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 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! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Behind the scenes, final show 'The Late Show'.

This is my normal walk to my job at the David Letterman show ... Today's walk was kind of special because it is me going to work on the final taping of the: "Late Show with David Letterman" - It's been an amazing experience! I thought it might be kind of fun, if you've never seen a live studio before or maybe you have been watching the show for many years and might like to see a bit of what things look like from our point of view of the Late Show from in the CBS Orchestra. I hope you like it!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Summer Slumber

"4 for 40" - Summer Edition

When we treat the summer as basically an off-switch for our 'Prodigy-Focus Goals'....

We are pretty much just saying:

"Yep! I'll just go ahead and have a huge helping of suck, please!" - "Hmmm.... Yes and gimme the"I'm gonna really struggle later" platter ...and Yes,  I do 'want fries with that'!
- We might just wanna get used to saying that last line.

The Summer Slumber just kills all of our hard earned momentum  -- And our RCI?
It goes right into the crapper too!

Remember: It's not "summer break" for the whole world and that's right where we are headed, like it or not.

So stay in touch with your mentors and keep building your RCI -- Always keep the "One Thing that Never Goes Out of Style" in the front of your mind -- and keep your 'PK' wrist bands on to stay focused.

Others out there want the same After-School life that you want too, and you can bet they won't be Un-Plugging this summer... 

Remember: There Is Room for You out there - but not Extra Room!  - Stay Focused; You Can Get To Do Want You Want to Do!

Have a great Summer!

- Jump!   

Saturday, June 6, 2015

"Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda... "

 Whether it was during the five years that I played Lead Trumpet with Maynard Ferguson, or the many years playing on Broadway - but most definitely during the three years of playing Lead Trumpet on 'The Late Show with David Letterman' ...

The one thing I heard over and over again is: “If I only - Woulda, Coulda  Shoulda…”

It’s basically been about 32 years of: "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda’s..."

That's a whole lotta "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda..."  Right?

Maybe it's time to do something -- 

Probably due to playing on television every night that the abundance of "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda" emails increased about 20-fold, and while some emails were a Virtual "Pat-On-The-Back" with a few “Atta-Boy’s” added in... Sadly, most emails were of the "I wish I had done this - I wish I had done that" variety.

It really got me thinking.

Being a pretty pragmatic person, I began to ponder ways in which to fix the "Problem" Before it became a Problem. A way to stop and shift this cycle of non-empowered "thinking" that always ended up as a: "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda" reality for many people.

I wanted to give High School and College Students some well proven success-tools in effort to create some new realities for them not just for right now, but also for after school as well. And in truth, to hopefully eliminate these sad "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda" emails, once and for all.

Maybe even create a new slew of: “Hey Man!...Check Out This Cool Stuff I'm Doing!" emails to fill up my inbox, instead.  That would just be the greatest thing!

Hey,  I can dream - Can't I ???

This ‘The Jump Dog’ site (a name accidentally created by a young student) is here in hopes of eliminating the "Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” emails once and for all, and instead create some:

"Man, I'm So Happy I'm Getting To Do This - I'm Really Psyched To Be Doing That!" email instead!

-- That would just be so much better .... Please help me help!

My email inbox will thank you... 

Friday, June 5, 2015's really more of a Sprint!

People have been saying for years that life is more of a Marathon than a Sprint and I guess we can all understand the concept behind that.  But when we really break it down and consider how effective it is to think in this way, we quickly realize that it's actually a bit counterintuitive to think of life as: a Marathon?

What we have learned about human concentration and focus is:

Studies have shown that anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes is the longest most of us can truly focus on something without needing a break of some sort. The pattern reveals itself to be: Work, then Break--Work, then Break--Work then Break or Work–-Rest, Work-- Rest, Work--Rest – Etc....

If we take a good look at this Pattern: We quickly see that (for us to focus and do well on things) this starts to look a whole lot more like Sprint-Training than Marathon-Training, doesn't it?

On top of which, the extremely successful people I have spoken to over the years about their own “Successful Study Techniques” and “Best Results Techniques for Music Practice” break down their own study routines into this type of Sprint-Training structure as well. Maybe also implying that some of us Rest much much more than we Sprint,  thus creating a life that's more of a "Rest Marathon".

Train Better - Do Better - Be Better - Have Better ... It's such a great feeling to try the simplest of adjustments and see the huge results-change.  It's so easy to get into a vapor lock on an idea we hear said over and over -- Even if it does not help us or work well for us - we can get mind locked into it Forever -- If we are not careful.  

So the next time someone says to us: “Life is a Marathon, not a Sprint" - We can just nod our heads in agreement, but know that it’s not really true at all.

Either way.... We're gonna get moving!

-- Jump!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

How in the heck did I get here....

Now that the fall semester is over and the summertime break is just beginning, this is a good time to take a short pause and to let ourselves think for just a moment. 

Do we still feel like we are doing what we are supposed to be doing?

Do we still like what we are doing with our lives and the direction it’s going?

Do we even know anymore? 

In “4 for 40” - This period of time is our Purest-Training-Time. It's the time we can do our most focused work and really zoom in, developing our true “Prodigy” gifts. 

One key component of our “Prodigy” is: That one thing we just cannot get out of our minds - It’s the thing (or things) we just really love and want to do all of the time -- and would do for free! It's partly the thing we do or want to do whenever we have free time to ourselves. It's nagging, but in a good way! It's a pure desire. 

