– Great Free Ear Training Tool!



While I was online tonight, I stumbledupon It is a simple ear training tool with a lot of options. A lot of the hits on my site come from people doing google searches for “charlie banacos exercises.” allows you to do exercises like those that are randomly generated in real time. It also keeps track of your progress by letting you know how many right answers you’ve gotten out of the total attempts.

The best part of this website is the price – it’s FREE! I was really happy to find this and just wanted to share it with all of you.


Dirty Horn = Potential Health Risk









I ran across a story on the NPR site yesterday that really grabbed my attention. The title was:

Think Music Heals? Trombone Player Begs To Differ

The basic gist of the story was that this trombone player was chronically ill due to mold and bacteria that were growing inside his horn. This may sound like an isolated incident, but scientists running an experiment prompted by this case found that every instrument they tested had some form of contamination.

For saxophone players, there are a few things you can do to maintain good saxophone hygiene.

1. Clean your mouthpiece.

  • You can use a mouthpiece brush to get out any particles that are left behind after playing.
  • You can also let your mouthpiece soak in hydrogen peroxide. This can be really gross if you haven’t cleaned out your mouthpiece for a while, but also has a fun, science fair quality to it.
  • You can use soap and lukewarm water. Be careful to avoid hot water with hard rubber mouthpieces. The hot water can cause discoloration and you’ll end up with a green or brown mouthpiece.

2. Clean your neck.

  • You can use a neck brush (a trumpet snake would probably also work) to remove particles. You could also put soapy water on the brush and scrub the inside of the neck.
  • You can put hydrogen peroxide in the neck and let it soak for a few minutes. Be sure to put a piece of tape over the octave pip if you do this.

3. Clean your reeds.

  • Wipe excess moisture off of reeds (on both sides) after playing.
  • Dispose of reeds that have any mold on them.
  • Soak reeds in a 50%-50% solution of water and hydrogen peroxide. This will get the reed clean, but it will play softer afterwards.

4. Clean the body

  • Run a swab through the body of your saxophone after you finish playing.
  • If you have a shove-it (those fuzzy things that people put in their horns), put it in the horn to remove moisture and then take it out. Storing shove-its in the horn keeps that moisture in your horn, which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid.
  • Wipe down the exterior of the horn with a soft cloth.


Spots Available for Skype Students


I have 5 spots available for saxophone students who would like to study via Skype. I specialize in helping students who want to:


  • Produce a beautiful, professional saxophone tone
  • Get more out of their practice time
  • Develop greater facility
  • Clean up their technique
  • Learn music theory and apply it to the saxophone
  • Transcribe songs and solos
  • Begin their journey of saxophone playing (young students or adults)


If you’re interested in improving your playing in any of these areas, please contact me by clicking here. The rate is $50 for a one hour lesson or $30 for a half hour.

Please act now to secure your spot in my online studio.

Musical Instrument Carry-On Provision tucked into FAA Bill



Click here to read the story from AFM Local 802 (NYC).

Traveling with an instrument has been daunting for a long time. The fear of being stopped somewhere between the ticket counter and the plane and told you have to check your prized (and very delicate) possession has been great. Hopefully a lot of that fear can be alleviated with the Congress’s passage of the new FAA bill. It appears that as long as your instrument will fit under the seat, in the overhead compartment, or in a storage locker in the cabin, you can bring it on with you. There is also a provision for larger instruments, but people wishing to travel with those instruments in the cabin would still be required to purchase an additional seat for that instrument.

This is all to be taken with a hint of caution, for now. On the page I linked to above, you can get a .pdf summary of the part of the bill that relates to instruments. In that summary, there’s a section at the bottom that says:

“Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall issue final regulations to carry out subsection (a).”

Subsection (a) is the part of the bill that describes the policy for bringing and stowing instruments in the cabin of a plane. This is a victory for working and traveling musicians everywhere, but it may be a while before we are guaranteed this right.

New video: Moksha with Peter Apfelbaum, Jen Hartswick, and Skerik!

Here’s a video from the Moksha gig on Friday at Las Vegas Country Saloon. This is from Christian McBride’s “Technicolor Nightmare.” Jen Hartswick’s on trumpet, Peter Apfelbaum and Skerik are on tenor, and I’m playing bari. Enjoy!