I know that in Georgia, the HOPE scholarship (which started with the best of intentions) has actually led to the lowering of academic standards, since it looks good for a high school to get more kids into the HOPE program.

College needs to be more affordable as well, and between increased administrative costs, a reduction in state support, and various other causes, that’s a challenge.

So, thinking outside the box…

I propose that a state – perhaps a smaller one to start, or one that is flush with cash right now, like North Dakota right next door – offer *every* student one free year of higher education/training. No grade requirements, just graduate high school. This would be redeemable at any state institution of higher education or vocational training.

By removing the grade requirements, you presumably avoid grade inflation in the K-12 area (and possibly do something about the standardized testing junta as well). By making it applicable for both academic and technical education, you don’t shove people into programs for which they have no aptitude or desire just to get the numbers up. You also help create skilled laborers, which could be tied to an increase in local manufacturing.

Yes, this is just one year…so perhaps a public-private partnership could be created to provide scholarships for the next years of training/education. It would be made very clear to the students that colleges are not in the business of sympathy, so you’d have to maintain your college grades to be considered for the upperclass scholarships. We in higher education would have to be resolute in maintaining our academic standards.

Yes, the cost would be high – but it could be paid for by reworking the current scholarship programs. I am open to other funding mechanisms as well.



(It’s not strictly Tuba-Euphonium, as this is trombone stuff as well.)

OK, it’s been a few weeks, the horn works great…I believe it’s time to organize my practicing better. I haven’t been able to do as much as I’d like, but once we clear the Minnesota Music Educators’ Association midwinter conference this week (and this will coincide with what I hope is the beginning of the end of winter and my 40th….gawd, my 40th…birthday), I want to force myself to get at least an hour a day on the horn(s).

So I was thinking of redoing how I practice. How does this sound?

15% of practice time: warm-up. I use long tones, the Remington warm-ups, then scales. Right now it’s majors 2 octaves (I try to do 3 on F and E), octatonics (ST) 2 octaves, and chromatic 3 octaves (C2-C5). This may expand as I include the minors and other scales.

15%: Lyrical warmup. 2 or 3 Rochuts, with one of them read in tenor clef as well. One of these days, I’m gonna work up to alto clef.

15%: Technical warmup. An Arban characteristic study or two, and some other stuff from Arban’s and possibly a Blazhevich. I’m willing to consider other things as well.

30%: Solo literature. I’d like to get a couple of concertos and about 2 hours of solo rep under my fingers within the next year. I would probably include any chamber ensemble literature as well (and good news on that front – it looks like I’m going to be in a brass quintet!).

15%: Excerpts. In case I decide to do a major ensemble. I have the Bowman/Werden euph excerpts and vol. 1 of the Brown trombone excerpts.

10%: Cool-down. Long tones, some lip slurs, some pedals.



I haven’t blogged much lately, and I feel bad about that. Extra responsibilities at work have kept me quite busy, and to be perfectly honest, I just haven’t been up to writing long-form blog entries like I usually enjoy doing.

So my question to you, Gentle Reader: In what direction should I take this little popsicle stand?