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Justin Locke spent 18 years playing bass with the Boston Pops before becoming an author and speaker. While counting thousands of rests as he played over 500 Nutcrackers, he could not help wondering about things like, "Why is Arthur Fiedler so famous?" and "Why does the entire orchestra love this conductor and hate that one?" One thing led to another and he started to write and speak about what makes some people so much better at performing and leading than others.
As you can see from the attached videos, Justin can tell a good story.
Justin worked with many of the greatest conductors of our time, including Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Fiedler, Henry Mancini, and John Williams. The thousands of concerts he played include the 1976 Bicentennial Concert with Arthur Fiedler, which is in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the largest audience ever at a classical music concert.
Justin is also the author of two musical plays: "Peter VS the Wolf" and "The Phantom of the Orchestra." These programs for family concerts have been performed for hundreds of thousands of children on four continents, in five languages.
Justin is an active professional speaker and would love to appear at your next event. Visit his website for sample videos and more.
As is usual for this time of year, there's more things to do than can get done; despite good intentions some things just seem to lag. One thing that I really wanted to to before Christmas was to promote a book that would just be perfect under the tree, but of course now I'm more talking about the tree in 2006 than 2005, but on the other hand, there ARE five shopping days left.
This book would be the instant classic, `Real Men Don't Rehearse' by myauditions.com blogger Justin Locke. I was checking out the blogs on this site and noticed a mention about his book, so I went to his website, justinlocke.com, read a few of the excerpts and within a few hours had gone to Amazon.com and placed an order.
This book is the best depiction of orchestra life that I've read since Harry Ellis Dickson's book, `Gentlemen, More Dolce Please', which is still a timeless description of orchestra life, funny anecdotes involving the Pops and Feidler, and most famously a summary of the stereotypes of how each instrument seems to attract similar personality types- you know, `cellists are passionate', `clarinet players are obsessed with equipment', etc. etc. (Another classic is Berlioz's `Evenings with the Orchestra')
Justin's book doesn't have that personality list (other than a description of the bass player personality), but it sure has a lot of the `inside scoop' about what it is like to play in an orchestra, professionally. Starting with the inevitable 1812 Overture anecdote (and everyone's got one! Trust Me!Read more ›
Justin Locke shows the reader the deep dark secrets of the symphony. To those of us who actually play in a symphony orchestra as I do, much of it rings true. The section about the Boston Pops bass section having its intermission break has got to be one of the classics of the funny orchestral repetory. (Hint...malt liquor got substituted for normal beer, draw your own conclusions on how the 2nd half of the concert went.
For those who don't regularly get on the performance stage, but actually have to pay to get in the concert hall (my condolences) you will see that underneath our stuffed shirts, there are no stuffed shirts. You will find out what orchestra members really think about the absolute dictators (benevolent or otherwise) who think they own us...and how we can conspire not to get mad, but to surely get even. Justin Locke is very good at this (and so am I.) I laughed my tail off.
I loved this book! I myself am a musician and bought this for one of my musician friends for Christmas. I started flipping through the book and knew I had to get a copy for myself. Lots of fun stories that both musicians and non-musicians would enjoy. Gives you an "insider's look" at the world of professional musicians. The chapters are short enough that you can read one or two before bed. (Although I just wanted to keep reading!)
I am three years back to my bass after a 14-year hiatus (why, oh why did I ever stop?)...after having played from grade-thru-grad school. I returned to find electronic tuners, end pins that actually work, blogs just for bassists, and Justin Locke's wonderful book. I ordered it via Amazon, and it was fulfilled directly by Justin (complete with a nice note on the packing slip.) I squirreled it away for vacation, and gobbled it up last week in one wonderful day. The back of the book bears a warning not to read in "the quietude of a library, as you're apt to break out into uproarious laughter." I would amend that to "anywhere in public" since I frequently found myself hooting, belly-laughing, slapping my thighs, and laughing so hard I snorted...with tears streaming from my eyes. This is really bizarre looking on a beach but I was having such a great time I did not care. Anyone who has played an instrument with a musical group - not just bassists - will delight in this book...but for bassists, it is a treasure.
Justin's perspective on conductors (oooh, he played with Fiedler and on tour with Mancini), stand partners, spinning basses (wonder if I can bring to our community orchestra) and symphony management idiosyncrasies are priceless.
My favorite passage though is about bassist attitude..."While I can only comment on the bass sections I played in, the attitude we always had could be summed up as, "this thing is pretty much impossible to play, we're doing the best we can, and we really don't want to be here anyway, so don't bother us with your prissy nitpicking."" Amen, Justin.
After all, as he notes, "...since bass players are so rare, you don't have to be terribly good, or even all that motivated, to be wonderfully successful at it.Read more ›
“Real Men Don’t Rehearse” is a superbly funny read. The author is a keen observer of people and events, and a great storyteller with a real gift for relating what he has seen to provide telling insights into the world of the working musician. The anecdotes certainly ring true based on my experience as a professional musician, though you don’t have to be a professional musician to enjoy them. I have given copies of the book as gifts for students and friends, and they have inevitably loved it. Highly recommended!