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1  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Visiting New Zealand on: Yesterday at 03:17 AM
Hi Mike

A good way to plan your trip might be to get a copy of the NZ Lonely Planet book. 

Being a long narrow country most people start their travels in the North (you'll probably fly into Auckland) and finish in the South, or vice versa. To see a reasonable part of both islands by road I would recommend at least 3 weeks.  Some people take months. The following is roughly in order from North to South.

You'll need a vehicle if you want to see out of the way places.  Many use campervans for a tour of NZ.

Roads are generally not motorways, but 2 lane roads with a 100km/h speed limit, and pass through lots of towns.  This link will help figure out how long it takes to get places:
http://www.aa.co.nz/travel/time-and-distance-calculator/

Although the North Island and South Island are of similar area, The South island has about 25% of the people and 75% of the scenery

Given your interests, I think you'll want to minimise the amount of time spent in the cities

Bay of Islands 3 hours drive North of Auckland are a popular tourist spot, with the main activity being scenic boat trips.  The main other attraction is the history around colonisation. If you're trading off going here vs spending more time in the South Island, I'd pick the South.

For mountain biking, Rotorua has a great collection of purpose-built single tracks (best place in NZ) which are rideable in all weather because of the free-draining pumice soil.

Matamata advertises itself as Hobbiton, however all there is to see is the set for Bilbo's house. Most of the scenic mountain locations are elsewhere in the country - mainly in the South Island.  Here's how to find the others:
http://www.newzealand.com/nieuw-zeeland/feature/the-lord-of-the-rings-trilogy-filming-locations/?rd

For North Island hiking with LOTR significance you could do some of the walks at the link below.  Mount Ngauruhoe is Mt Doom.
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/central-north-island/places/tongariro-national-park/

The ferry across Cook Strait is worth doing during daytime to catch the scenery. About an hour of the 3 hour trip is through the Marlborough Sounds.

In the upper South Island, you can either travel to Kaikoura on the East Coast which is a popular whale-watching destination, or head west to Nelson. The Abel Tasman National Park offers hiking or sea-kayaking around the coast.  For glaciers, you'll head from there down the West Coast to the Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier.  These glaciers go almost down to sea level.  You can take a guided walk onto the ice - they provide crampons and ice-axe. If you want to do a helicopter ride anywhere, this is the place. The West Coast has high annual rainfall but is spectacular even when it's raining.  However you could get a week with no rain.  A hiking trip you can do from near Fox Glacier is about a 4 hour walk to the Douglas (? I think) hut which is by natural hot pools.

Near Nelson there is this fairly new cycle trail:
http://nzcycletrail.com/trails/dun-mountain-trail/

From the glaciers you can head to Wanaka and Queenstown which are lakeside ski resorts - popular in all seasons.  Queenstown has a multitude of tourist attractions.

There are various old railway routes around Central Otago which have been converted to cycleways - mostly gentle easy riding.
http://nzcycletrail.com/explore-trails/

For hiking in the Fiordland area, check out some of these:
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/fiordland/places/fiordland-national-park/
If you are interested in the Routeburn but it's booked out or you don't want to do the full length, a (fairly long) day trip can be to start from the Lake Howden end of the track, walk to the Harris Saddle and exit using the Deadman's track.  You'll need to organise transport at either end.  A cool place to base yourself for a couple of nights would be here:
http://www.gunnscamp.org.nz/

If you're into feats of engineering, the (underground) Manapouri Power Station is great.

Given that you're probably pushed for time Invercargill and Dunedin could be given a miss unless you want to go to Stewart Island, and you would see more interesting landscapes returning to Christchurch via the Lindis Pass and Mount Cook.

The weather is best from January to March, with fewer crowds at the tourist destinations from mid Feb onward.

Unfortunately New Zealand has no trombone shopping destinations of note.

Good luck with your planning.

Cheers
Dave
 
2  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: XO Brass Fedchock Horn on: Jul 25, 2016, 11:18AM
fedchock  is TALL  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good observation

... and he plays with the bell pointing downward more than most.  Maybe front-heavy is ok for this .
3  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: what is perfect pitch and do you have it? on: Jul 24, 2016, 09:14PM
I rate myself as reasonably good at hearing intervals.  It's how I play by ear.

