Tuesday, June 28, 2016

About FDG

A bit about Frank David Greene! 

A really cool thing happens when people see you playing on an iconic television every night...

They come and find you!  

Sometimes people reach out to you on Facebook or Twitter or they just email you. 

Sometimes folks come wait for you at the TV Studio stage door. 
It’s maybe a bit scary - but also very cool, too!” 

People have exploded my Facebook and Email accounts with questions - it's a pretty cool feeling and I'm honored! 

Now my Email box has reached the point where I can't respond to everyone who’s asked me for help. 

So, I created this blog space where people can subscribe and then ask me questions. I can answer questions here in my blog posts, in order to provide help in a bigger way.  

Testimonials -- ! 

Mr Greene,First off thank you so much for coming to our school, it was such an honor to meet you. Secondly, I loved learning so much from you. I really enjoyed that your music concepts related to life as well. Meeting someone like you really made my day, that day. It was truly an honor. That hour with you was so inspirational and influential. Thank you again,Dara S.

Dear Mr.Greene,
I wanted to thank you for the time you took to come talk to us. It was my favorite visit so far which sounds cliche, but I really appreciated how instead of just going over our pieces you taught us lessons. Life lessons that apply whether you're going into music as a career or wanting to pursue any job. I am not planning on pursuing music as a career, so that is why I greatly appreciated your visit, because I know I'll be able to take that knowledge of not assuming and to make sure I use the magic words "I don't know" to motivate me to find the answer. Thanks again for everything.
Peter N.

Mr. Frank Greene was a very nice person. I really liked him because he wasn't just relating to music. He was lecturing to us about the basics of life. His message was if you want to do a skill or career and you've never experienced it before; you got to look for people and ask people how to get to the skill or career. You can't do it on your own if you never done it before. If you do, there's a high possibility that you could fail. I thought that he was a pretty cool guy. He is a very smart man and really understands the basic concept of life. And the decent thing is that he took his own time to come up to Nyack and share with us his experience as a star musician.
Oliver A.

Dear Mr. Greene,
Last friday was very insightful. I am amazed at how you accomplished what you accomplished and I feel privileged to have been taught at a young age about the secrets to success. As a young child, I always looked to be successful, and even made it a priority to get wealthy from my future career. I am only in 9th grade, so I still have time to figure out what I want to do( I play the trumpet, and was sitting on the end if you were wondering). I look forward to being in contact with you, so please write back. I hope to have you in my RCI.
Take Care, Dorian H.

-- Jump!  

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What the who?

Wait ... Where's the Taco Bell??? 

It seems as though there are a gaggle of people who seem to hate to have blank spots on their "maps". 

Usually, lacking enough life experience, many remedy this by simply winging-it with some best guesses.

In other words: We fill in the ____ spaces with guesses and assumptions - Because we hate having ____ spaces in our "Maps" -- What is This...?

In working with students over the years, it seems that the phrase: "I don't know....(yet)"   Just doesn't feel like a very good answer to them. 
Maybe it's got cooties or something? I'm not sure why, but I do know this... 
The Phrase: "I don't know...(yet)" is actually a very good and very empowering answer!

Perhaps saying it makes us feel dumb or weak? Maybe we got yelled at once? Perhaps, we got made fun of because we didn't know something ...or everything?  
Regardless of the reason, the phrase: "I Don't Know...(yet)" has definitely not been on the menu at many schools! 
Guessing and Assuming - Does it really feel that much better than Asking and Learning??? 

Maybe years ago, we felt empowered by being smart enough to "figure out" that 1+1=11 all on our own! And as long as there was no one there to checked up on us and nobody around us knew any better? ... It was: 1+1=11 for Everybody! -- Yikes! 
As a speaker, I cannot tell you the number of times I've walked through the halls of various schools, hearing this assumptive practice in full force. The Assumption Mills just churning 'em up, and spitting 'em out! 
While the: "Hey...Let's Find Out From Somebody Who Actually Knows" Vending Machines sat, waiting. Student Free! Ummmm....Hello??? 

Anyone that knows me knows me well, knows of my complete distain for too much unnecessary Assumption. Maybe it's because I have seen, first hand the harm it has done to the lives and dreams of my students. It's unfortunate they tend reach out to me once they are already soaking wet, from swimming lap after lap in the River of Assumption ... Only then realizing just how much of a mess their situations really are. I am definitely very very very familiar with professional knot un-tying --


I'll often ask during clinics: "Are we truly Educated Enough to make that Educated Guess that we are about to make...?" 

