After all these years

WELCOME TO AO 112 (Anno Orwelli) or AD 2015 in old money

It is 112 years since George Orwell was born and it is 18 years since ‘THE TRUMPET — A GUIDE FOR STUDENTS’ … 317 pages of general advice and guidance, although not a tutor … was first published by Rakeway Music in 1997. The only connection between Orwell’s books and mine is that they both continue to sell steadily throughout the whole world, although Orwell’s have an enormous scope, whereas my more modest creations quietly deal with the happily innocent matters of music performance. Among many detailed subjects it covers CAREERS, PRACTICE ROUTINES, TECHNIQUES, ORCHESTRAL PLAYING, TEACHING, ANXIETY CONTROL. Orwell’s ANIMAL FARM and 1984 both continue to be true about depravity and evil … and to sell.

What do I take from this? That it was worth all the effort of 5 years of solid work in the early 1990s, work that was quite apart from my (then) working as a full-time performing musician. The present print run is now almost sold out and REPRINTING FOR THE 5TH TIME will be underway shortly. As for Orwell, he might now be regretting that he may have given ‘them’ ideas as to how to grip the world in a new form of slavery, but otherwise he would be pleased that his nightmare vision of the future was spot on.

Why do I mention Orwell at all? See below.

THE TRUMPET’S sister volume ‘THE ART OF PRACTICE — A SELF-HELP GUIDE FOR STUDENT MUSICIANS’ has now sold out its first printing and is similarly reprinting after THE TRUMPET. THE ART OF PRACTICE is intended for performers on all instruments, with illustrations for players of various instruments. It is a book that explores the common principles that underly all music performance. MASTER THE BASICS, MASTER YOURSELF, MASTER YOUR INSTRUMENT.

The downloading of THE TRUMPET book from the Rakeway Music Site ( has necessarily been halted till we can find a work-around to the blizzard of new EU VAT regulations. Unlike most EU countries, the UK historically has no VAT on books or sheet music, for the very good reason that price incentives to buy these conveyors of knowledge and culture are thought to be a very good thing.

These NEW EU VAT REGULATIONS require that SELLERS OF DOWNLOADS MUST CHARGE VAT AT EACH OF THE THE DIFFERENT VAT RATES OF EACH OF THE 28 MEMBER STATES OF THE EU ACCORDING TO WHERE THE BUYER IS SITUATED AT THE INSTANT OF PURCHASE. This has been cravenly agreed without a murmur by the UK’s so-called ‘Government’, more accurately a rubber-stamping committee. The Orwellian state of all Western Governments is the reason for the revised dating of my welcome at the top of this blog. The supporting conditions for these regulations are pure Kafka, that other author who saw the future and painted it very accurately. For example the seller is responsible for correctly divining exactly where the buyer is when activating a download, even to the point that if a buyer is on a train travelling between two countries, the sale has to be Vatt-ed at the departure end, no matter the home state of the buyer, and the seller has to be able to produce two pieces of hard evidence to back it up! This is a typically ‘eu-ro’ attitude — everything is forbidden unless it is expressly allowed.

This is the same EU that tried (and failed) to give us straight bananas and cucumbers, the hot and cold food epic, the eat-here or take-away drama, the light bulbs that struggle to produce light and countless other antics relative to which all known four-letter words are completely inadequate. The small business community is up in arms, several branches of which are seeing their businesses destroyed beneath them, at a stroke. (If you enjoy outrage try twitter #vatmess and #vatmoss.) Together with the list of bizarre, crackpot taxes that the EU enforces, this may be something that you consider when next called upon to vote in elections. Oh, by the way, the EU hasn’t been able to find an accounting firm to verify its accounts for some years.

As soon as we can find a work-around to this problem, we will put THE TRUMPET and THE ART OF PRACTICE up for download, together with a catalogue of low-priced downloads of Solos with Piano Accompaniment, in single items and in groups.
Once the next reprints become available there will be a VERY SPECIAL OFFER for the first 20 volumes of BOTH THE TRUMPET and THE ART OF PRACTICE, which will also place your name, if you wish, on the SPECIAL OFFER LIST list for my next book ON CONDUCTING, which is in the process of being written.