Megumi Kanda Trombone Interview

Welcome to the show notes for Episode #25 of the Trombone Corner podcast. This episode features trombonist, Megumi Kanda. Listen to or download the episode below:

About Megumi Kanda

Megumi Kanda, Principal Trombone of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra since 2002, is an internationally acclaimed performer, teacher, and author.   

Megumi has performed as a soloist across the United States, Europe, and Asia, including with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Pershing’s Own Army Band, the US Army Field Band, and the Prague Chamber Orchestra. She has been a featured guest artist at many trombone workshops and festivals, including the International Trombone Festival and the American Trombone Workshop.

Megumi has appeared as guest faculty at numerous music institutions, including the New World Symphony, National Youth Orchestra of the USA, and Interlochen Arts Academy, and has given master classes and recitals across the US, Europe, and Asia.

In April 2006, Megumi was recognized by the Arion Foundation in Tokyo, Japan as one of the most influential Japanese classical artists. She has also received a Certificate of Commendation from the Consul General of Japan at Chicago in recognition for distinguished service contributing to the friendship between the United States and Japan. Megumi was named a 2017 Woman of Influence in the category of education by the Milwaukee Business Journal. In 2020, she was named the recipient of the International Trombone Association Award, which recognizes the highest level of creative and artistic output.

Megumi’s first book, The One Hundred, a collection of orchestral trombone excerpts with accompanying commentary, was published in August 2015 and is a resource widely used by aspiring young trombonists around the world. Her second book, Trombone Unlimited, a comprehensive method book, was published in 2020.

As a JVC/Victor Entertainment artist, Megumi recorded three solo albums: Amazing Grace, Gloria, and Mona Lisa. She also can be heard on Magnifique Live, a live recording of Megumi and other JVC artists in the August 2005 performance at Takemitsu Hall in Tokyo’s Opera City. 

Megumi is proud to be a Greenhoe performing artist.

Megumi Kanda Links

Podcast Credits

Podcast Transcript

[0:00:11] John Snell: Welcome to the Trombone Corner podcast where we feature interviews with trombonists from all over the globe. It’s great to have you join us as we talk all things. Trombone brought to you by the Brass Ark and Bob Reeves Brass. This is your host, John Snell from Bob Reeves Brass along with some help from Noah Gladstone of the Brass Ark. Noah. How are you doing today? Hey, John, how are you doing? Wonderful. Who’s our special guest?

[0:00:36] Noah Gladstone: Well, we have Megumi Kanda today, uh Principal Trombone of the Milwaukee Symphony. Very excited to have her here in the Trombone Corner. Um, big fan of her playing of her personality. And uh I think it’s gonna be a good one

[0:00:49] John Snell: we’re in for a treat. So let’s get right to Megumi’s interview here in a moment after a word from our sponsor and some trombone news.

[0:00:59] Noah Gladstone: Hello, loyal listeners. This is Noah Gladstone. I founded the Brass Ark in 2010 to celebrate the love and passion for legendary brass craftsmanship. I wanted to share my joy for the best gear and bring it to the forefront of musicians minds through the development and cultivation of modern equipment. With roots firmly established in the classic designs of the vintage masters. Bob Reeves brass is a world renowned mouthpiece maker of the highest quality and has been handcrafting mouthpieces for professional trumpet players for over 50 years. Together, we are excited to bring a premium line of handcrafted mouthpieces to the trombone community, inspired by rare and vintage classics and modernized for the needs of today’s musician. Models are available in a variety of sizes from small and large tenor bass, trombone, euphonium as well. Custom sizes. We also have artist models available as used by David Reno. Jay Friedman and Charlie Vernon, visit Brass or trombone for more information. And remember to follow us on Instagram at the Brass ac and at Bobs Brass back to you John.

