Sean Jones

Trumpeter-Bandleader-Composer-Educator

Thoughts

Had to say this... I just "heard/saw" a teacher online basically taking credit for a former students success.

 

Couple thoughts on this:

1. That student would have likely been successful with or without you... you just happen to be a pit stop along that students journey.

2. Don't seek accolades or awards for stuff YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO!

3. Be thankful that the universe allowed you to be at the right place at the right time to help someone out.

4. Allow what you actually teach and it's outcomes to determine "successes"... not your words.

5. By claiming some and not others based on your idea of success, you devalue the relationships of those that haven't reached what you deem to be successful..

Ok... that's more than a couple... but, being on both sides... I've never heard any of my former teachers take credit for my success... nor do I take credit for any of my students! It's been a great honor and privilege to work with every last one of them and I'm truly thankful to have been lucky enough to meet them along their journey.

#doyodamnjob#doyojob#highmindednesssucks

Tip Tuesday Tip! The Shed

Tip Tuesday Tip! The Shed

Welcome to all those that have begun college, high school or any school for that matter and welcome back to those that are returning! This Tip Tuesday Tip is for you! I want to briefly discuss what it means to shed... Most people know that this term basically began with Charlie Parker's quest to become one of the best by stealing away for several months to focus on his craft. Instead of focusing on the history of it... let's breakdown what he actually did!1. Isolation: He decided that in order to achieve greatness at a certain level, he needed to find a secluded, sacred place with no distraction. His "space"! Almost like a "cocoon", allowing his body and mind to grow without disruption.

2. Time: He was in this "space" for months! Not one random day when he felt good... not a week before Juries, not to prep for a recital or performance... but for the craft itself! And, he stayed there until a basic level of excellence was achieved! This takes TIME and he knew that.

3. Consistency: Isolation can be intimidating... you start getting "the itch"... you want to do other things... He didn't do that. He was consistent daily with strict practice coupled with intensity and discipline.

There's much more that I can say he did... but these are three of the most important points. Obviously it's somewhat unrealistic in today's world to imagine isolating yourself in a "shed" or "the bridge" like The Official Sonny Rollins Page.

However, we can take this conception on and apply it to our lives. Understand that in order to reach a certain level of excellence with your craft, you'll need to block out the world from time to time (more often than not), take countless hours of time doing it and doing it with serious consistency, dedication and discipline and NOT STOPPING until the work is done! Some would call this extreme... but, remember!

Greatness is an extreme! Everything else is either average or below. Students, you'll never have this opportunity again in your life! This is the time to get deep in the shed and create the foundation of excellence that will be the base of a great career!

Don't forget!

Consistent Practice turns into habits... those habits then turn into a lifestyle! In order to have a lifestyle that reflects excellence, you need to start in the shed!

#doyojob

Where it all started

Where it all started... This was a group that I was in as a youngster called "The Sounds of Victory", which was in essence a gospel horn section. From left to right: Eric Howard, Sidney Robinson, Travis Howard, myself, and our leader, David Lamon (money) Howard, who chauffeured us around all over Ohio and Western, PA to perform at various churches. If it wasn't for this group, I wouldn't be where I am today! #doyojob#tbtonafriday#swole#beginings#praisehisname#shaylaytay 

 

 

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Quick random thought.


Dog's have it together.

Hung out at a dog park where there was a ton of dogs, all shapes and sizes. Then, suddenly another one was introduced to the pack... they didn't bark right away, judge or anything. They all went up to the new dog, smelled it's butt... realized the new dog was cool, then kept it moving and played as if nothing new happened, allowing the new dog in immediately. Obviously, with all we've "constructed" in human history from our moral "codes" to our reliance on money, we've forgotten the basics of humanity... we can learn from the simplicity that other animal species have.

My Trip to Haiti

This weekend, I traveled to Haiti for the first time. I didn't make it a big social media thing as I wanted the experience to be "untainted" and unclouded by the need to instagram, FB or tweet every moment that I experienced. I simply wanted to live the experience and take it in completely through the lenses of my own eyes and not a screen.

To say that my life has been changed is an understatement. The people, the music, the soul of Haiti is something that all should experience. Over the years, so many lies and untruths have been told to me about this countries culture, ranging from religion to their basic humanity, that I am reminded again that you truly have to experience something for yourself to get its truth for yourself.

Without going on a huge spiel, I have to say that we in the U.S. Have NO IDEA how fortunate we are. As I travel to certain places, I'm reminded that much of what I own/have is completely meaningless and what I think that I "need" is a frivolous "want" at best, and that I've been conditioned to believe it to be a "necessity". Haiti, thank you for reminding me yet again, as I've been reminded in other places like Caracas, São Paulo, Senegal, and yes, some places in the states and many others...that a simpler life with "less" allows more of what is real to occupy the spaces that are void in your soul.

Thank you John Bern and my new musical family in Haiti for your spirit, love and humanity!

#doyojob

Celebrating Dr. Lonnie Smith's 75th birthday

Great weekend with Dr. Lonnie Smith celebrating his 75th birthday! Should be a great live recording! #doyojob #jazzstandard #chocolate #groid

Happy Mother's Day

The admiration that I have for my mother goes beyond cliché. I view her as a source of power, love, forgiveness, understanding and meekness.

