Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
October, 2010
Vol 6 No 8 
                                        Happy Autumn! 

Hope this finds you well. In my world, one thing I can never claim is boredom. A busy time now, with many exciting opportunities. Here's a taste of it ...      

Joe's Appearances

Solo performances:


SUNDAYS: 11am-2pm (note: Inn closed on 10/17)
Joe performs solo piano for Jazz Brunch at The Inn at 202 Dover, Easton, MD
Enjoy one of the Mid -Atlantic's finest inns, and restaurants, with jazz piano in the parlor.


TUESDAY 11/30/10: 2pm
Joe performs in concert at the Downs Cultural Center, Wilmington, DE
"Spontaneous Joy" - Joe's improvisation concert with a holiday twist

SATURDAY 12/11/10: 8pm
Joe performs in concert at the Avalon Theatre - Stoltz Listening Room, Easton MD
Joe's solo debut at the Avalon promises to be both Spontaneous and Joyful! Improvisations on jazz and
popular standards, classical themes, and , fun demonstrations, including Joe's "A.D.D. Improvisation".


The Joe Holt Trio:

SATURDAY 11/13/10: 8pm
The Joe Holt Trio and friends at the Church Hill Theatre, Church Hill, MD. Featuring Mike McShane - drums, Gary Cattley - bass.
with special guest vocalist: Beth McDonald 

"Happiness ... A Thing Called Jazz" - You'll leave with a smile, we promise!


Joe Performs With:

FRIDAYS: 8-11pm
Joe performs with the Shore Jazz Trio at Rupert's Bar and Restaurant, St Michaels, MD
Joe joins Mike McShane and John Ewart for Friday Night Jazz.
note: on 10/15, Joe is joined by Gary Cattley - bass, and Mike McShane - drums (aka the Joe Holt Trio)
and on 10/22, Joe performs with Gary and John Ewart.

SATURDAY 10/16: 7-11pm
SUNDAY 10/17: 4-8pm
The Joe Holt Trio performs with Song Stylist Larzine at the Atlantic Sands Holel, Rehoboth Beach, DE
Larzine comes to town for Jazz Festival weekend.


SATURDAY 10/30: 7-10pm
Joe performs with the Shore Jazz Trio at Beseme, Lewes DE
John Ewart -sax/clarinet, Dave Ross - bass

From the Mailbag/Comment Box

Your brilliant playing, and the joy obvious joy of playing, that you share with the audience made me feel that I am looking at and listening to a jazz evangelist.

Damn! you are Awesome... I just actually started learning some Jazz theory so i could properly improvise... I wish I could play like that... AMAZING!


Fantastic!! I haven't heard you play one song that didn't keep me glued to the computer. I know I never will. I remember the first time I heard you on here, I felt like I had "discovered" the best piano I had ever heard. Supper was probably late that day,,,,

Listening to and watching you has really given me great ideas and inspiration for performing! Thanks a lot!  

Joe Holt's got SOUL!




Joe performs his solo debut at the Avalon Theatre, in the Stoltz Listening Room, on 12/11/10.


Joe returns to the stage at the Church Hill Theatre on 11/13. Mark this date! The Joe Holt Trio, with guest vocalist Beth McDonald perform "Happiness ... A Thing Called Jazz"


Behind the scenes at Church Hill Theatre, Joe served as vocal music director for the amazing cast of the Rock Horror Show - playing now. Truly a jump to the left - or, perhaps a flying leap!


Also below the radar, Joe continues his work (though on a smaller scale) as a music therapist. In a series of articles published in this newsletter beginning in August, 2005, Joe documents this journey, and an unexpected encounter. go to newsletters


Joe continues as a walk on entertainer for American Cruise Lines, performing at port in Cambridge, MD through early November

Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist 

(excerpt from lesson 1A: The Foundation, and Prectice, of Playing By Ear):


For many piano students, years of lessons and practice may do little to develop and focus the natural ability to "play by ear". This is because "traditional" piano instruction, as important as it is, teaches (primarily) 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 is a fundamental gift. Think about what is occurring: reacting to a thought impulse from "decoded" words from someone else, responding with a new thought, and coding it into learned language, then

speaking in reply - all almost instantly. It is truly remarkable! This gift is fundamental 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 we will also refer to as improvising).

The foundation of being able to improvise is simply to restructure the mental framework we use for making music. This does not mean technical skill. Rather, it means learning to harness and apply our natural ability to organize sounds in our mind; much like we organize words. With enough "practice" and repetition, both become instinctive...


Like what you're reading? Learn more 

From the Journal

Meet Karen Somerville (pictured with someone who has lost all control of his hair and bow tie). If you've followed me for awhile (at least going back a few years), you'll remember a time when Karen and I performed together often (most memorable, perhaps, was our jointly billed concert at the Prince Theatre in 2006 as part of the Chestertown Tricentennial celebration. "Don't Go to Strangers" is posted on my joeholtsnotes YouTube channel from this show). Another "full circle" path here, and a wonderful evening performing with Karen (along with Mike, Gary, and Dave) for the Inaugural Gala for the installation of the new president of Delaware State University. Can only understand this, and most everything else I'm experiencing, as a deepening of the "connections" made as I make progress (even if baby steps), in learning to get out of my own way - with new "perspectives" I can't even begin to (effectively) verbally express (in time ...). Venturing into new "territory", and feeling good about where it is, and where it will go (in God's good plan). Bravo Karen (and Lester)!

read the journal 

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Thanks so much for your continued interest and encouragement. Have a great month!

Blessings and awareness,