Steve Schick: Ojai Online University


Steve Schick, percussionist, conductor and Music Director and Conductor of the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra has been named the Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival. Founded in 1947, the Ojai Music Festival is an annual contemporary classical music festival held in Ojai, California. Along with putting together some of the top concerts in Southern California, the Ojai Festival is also passionate about providing music education to all ages.

This year, they have developed a course taught by Steve Schick called “2015 OjaiU: The Beat of The World – The Art of Percussion.” The course is made up of 4 online classes. The course is free, but you must sign up to participate.

According to the website, there are two ways to sign up.

1: Use the signup form below and you’ll get an email each Monday with a link as the new class goes live.
2: Tweet to @OjaiFestivals using the hashtag #OjaiU2015 and we’ll send you an invite.

Here’s a list of the courses:


The classes have been amazing and I would recommend signing up now at

Percussion Education Weekly Reads 5/24/15


Where has the month gone? It is hard to believe that summer is here. So far this year, I have read some great books. Last week, I finished All the Light We Can Not See by Anthony Doerr and this week I started Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. You may know Amanda Palmer from her TED talk The Art of Asking or her record breaking Kickstarter campaign where she raised over 1 million dollars to record her album. I am going to write a full review once I finish it, but if you are looking for an inspiring book for an artist in your life, be sure to check it out.

Have a great week and here are some posts to check out this week.

Percussion Education Weekly Reads 5/17/15


Graduation time is here! Congrats to all of the graduates. It has been a busy week for me. I just finished an amazing book called All the Light We Can Not See by Anthony Doerr. This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The story is about a German boy and a blind French girl. It is one of the best books I have in the past 5 years. If you are looking for something to read this summer, be sure to check it out and let me know what you think. While you are waiting for your book to arrive, here are some posts to check out.

Third Coast Percussion performs RADIANT CHiLD

The CYSO is always looking for new ways to develop programming, commission works and push the boundaries of classical music. This video and project is no exception! Bravo CYSO.

The CYSO’s Encore Chamber Orchestra, Allen Tinkham (conductor) and Third Coast Percussion performs David T. Little’s RADIANT CHiLD.

Radiant Child Video Recording was supported by New Music USA. For more information about this project, visit their website.

Radiant Child Video Recording was supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Aaron Copland Fund for Music

Percussion Education Weekly Reads 5/3/15


This weekend, the California PAS hosted the PAS Solo and Ensemble Competition and the Central California Day of Percussion (featuring the LA Percussion Quartet and John Santos). It was a great weekend of meeting new friends and connecting with old friends. I was also honored to judge the Middle School, High School and College Percussion Ensemble competitions. If you are not involved with your local chapter of PAS, I would highly recommend checking out for more information about becoming a member of PAS and seeing a list of any local events in your area.

On Thursday, I was also fortunate to perform the West Coast premiere of Passageways by Baljinder Sekhon with the Clovis North High School Percussion Ensemble (David Gabrielson – Director). It is always great working with different ensembles and the students at Clovis North did a great job on the performance. Thanks!

Here’s some reading materials for the week. Enjoy.

Identity-Based Habits: How to Actually Stick to Your Goals This Year by James Clear

I recently “found” James Clear’s website. He writes articles a couple of times a week and he has a lot of great insight and thoughts about marketing and business. I would highly recommend checking out his site.

Neal Pollack’s Secrets to Cranking out Creative Work by Evie Nagy

11 Things Only People Who Teach Musical Instruments Would Understand by Louise Williams

Are Today’s Artists More Uniform and Less Musically Adventurous than Those of Yesteryear? by

Flashback: How Effectively Do You Use YouTube?

I originally wrote this article on October 19, 2012 and I still believe that these points are true. How do you use YouTube? Do you post your performances? Do you make comments on other posts? Please leave your thoughts below.

We all know that YouTube is a valuable source for any musician. According to YouTube’s statistics, 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute [Update: Since I wrote this article in 2012, this number has grown to 300 hours every minute]. We all know that there are a lot of bad videos included in this number, but there are also many videos that are educational and worth watching. So how do you use YouTube? Chris Robley wrote a blog post on the D.I.Y. Musician Blog (a service brought to us by CD Baby) detailing the “Top 5 Tips for Effective Music Video Promotion on YouTube.” Some of the top tips included:

1. Add links at the top of the description field for each video

This is very important since you only get about three lines of text before the you have to click the “Show More” tab on the window (see below). Unless someone is really interested in the video, they are not going to click the tab to see more information. You need to grab their attention immediately, which leads to #2.

2. Make the first 15 seconds count

How many times have you gone to YouTube to watch a video and clicked away because you did like the beginning of the video? I am guilty of clicking away from a video if it does not immediately capture my attention. Here are some other things to think about relating to this topic:

  • I would also suggest not doing a pre-roll (similar to going to see a movie). In my opinion, no one cares about the title, director, etc. at the beginning of the video. Go right to the action and put all of that in the comments (below the “show more” tab). Or, use a strip at the bottom of the video if you need the information to be seen (like I did in this video: PanSon – Dave Gerhart).
  • Use a tripod.
  • Upload the highest quality video possible.
  • Forget all of the iMovie transitions/titles at the beginning of the video. These videos are not just for your Mom; you want everyone to watch it.

3. Respond to every comment

This is a common courtesy. I make it a point to respond to every comment, whether they are good or bad. This shows that you have pride in the video you are posting and also make a personal connection with the viewers. If you are responding to a negative comment, politely ask the viewer why they thought the video was bad. This is a learning experience for everyone. If the comments are unkind or abusive, you can always report the comment to YouTube and remove it from the comment section. (Don’t do this often.)

Please check out Chris’s post for more great tips. Click here for the “Top 5 Tips for Effective Music Video Promotion on YouTube” and to download CD Baby’s Ultimate YouTube Guide for Musicians for free!

What tips do you have about promoting yourself on YouTube? Let me know.

Glow by Dave Molk

Performed by Duomo (Ashley Tini and Emily Strachan)

For two vibraphones and glockenspiel, Glow explores the similarities and dissimilarities between these instruments. It moves at a comfortable pace, allowing resonance to fill the air, shimmering softly, eventually switching to hands for the soft, gossamer landing. Approximately 4:00 in duration and available here.

How to Read Music – Tim Hansen

Excellent! A must for any beginning music student. Please share.

Like an actor’s script, a sheet of music instructs a musician on what to play (the pitch) and when to play it (the rhythm). Sheet music may look complicated, but once you’ve gotten the hang of a few simple elements like notes, bars and clefs, you’re ready to rock. Tim Hansen hits the instrumental basics you need to read music.

Lesson by Tim Hansen, animation by Thomas Parrinello.

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