This website seeks to provide insights and inspiration to dedicated professional musicians and aspiring entrepreneurs. The pages inside share my personal experiences as a professional musician, teacher, and as a business entrepreneur – thus the name for the site: Melodious Merchant. It is my hope that the performances, blogs, RSS feeds, and essays contained herein stimulate and encourage your musical and entrepreneurial spirit!
I am excited to finally launch this site, but it is my hope that Melodious Merchant forever remains a work in progress. While I encourage you to probe its depths, more than anything, I sincerely want you to actively participate – individually and collectively – in this site’s future development.
Please submit all of your comments, suggestions, corrections, or your own inspirational moments and thoughts through the comment option found by clicking on the “Contact Me Tab.”
Information you submit will be sent directly to my firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail account for review and possible posting.
Submitting your e-mail contributions to me through my ‘Contact TAB’ will continue to promote Melodious Merchant as it becomes even more of a vibrant musical and entrepreneurial resource for years to come.
I know effort and a certain level of commitment is required for you to actually type an e-mail to me for this site. Please be aware, I have spent 100’s of hours and thousands of dollars just to reach this current point of professional development that also included one agonizing complete rebuild after changing Internet hosting servers! So, please write – I greatly look forward to hearing from each and every one of you!
This website is very complex! By using the ‘About This Site’ tab at the top of the ‘Home’ page, you can navigate to the site map links. The site map, located on the left, provides you with a directory listing of all major pages and related content. Links within this text will take you directly to those parts of the site of particular interest.
Percussionist Profundus: Links under this tab take you to the “Olympic moments” of personal bests from my college years at Oberlin (1962 – 1967) and peak rudimental performances as a matured professional performer (1967-2001).
Here you will have the opportunity to meet the first of my musical mentors, Harold Firestone – a master teacher of rudimental swing drumming and an extraordinary studio teacher. Harold utilized teaching techniques and methods far ahead of his time. His legacy, death, and my personal tribute are the foundational experiences behind the rudimental performance and rudimental review.
Mark Yancich, timpanist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra once said, “Jack Bell is one of America’s greatest snare drummers”. I’ll let my hands do my speaking as I improvise Rudimental Jazz snare drum, and burn through the Firestone rudimental sheets. You can see those rudimental sheets and print a copy on the Rudimental Review snare drum page.
The Oberlin college performances are brought to life with synchronized images of the music that whiz by as you listen to the original audio recordings from the 1960’s. There are also links to the composers and historical information related to these tour de force compositions.
My Paganini page contains On A Marimba Challenge , where approximately 2,800 16th notes are played in 3 minutes and 30 seconds with a substantially high rate of accuracy. I hope you enjoy the performance and take the challenge!
Gypsy Airs for Violin, arranged for marimba by Harold Firestone.
That being said, the Allegro Molto Vivace movement from Pablo de Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen – Gypsy Airs for Violin is my favorite two mallet marimba solo of all time, and none to slow either!
This is the only recorded example of me playing the kettles ! I debated releasing this performance publically, as the powerful sounds of my drums overpowered the single unadjusted overhead microphone and added some pop and crackle throughout the performance. However, I love the raw power and rhythmic vitality of the sound of solo timpani recorded so many years ago. You will be listening to the Allegro moderato (third section) of the concerto. The music is posted on my site as both the solo timpani part and a timpani/piano reduction score. There is also historical information about the composer and a tribute to Cloyd Duff – my teacher at Oberlin. Mr. Duff, long time timpanist with the Cleveland Orchestra, facilitated my being introduced to Robert Shaw which ultimately launched my professional career with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
About halfway down the Home page there are four portals to the other major areas of this site: Learning Rhythm, Unique Musical Experiences, Musicians, and Entrepreneurs.
Learning Rhythm: This is my personal website based on my published book: Developing Rhythmic Sensitivity. This book is a comprehensive textbook and two plus hour DVD lecture-demonstration of the concepts and rhythmic exercises necessary to accurately perform, teach, conduct and notate rhythmic patterns. The unique, innovative, one-of-a-kind DVD presentation is an invaluable resource for anyone teaching or promoting a study of rhythmic principles in their school or studio curriculum.
- Concepts of Sound and Time
- Understanding Meter, Pace, and Accents
- Conducting in Relation to Meter signatures
- Performing Jazz and Counter Rhythms
- Hundreds of Rhythmic Exercises
Unique Musical Experiences: Music is perhaps the most abstract and sublime of all the arts. It is capable of transmitting an unbelievable amount of information. As the world listens to music, common skills such as imagination, abstract thinking and instinctive reactions are shared. Through music we become more aware of our shared humanity and with the wisdom of others. Unique Musical Experiences contains the beginning of a fascinating collection of unusual musical performances and related musical moments that are interesting, tender, inspiring, and even a bit hilarious. If you have other unique musical experiences you would like to add to my site, submit the link through the contact form.
Musicians: This is my personal blog area with posts for those who seek to master life, be guided by wisdom, and sustain spirit through music. I welcome submissions of other posts which you feel would be appropriate here. For now I have put in two posts that are shorten versions of presentations I have made on these topics: Your Life and Career As A Working Musician, and Life Without Music.
Entrepreneurs: My experiences as a working musician and business entrepreneur have taught me the importance of leadership. Leadership is influence. Leadership is the ability to obtain followers. Nothing more, nothing less. If you think you are leading and no one is following you, all you are doing is taking a walk. People seldom follow you because of your title. They follow you because they know how much you care. As a leader you must bring people together to accomplish a specific purpose. In summary, leaders who surround you should be the people you have personally touched or helped.
The Entrepreneur portal takes you to a collection of posts from a variety of sources that enable you to use your unique abilities to see potential – in yourself and in others in order to lead with compassion and direction. Have you read an inspiring article on-line or written something of your own that inspired you? Please send a link to my contact form.