But - Is it possible perhaps, somewhere along the way, maybe during the last semester or two that we let ourselves become sidetracked? Maybe we started chasing ideas based on somebody else’s success? When, in fact their success is likely due to them being true to their own Prodigy gifts in the first place? 

 --   This is a very important distinction, because let's just face it: If we are not really good at what we do (by not staying true to our own Prodigy gifts) – It becomes very very very easy for other people to just walk in and claim the things originally designed for us to have and enjoy. 

Those darned “other people”…  Who do they think they are?!?!? 

Seriously for a moment: It is so so easy to begin to chase after something simply because someone else is doing it extremely well....and it looks cool -- And maybe perhaps because they are getting attention?

But - Is it even cooler than we think our “Prodigy” is? 

Nothing is further from the truth! 

Perhaps it is just that we have truly yet to see what “Our Thing” (Our Prodigy) can really become, when we let it be.    

.... When we ignore our own “Prodigy” like this, what we are actually doing is allowing ourselves to chase after the something that somebody else “Can't Get out of Their Mind”.  We are now chasing Their "Prodigy" 

Shoot! - That’s what makes it look so darned attractive in the first place!

We are basically just watching a visual representation of somebody truly following along in his or her own “Prodigy”...  And in reality - It's a very attractive thing to watch.  

Sadly, this is also exactly why so many people find themselves chasing and chasing and then can feel totally lost after awhile.   

 --- The trick is:   

We take a moment - Go someplace alone. We refocus. We re-align ourselves. 

Let's recall the great things we have in our own minds - The things that we truly love - All of the things we even loved as a child!

What are those things we have in our "Prodigy"? 

They seem to be in our hearts for a reason.

.......It is very important that we move to have the things we want to have and to do the things we want to do. Maybe that's why they have been so gleefully nagging us for so long in the first place? 

-- Ironically, when we do this refocusing back to our own “Prodigy” gifts, it stands to reason that once we begin re-chasing our own true "Prodigy", we will now appear as attractive as they once did to us. 

Lest these others allow themselves to now get caught up in chasing and chasing after Our “Prodigy”! 

-- Here we go again… 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Why Some Universities Are Like 'Lethal Weapon 2'

Years ago, there was a very popular movie called 'Lethal Weapon-Part 2’ that starred Mel Gibson, Danny Glover and the hilarious Joe Pesci.

If you've ever seen this movie, you will recall the scene where the three main characters go to a late night drive-thru together; where just moments after pulling away, Joe Pesci's character (Leo Getz) realizes his order is completely wrong and the anger he feels over it creates the setting for this famous soliloquy. 

Eloquently Called:
"They $%##* You at the Drive Thru!"

He rants: "Don't ever go to the Drive-thru and do you want to know why…? -- Why? -- I'll tell you why! Because they $%## you at the Drive-thru! That’s Why! -- They know you'll be miles away … and you won't turn around and go back! …"
(You can You Tube it if you've never seen it!)

Ironically -- Many College Students I have spoken with over the past few years have expressed this exact feeling. They seemed to feel that their Colleges and Universities really don't care about them, ultimately. Especially knowing that they - as former students, will be off and miles away -- Not able to go back and really do anything about it if they now find themselves unhappy with the end-result of their College Investment.

My advice is always the same:

We need to do something about it Now and not wait until we're finished with and far away from school !

Now, I know that not everybody can just choose a different College and pick up and leave if they are unhappy with the school they are currently attending. But what we Can do and Must do is: Insist that our Schools Bring In or Help us to connect with Success Consultants - To help to create these success-bridges - in addition to the normal curriculum.

This is especially important for the Schools that find themselves without a large and diverse "Successful-Former-Student-Roster". 

Note -- We as Students have to Remember:
Colleges themselves are not "Magical Crockpots" that can simply guarantee our success, just because we enrolled! We can't walk in with our heads in the clouds or buried in the sand in regards to our expectations. We have to also be more responsible for the direction and outcomes of our often extremely large Educational Investment we made for ourselves.

Let’s Be Real:

At the End of the Day... If we come out of College not doing of the things what we wanted when we enrolled?

-- It’s always going to be our fault!  Schools rarely, if ever claim any fault.

It’s just a fact,  so go with it! We, as students need to make some hard decisions about schools BEFORE we choose to attend - And we certainly need to be involved in what we allow to happen once we are in College - Because ultimately our successes and or failures ... are our responsibility.

So let's step up and take responsibility! 

I personally enjoy going into a school when I know that the students were the ones who had Requested Me. I most often find myself at Colleges and Universities to speak primarily because the Students themselves have Requested me to be there as a Clinician/Consultant! This has to become more balanced. It is also very nice to see that many Colleges, Universities and even High Schools are becoming more Proactive and more Progressive in their Caring about the Future Outcomes of their Students.

The fact is this this:
Students and Parents nowadays are beginning to do their proper due-diligence, before selecting a College or University - And they are basing their "Purchasing Decisions" largely by focusing on each potential schools' "Successful-Former-Student-Roster" - The Success Fraternities they want their Children to be aligned with after attending a chosen University or College.

The Parents and Students are basically saying: “Show me the Money - First!” in a way - And many schools are clearly seeing this new "handwriting on the wall" - They have already become Proactive and Progressive in efforts to deal with this new and changing reality and what this can mean for them! 

With Colleges facing declining enrollment - It is quickly becoming a simple pragmatic equation:

Successful Students = Successful Colleges  -- And, 

Successful Colleges + Successful Students = Continually Thriving and Surviving Colleges!
(and thriving Successful Students) 

It's an equation that serves everybody well.