Greg's Blog

Welcome to the official blog of trombonist, pianist, composer, and educator Greg Strohman. If you have ever found yourself skeptical of how music is often being taught, sold, performed, or otherwise characterized you should follow this blog. With each post Greg challenges conventional thinking and and explores important philosophical issues surrounding this art form we all love so much.

The Primacy of Time

By Greg Strohman | April 9, 2013

Musicians are often taught to view time as merely an element of music. We might listen to a performance and say that someone has a great sound, great technique, and great time. Most of us associate musical time with rhythm or possibly tempo. However, very few of us would associate time with pitch, tone quality,…

Modern Music, Efficiency and Flexibility

By Greg Strohman | February 28, 2013

Many of us learned in music history classes that Modernism in music grew out of nineteenth century Romanticism and was a reaction against most of the seemingly ironclad “rules” of Western counterpoint, a tradition stemming at least back to the Renaissance. However, this development really only represented a microcosm of the vast musical universe that…

Sound, Tone Quality and a Little Bit of Physics

By Greg Strohman | January 26, 2013

Sound might be the most immediate and definable attribute of any great musician. A plethora of terms are often used to describe it: warm, dark, ringing, brilliant, piercing, mellow, bellowing, bright, focused, rich, shimmering, spread, velvety, floating, etc. Human ears and central nervous systems probably developed the ability to distinguish sound quality so parents and…

How to Effectively Reduce Practice Time

By Greg Strohman | December 12, 2012

The title of this month’s post isn’t meant to sound flippant. We’re all taught that practicing is a very good thing. I’m not disagreeing with that at all. That’s exactly why I wish to point out that our main goal should always be to effectively reduce our practice time, not increase it. Please allow me…

Competition and Music

By Greg Strohman | October 29, 2012

I have decided to discuss something which has been on the minds of my students and colleagues a lot recently: the role of competition in music-making. In many instances it is a necessary evil, but too often it seems to outgrow its use. In some cases it paralyzes the entire music-making process. Competition is a…

Crazy Things about Doubling

By Greg Strohman | September 25, 2012

This month I decided to discuss all of the many things which I have heard said about doubling on various instruments, as well as my own personal experience with it. First, I want to let the evidence speak for itself. There are many musicians who have successfully demonstrated a high level of musicianship on more…

The Art of Interpretation

By Greg Strohman | August 21, 2012

For many of us, the topic of musical interpretation conjures up images of many world-renowned conductors and soloists fussing over the length of a fermata. Ensemble musicians often regard interpretation to be of secondary importance, instead favoring to focus on more basic musical skills (rhythm, intonation, tone quality) and the ability to listen and blend…

Warm-ups and Fatigue

By Greg Strohman | July 21, 2012

Last month I wrote about my general approach to instrumental technique. I have also begun adding various evenness exercises to my site, which I plan to greatly expand over the coming weeks and months. This month I have decided to comment on two closely related aspects of technique which all of us encounter in some…

The Essence of Instrumental Technique

By Greg Strohman | June 19, 2012

I am about a week late posting this month, but made up for it by posting some free exercises and practice tools on my website. This month I wanted to discuss how I approach technique, along with an overview of lots of different practice strategies. Please feel free to leave comments or contact me directly…