iPhone, Productivity, and NPR Tubas


My New iPhone

Productivity Final Project
This semester, my students and I have focussed on productivity; getting things done, doing them well, and staying organized. I have been keeping a blog on our studio site with posts related to this final project. Many students report progress in the areas of music, academic and personal productivity, culminating next week, when each student presents the details of each of their own paths to improved productivity.

I have wrestled with the digital vs. paper dilemma for years; experimenting with organizing my schedule and tasks both online and on paper. I think a balance of each might work best for me, since neither is perfect. The recent loss of my old “dumbphone” lead me to finally give in and purchase an iPhone, which does everything my iPod touch did and more. Having owned an iPod touch for three years, and having been a Mac person since 1995, it was long overdo.

I have to say that besides the Internet, the iPhone is he single most useful invention of my lifetime. I had no trouble reinstalling all of my favorite apps and music, and I find it really useful to always have internet access. I still use my favorite apps, and have found a few new ones that have proven helpful or might be useful the future. Combined with the fact that it is a phone, has GPS, and a camera, I’d say it is my most valuable productivity tool.

Kirk Joseph of Dirty Dozen Brass Band on sousaphone.

Kirk Joseph

Tubas Featured on NPR
I recently noticed this NPR article Where the Tuba Lives: 5 New Orleans Songs Featuring the Fat Horn about tubas in New Orleans songs one their Blog Supreme. Some of the wording made me laugh (like describing the tuba [sousaphone] as “the monstrous brass instrument worn like a python squeezing its victim” and “Because it’s a wind instrument rather than a string instrument, the tuba gives New Orleans music a bottom that bubbles rather than twangs“. Click on the article to hear these great tunes:

Mardi Gras in New Orleans, featuring Tuba Fats
Blue Monk/Stormy Monday, by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Feel Like Funkin’ It Up, by the Rebirth Brass Band
Stoned, Drunk and Naked, by Anders Osborne
Bayou Betty by Bonerama

I received some exciting news yesterday: I have been invited to teach and perform at the Isla Verde Bronces Brass Festival in Argentina in February 2012! I was honored to be invited, and am very excited to add a new continent to my world travels.

Orchestral Auditions:
A few of my students are busily preparing for auditions for the Iceland Philharmonic and the Des Moines Symphony. You may have heard her Tim Buzbee was recently appointed principal tuba with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, vacating the position in Rekyavik. The Des Moines opening is sadly due to the passing of their long-time tuba player Gene Wibben. I wish my students, and everyone else, good luck in preparation for these auditions – but I wish my students just a little more 🙂

Icelandic Wonderbrass

Icelandic Wonderbrass

PS – While looking for details, I ran across the myspace page of a group called The Icelandic Wonderbrass. I couldn’t find any recordings, but the photos look really interesting.

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5 Responses to iPhone, Productivity, and NPR Tubas

  1. The iPhone is great and all, but the best invention of your lifetime??? It trumps the MRI, GPS technology, genetic engineering, and the shake weight?

    Have fun in Argentina, I’m jealous!

    • John Manning says:

      Point taken, but I am sure we are just a few years away from an MRI app on the iphone. I will admit the “kegerator” is probably a close second.

  2. Brynja says:

    You can find more about The Icelandic Wonderbrass on Facebook and Youtube. We played with Björk on her album Volta.

  3. Michael Hart says:

    I admit, I’m addicted to my Iphone and Mac and use them frequently for professional and entertainment purposes. However, I made a discovery about myself this year that is somewhat related to both the “digital vs. paper” and “productivity” debate. I am FAR more productive and my writing seems to flow effortlessly when I turn off the computer, iphone, ipad, tv, radio, R2 Unit, etc. and write by hand. There is something very Zen, tangible and relaxed about the process. Luckily I’m not the only one, there is an excellent article about it below.


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