Joe Holt's Notes
Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
April, 2008
Vol 4, No 4 
Hope this finds you well. Spring is here, for most of us. Thanks, in large part, to YouTube, my "reach" has been extended (including into Chile, New Zealand, France, Germany, China...), and am grateful to make new connections. Still only performing "stateside" (at least until the cruise in September), and time will tell where that all goes. Finally applied for my passport, and received it in less than 2 weeks! Some things still work out despite procrastination, others..., well... Guess we'll get right to this month...
Featured Performances
SUNDAY 4/13: 5pm
Joe performs with
Holly Lane and Shore Jazz for a jazz vespers service at the Newark (De) First Church of the Nazarene
Holly Lane, Mike McShane, and John Ewart join me for this year's final vespers service. I'll often performs with Holly and the guys in resort areas of lower Delaware. Here is a chance for those in the greater Wilmington, De. area to see and hear this fine performer. No admission charge. A (no obligation) free-will offering will be taken for Habitat for Humanity during the service.
TUESDAY 5/13: 2pm
Solo piano entertainment concert - featuring jazz and popular standards, at the Downs Cultural Center, Wilmington, De

I'll return to the Downs Center for a solo performance of jazz and popular standards. Downs center performances are open to the public, with no admission charge. Reservations are requested. (302)-575-0250 x2244

June TBA: 6-10pm
Jazz duo performances at Sullivan's Steakhouse, Wilmington, De
For most of the last 9 years, I've been a regular in the entertainment schedule of the Wilmington Sullivan's: a chain that features live jazz - 7 nights a week - in all their locations. Now back on the schedule after a brief hiatus, I invite you to experience Sullivan's. You won't be disappointed. The calendar for each month is announced on the last week of the previous month, so check back for specific dates. When reserving, be aware that the live music is not in the main dining room. 
9/2 thru 9/16:
Joe performs with the Midiri Brothers quintet on the Crystal Symphony for Jazzdagen Tours
14-day cruise from London to New York.This voyage of the Vikings stops at many interesting ports, such as: Invergordon (Scotland), Reykjavik (Iceland), Nuuk (Greenland) and more. The band performs each night, in addition to special events.
Other Opportunities
This month features my return to Sullivan's - on April; 15th (!), exactly one year after stepping aside. I'm looking forward to occassional engagements throughout the coming months, so consider coming over for the Sullivan's experience. Also, a Worship service concert in a Church near Lancaster Pa, and a jazz brunch with Holly Lane near Ocean City, Md. round out the public events scheduled (at this writing) for this month. Stay tuned to the schedule as new events are added in the coming weeks.  
April features:
Featured YouTube video  -  Joe w/Bob Glading (jazz harmonica) - All Of Me
Featured YouTube playlist (3 videos) - Engaging the Audience 
Total YouTube views near 40,000 (beginning 6/3/07).
"Joe Holt's Notes on the Radio" adds a new feature beginning this month. Each show will include a few minutes of exploration (for both musicians and non-musicians) on a musical concept. These mini-lessons will address many issues explored in "Lessons For the Thoughtful Pianist
3 selections from this year's (anticipated fall release) new Christmas CD are now available to see/hear on YouTube:

A lengthening day brings an additional play

"Joe Holt's Notes on the Radio", the unique program that brings listeners the music and "world" of pianist Joe Holt can now be heard on WKDI 840am, in Denton Md. in an additional time slot: Saturdays from 5-5:30 pm (in addition the regular air time of Sundays from 2-2:30) through early November. WKDI broadcasts "daytime only", which allows Joe's show an additional airing during the longer days of Daylight Savings Time. WKDI serves most of midlle and southern Delaware, the upper and middle eastern shore of Maryland, Cape May County New Jersey, and the Greater Aanapolis and Southern Baltimore areas.

From the Journal

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Had a wonderful experience yesterday, beginning a new music therapy contract in a Wilmington, De nursing facility. I've a long standing relationship there, but only as an "entertainer". In recent months, the AD and I have been talking, at first, casually, about creating a regular schedule which would include 1:1 visits, and now we have made it happen. 4 new residents (to visit each time I go to the facility), and 4 striking responses. As positive as could be. It was exhilarating, gratifying, humbling, and affirming. It all comes together to smack me to realize the importance of this "stripe" of what I do, and my calling to continue on it. I was not planning to cease, but had determined to let attrition set in, and condense my time in this realm (also, stopping all networking/sales work here, instead devoting it all to the public events, and broader audiences). As is often the case, I have moved out ahead of myself. Though I am at a new and substantive (it seems) "place" in artistic expression, it's not like that triggers a red carpet to be rolled out for me. Of course, I know that, but that doesn't keep my head from clouding up a little. With regard to the nursing home work: I am aware of the reality that, at a certain point in time, the percentage of "next-generation" seniors will be such that the cultural connection (big-band era-ish) I can make with the residents will no longer be valid. Again, running ahead of myself. Still more work to do, and still time to do it. I took the video camera today to an assisted living facility, and captured this connection (thru the musical expression), and will try to post from this in the coming days. Sometimes I spend too much time gazing at the periphery. I'm not saying I'm not moving forward with growth in the realm of public events, just that there's still more good to be accomplished (at the same time, perhaps) where I already am. This has been made abundantly clear to me. Speaking of public events, I have learned that I will be given a solo concert slot at the Prince Theatre (Chestertown, Md) in the fall, perhaps November. This will be a good "test" of the weight of these connections (meaning, in part, how many will come). Feeling good tonite, and not hiding God from my own view.
Scott Silbert Dan Tobias Joe Holt                           
Scott Silbert, Dan Tobias, and Joe - Jazz Vespers 1/13/08
Thank you for allowing me into your inbox, and the music into your life. Hope the coming weeks are good to you.
Blessings and awareness,

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Lessons For the Thoughtful Pianist

The following is excerpted from Joe's original series.  Lesson One : The Foundation of playing by Ear.

"For many piano students, years of lessons and practice may do little to develop and focus their natural ability to "play by ear". This is because "traditional" piano instruction, as important as it is, teaches a "system" of physical reading, technique, and interpretation. These skills are necessary to develop in order to become an effective musician. To learn, and think, exclusively in this regimen, however, can create and reinforce a mental framework that does not allow for improvisation/playing by ear. The classically trained musician may incorrectly assume, therefore, that because they don't know how to improvise (effectively, or at all), despite what may be extensive training, that they lack "the gift". For one thing, gifts are given in greater or lesser degrees. Seldom it's all or nothing. Furthermore, the fundamental "gifts", foundational to all others, are distributed broadly. For example, most of us can hold a conversation. This, with it's thought processes and brain function (which, when you think about it: reacting to a thought impulse from "decoded" words from someone else, reacting with a new thought, and coding it into learned language, then speaking in reply - all almost instantly - is truly remarkable) is a fundamental gift. This gift is foundational to musical improvisation. Therefore, if you can hold a conversation without reading or memorizing words (synonymous to reading or memorizing music) - better still, if you can speak (to a group, to one person, or alone in a room) extemporaneously on a topic - you, as a musician, by virtue of your gift, are capable, to at least some degree of accomplishment, of "playing by ear" (which I will, from now on, primarily refer to as improvising).

The foundation of being able to improvise is simply to restructure the mental framework we use for making music..."

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