quarter) by submitting the following video as the ModernTuba Video of the Week! The sound on this one is a bit low, so you’ll have to turn your volume up, I’m afraid.

I hope you enjoyed listening to Ben Roundtree playing Hornpipe for Tuba and Strings as much as I did, especially since the audience seemed entirely uninterested. Then again, I was almost two minutes into the video before I noticed they were all signing to one another.


As an added bonus, here’s Das Miraphone Tuba Quartett beautifully performing Londonderry Air, including a bit o’ “Danny Boy” for good measure. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

How to Quit MySpace in 10 Irritating Steps!

It should come as a surprise to no one that MySpace just hasn’t been relevant for years. The best bit of professional advice I’ve heard recently regarding this social networking fossil was to either jump all in and be entirely committed to maintaining it as part of your social footprint or cancel your account outright. There was, I was told, no middle ground.

It should be needless to say, but I chose the latter.

Remarkably, it was an easy decision to make. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve logged into MySpace in the last three years, and every time I have, I’ve been disappointed. Yes, I was definitely ready to go.

Not that MySpace didn’t work hard to keep me, mind you. Here are the hoops for those of you willing to just say “no” …

How To Quit MySpace In 10 Irritating Steps:
  • Step 1: Log in to your Myspace account. If you’re like me, it could take a while to remember which e-mail address and password you used. Be patient.
  • Step 2: Upgrade your MySpace account to the new profile (otherwise you can’t even edit your account, much less cancel it). If you’ve done this already, because at one point you misguidedly considered keeping your account active, skip this step.
  • Step 3: Click on the Edit Profile button.
  • Step 4: Under the Account Settings & Privacy heading, click Cancel Account. At this point you’d think the easy end is right around the corner, wouldn’t you?
  • Step 5: Click the button that reads Cancel Account. I know you think you just did this, but keep being patient.
  • Step 6: Choose the button that best describes your reason for wanting to cancel the account. MySpace has graciously provided four options, none of which are Irrelevant or Slimy. Instead, the 4 options are Bored, Spam, Privacy, and E-Mail. According to them, by clicking one of those buttons, You can really help us improve Myspace! Once you have made your selection, it will automatically take you to the next step.
  • Step 7: In this example, I have pressed Bored, only to be met by a message from MySpace attempting to woo me back by providing links where I can discover some “cool stuff” (presumably so I would no longer be bored). I must now again press a Cancel Account button to continue.
  •  Step 8: Click the button that reads Cancel Account. I know you think you just did this, but keep being patient. Again.
  • Step 9: Read the friendly box explaining that if you cancel your account, all of your information, data, photos, videos, messages, etc. will be permanently and irretrievably removed … forever. MySpace has graciously provided a box for your comments. You must leave a comment before continuing to the next step. (I recommend leaving a funny one.)
  • Step 10: Now, once your comment has been entered, you must again press … wait for itCancel Account to continue. At this point, there’s a real sense of closure settling in. Surely, this must be the end. After all, this is Step 10, right?
  • Step 11: Wrong. Now you are informed that a confirmation e-mail is being sent to the account’s e-mail address. You must navigate to your e-mail and click that confirmation to complete the cancellation of your account. Do so. (The screen actually says “Thank you” at this point. Still, praying wouldn’t hurt.)
  • Step 12: You have finally crossed the threshold, the end is in sight! Now you have only to confirm your e-mail address and press Cancel Account for the very last time, and then you will be free!
  • Step 13: Well, free after the 48-hour waiting period, of course. Keep being patient.


Congratulations! You have now deleted your MySpace account!
Who else among us is brave enough to follow?



One Tuba in a Sea of Guitars: DSE California 2011

Just returned last week from attending the Durango Songwriter’s Expo in Santa Ynez Valley, California (just N of Santa Barbara). At this expo, 150-200 songwriters gather together to mingle with each other, network with industry professionals and get direct feedback on material, write more songs, jam endlessly into the wee hours, and perform in front of the group if chosen for a showcase slot.

The DSE is held twice annually, once in California during February and again outside of Denver in October. This was the fourth in a row that Melissa Axel and I have attended, and it was the best one yet.

What exactly does a tuba player do at a songwriter’s expo? Well, play tuba, of course!

Apart from playing the kick-off party open mic the night before the expo began, Melissa was also chosen for a showcase performance during the opening night festivities. We played her song “The Worth Of Things,” which went over quite well—happy to have had the opportunity! It’s always an interesting experience for me when I play into a mic, but the sound in the room was great. (For lack of a piano, she was relegated to playing on a weighted keyboard. If only they’d move the lobby piano into the hall and onto the stage!)

The second night, singer-songwriter Andy Ard asked fellow musician Tage Plantell and me to sit in for his showcase performance, and the three of us had a hoot playing Andy’s “Here Comes Another Good Time” to the audience. He’s also asked me to play on this song when he records it later this year.


After the showcases there’s an open mic which we’d wander in and out of. In addition, there were plenty of impromptu jams in the resort lobby, as well as packed song circles in crowded hotel rooms. The advantage to being the only tuba player at an expo overrun by guitarist singer/songwriters is that they are usually more than happy to have a tubist sit in and play with them. (Special props to Ron Gozzo who brought out his sax!)


Ultimately, the driving force of the expo is the listening session: basically, twenty or so songwriters sit in a room, each plays a demo or finished recording of a song for a couple of industry professionals, and everyone takes note of their feedback and suggestions (pictured below). Pros come in all shapes and sizes, but many of them are music supervisors, label execs, successful hit songwriters, publishers, and management. This time, we were sharing nearly completed recordings from Melissa Axel’s debut album, and it was exciting to see a lot of these folks really impressed with the songs. There are also panel discussions on various music industry topics, and we attended the ones on Film & TV Placement (pictured below) and DIY.


Overall, we had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones. Can’t wait for the next one this October!


ModernTuba Video of the Week! 030611

Back by popular demand (and over a week's worth of travel), it's time for the ModernTuba Video of the Week!

This week we feature a clip from The Price Is Right during which host Drew Carey proudly declares, "If you want to start the party up with some models … play some tuba music!"

I hereby submit the following as the ModernTuba video of the week!

Travelin’ Tuba part one?the case.


Traveling with an instrument this size can be interesting and ? challenging.

Take my Yamaha YBB-103 for example. It’s ideal for my travel because its 3/4 size makes it easier to lug around. The tough part was finding a hard travel-ready case so I could flight check it as luggage.

As you can tell, it doesn’t quite fit.

After an exhaustive search for the appropriate model, I had to settle for something built for a larger instrument and compensate with bubble wrap and more to keep it secure.

There’s even a small Scooby Doo beach ball in the bell to keep it from lurching forward and striking the front of the case.

Once I’ve locked it shut, it’s quite sturdy and safe. It weighs approximately 45 lbs, so it can usually get through baggage check without paying abnormally large fees?just the normally large ones. Thankfully it has wheels.

But, friends, it’s always a crap shoot. It usually takes some negotiation because of its unusual and bulky size.

Tomorrow I fly out with Melissa Axel for the Durango Songwriters Expo in beautiful Santa Ynez Valley in California, with some gigs along the way. It’s my first time flying this case United, and I’m nervous.

Keep your fingers crossed, and stay tuned!