If I test my perfect pitch before play my first note, I'm always wrong by about a tone.

My 11 year old kid seems to be a lot better with perfect pitch (without training - just by osmosis mainly from playing the piano).  I was whistling the theme from Ghostbusters this morning and he told me I was too high.
4  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: Visiting New Zealand on: Jul 23, 2016, 01:29PM
Can you give us some idea of what sort of things you like, and I can probably provide a better response.
E.g mountains / glaciers /   surfing / old buildings / museums/ LOTR (don't' worry, that's optional) / wildlife





5  Creation and Performance / Music, Concerts and Recordings / Re: New Zealand Brass Band Championships livestreamed on: Jul 17, 2016, 04:07PM
There is national register of players and each player is registered with a band. Players have to be registered with the band they play for except that bands are allowed to field up to two "assisting musicians" who are registered for another band. When playing on stage the assisting musicians generally wear the uniform of the band they are registered with (although I don't think this is a requirement in the rules).  D grade bands are allowed an additional two assistants from bands in the D or C grade but not above.

Some of the more financially healthy bands use this rule to bring soloists from overseas. One of these was Matthew van Emmerik who played euphonium for Woolston Brass. He's recently been appointed to Cameron University in Oklahoma so you might hear more of him.

Others notable euphonium soloists in the A grade included:
Byron Newton  (  http://www.nzeuphonium.com/) Plays for Wellington, also assisted North Shore Brass because their regular player couldn't attend because of illness at short notice. He had never played the North Shore own choice piece until a day or two before the performance, but you couldn't tell. 
Riki McDonnell (http://www.musicways.co.nz/riki/  ) - Played for Waitakere, and won the prize for best solo in a test piece.

Some people don't particularly enjoy marching and might claim a back injury or something.

More comments on the performances can be found at:
http://4barsrest.com/live/2016NewZealandChampionships/#.V4wMuvl97mg

6  Creation and Performance / Music, Concerts and Recordings / Re: New Zealand Brass Band Championships livestreamed on: Jul 17, 2016, 01:49PM
I wasn't there but saw some of it livestreamed.

For the Friday "test piece" event all the bands play the same music, so some soloists are likely to be technically challenged.

For the Saturday, bands can select music which plays to their strengths and hide there weaknesses to some extent.  The scores given by the judge consider degree of difficulty.

The overall "champion band" for each grade is determined by the scores from the stage events - not the marching.  A lot of bands concentrate on doing well in the stage events and do minimal preparation for the street march.  You can generally tell the bands that take marching seriously as they march without sheet music.

I looked in the 27 pages of contest rules and couldn't see anything ruling out sousaphones, or marching baritones or bass trumpets for that matter (although I don't think that's ever been done).  Forward bell instruments seem to make much more sense in a street situation.  I like the bands that select music to maximise the use of the trombones - playing off beats is such a waste when they have forward bells and stand at the front of the band.

Highlights from the street march for me:
 - Woolston brass - a wall of sound with 6 trombones across the front.
 - Wellington Brass - their own arrangement of Ghostbusters
 - The bass trombone from Waitakere belting out some pedal-range notes

Cheers
Dave


7  Creation and Performance / Music, Concerts and Recordings / Re: New Zealand Brass Band Championships livestreamed on: Jul 16, 2016, 02:16PM
It's all over now, with Wellington Brass winning the A grade the 4th year in a row.

The highlights from the street march concert can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tT9P0kv6EE

The better bands are generally near the end.
8  Creation and Performance / Music, Concerts and Recordings / New Zealand Brass Band Championships livestreamed on: Jul 14, 2016, 01:27PM
www.brassbanned.com 

Livestreaming starts in a few minutes - runs over the next couple of days.

Sound quality is really good.  Worth connecting through a TV or audio system.

Picture quality can be adjusted to match your appetite for data comsumption.
9  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Confession Time on: Jul 12, 2016, 12:18PM
I've got reasonably proficient without learning the names of the slide positions. This is because I used to play an instrument with valves and whan I see or think of a note I think of the valve positions first. (E.g I think of 5th position as "2nd and 3rd").

I've learnt to associate notes on the page with slide positions, and find slide positions intuitively sometimes but I don't think of the name of the position.

