This Week’s Earbuds and Speakers


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Listening is always an important aspect of a musician’s life. Sometimes I think we (including myself) don’t intentionally listen enough, or we don’t listen outside of our preferred genre. For me, I get caught up in audiobooks or podcasts and forget to listen to music of all styles. Or sometimes I only listen to recordings of excerpts or works in preparation for an upcoming performance or audition.

This year I am purposely listening to more music and getting through more of my personal collection of vinyl records and CDs as well as discovering newly released music. Therefore, I have created an email list that will be sent out to subscribers only to share with you what I listened to week-to-week. The genres will all across the board: classical, jazz, rock, indie, folk, sacred, etc. Be sure to click the subscribe button found throughout the post.

This post below is an example of what will weekly go out as an email every Sunday morning. It will not always be a blog post, and it will only be available to email subscribers. If you subscribe to the “The Weekly Sectional” email, be sure to also subscribe to this email list. To be added, you can either click on the subscribe button throughout this post or email me at with “Earbuds and Speakers Email List” in the subject line.

From the Week of 1/28/18

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5, National Symphony Orchestra, Mstislav Rostropovich. The Grammy winners were announced on January 28th. The Pittsburgh Symphony with Manfred Honeck as conductor won for Best Orchestral Performance. Therefore, I decided to listen to another version of this spectacular piece from my personal collection.

Alban Berg: Lulu and Wozzeck, Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Fischer-Dieskau, Lear, Johnson, Grobe, Stolze, Wunderlich, Karl Böhm. This year’s Grammy winner for Best Opera Recording was the Houston Symphony’s version of Wozzeck. I particularly enjoy this Böhm recording as it involves two of my favorite singers, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Fritz Wunderlich, performing music not common in their repertoire.

(CD) Arcade Fire: The Suburbs. My oldest brother has always been someone that keeps me in sync with non-classical music or mainstream music. He is the one that has introduced me to indie groups such as The National, The Avett Brothers, and this group – Arcade Fire. This definitely is not my first listen of this album, and it certainly will not be the last.

(Vinyl) Charlie Parker: The Verve Years, Vol. 1 &2. I acquired these records a year ago and found it due time to listen to some easy sounding jazz from a non-brass instrument. Some great standards on these 2 Double-LP albums, and I looking forward to listening to volume 3.

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(CD) Uptown Worship Band: Hymns and Psalms Hymns of old and the Psalms can be some of the most beautiful sounding music. Some may say hymns are becoming a lost art. I disagree because music from this album and the one below are introducing new (and old) versions to a personally important form of music.

(Streaming) Hymn Collective: A Heart Prepared To Sing. This collection of newly written hymns comes from musicians out of the Birmingham, Alabama area – keeping alive the sacred song of hymn singing.

(Streaming) Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Inspiration. Released on January 26, 2018, this album contains a wide variety of styles from the cellist phenom Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year award, Sheku was the first black to receive this award since its inception. On top of that this album is already No. 18 on the Top 20 UK music charts. Expect more to come from this highly talented musician.

(Streaming) The National: Sleep Well Beast. Another excellent album that won Best Alternative Album for the 2018 Grammys. The deep baritone voice of lead singer Matt Berninger keeps a steady but gripping pulse to some very catchy lyrics by this indie band.

Now that you have what I listened to this past week, what music came through your earbuds or speakers?

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Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith is a trombonist, brass teacher, and blogger. He studied music performance at both Grace College and Carnegie Mellon University, and currently is the bass trombonist for Orchestra Iowa and the Huntington Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, Jeremy started Last Row Music as an online resource of job postings and artist links for brass musicians around the world. When he is not performing or blogging, Jeremy is giving brass lessons to students throughout the country from his home in Centerburg, Ohio.