New Master Class Info – “No Limitations” – Guaranteed Success

I am in the process of setting up a couple of clinic/masterclasses in the Midwest. I’m also looking to see what I can pull of for out west.

In my title to this posting, I edited in the words “Guaranteed Success.” Yes that is intended to be provocative. However, the good news, if you do the stuff covered in the class/clinic I can honestly guarantee success.

There is a catch. The catch is that this is going to take thousands of hours of hard work. There is no magic pill you can take or elfin pixie dust that can have sprinkled on you to make you into a good player. However, if you do this hard work, you simply can’t fail.

In prepping for all of this, I’ve been developing several ideas to discuss based on email exchanges, conversations and other types of communication with my trumpet peers.

The title of this years lectures will be “No Limitations: Set Your Goals High Without Fear.”

I firmly believe that each of us can accomplish anything we want to accomplish on the horn and in music. There are no limits other than perhaps those constrained by the instrument itself (we can’t do four note harmony of any color without electronic assistance, for example). There is solid educational theory to support this. Sub topics will include the following:

1.) Embouchure development
2.) How did I use physics and engineering to develop my playing.
3.) What can you do to organize your practice
4.) HOW TO DEAL WITH A DAY GIG/CAREER. This one is in all caps as it is newer, but incredibly important. Over the years I have interacted with many musicians who struggle with balancing their lives here.
5.) There are no limitations on our ability to achieve our goals other than the ones we put on ourselves or blindly accept even though we shouldn’t. Age is not a limitation. Gender is not a limitation. There is nothing you can’t accomplish. All it takes is hard work and FOCUSED PRACTICE along with patience and persistence.
6.) Cross-over playing. I am big on the need for versatility in a professional player. It is worth the effort to learn how to play the different styles of music reasonably authentically.

There is a lot here. All of my ad hoc lectures are fluid and often change directions on the spot based on the Q&A triggered i the course of the lecture.

The idea of NO LIMITATIONS is huge. So, this will be the thread that ties it all together.

As the two classes I’m developing in the Northern Illinois and Central Wisconsin areas solidify, I’ll post more.

Stay tuned!!

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New Addition to my Master Class Lectures – The Importance of Music Education

I had and interesting conversation with my family on the way to church this morning. We were discussing how it would seem that fewer parents are making their kids take piano lessons while those kids are young.

This is a shame and a mistake! There is correlation evidence to suggest that studying music enhances other ways of thinking that can benefit children in other areas as they grow.

Some time ago, I was asked to help a fellow teacher help him save his music department as it was on the community chopping block. I created a list of folks who had achieved a lot with dual backgrounds. Adolph Herseth, the legendary principal trumpeter of the CSO studied math! Einstein played violin. Albert Schweitzer played organ. Enrico Fermi played piano. Charles Kavalovski, principal horn with the BSO had a PhD in physics. Alan Greenspan played sax and played in Woody Herman’s band. The great arranger, Fletcher Henderson, studied chemistry before abandoning it to do music (because he felt his prospects in chemistry were limited due to his race). And the list goes on…

So in addition to the other topics included in my master classes (see the previous post) I plan on including a discussion about the importance of music education for all kids. They will miss out if they think or are allowed to think that all music is just something that comes out of an iPod mix. They also miss out on a chance to broaden their thinking and skills in other areas. Here is a link that touches the tip of the iceberg.

For 25 years I lead a dual career lifestyle: full-time physics/AP physics teacher and full time trumpeter. I have witnessed this first hand from both sides of the issue. So I fell I can reasonably include a small component of this in my master class discussion. Kids can participate in sports AND music! I did, and so have many of my students.

More to follow!

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Skype Lessons

Folks, as a private coach, I have done online lessons, but was not happy with the way the worked. However, it has been at least 8 years since I experimented with them. I tried Skype and video exchanges. I abandoned both by virtue of various problems that kept arising.

However, as of now, the technology has improved such that I am guardedly bringing back Skype lessons, but NOT video exchanges.

The pricing will be the same as any single private lesson ($100 for a one hour session). If you are interested, contact me via the contact info on this page and we’ll sort out the details, including expectations for the lesson preparation.

