Published on Wednesday, 13 January 2010 23:15
Written by Administrator
I am an Australian living in Singapore. Currently, I am working as a senior writer with the Straits Times newspaper in Singapore. Before that, I was a business consultant, I have never been a professional musician. But I have been interested in music since my schooldays when I played cornet in an amateur brass band run by my father in Melbourne. (Incidentally, my Dad still plays in a brass band, even though he's 80. It's a good band too! I have posted two tracks from the band's latest CD in the Focus section on this website so you can download them and judge for yourself).
I don't know whether it was because we lived "Down Under" or just a reflection of the general state of music education when I was growing up, but nobody I knew at that time had even heard of the "harmonic series". Nor could anyone give me a convincing answer to questions such as "What is the correct embouchure for brass players?" or even something as basic as "Is saliva a good substitute for valve oil?". Technique was another mystery. I lived in awe of even moderately talented national and international musicians.
Finally, my parents managed to scrape together enough money to send me for private lessons with Ken Smith (former professor of brass at Sydney University, now retired) who was living in Melbourne at the time. "Be known for your sound, not your technique", he said, and then went on to show me how. It was a revelation! Suddenly I saw that there really was a system to playing a brass instrument (or any other musical instrument for that matter). Some people were naturally better than others, of course, but even those who were struggling could improve quite dramatically if they knew how to go about it.
Since then I have made a point of finding out all I could about music, and especially about wind and brass bands. In the process, I did all the theory and practical exams for cornet/trumpet and somehow managed to get a piano diploma as well. Even so, I have to admit that my PhD is in political science, not music. (Sorry, but it's best to be honest, right?).
This website includes some of the results of my research on music, as well as my experience conducting bands and writing music for them. I hope you find it useful. Further information can be found in my book entitled The Band Director's Handbook. Details of how to contact the publisher are given on the home page.
Author: Bruce Gale
ASEAN ACADEMIC PRESS LTD
P.O. Box 13945, London E5 OXY
England, United Kingdom
(Note the change of email address. The previous one given here has been experiencing technical difficulties)
You can purchase the handbook online http://www.mphonline.com.my
Or From The Band Director's Handbook: A Guide for College & Secondary School Music Directors in Southeast Asia