At times, I attempt to view her objectively... setting the fact aside that I'm lucky to be her son, I view her through the lens of a man that has succeeded, failed, been weak, strong... conquered and been defeated.

To be a man knowing that my survival is due to the many attributes held by my mother and the powerful women that have been my foundation throughout my life, is truly humbling.

To see my mother as a man viewing a woman, I'm beyond blessed that this woman is MY mom!

Mom, thanks for being the great woman you are that just so happened to birth me 39 years ago!

Happy Mothers Day!

Tip Tuesday: The Weakest Link

Today, I begin the Spring Tour with the SFJAZZ Collective and I’m reminded why I joined the band in the first place.
It’s important to surround yourself with musicians and PEOPLE that push you beyond your limits… force you to think in new ways… and challenge your personal views on music and life. Being with the collective has made me a better writer, a better trumpeter and a better man!
That being said, it’s easy to be the “big fish” in the little pond… it’s easy to be the best in your school band or the “top dawg” in your situation. If you find yourself in this position, CHANGE IT! Put yourself in situations that are completely foreign to you.
Challenge yourself musically, mentally and socially… it’s very difficult to grow as a musician if you stay in the same place forever! Also, this place may not be a “physical” situation… (I.E. school, city, band etc).
That place can also be your own mind!
So… force yourself into new situations!
 
Challenge yourself! Be the “weakest link” in a band! Don’t be comfortable with your position in life EVER! In the words of Jimmy Heath “once you’ve learned it all and done it all… time to start diggin”!
I’m looking forward to seeing some of you in the coming weeks with the SFJAZZ collective!
#shed #doyojob
 

On Forgiveness..

 

Last night, the band performed a piece that was written about one of the most profound aspects of love... Forgiveness.

When I originally wrote it, I was in a lot of pain and questioned whether or not love was even "worth it" or why even bother with it? Usually forgiveness is about forgiving someone that has hurt you or done wrong by you... last night, I was reminded that sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself...

On this Sunday, I wanted to share ...this tune with you all... Whether you're struggling with forgiving someone else or yourself... remember this... Life is short! We are human... we error... many times (maybe most of the time) not intending to hurt anyone. We all navigate through this life trying to get close to love... feel love... find happiness, acceptance, and peace. During the process, we often stumble! I hope that whatever you're dealing with, you find the strength to not only forgive others... but yourself!

#release
Brian Hogans: Alton
Orrin Evans: Piano
Cory Henry: Organ
Luques Curtis: Bass
Obed Calvaire: Drums

Tip Tuesday Tip: The moment before the music begins...

Have you ever been in a practice session or even in a performance when you just can't seem to start right? You chip the first note, breath wrong, start with the wrong tempo... etc? This is WAY more common than you think and happens to everyone including professionals! Here are a few things to consider when starting a performance that may help you get past this issue.

1. Don't start until you're absolutely ready to begin. Try to eliminate that "I need to start right away" feeling. Breath deeply, embrace the initial silence in the room and relax. Many of my professors advised me to "let my body drop"... basically eliminating any tension. This will help put you in a relaxed state. Also, remember this... when you're in a performance, the audience is waiting on you to take them to where the magic is. In order to do this, you have to be there first! So, I'm fairly confident that the listener won't mind waiting a few more seconds for you to find your way into the musical moments that are to come.
2. Don't play until you hear whatever it is that you're about to play. This may be the most important thing to consider before you start a improvised solo, etude, concerto... anything. "Hearing" what you play, like a lot of advice we hear, often falls into the realm of the "sound bite" or cliche and loses some of its meaning overtime. I'd like to discuss "hearing" in this manner. "Hearing" the music means that it reverberates into every fiber of your being. You don't just hear the sound, you feel its spirit, its energy... you become whatever it is that you're about to play... THIS is "hearing it". It's important to lose yourself completely in the sound of what you're about to do before you play. By doing this, you're putting yourself and all of your quirks aside in order to allow the music to speak through you. Once you surrender your control and give the control back to the music, you'll allow its power to make the right decisions for you.
3. Stay in the mindset of performance! Do you feel like the stage is a foreign, scary, intimidating place? You're not alone! The ONLY reason that it isn't for me as much anymore, is the simple fact that at some point, I began to "live the stage". In other words, every single time I play anything, with the exception of quick warm ups, I'm thinking about performing. I don't separate my practicing from performing. If you have a hard time doing this, record yourself doing "performances" of the things you're working on. If it's an etude, record yourself playing it IN IT'S ENTIRETY! A tune you're working on? Get a band together and record yourself doing a performance of it. Once you get accustomed to being in this mindset, anxiety will begin to dissipate. If you stay in a meditative mindset, always seeking to perform the music at its highest level, at some point you'll just begin to think this way naturally without much effort.

One of the most difficult aspects of performance is simply starting.

If you're able to just take your time, allow the music to resonate inside of you and take you over, chances are you'll start off on the right track! As much as you can, stay in the mindset of performance always seeking to achieve the most honest and pure form of the sound that you're hearing.


We are human and make mistakes... but, music is not concerned with perfection! It wants us to be open, ready and willing to be the right vessel for it to travel through!
#doyojob #shed Open Studio
Berklee College of Music Brass Department
Berklee College of Music