Let’s see how this works, now!

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Clinics, Lectures, Musical Motivational Talks, Science meets Music

As the school year approaches I wanted to announce a slightly different direction for the clinical portion of my clinics and concerts.

Yes, I will perform with you band, as always. The lecture portion has a evolved a bit.

The trumpet/brass portion of the lectures will be focused on how to figure out to make your OWN chops work better as opposed to trying to change completely into doing things someone else way. The idea is that, if you can PLAY, you are probably very close and using some basic engineering mentality and understanding a bit of REAL physics can help you sort things out on your own.

This is the underpinning of my iBook, “How To Practice.”

The lectures around how to learn how to play jazz better will be revolving around an older school approach involving highly directed and focused practice. I will also discuss how to practice long hours without wearing your chops out.

New to my masterclasses/clinics will be the addition of concepts from the book, “Peak” by Bloom and Ericcson. As mentioned earlier, this will include the idea of focused/directed practice. This is an extremely positive way of thinking. The upshot is that there are no limitations to your goals. You can accomplish anything with hard work. Simply because someone else has achieved great things doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try because they have some “genetic gift” you don’t have. On the contrary, as shown by Bloom and Ericcson, the opposite is true. If others achieve great things, YOU CAN TO! Be inspired, never discouraged.

I have already done some lecture work along these lines, and it was well received. I would love to come to your institution and share these ideas with you.

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New Rates For Private Lessons

After many years at a singular rate, I will be raising my rates for private lessons. This will match my rates for private tutoring in physics.

My rate for private lessons is now $100 per hour. There is a one hour minimum and lessons can be extended in half-hour increments at $50 per half hour.

Most of my students are adults and/or experienced players looking for some specific coaching. I do not expect these students to come in on a weekly basis. Most come out for a 90 minute lesson and then take the ideas and work with them for a few months or more and then come back periodically for a “tune up.” Once they are comfortable, they are done!

If you are considering contacting me for lessons, please make a note of this.

Thank you.

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It has been a while…

Folks, this is going to be a bit of a blog sort of post.

It has been a while since I have updated either this page or the Variable D Postulate Ensemble page on Face Book. This is somewhat by design. Let me explain.

I have become a bit disenchanted with night clubs and the attitude of club owners, though, to be fair, I actually do understand them. MOST club owners have one goal: maximize their profits. For most night clubs this simply means bringing in more people and selling more liquor. This is not unreasonable. However, for most club owners, helping a band leader build an audience for original instrumental music is not a plan they can live with, even if they don’t pay the band directly. Most of them allow the band to charge a cover and some take a piece of that cover! Some don’t even charge a cover and force the band to pass the hat. All of these approaches, while understandable, are troubling for me. I have been considering different approaches to sharing my music and building an audience. Hence the hiatus.

Next, I have been in the process of totally rebuilding my trumpet playing and developing my artistry as an improvisational soloist and all around musician. There are a couple of factors driving this. One, during the summer I read two books: “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, and “Peak: Secrets fom the New Science of Expertise” by Bloom and Ericsson. Those readings were directed at work I was doing as I enter my final year as a high school physics teacher. However, I have totally redirected my trumpet practice as a result of these studies.

My goal from all of this is multifaceted, but direct. First: just once in my life I would like to be able to KNOW, not just hope, that I am a world class player worthy of sharing the stage with the likes of Marsalis or Vizzutti. OK, I know I am already a decent player, but I am not so delusional as to think I am world class, yet. This is going to take a lot of work. However, as a result of my studies and my restructured practice, I am 100% confident I will reach that goal and can already see much progress. I am also confident in the fact that, if I can do this, anyone can. This would be the basis of clinics and teaching I would do as a trumpeter. Next: I will be redeveloping my work outreach a a trumpeter. Interestingly enough I share the same experience as many young players are experiencing. I am restarting my career as a trumpet soloist, band leader and composer/arranger.

