Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter vol. 1 no. 8
September 2005


I hope this letter finds you well. Oops, I did it again (don't go there); I repeated the same month twice in a row. This time it was July twice. I'll now skip ahead and re-orient myself (to whatever extent I ever really am oriented) and admit it's now September. It's been a good summer, and exciting things are happening. Now about this month...

in this issue
  • Product in focus
  • Jazz Performances and Piano Entertainment Concerts
  • Church Sponsored and Christian Music Concerts
  • A Music Therapist?

  • Jazz Performances and Piano Entertainment Concerts

    The month of September is traditionally the time when we musicians get busy, in my case, busier. As Sullivan's continues this month, I'll be privileged to work with three different (and excellent) bass players (see schedule). In addition to these, and some solo dates, I'll be working this month with Bryan Clark at Dover Downs, Felicia Carter at Sascha's in Baltimore,, and the New Legacy Jazz Band at the Princeton Jazz Feast. Clink on the link for details.

    Church Sponsored and Christian Music Concerts

    My "big event" this month is a "He's Steppin' Out" concert on Friday the 16th in Upper Marlboro, Md. featuring comedian Brian Whitaker, and my trio. If you've yet to see this presentation, I recommend it to you as a fun evening. Another fun evening will be the Jazz Vespers service in Chestertown on the 11th with the New Legacy Jazz Band. Many other events are on the verge of booking, so keep in touch with the website or the toll free performance line: (877) JOE-HOLT. Click on the link more information. details.

    A Music Therapist?

    This section amounts to a continuation of "What it's all about", from last month's newsletter (for first time readers, click on the "Newsletter Archive" Quick Link, then click on the most recent back issue to read). When I began to learn that making music (for me), was ultimately for the benefit of others, I had no idea where this would take me, or that it would take me anywhere necessarily (except to the next gig). I did have a renewed understanding, after 6 months at the "Showboat", that (because of my musical background) I made an artistic and cultural connection with those of "Senior Citizen" age. Once the gig ended, I made a pragmatic decision; to mass mail to nursing homes and Senior communities to offer piano entertainment programming (not that I ever really did exactly this before, but it made sense). To my delight, I recieved a few initial responses. One of the very fijrst of these programs was scheduled for July 4, 1994 (A date that I would not ordinarily accept, but "pickins" were kind of slim at that time, so I took what I could). I got the idea that it would be best to interact with the residents of this nursing facility in between songs, to maintain momentum and the connection. When the program was to begin, I told a joke (to test how many were "with it"), and everyone laughed. "Good", I thought,"this will be easy". I proceeded to play a very familiar song (for that age group), then turned to face the residents (a process that took little more than 5 seconds), and asked; "And what was the title of that song?". Silience (crickets), panic (uh oh, now what? why are thay all staring at me, blank faced?). With what instinct I had, I leaned over to the keyboard and replayed the melody of the song, and while playing, asked again, "what is this one?". To, my relief, and surprise, everyone answered at once. With that in-flight adjustment (and a few others along the way), the program continued successfully. I was unaware of the program director sitting in the back, studying my presentation. I was also unaware (going in) that I was performing on the facility's Alzheimers Unit, and what that really meant. When the program concluded, the director met me in her office and said (after complimenting the program, for which I was relieved, since I didn't know what I was doing, or so I felt), "Joe, we just lost our music therapist. I'd like to contract you to come in for our residents once a week". After probably staring at her for a few seconds, I said, dumbfounded, "I'm flattered, but I don't even know much about music therapy, except for one research paper I did in college". She was unfazed, continuing that she obeseved how I instinctively dealt with situations and the residents, and that I was just what the facility needed. In my way of thinking, when an opportunity presents itself, I assume that it is positive for me (or, more to my thinking, of God), and the burden is on me to prove otherwise, if that is so (this appears to me to be the opposite of how some process). As I sat there, in the director's office, I couldn't help but think, "I know I'm not a music therapist. If I'm supossed to take this, just what am I getting myself into?" To be continued...

    Product in focus

    This month I am pleased to announce that "Joe Holt's Notes" are back! Huh? Isn't that the name of your newsletter; your record label, you ask? Yes, but the original "Joe Holt's Notes" were an ongoing series of instructional articles on playing the piano and making music. These were offered as a complete package, and, in smaller groups through the mail as an ongoing subscription. Unfortunately, there came a point where difficulties in production brought this series to a close. I have regretted this since, and now, have re-established the resources necessary to again grow this series. The instructional articles are like concept lessons; each giving food for thought on a particular topic or idea. They are written for casual reading and cover three catagories:

    1. Chords and Improvisation
    2. Technique and Interpretation
    3. Practical Considerations
    Each catagory contains 8 seperate "lessons" (instructional articles) for a total of 24 with titles such as: "The Foundation of Playing By Ear", "Where Did That Chord Come From?", "Your Inner Rhythmic Time", and "Why is the Book Fake?". We are working on a new page at the website that the link will direct you to. Just in case it is incomplete when you click on, I'll provide some details here:

    Each catagory/lesson group is packaged seperately in an expandable format (to allow for the insertion of additional instructional articles when they are available, should you choose). Each group is available for purchace at $12 each, or all three for $30 (plus shipping and handling). As new articles are available, they will be offered in addition. More detailed information is (or will soon be) available by clicking on the link below.

    Find out more....
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