The Audition

I just read a fascinating article in Boston Magazine about recent percussion auditions for the Boston Symphony.

This article captures very well the atmosphere, and to me more interestingly, the inner experience of the musicians taking part in the audition. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be an aspiring symphony musician, this is a good look.

If you aspire to win an audition yourself someday, this is a must-read.

The Audition.

Please note that, for whatever reason, the link only seems to work intermittently. Keep trying, it’s worth it!

 

Dr. Flegg, I presume

Yes, it’s official!!! After many, many years (nearly 8, to be exact) I am finally Dr. Mark Flegg. In May, I received my Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University.

My final lecture recital and document focused on the Sonata for Trumpet and Strings (or Piano), by Robert Bradshaw. I’ve know Robert personally, and have been very interested in his music, since I first heard about him back in 2003. It was a thrill to be able to share my passion for his music with the audience at my recital.

There are a million people whom I should thank, but for now I’ll leave it at just one: Richard Illman. Professor Illman (pictured with me, right, celebrating after commencement) was my mentor and guide through the academic labyrinth of MSU. He has been supportive, encouraging, and helpful to the extreme, and I’ll always be in his debt.

New Host, New Look!

If you’ve visited my website in the past, then you can see for yourself that some things have changed around here! I’ve switched to a new hosting provider (the company that provides the physical computer and internet connection that house my website) and done some re-design of the website itself at the same time. There are two main reasons for the changes:

  1. My previous hosting company, iPage, wasn’t working out as well as I had hoped. I switched from ICDSoft to iPage about two years ago in order to consolidate all my domains and websites into one hosting account. This resulted in a monthly savings of about $10, which for sites with as little traffic as I get is a very large amount! Unfortunately, the sites loaded way too slowly on iPage. I don’t know why… maybe they put too many websites on each server, or use slow hardware, whatever… it doesn’t matter. The bottom line was that my website was taking as long as 9 seconds to load up. Not good!! I’m really hoping that switching to the new hosting company will fix that. So far, it looks pretty good! The new hosting company is A2Hosting.com, which is local to my area, and a relatively small company. I’m a big fan of buying local when I can, so that was a big factor in my decision.
  2. The last time I made any real design changes to my website was way back in early 2007, when I switched from PHPWebsite to WordPress for the underlying CMS software. At the time, in order to make the site look the way I wanted, I had to go through and manually edit dozens of code files. That’s all well and good until you want to change it again… then you have to find all the original changes you made so that you can be consistent and place all the new changes in the right places. What a pain! WordPress has come a long way in the past 5 years… now the vast majority of design changes can be achieved with simple drag-and-drop maneuvers! I re-designed the site from the ground up this time in about an hour. I have no idea how long it took the last time, but it was many times that, for sure!

Another item that is significantly different from previous incarnations of my website is in the Upcoming Performances area. In the past, I’ve had to manually create an entry every time I wanted to post information about an upcoming performance. There have been some long stretches of time where I was just too busy to get this done (for example, the first six months of this year, while I was in the final phase of finishing my Doctorate – more on that in another post!).

Now, I have a new system in place that will automatically pull information about upcoming performances from my personal calendar. This means that when I enter a performance on my computer, or even on my phone, if I want it to be on the website all I have to do is change one little pull-down menu! I’m hoping that this will result in a more up-to-date performance calendar here on markflegg.com! Ideally, it might even mean that on those occasions when I have time to work on the site, instead of updating performances I’ll be able to create actual content!

I hope you enjoy the changes to the site! Please feel free to post a comment with your impressions.

 

A New Arban Edition

One of my students recently brought to my attention what appears to be a brand new edition of the Arban Book for trumpet. It’s published by Dover, and Amazon.com is currently taking preorders at $14.95. That’s the lowest price I’ve seen on this book in more than 20 years.

A lot of people call this book the “bible” of trumpet. I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but it is a great tool for mastering the instrument. This might be a great opportunity to pick one up!