[0:02:01] John Snell: Well, here we are at the end of the year already, December uh can’t believe it this year has flown by and so many great memories. Uh In fact, we were just at uh Dylan music in New Jersey and had a lot of folks come out to try our uh Reeves brass arc mouthpieces. So big shout out to the Dylan music folk and uh to everyone who came out um not a whole lot going on in the shop. We’re just getting ready to uh finish out the year uh with a high note speak. Uh Noah, you got anything going on at the Brass ac. Yeah,

[0:02:30] Noah Gladstone: I got a couple of things coming along. Uh just had AAA lot of really nice instruments come in a really fine selection of bass trombones here at the end of the year. So, definitely make sure to jump on those before they disappear because I don’t think they’ll be around very long. And I did just get a big shipment of Matthias hola tuning slides for Bach 40 twos and Bach fifties in a variety of metal. I think I have a few gold brass seam ones left and a few seam copper ones as well. So, uh, those are hard to get and they take a long time to get them. So I do have some stock now. So if you’re thinking about making a slight adjustment to your, your gear, um, that would be really great to, you know, change one of these tuning slides out. They are plug and play for Bach 40 twos, uh 30 sixes and fifties. So, um, so that’s kind of a neat thing. And, uh, we’ve had a lot of mouthpiece sales lately. It’s been kind of exciting getting a lot of nice feedback from people that listen to the podcast and say, you know, uh they’re interested in the mouthpieces. So it’s, it’s really nice to, uh get that kind of feedback from people and make mouthpieces for them and, and make people happy. In fact, a funny story. Uh, my dear friend Mark Graham, who’s one of the uh elite, um, music copyist and orchestrators in L A calls me the other day and says, you know, um, hey, uh I’d had no idea you were, you were doing a podcast and I listened to it in my drive into the studios every morning. And, uh I love the conversations in your guests so much that I’ve been uh inspired to pick up uh the trombone again and, and so special. Shout out to Mark Graham who’s listening in his car driving to one of the stages and thanks for that. Uh Mark, it’s nice to get that feedback and uh we’re really happy that um our podcast is bringing people joy and uh enjoyment. So,

[0:04:14] John Snell: absolutely, that’s why we do it, you know, a goodwill. And uh we love talking, we love the trombone and uh and yeah, so, and also we’ve gotten some suggestions, uh guest suggestions. So, you know, if you want to send those along, John at Bob, uh with any guest suggestions or positive feedback and of course, any criticism Noah at Yeah. Yeah. Give me that joke. Never gets old, never gets old. And then real quick before we get to Megumi’s interview here. Uh We do have, we got a shipment of guard bags that came in and we got a fair amount of trombone cases, uh bass trombone, uh tenor trombone. And uh Robert Komer insisted we get some alto trombone cases. So, uh if you’re in need of a new uh guard bag, uh we have some of those in stock ready to ship. Those are hard to get in that. We, we ordered those a year ago. So that’s, uh that’s how hard it is to get those guard bags in and they’re awesome cases uh as well as mutes and all the other stuff we have at the shop. So, yeah, that’s all I have to talk about. Noah. Should we get to the interview? Let’s do it. All right. Here’s our interview with Megumi Kanda. Megumi Kanda has been the principal trombone of the Milwaukee symphony orchestra since 2002. She’s made a notable impact in the realms of performance, teaching and writing. Her journey in music began in Tokyo where she studied with Suo Miwa and led to her advanced education at the Cleveland Institute of Music under James DeSano. Megumi has performed globally including appearances in the United States, Europe and Asia. She’s known for her work with various orchestras and for premiering pieces by contemporary composers as an educator. She has been a guest faculty member at several prestigious music institutions and has given numerous master classes. Megumi has authored two books, The 100 Trombone Unlimited, which serve as a significant resource for trombonists. Her discography includes three solo albums, Amazing Grace Gloria and Mona Lisa, as well as the live recording, Magnifique live. These accomplishments along with her recognition by organizations in both Japan and the United States, highlight her contributions to the world of classical music. Without further ado, here’s our interview with Megumi Kanda. All right, joining us in the trombone corner today is Megumi Kanda. Megumi. Thank you for joining us. Oh,

[0:06:41] Megumi Kanda: thank you so much for having me. It’s my pleasure to be here.

[0:06:45] John Snell: Let’s talk about the trombone and let’s go straight from the beginning. How, how did you start playing the trombone? Did the trombone find you or did you seek out the trombone?

