Branford Marsalis brings more 'cool' to Apple Macintosh

i-e5fbda258e683a675d6335e3cd6fcb89-branford.jpgI've been giving a fair bit of thought to moving my laboratory back to Mac computers. I had a superb, Windows-savvy postdoc in the late 90s who convinced me to go to PC machines because the choice made our grant money go further. But I miss the elegant simplicity of Macs and, as an amateur musician, would love to give GarageBand software a whirl.

So, I read with great interest that jazz saxophonist, Branford Marsalis, will be speaking tomorrow (12 Nov, 6:30 pm) to the Triangle Macintosh Users Group at the NC Mutual Life Building in Durham, North Carolina.

The program format will be similar to his visit to TMUG several years ago when Branford took questions from the group on a wide range of topics related to his music, composing on a Mac, the music business and more. Since then iTunes has come onto the scene and hopefully Branford will discuss its effects on his and other artists' music sales. A few likely subjects for discussion are other methods of music distribution, digital rights management, plus whatever else we want to ask about. So bring your questions.

If you're a music fan, you won't want to miss this meeting!

Also on the program, Bob Chandler will host our monthly Q&A session. We'll also give away a couple of iTunes gift cards as door prizes which members can use to purchase Branford Marsalis' music, such as his new Braggtown album. Plus we'll discuss plans for the December Festivus program.

All TMUG meetings are open to the public - members get to experience the pride of belonging, and also can win one of 2 or 3 door prizes. Whether you are new to the Mac or a long time user, TMUG meetings have something for you and your Mac. The meeting will start at 6:30 pm.

i-bb5a7ba9a750156e78c8ebf4c89dfd5c-darden road.jpgOne of my other favorite musicians, Austin-based singer-songwriter Darden Smith, uses a Macintosh for his elementary school project, Be An Artist:

Darden goes into the classroom and talks with the students about his work, how he started as a musician and writer, and how it became his job. He introduces inspiration as the key in the artistic process, discusses where it comes from, and plays a few original songs to demonstrate how inspiration becomes art. The focus points include:

- Everyone is an artist at something. Everyone is creative. - Art surrounds us, from the clothes we wear, the car we ride in, to the music we listen to and the buildings we live in. There's no escaping it! - The Big Three -- attention, intention, & the love of doing something. If you have those ingredients, you're making art.

He takes them through a process to help them realize the things they love to do (what they do when they don't have to do anything.) and talks to them about the ability to make themselves happy by doing these things every day. Then, as a way to show that we are all capable beyond what we've told ourselves we're able to do, he leads the students, as a group, in writing a song. Every student is encouraged to contribute, be it a word, a few lines or a theme for the song. Darden acts as a guide and editor, keeping the song on basic course, but letting the students be the authors. The song is then recorded in the classroom and a CD copy of the song is left with the teacher. Each Be An Artist Program session lasts approximately 50 minutes.

i-9404a06e3ce7ef0308513dc0ceec384f-darden be an artist.jpgI've seen the DVD of the project (below) and actually had the lovely experience of talking with Darden for awhile about the whole process. The coolest thing seems to be cutting the CD and leaving the kids with a tangible example of their artistic ability.

If you're an elementary school teacher and Darden is playing in your neck of the woods (see tour page here), it's definitely worth having him in for a program with your kids.

For more information on the Be An Artist Program, or to request a copy of a DVD on the program, please contact Darden here.

Pricing and booking info, contact Darden Smith or Mary Granata at the Granata Agency or call +1 973 208 7291.

For my international readers, note that Darden makes it to the UK quite often, as well as elsewhere in Europe. In fact, he just did two "Be An Artist" programs in Greenock last week and will do another in London this coming Wednesday.

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I don't think you would regret it. My small biotech company is a mixture of Macs and Linux, once I convinced my boss to replace his dead PC laptop with a MacBook Pro. Ease of use plus crunchy Unix goodness baked right in -- what's not to like?

Er, don't tell the folk that fund you know you want to spend 50% more for lab equipment because you fancy giving garageband a whirl. Heh.