Many of our life "maps" lack real and fundamental pieces, and deep down...we know it! 
Sure...The "maps" have mountains and bridges and buildings and rivers and Taco Bell's. But all with asterisks next to them! As if to say: "I didn't know for sure at the time, so I Best Guessed many parts!"

Shoot! Many people's internal "maps" are so full of asterisks, you can barely see the stuff that's real
-- Not exactly a confidence booster.

Especially when school is almost over and the time is coming up for us to rely on these ridiculous maps for our survival! And because of which, we have to live with crazy fear. Because deep deep down, we know that our "maps" are pretty much just a complete pile of S&%@ ! 

Is it funny how Fear plays such a huge role in some people's lives? -- It's not all that funny really...

We all know that "Fear = A Lack of Proper Information" and we also know that Fear tends to vanish when we know what to expect and count on. 

So then, it's pretty easy to see that: 1) an inability to say "I don't know...(yet)" -- Power Mixed with 2) the avoidance of: "Hey! ... Let's go find out from someone who actually knows the facts"... This is already a pretty bad mix! 
But now, couple all of that with 3) the absolute willingness to "best guess" answers...?
Spells .... Disaster! 
Remember -- "Fear is like Beer: A little is good, but too much and you'll wind up doing the walk of shame...with vomit still on your Prom dress." 

Assumption. It's maybe time we stop denying the harm it does

Especially when the phrase: "I don't know...(yet)" is like kryptonite to it -- We should give this phrase a try!    

I mean, seriously: Would you trust a 10 year old to "best guess" you a map to drive from say, Portugal to Eastern China? ...Yep? 
                                                               -- Me Neither! 

I'll just go to the map store, thank you very much! That way, when I want a Taco Bell... 
... It will Actually Be There! 

--- Jump! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

No Problemo! Big Problemo? ... No Problemo!

What is this "No Problem" thing? - It seems to be pervasive.

I tell actually my students: "If you want to set yourself apart from everybody else, then a quick and easy way is to say: "Thank You", instead of saying "No Problem" like everyone else. This seems so Crazy! 

People take the time to say a nice "Thank You" to us and we reply back with: "No Problem"... No Problem????
                                                    ---It's a head scratcher! 

I just can't even imagine replying with "No Problem" to the people I've worked for: Maynard Ferguson, Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Ray Charles, Kevin Spacey, John Williams, Paul Shaffer and especially David Letterman...when they have been gracious, and said "Thank You" to Me.

When my students stopped saying "No Problem" they said they realized:

1) Just how many other people are saying it - without even noticing they are saying it. 

2) That people have actually stopped and taken notice of this crazy, magical new reply of: "You're Welcome'

3) And if somebody chooses to reply with a: "No Problem"- Does it possibly imply that there may soon be a problem? 

If so, When? - Maybe the next time I come in??? ... And what happens when simply doing our job becomes a Leonard Bernstein scored Problem? ... Maybe a Street Rumble? -- Do I need to bring pepper spray and a taser with me when I go to get my next Venti iced coffee - Just in case? 

We are all in the "service-industry" in some way or another. And if we don't know that - Then maybe that might be the problem - But when we appreciate our customers with a simple reply of: "Thank You...It's My Pleasure". 
                       --- It just seems to carry so much more weight and appreciation. 

Otherwise the vibe can mistakenly come across as: 
"I am really way way way too good for this job, and I will remind you of that every single time by saying "No Problem" when I am asked to serve you..." 

As in: Let me send a note to corporate, via social media -- and I will take my money elsewhere. I think the "No More "No-Problem" Response by Employees" issue will be a big part of next week's Team Meeting! 

Let's be honest...
The "No Problem" thing?  -- It's a response that needs...Tweaking! 

Because we are way better than that! 

-- Jump 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Move into the way! Move Out! - Get In!

Bthe time the smoke finally cleared, three people had magic superpowers and one of them had become a giant sea turtle !

-- Entitled

Come on - Everyone acts this way... Don't They?  

It seems like we are aways hearing about this, so called "Entitled" generation, and how frustrating they can be.  
- We all know them! 