[0:06:54] Megumi Kanda: Um I did not seek out the trombone. Um, you know, I joined the band when I was 10 years old because my best friend, um, she started playing the clarinet and we used to walk to school every morning together, but now that she joined the band, she had to like, you know, go to the band practice before school and we couldn’t walk together anymore. So I thought, well, I’ll join the band too and, uh, maybe I’ll play the clarinet. So then I joined the band and, um, but, but then I was too late to join the band. So, of course, the clarinets are taken. And, um I thought, well, I know trumpet, but then the trumpets were taken too. Um, so then the teacher said, well, why don’t you go in the storage room and see what’s left over? And I go to

[0:07:46] Noah Gladstone: the storage over. That’s it. Yeah,

[0:07:49] Megumi Kanda: exactly. That’s the only thing that was left over. Just one beaten up trombone. That was the only thing left over. So I said, hey, well, I guess I’ll play this. So then I pick up the trombone and then I start playing it and I fell in love with it right away. Like I’ve never heard of a trombone. I had no idea how it goes. Um, but I just love the sound so much for them. You know, from the moment I played the trombone, I was obsessed with it. Um, but, you know, I’ve never heard of the trombone and usually the upperclassmen taught the younger people how to play the trombone, but then the trombone was so unpopular. There were no upperclassmen. Um, so, um, I used to put the trombone backwards and, uh, you know, I used the left hand for this slide. Um, it was, yeah, it was not good.

[0:08:44] John Snell: I, I love it. Yeah, maybe the most trombone answer ever. The trombone found you.

[0:08:52] Noah Gladstone: I think when you, when you’re talking about finding a sad trombone in the, in the storage room, I think we should put a sound effect like whoop, whoop. I mean, that’s maybe where Trones come from. No, just kidding. So, yeah. Yeah, you’re, you’re playing in middle school and, and you’re loving it. Uh When did you start to get serious about it? How did that, how did that come about?

[0:09:18] Megumi Kanda: You know, I think I’ve, I, um, I think from the moment I started playing the trombone, I was pretty much obsessed with it. Um, I didn’t really think about becoming a professional until I was probably seventh grade. But, you know, when I was, like, in, you know, sixth grade I, I do remember dreaming about playing recitals, you know, so, so I didn’t know they were like, you know, professional trombone players but, but I just, you know, always dreamed about being on stage with a trombone ever since I was, you know, pretty much ever since I started playing.

[0:10:03] John Snell: Amazing. Did you have any, any musicians in your family or was it any influences at a young age?

[0:10:09] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. Yeah. Actually my mom, um, she plays the piano and she, she was, you know, she’s amateur but she’s like a really good pianist. She’s a really good church pianist. So, um, yeah, my mom and I started playing at church, um, just a few months after I started playing the trombone. So, yeah, when I was in fourth grade I was playing, um, at the church services with my mom usually, you know, just playing some hymns. Yeah. So, um, and she, she, um, she did have a lot of, you know, influence on me. She used to, um, you know, she studied in Chicago and I guess there was this, um, radio show called Night Sound and, uh, there was this trombone player, Bill Pearce, um, and he would do a talk show and then he plays the trombone and he, and my mom used to listen to that show all of the time and you know, he has the sweetest sound and my mom always told me, you know, you picked the sweetest instrument ever and you have to play with a melted butter sound is what she always told me. So.

[0:11:22] John Snell: Oh, I love it.

[0:11:23] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. Yeah, I guess she did form my, uh, you know, kind of the idea for the sound, you know, melted butter.

[0:11:33] Noah Gladstone: I loved it, but I love it. I love it.

[0:11:36] John Snell: Makes me hungry.

[0:11:38] Noah Gladstone: Did you go to orchestra concerts or band concerts around like, you know, were you like going to a lot of concerts and listening to people play or completely isolated, kind of doing your own thing for a while or, you know, um what did that look like? When did you get like introduced to the orchestral repertoire?

[0:11:55] Megumi Kanda: You know, orchestra? It came kind of later. Um I didn’t go to that many concerts. I, I do remember here and there. Um I do remember one concert when I was 10 years old. Um There was the school concert and um we went to hear a professional orchestra. I have no idea which orchestra it was. Um But I do remember they played William Tell Overture and when the storm scene happened, I was just like, whoa, those trombones are so good. I want to play like that someday. So I, I do remember that educational concert but I did not go to like orchestra concerts on my own until ah maybe very end. Of high school. I was, I was more into all Christian Lindbergh cds. Oh, my gosh. I was listening to those all day. I just, I just loved his playing. So, yeah, I, I was listening to those all the time. Yeah. So good. So good. So, yeah, so

[0:13:11] Noah Gladstone: private lessons around this.