As a result of all of this, I am going to consider developing another piece to the Variable D Postulate Ensemble(s). With my small group, I’ll be adding bass, making it a minimal quintet. I am also going to consider the addition of a full size big band. That will be a challenge. My motivation has two sides here. One is to make good and unique music that is not already being done with other big bands – something different. Next is diversity. I want a band of mixed ethnic background, gender and ages. I am very frustrated by racism, gender bias and ageism (the last of which has been visited upon me). So, I want to contribute to breaking those biases down, in my own small way.

So, there is a lot being considered here. Though my posts here have been sparse recently, this is not due to inactivity. So please keep this page book marked. I will update more frequently.



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Thank You Your Support

Over the years, I have had MANY trumpeters and music aficionados express their gratitude for the things I share here on my website and online in general. More often than not, folks tell me they have been following my work online for some time. I am deeply grateful for even just ONE individual who found their experience uplifted by my work in music.

In doing the recordings and sharings, I spend MANY hours in my tiny basement studio working on all of this – writing, playing, rehearsing, recording, mixing. When I have professional sidemen down here, I ALWAYS PAY THEM. I NEVER ask musicians to work for me for free. I do have Google adsense turned on, and I make back a tiny bit of money that way. I also have a CD Baby account and can be found on iTunes. I sell an iBook about my practice methods which is chock full of video demonstrations. All of these things, thus far, bring in a smattering of income, but fall far short of recouping my expenses. I have come to accept the idea that, for what I do, that I will then to fly along the far fringes of the big time music world and that none of my stuff is likely to go viral. That’s OK. As said earlier, if even only one person enjoys this, I’ve done something good.

Now I have a request. I don’t do crowd funding. I don’t believe the stories and hype about those things. This is is just an honest request from one obscure artist to those who listen to his work. IF YOU HAVE BENEFITED in even the TINIEST way from listening to my music (spirits lifted in some way) or studying my practice ideas (made some progress in your trumpet work), PLEASE consider a free will donation to the cause.

When I do ad hoc clincs, I never charge a fee. I always do them as a free will offering event. Folks kick in what they can and if they can’t kick in anything, they are still welcome. My clinics always bring enough gratitude income to constitute a decent gig.

So, if you have enjoyed any of my work, please consider a donation. My email address for Paypal offerings is No offering is too small. Certainly, no offering is too big! ;-)

Peace, and thanks for your support.

Nick Drozdoff

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Dominant Disconnect Now On CD Baby

The latest track of Nick Drozdoff and the Variable D Postulate Ensemble is now LIVE and available for your listening enjoyment and purchase at CD Baby. It will go live on iTunes soon, too. Here is the CD Baby link:

Please enjoy and share this original music!!

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Nick Drozdoff’s Music Is Now on CD Baby!

Now you can get to my music via CD Baby, which also means iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. I am very excited about this. Here is the first announcement for the first project.

Collected Works One on CD Baby!

Here is the link to my first CD Baby project. This is a collection of 17 of my earlier composition going all the way back to my days on You can by individual digital downloads, download the whole CD, purchase a hard copy of the CD, OR (get this) but VINYL!!

“Nick Drozdoff Collected Works One”

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Nick Drozdoff and the Variable D Postulate Ensemble Clinics

Nick Drozdoff is available as a lecturer/clinician on many topics in music. He does clinics on brass techniques and jazz studies. In addition he does lectures on everything from brass-wind acoustics to the physics of music, music technology and even musical survival skills for the newer professional musicians. He is well know as a mentor for young musicians in the Chicago area.

In addition to Drozdoff working in a solo context, his band, A Variable D Postulate Ensemble, is also ready to travel to any institution to perform and conduct master classes. The quartet can deliver panel type discussions on jazz studies and musical survival skills with a multi-generational point of view.

In either a solo or ensemble context, Drozdoff has the literature available in his library to perform with any big band.

Be sure to explore the press kit and credential information here on this website for more information. Use the contact tab to open a dialog.

The group is ready and willing to travel anywhere in the country or the world.

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Facebook and SoundCloud Links to “Like” Nick Drozdoff and the Variable D Postulate Ensemble

Here is a the link to the Facebook page where you can follow the work of of my composing and performing with my new group(s), The Variable D Postulate Ensemble.