They are the one's who are: 1) Unimpressed by anything and anyone 2) Seemingly non-hard working 3) Arrogant, and expecting things are supposed to just magically work out for them because they are somehow "special"! 
-- Yep, we know them. 

They are the seemingly un-realistic folks who just expect that their future is going to be all perfect and gleaming, merely because they see themselves as the super duper special ones. 
They have also seen others doing quite well and without taking the time to understand and appreciate exactly why, they just simply Assume that others must have been magically handed their success. Why not Them Too?  
They act like: "Hey, I own any earth I stand on". 
They appear to have a "No worries at all - I got this all figured out! - It's all just soooo easy!" kind of vibe about them.

Yep ... We all know them! 

And Yes, It can be very frustrating....

But -- Here's the thing: 

Everybody Acts Entitled (in some ways) ! 

The situation is seemingly more about Delusion.
The amount, direction and intensity of the Delusion is what makes it such a tricky bugaboo. 

Perhaps it's our idea (or assumption) that each day we can drive our cars to and fro unharmed, or maybe it's the thought that we can safely step in and out of the bath each day, is that which shows our complete delusion. Especially when you look at the statistical averages. 

But we, in fact need our delusions in order to live our lives. 

We, just like these "annoying" students, have to Believe that for Us - Things will always be Fine!

Doing good work, building proper RCI and creating actual value? - Now, that is an entirely different story... 

It's been said that, for some people, having their mentors treat them as equals can create sheer Magic - Yet for others, it creates sheer nightmare! Like when a cocky young musician finally discovers the truth about his or her place in the "reality/delusion-balance" as they fall, embarrassingly flat on their faces--Sadly too, right in front of the folks they most wanted to wanted to wow or impress. It can be sad to witness. 

My musician friend from Texas always says: "Well...That old boy's humongous ego has just plumb flat exceeded his minuscule little abilities!" 


This "entitlement" thing can also be tricky because it can have different faces - Where as often, people who possess crazy amazing skills think just so lowly of themselves, that they can actually Damage themselves! Due to the low sense of "entitlement" they believe themselves capable of or deserving of - they self-sabotage every single bit of their own progress. It's like the other side of the "Entitlement" coin. Giving-in to the "Entitlement" the Dark Side!

Much like those people who are "Entitled" just expect things to be great without any real plan, could stand to learn a bit of Humility - Many others who have an "internal negative expectation" or "Negative-Entitlements" could perhaps learn to appreciate themselves and their true, powerful value. 

Now, there are those typically young and un-impressed by anything, annoyingly "entitled" folks who are, in reality the are the baddest cats on the block

This does happen occasionally! 
But....most often, they just suck.

The litmus test for both seems to be the same: ....Time! 

Time proves the "Entitled" winners from the merely delusional!

I always joke that when a person tells me what they do for work, I ask to see their cellphone! From experience, I know that if they are truly good at what they do and they are valuable what they do, the phone numbers and/or email addresses on their cell phones will prove a pretty quick and easy way to see who's Making it or who's Faking it!

.....So let's give these "Entitled" bunch a pass, because time will eventually show to them what most of us have already known all along....  
We can instead, focus on developing our own Prodigy path, build up our own RCI and actually enjoy Doing what we want to do in our lives! Minus all of the drama. 

We know what laser focus and true humility can do for us. So we can rest assured that the "Entitlement" bunch will learn this lesson, eventually. 
-- We just get to know it ahead of time! 

There is a real benefit in doing things right.

Growing up in Silicon Valley, I have definitely seen many a miserable and suffering rich person.

It's like if we do it wrong, we get "Weeds in the Garden", and these Weeds are darned hard to get rid of. They always seem surface again sooner or later. They just serve choke the life out of the Flowers and we often see these seemingly wealthy folks experience great suffering and pain later in life. 

Don't be fooled....Often the outsides of other people's perfect little lives might appear to be nice and shiny - but look deeper, and Bam! - There it is. Ouch...the Truth! 
We can very easily assume too much about others. 

The truths about people's "Weeds in the Garden" can be quite eye-opening! Yet, the coolest folks seem to lead with Laser Focus and real Humility. 

Just Remember: 

Cocky is like Hockey...Sooner or later, you're gonna get your teeth get bashed in...