[0:13:13] Megumi Kanda: I started taking private lessons, uh, when I was in seventh grade and, and I remember I was so excited. Oh, you know, private lessons. I, you know, I didn’t come from a very wealthy family. So private lessons were actually quite a challenge to, um, take, I couldn’t take lessons every week. Um I only, you know, my family could only afford a lesson once a month. So, um, oh, I was so excited to go to private lessons and after the lessons I would write everything down in a notebook. Um, because I knew, you know, everybody’s going to a lesson every week and I can only go every four weeks. So I can’t let the teacher say the same thing again. So I would write everything down on a notebook. So he will never have to say the same thing to me twice.

[0:14:10] John Snell: Wow. I love it. I should get

[0:14:13] Noah Gladstone: my daughter to come take some lessons with. You

[0:14:16] John Snell: get in line. But my sons too, I could probably learn a thing or two as well, actually. So, Megumi, uh you went to a famous musical high school in Tokyo? Can you tell us how, first of all about that school, Tohu, uh, school, right. And, uh, Tohu High School, how you got in and what that school is all about.

[0:14:40] Megumi Kanda: Oh, gosh, that, that school, um, they always say they’re the second hardest selfish school in the world. Um, so Paris Conservatory is the hardest and Toho high school is the second hardest. It’s so hard to get in, like, um, like with the selfish and ear training. Um there, there’s this entrance exam and all these kids are taking lessons on like music theory, selfish and, you know, ear training since they’re like six years old. And then here I am a trombone player that shows up when I’m 15 and I’m like, I want to, I want to go to the Toho High School and the teacher starts laughing. It’s like, no, you’re not going to make it on time. You don’t have enough ear training skills. So actually I spent about three hours a day uh doing ear training. Um

[0:15:37] John Snell: Yeah,

[0:15:38] Megumi Kanda: you’re kidding. I mean that, that your training is so hard to get into that school. It’s um usually, um you know, there’s like four voices kind of like a bach counterpoint and then the teacher will play it four times and there are four separate voices you’re not allowed to write until she plays it four times. And then she says, go and then we have to write all the parts. It was really

[0:16:08] John Snell: a 15 year old

[0:16:11] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. So, so, yeah, so, trombone, I knew it was not a problem. I could play the piano well, too. So that was no problem. But my gosh, the ear training. Oh, that was insane. So, I just record, you know, once again I couldn’t take lessons because, you know, we didn’t have enough money. So I would, um, get an ear training book and then I would record everything on the piano on a cassette player. Um, and then, um, I would just record like three books in a row. So I don’t remember how any of the pieces would go and, and then I would have like three cassette tapes, you know, full of ear training stuff and then I will play it back and then work on it that way. That was a lot of work.

[0:16:58] John Snell: Yeah. So, how, how long did you do that? I mean, how we talking about months or a year or?

[0:17:03] Megumi Kanda: Um, yeah, I crammed it in, uh, in one year. Yeah. And, and so we

[0:17:11] John Snell: got in

[0:17:12] Megumi Kanda: it worked. Yeah. Yeah, it worked. Oh, gosh. Yeah. It, it was so much work and selfish was really hard too. Like, usually you just do some, some sight reading. Um, but we have to read like five Clefts. Um, you know, we had to do, you know, of course, Treble bass and then there’s the soprano class. Um, you know, mezzo soprano, alto and tenor is easy but soprano and mezzo soprano. Clef I mean, gosh, come on and then, so you read that and it changes it, it’s kind of like a blazevic exercise. You know, it changes clefts and not only that it does that you have to do like rhythms with your hand and your feet. Um, so that, that was a lot of training too.

[0:17:57] John Snell: That’s incredible. I mean, that’s more rigorous than, like, a lot of the graduate degrees here at the US. And this is high school. This

[0:18:05] Megumi Kanda: is high school. Yeah. So gosh, these kids, yeah, they start doing this at, you know, age six. So yeah, I was totally behind but, but um you know, after cramming it in for a year, I did get in the high school itself. I was the only trombone player and it was mostly maybe half piano players and um the rest of them was mostly violin players, maybe two cello players.