Nick Drozdoff and the Variable D Postulate Ensemble

Please like us and encourage all of your friends to do so as well. For the time being, this is where our performances and releases of any recordings or videos will be posted, in addition to news announcements here.

Here is the SoundCloud link, also.
Nick Drozdoff and the Variable D Ensemble on SoundCloud


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The Variable D Postulate Ensemble on Facebook and SoundCloud

Folks, the best way to follow the Variable D Postulate Ensemble, in addition to bookmarking THIS page, like us on FaceBook and Soundcloud.

Just look up “Nick Drozdoff and the Variable D Ensemble” Facebook page under Musicians/Bands and like us. You get our events and announcements as well as various and sundry posts of a more clinical nature. Also, find us on SoundCloud and like us. These is an hour’s worth of musical samples of the Variable D Ensemble and my work as a trumpet soloist.To find us on SopundCloud, you’ll need to search Nick Drozdoff.

Like us, please!

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“How To Practice” Is Now Available As An iBook!

My book, “How To Practice” is now available in interactive form as an iBook at the iBook Store at Apple. In addition to the text, it includes over 40 minutes of embedded video, a couple of media files and four fully functional Keynote/Powerpoint Files. This version of the book is a bit like having a master class in the palm of your hand on your iPad.

Be sure to read the description and look at the sample file when you go to the iBook Store. If it looks like somehting you’d be interested in, be sure to start the DL to your iPad at night and it will be waiting for you in the AM. The file size is quite big – a little over 1.7 Gb.

I sincerely hope this version of the book will you you find your own better way to a richer trumpeting experience.


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Nick Drozdoff Is Now A Getzen Artist

Folks, as of now I am officially a Getzen artist. While I still have a great deal of affection for the New York Trumpet Company, I am now supporting the work of a fine multigenarational family corporation right here in the Midwest.

The NYTC horns are fine instruments and my switching to Getzen is to in no way imply that I think the NYTC horns are bad. They are excellent, and I’ll continue to say so to all who would ask. My videos in which I use the NYTC horns will stay up. It would be dishonest to imply that I didn’t play them. I did. However, I am moving onto Getzen now and for some important reasons.

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Drozdoff Signature Series Mouthpieces by Wedge

Well, they were at the Midwest Band and Orchestra clinic, but the series is now complete.

This is the Drozdoff Signature series of trumpet mouthpieces by Dave Harrison of the Wedge Mouthpiece Company in Van Couver, British Columbia. Here is a list of what is available.

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What Some Folks Are Saying About Drozdoff Clinic/Concerts:

Here are comments from folks wh have recently had Drozdoff as a soloist/clinician:

From Patrick Schwan of Minot, North Dakota:

Yes, we had a great time at the “Magic City Jazz Festival”. Nick was outstanding working with our students. He was very patient and kind with them, yet shared many ideas for improvement. He is obviously very knowledgeable about jazz styles and the trumpet, but he is also exceptional at conveying that knowledge to others. What a treat for me to play in “the Swing Band of Minot” that backed up Nick on his feature tunes. He received a standing ovation for his rendition of “Birdland”, and again for ‘Bugle Call Rag”. If any of you are in a position to hire clinicians for your festival, you won’t go wrong hiring Nick. I highly recommend him! –>Pat Schwan

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“A Curious Yellow” Picked as the Best Jazz Piece of 2007 by WAMIA

Australian composer, Adrian Kelly, wrote “A Curious Yellow” for his CD, “Intercontinental Drift.” It is composed for string quartet and specifically Nick Drozdoff’s flugelhorn work.

Recently this piece won the Western Australian Music Industry Association Award as the best jazz piece of 2007. This is truly an intercontinental project. The original CD tracks were recorded in Perth and the trumpet parts were recorded in Saratoga, New York. However, Drozdoff recorded his part on Curious Yellow upon returning to Chicago.

You can hear the entire piece by going to the little media player at the top of the page and using the little pull down window to the right side of it to select “Curious Yellow.”

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