I am a trombonist, composer, and music instructor. I play trombone and arrange music for the Rhythm Society Orchestra, and also currently perform with the Gary Greenfelder Orchestra and the Redford Civic Symphony Orchestra. I also have a strong interest in just intonation, which is a system of deriving musical melodies and harmonies from mathematical ratios. It offers much greater flexibility and control with tonal color than the standard 12-note equal temperament that is common today, and understanding it is practically required to at least some small extent for anyone who wants to do a good job of arranging music, because of it’s direct relationship with how sound psychoacoustically works.
I left the Army’s service after 5 years in October of 2011. My last assignment was spending 3 years in the SHAPE International Band in Belgium. Before that, I spent 2 years in the 3d Infantry Division, based in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Both were good experiences, but the top professional highlights happened while I was at SHAPE: opening for McCoy Tyner with the NATO Jazz Orchestra at the 2010 Imatra Jazz Festival in Finland, and recording the album A Taste Of NATO Part II, contributing 5 aggressively modern arrangements of my own.
From 2008-2010 and 2012-2013, I taught at the Great Basin Jazz Camp as a trombone, theory, and digital media instructor. 2011 didn’t happen because of an unfortunate schedule conflict that I had in the Army. The students there are always great, and so are the instructors.
I received my Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from Wayne State University in 2004, where I had the very special luck to befriend Mel Wanzo, who was a long-time veteran lead trombonist with Count Basie, while he sat in with the school’s Lab Band I.
The University Of Michigan – Flint served up two degrees for me: Bachelor of Arts in Trombone Performance, and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Ironically, even given the common perceptions of the relative strengths of job rates in those two fields, I have never been able to earn any money with computers since getting that degree. So, those skills have mostly gone to rust. Interestingly, I don’t particular miss them that much; the path I am on now is quite fulfilling.
Looks like you’ve done a lot of work on the Sagittal system. Sorry to say I’m not familiar with this way of analyzing and writing. Perhaps you can tell me more about it next time I see you.
If this is in response to my inquiry on Facebook, I don’t mean for you to necessarily understand everything in those charts; it’s if you would find it more or less understandable with that change in notation, particularly as someone who is a master of conventional music notation.
Hello Mr. Meronek. I am a student of your sister (she is an amazing french teacher btw) and she likes to tell us about you and your playing since some of us are upcoming professional musicians. She played for us a song you wrote and it was PHENomenal! Right now I am studying theory and am having much trouble creating jazz chord progressions and songs. Do you have any tips/suggestions? Thanks!
Thanks, Christine! I have high regard for my sisters. 🙂
As for tips, the best way to learn music, whether it be playing or writing, at least at first, is through perseverance and imitation. To learn how to create good chord progressions and to write songs, go learn a song that you like. It doesn’t really matter what style it is, although ideally a significant part of your studying should be styles you want to emulate. Now, with learning some music, that can get to be a very big task, depending on how you frame the problem. Start with what you think is most important about what music you’re studying and work from there. For example, if you think that Cole Porter’s Night And Day is a really well-constructed tune (it is!), learn it and figure out why you think it’s well-constructed, in as much detail as you can muster. Then, apply those same concepts to a tune you write. Then, pick another tune and do the same. Et cetera. By the way, Cole Porter was a Broadway composer, and is very well-liked with jazz musicians. He was one of the best songwriters of the 20th century.
It sounds pretty general, but that’s the essence of it. Once you dive into the details that matter to you, then you can frame more specific questions and really start to learn.
Great stuff on this site, Andrew. I am a USAF musician and have played with Kerry M. too. I’ve been really exploring Just Intonation and your observations and musings are really useful. Keep up the good work!
Thanks! Too many musicians look upon this stuff as just being numbers games with no musical application, which is not true at all. Just intonation is eminently practical.