Monday, December 7, 2009

It's been quite a while since I've had the opportunity to post a new blog. I'm still at the Regents, now teaching piano, woodwind and vocal. I'm teaching my woodwind students with my iBegin® and finding small mistakes which I'm rectifying. I've never been able to "test drive" iBegin® before, so this has been quite useful in improving it, as I've noticed many things which could be improved. The children love it, and, I discovered, so do their parents, as more than a few have borrowed their children's instruments and are learning with iBegin®.

I've also digitised more scores: "Im Krapfenvaldl" - J Strauss II, and Concerto for 2 Flutes FVI nº2 - Vivaldi, as well as doing more arrangements. I also found all my J Strauss scores and parts, which I mislaid after my move to Jomtien two years ago, so I shall be able to digitise those and use them both for Regents and iBegin® users. Next will come Mozart's Symphony nº29.

My new lens in my right eye is working really well. I can now see to read music again and driving at night is much improved. Driving at night had become far too "interesting" and I was on the point of giving it up. Not being able to read music was a real pest, so I forked out and had it done - very glad I did - my eternal thanks go to Dr. Daranee at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.

I also gave up combustible cigarettes and have used an electronic cigarette for a month. My blood pressure has dropped dramatically, my teeth are whiter, my sense of taste and smell have returned. I'm just hoping that I didn't leave it too late to change and that the damage I've been inflicting on myself for years can be reversed. I've also returned to my exercise routine, but I still have to force myself to exercise. Having done a little research, I discovered that the deleterious effects of cigarettes were known in the 1920s, which surprised me as it took another 50 years or so for the anti-smoking movement to get going.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to iBegin® and digitising Vivaldi

Well the opera nearly killed me. Unfortunately, I sang the role with the 'flu (ordinary variety) and two days after the final performance was rushed to hospital with severe chest pains. My diagnosis was digestive failure caused by complete exhaustion as I didn't have any other symptoms of a heart attack or angina. My heart specialist agreed, but it's taken me a month to recover. Fortunately, I was well enough to accompany my ex-student, Andy Scott at the World Saxophone Congress and it was good to see him and perform with him again after 25 years. Andy also made some suggestions that I added to iBegin®, so that my beginning saxophone students handle their instruments with safety and not damage them through mishandling due to their inexperience of the saxophone. Thanks Andy!

So now it's back to iBegin® and digitising some Vivaldi concerti. I also digitised J. Strauss junior's "Im Krapfenvaldl", printed by a Viennese publishing house with more than a few wrong notes, which I corrected. Whilst I was doing that, I was contacted by a local school, Regents School Pattaya, who asked me to substitute for a music teacher who failed to return after the holidays. As Regents Pattaya is a lovely school with polite, hard-working students and a very supportive staff, I was more than happy to accept. The Strauss and Vivaldi will come in handy sooner than I thought. My thanks go to Tom Myers of I.S. Bangkok who sent me jpgs of a Vivaldi concerto with my original bow markings.

Mark Stephens of IDR Solutions kindly sent me the Windows version of a wrapper for iBegin® Reader, which will allow me to place all the iBegin® pdf and Sibelius files into one iBegin® file. This will make it really easy for my younger iBegin® users who only need to download the Sibelius demo and the iBegin® file to be able to use iBegin®. It really is "plug and play" and no more fiddling around with preferences/properties which was very awkward for younger users. Thanks Mark!

So now I'm rationalising all the iBegin® chapters to make sure that they all have an adequate number of exercises for beginners to practise each new skill they learn. Once I've done that, I'll be putting iBegin®, one book at a time, on the internet for download.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

World Saxophone Congress

I shall be accompanying an ex-student, Andy Scott ( at the World Saxophone Congress in a recital of his works on 11th July at the Salaya Campus of Mahidol University, near Nakorn Pathom.

Der Freischutz - Bangkok Metropolitan Opera

I shall be singing the role of the Hermit in Weber's "Der Freischutz" for Bangkok Metropolitan Opera on 12th and 13th June at the Thai Cultural Centre.

Friday, April 24, 2009

iBegin® Reader

Mark Stephens of IDR Solutions in London has been helping me tremendously by making suggestions as to how I might improve my web site and by writing a bespoke iBegin® Reader around his JPedal pdf viewer. iBegin® on the internet is slowly becoming a reality thanks to Mark's efforts and I'm extremely grateful to him.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

iBegin® marches on

iBegin®, the series of ten illustrated, interactive, tutorial e-books for beginning wind instrumentalists, marches on towards the internet. All it needs is the completion of iBegin® Reader to be adjusted so that it's easy for beginners to use, then iBegin® will become available for download. If you would like to learn Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Mellophonium, Baritone/Euphonium (bass clef) or Tuba, in the comfort of your own home, please check this blog regularly. It's never too late to learn to play an instrument and enjoy the world of music. If the instrument you'd like to learn isn't listed, please contact me and I will advise you of its future availability.