-- Jump! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Imagine...We pay for a trip to Hawaii. We read all of the brochures and fun stuff about our upcoming trip. We even get ourselves into the gym to be in shape so we can climb up Diamond Head or maybe even go Surfing. 

After months of waiting and reading and working out, the day finally arrives. Excitedly we get to the airport counter and Bam! 

The person at the ticket counter greets us with a nice smile and not so politely informs us that we.....are not actually Going to Hawaii. 

They then say that they are "Sorry to have mislead us" and "Maybe they should have said to us in advance of us paying the full per-paid fare, that we would not necessarily get to actually Go on Vacation to Hawaii - Sorry to not say that up front!" --Then, to make it worse: You are made to feel like it is somehow Your Fault

Nope - This can't work! 

Yet... for many schools?  -- It is working!  Working very well!

But who is at fault ?  

Is it Us?: 
Is it our fault for paying the Full Fare to the: "You just may not actually get to go to Hawaii, Travel Company"? 
A "company" known to have a history of this type of thing, and especially after seeing this exact thing happen to so many others beforehand? 
That sounds like a mistake on our part, doesn't it?

Well, is it the School's fault? 
Maybe for not leveling with us up front?

Is it Both? ...  Who Knows? 
There is definitely one thing that is true and the trick now is to ask to about a schools' "Yield" beforehand

In other words: We should "Read The Reviews" by "Folks in the Field" (the Field you want to go into...) and seek out the places these people went to school or and the ones they recommend for us.

We need to Stop just thinking that the words "We Have A Good Program for x,y or z..." means that we will actually get to do what we went there to do -- Even though they conveniently have taken our money already ! 

Who's mistake is that ? Well...it's Ours! It's Our Mistake!  
Remember: The "Yield in the Field" matters. Good schools, like good teachers will leave a trail of successful students in their wake! We have all seen this to be true.

Caveat: Obviously, many schools have amazing Yields and many have had these amazing Yields for decades. 
And often times we, as students can be a bit delusional about our real chances of doing well in our chosen fields. Even if our schools were to magically open the gates, we still have to take Responsibly that, for instance: If we never practice (hello...???) Then complain about not playing - Take Responsibility that if we are say 5'1"...That we probably won't get to play Center in the NBA -- Take Responsibility that if we hate being in the water...That we probably won't get a great gig as a dolphin trainer. 

There has to be accountability on our parts here, too!  Big Time! But, if we find ourselves already attending a school with a low or zero yield, then it is our mission to seek out, or request help to bridge this gap.

I offer a "Positive Disruption" Consultant service that I bring  to schools and individuals - It is "Positive Disruption" in as far it disrupts and works to eliminate this pattern of "No Yield" or "Low Yield" Status in schools. It also works to eliminate the ineffective mental patterns that so many of us have adopted and we repeat to ourselves daily; allowing for unnecessary failure and the constant imprinting of poor planning thought patterns to continue - making the wrong things feel Right

"Positive Disruption"...This is the new solution! 

Remember: If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always gotten.

Many music students have significantly reached out over the past year for Clinic and Coaching Help: What's happening right now? -- Is obviously not working for them! 

It's our job to be accountable and keep things real. 
It's our future and our lives.

This time: Enjoy Hawaii. 

We've Earned It! 

-- Jump 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Backstage: at Hollywood Bowl with Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Big Band

A quick little bit of Backstage and the Spin-in/Spin-Out Stage at the Hollywood Bowl.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Best Revenge for Bullies

Best Revenge for Bullies 


Bullies are just the worst! 

It's like their sole mission in life is to cause us suffering and pain. As if for them, the more pain they cause the better they feel - and though at some we can all feel a bit sorry for them -- often times we just wish we could lash out and settle the score once and for all! 

I'm glad I chose a different path... 

North Texas State University in the 1980's was a pretty interesting place to go to school and a great place to learn. It was (then) also one of the top 5 schools to choose if a playing career was something that interested you. 

But, for me it was a also place for some pretty heavy and painful Bullying!

I pretty much had two types:

One was the "Turf-Sensitive, Cocky, Punk College Kid":

This guy loved holding court in the main hang-out area in front of the Concert Hall. And no matter the situation, he could somehow always conjure up something negative or sarcastic to say every single time he saw me. 
It was just one ugly, hate-filled slight after the next - Always said aloud and always within earshot of my fellow students.