Dave
10  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: What if King Started Making Bass Trombones Again? on: Jul 10, 2016, 09:38PM
That sort of thing is more the purview of smaller, closely held companies like Rath, Getzen/Edwards, etc. - but even they aren't interested in building a Duo Gravis-style instrument.

Schagerl might be a better bet - They seem attracted to designs with niche appeal.

Their website lists 6 models of Bb/F tenor (excluding their student models) a superbone and Bassposaune "coming soon".


From the Chuck Levin website:
http://www.chucklevins.com/products/schagerl-aurora-b-flat-f-g-flat-bass-trombone.html

"The result is a palette of Schagerl Aurora bass trombones - from an orchestral model (with gold brass bell and crown) with a warm, dark sound - to a sizzling big band bass trombone."

(not cheap though)

11  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: Bach 42BO rotor valve options on: Jun 26, 2016, 04:32PM
I realize this has probably been discussed ad naseum in varying degrees

Yup.  Here's a summary up to 2011...

http://tromboneforum.org/index.php/topic,59702.msg853218.html#msg853218
12  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Shire on: Jun 11, 2016, 01:55PM
And this is where they are made:



If only.  (Sigh)
That's only 2 hours drive away for me.
13  Practice Break / Polls / Re: 3rd Partial F on: May 17, 2016, 04:12PM
It is a good idea to have the slide out a bit for the Bb so you can tune to the surrounding environment. 

This is the approach I subscribe to.  In a brass band I play in the conductor (a baritone horn player) sometimes walks around with a tuner and asks me to play a note by myself - usually a Bb but sometimes notes in other positions. My first position is about a thumb-width off the bumper but he presumes it's against the bumpers. The pitch I produce is a result of the thumb-width and whatever pitch is in my head. Sometimes I pretend to move my tuning slide to align myself better with the tuner, knowing that it works fine when playing with the band..

I've been wondering lately if I should just tell him about the thumb width and that he should just trust trombones to play in tune with what's around them. The risk is that some (non-trombonists) might consider this "unorthodox" approach to be idiocy.

Dave





14  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Wessex new PBF555 Super Tenor Trombone on: May 16, 2016, 01:38PM
Looks like they are going after the Bach 45 or King 5B market.

I think the 5B market peaked sometime around 1970, and the 45 market never came to much.
(Not to say that they're bad things - just specialized and with limited demand.)
In marketing terms, this model looks like an experiment.
15  Practice Break / Cool Web Sites / Re: Trombone apps on: May 02, 2016, 12:00PM
Cleartune (tuner)
Tempo (metronome)
Loopy - looping software more for a tablet than a phone
16  Practice Break / Chit-Chat / Re: What to do in London UK? on: May 02, 2016, 10:59AM
Mind the gap.
17  Creation and Performance / Trombonists / Re: More YouTube Trombonists on: Apr 10, 2016, 01:38PM
This is from the Aucktet Trombone day held in the weekend. It included the premiere performance of "Shake City" for massed brass choir, composed by bass trombonist Pablo Ruiz Henao.  Pablo can be seen playing contrabass trombone.

The day was organised by Aucktet (as in Auckland-octet). It was a great opportunity for students to mix and play with pro players.

http://youtu.be/JrdIfdDC_kE


(I'm one of the masses in the choir. You can mainly see the top of my head.)
18  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Technology / Re: Recovery Drive for Win 10 - how big? on: Feb 04, 2016, 10:01AM
it may depend what software is loaded. For a machine with office, Google earth, and a few other things 16gb was too small.  Bought a 32mb for nz$20 although it had to be pink. It's going to stay in the drawer unless there's a catastrophe so the colour doesn't really matter.
19  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Large Bore King on: Jan 26, 2016, 07:31PM
See this old thread...

http://tromboneforum.org/index.php?topic=57338.5

and this one...


20  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Technology / Re: Orchestra roster management on: Dec 23, 2015, 12:57AM
I've been using a system called Teamer for over a year to organise the players for concerts and other gigs. It doesn't have the ability to designate groups which is a shortcoming. It is really good at managing which players can and can't make it.  They can see event info, location map etc on a website or a phone / tablet app. (See www.teamer.net)

There are some alternative systems available now for managing sports teams which I haven't yet investigated. It would be great to find a really good system for bands  & orchestras.

Cheers
Dave
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