Random Monday: Smokin’ Graas, Character Study and College Standards

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  • John Graas biography
    Thanks to Valerie Wells – here is more information about hornist John Graas. A very active musician in the 1940-1950’s, Graas carved his own path in the music business, primarily in jazz and commercial music.After reading his biography, I thought, ‘what a great example of a creative, entrepreneurial musician taking charge of his career!’

    [A video – albeit a bit corny and dated – can be seen here. John Graas performs as a member of a staged “jam” session with pianist/entertainer Liberace.  Be sure to check out Graas’ instrument.]

  • Being in character
    Things to think about — in depth. At Professional Auditionee, Alecia Bateson gives us some ideas about character:

    * Work to further ratchet up the stakes. It increases tension and drama.

    * Search more deeply to find a way to connect to something that may be foreign to personal experience.

    * Establish a deeper internal comprehension of the character. Spend more time “in” the scene.

    * Don’t allow the drama of one’s life to overshadow the instructional functionality of class for others.

    * Argumentative behavior can be ineffective and damaging.

    * Listen. Don’t talk (unless acting).

    * Watching others can be an excellent ordered exercise.

    These points could apply to music performance in a variety of ways. Instrumentalists are character actors too!

  • College standards in flux?
    This article abstract caught Horndog’s attention – “The Changing Selectivity of American Colleges.

    This paper shows that although the top ten percent of colleges are substantially more selective now than they were 5 decades ago, most colleges are not more selective. Moreover, at least 50 percent of colleges are substantially less selective now than they were then. This paper demonstrates that competition for space–the number of students who wish to attend college growing faster than the number of spaces available–does not explain changing selectivity.

University of Horn Matters