-- One really truly mean spirited thing he said that's stayed with me over the years, was: One time, when this punk saw me carrying a piccolo trumpet case while I was walking through the main hang-out area...(Bear in mind that at this time I was also currently the first ever African American person to play Lead Trumpet in the North Texas State University One O'Clock Lab Band.
... More on that later.) 
This bully, who I'll call "John Kormack"... (not his real name), spots me walking and carrying piccolo trumpet case and just unable to help himself (once again) he snorts quite loudly: "Hey Frankie - You off to practice your Lew Soloff licks?"

Now, this was meant to be a slight towards me, but in reality it was largely just him (once again) showing his ignorance, because Lew Soloff at that time was actually one of the best trumpeters in the world!  

I was always frustrated and angry inside - I always just shook my head - Said nothing and kept on Walking

...and kept Practicing

About a year later, I was pulled out of college early to join and tour with Woody Herman and the Thundering Herd -- and Bam- What do you know - There was a bunch of PICCOLO TRUMPET stuff in the 2nd trumpet-split lead book. (This was also great because you make even more money for playing the piccolo trumpet parts!) 

Hmmmm.... How about those Lew Soloff Licks now??? 
-- What a jerk that John was! 

Fast Forward:

I now live in NYC and fairly quickly upon moving here, I meet and became quite good friends with: Lew Soloff! 

What an honor it was and is to know and have known him - and played with him so often. 

Just for fun once, while recording a TV thing with Lew, I mentioned this punks' name and asked if Lew knew of him or not. 

Lew just looked at me puzzled and asked: "John, Who....? - Who is John Kormack?" 

Have to say ...That brought a smile! 

- Thanks for the push, John!

The Second type of Bully was: the general, Hate-Filled Bully

For me - These were the bullies who constantly called me the "N-Word"! 

I received the full compliment of this.

Playing Lead Trumpet in the One O'Clock Lab Band at NTSU (now UNT) then was and is still a huge honor - and was a huge source of pride for my Father, as well! 

Sadly, it also came Pre-Loaded with the full arsenal of: "Who does this 'N-Word' think he is?" - and "Oh yeah, well F___ that N____!" 

During the 5 sequential semesters that I re-auditioned and was selected to play Lead Trumpet in the One O'Clock Lab Band - You can imagine that I heard the 'N-Word' Quite A Lot...And I did! 

Most often it was said behind my back or just after I'd turned a corner - But always sad loudly enough for me (and others) to hear it!

But Never, Ever did I dare confront anybody about it or say anything back. 

Back then, (and maybe even now) we know that would have been a huge huge mistake!
-- You just had to feel horrible and angry and sad.... and just Take It!

But, like my Grandmother always suggested ... I never gave up. 
I always chose to stay undeterred.

 -- You have to! 

Because otherwise, they win and they steal your life from you - and That's exactly what they want: To have You ...Un-Empowered! 

My Grandmother always told me: "When folks start to do this stuff like this...it usually means you are getting warm and there is fear there. Their fear! 
Their fear of what you, achieving your goals and dreams means for Them!"

(Disclaimer: If somebody is hitting you or threatening violence and hurting you, then you need police or legal help. ASAP!) 

She told me that Choosing to be Undeterred is not ever easy, but it is opting to not stop, but instead use the garbage these bullies throw at us and let it push us to kick some booty! 
For us to have a great life, in spite of the crap they do and spew.... Because a great life is something these hate-filled, garbage-spewing punks will never truly have themselves. 
Having a great life and a great time? ...Is just the best Revenge! 
My Grandmother was very cool! 

Side note: Later, during my years touring, playing Lead Trumpet with Maynard Ferguson, he and I often talked about my days at NTSU. 

I'd told him about the bullies I had to deal with, and how hard it was Not to Fight Back, my Grandmother's words and the choosing to stay undeterred. 

Maynard said in response: Well, it's a good thing! (said with that grin only he got) -- I'm glad you didn't give in and let them win. Because if you had, I would have never met you and I couldn't have had you here with me to play Lead Trumpet with my Band...

A Nice Maynard Ferguson Moment. 

It's those moments that I am so glad I didn't let the bullies win years ago.  

So.....Stay Strong - KMF - Live Your Dream Life - and Let the bullies Choke On Your Dust! 

Keep Moving Forward! 

-- Jump!