[0:18:34] John Snell: So, mostly strings and pianos, the lonely trombone, lonely trombone. So, so what, what did you work on? Did you work on then? Primarily solo literature or what, what was the training like during high school

[0:18:50] Megumi Kanda: during high school? Yeah, mostly it was um solo literature. And um there was also um so there was the Toho high school and there is Toho College. Uh and then there were trombone players in the uh the music college. So they were nice enough to always include me. So um they would invite me to play with their trombone choir and they would invite me to play with their um orchestra, which was really fun. And um yeah, and then we would have exchange programs uh with different uh schools from around the world. Uh When I was there, the Curtis Institute came over, um maybe like 20 of them uh came over and then we got to hang out with them. So that was really fun. And we got to play stuff with them. New World Symphony came too back then. So, um Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And they were, they were all so nice since I was the only, you know, the only high school trombone player. They were like, oh, come play with us. So they, they all always invited me to um the college events. So, so it was, yeah. And then there was um the Karan Academy from uh Berlin came over too. So, so I did get to hang out quite a bit with um people from around the world, make many friends and um it, it did make me look outside of Japan, you know, all these people that came to visit, it was like these guys are really good. What am I doing here? Like I should get out of here.

[0:20:29] John Snell: So that, that leads to your choice of universities, correct? After you graduated?

[0:20:34] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I knew I wanted to get out of Japan for sure because, you know, I, I heard these great people outside of Japan and I knew there was a, a bigger world out there, you know, so I wanted to be in a bigger world too, uh, and hang out with better players. So, yeah, so, um, I knew I wanted to leave Japan but I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. Um US was definitely a big possibility because, you know, my mom’s from the US and I thought, well, you know, and I’m a, you know, I was born a US citizen. So I’m like, well, yeah, maybe I should go see, you know, what US is all about. Um So um one time I went to this uh brass seminar that Yamaha was doing and there was a trumpet teacher um from uh the Metropolitan Opera Mark Gould. Um He was one of the teachers. Yeah. So I talked to him and I said, hey, what do you think about me studying in the US? And he was like, yeah, that sounds good. Let me think about it. Um And then, and then uh and that was that and then a few months later, um you know, back then we had a fax machine, right? Um I, so this, this, you know, the fax machine spits out a paper. Um It’s like a letter um and it’s from uh Jim Deano who um you know, is the principal, you know, who, who was the principal trombone player of the Cleveland orchestra. And uh he says we will be in Japan, come play for me. And I’m

[0:22:28] John Snell: like, really just out of the blue. You just got a fax from the principal of Cleveland. Yeah. And

[0:22:34] Megumi Kanda: he says come play for me on this day. And it’s like, OK, like, so, so I think Mark Gould talked to his student, Mike Sachs who plays, you know, uh principal in the Cleveland orchestra and then Mike Sachs talked to Jim Deano and then they were coming to Japan. So then I show up to their Yeah. Yeah. Oh, it’s so random. Um So, so then I show up to play for him and I think it’s a lesson and um and then Jim Darnell is there and then Mike sacks, the principal trumpet player is listening to and I’m thinking, gosh, this is a really weird lesson. Um And then I finished playing and they say, great. We’ll see you in September and I’m like, whoa,

[0:23:22] John Snell: that was your audition? Oh, man,

[0:23:29] Megumi Kanda: I had no idea it was an audition and I, I’ve, you know, honestly, I mean, I grew up in Japan, I heard of New York um maybe California, but I’ve never heard of Cleveland. Um But then they invited me to hear the concert that night and then I heard the Cleveland orchestra and I went, wow, what is up with these people? It sounds so good. So, so I think that’s the moment I fell in love with orchestral playing when I heard the Cleveland orchestra Yeah. But it, it was really random. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s like, oh, and after that it’s, it’s all just like, it’s been all about orchestra after that for

[0:24:15] John Snell: me. I love it. I love it. Do you, I mean, I, I have to ask, do you remember what you played in your, in your lesson? That was actually an audition.

[0:24:23] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. You know, I think I was, uh, working on Castra, uh, Sonatina at that time. Mhm.

[0:24:33] John Snell: Yeah. It was

[0:24:36] Noah Gladstone: unusual. That’s a quirky feast.

[0:24:39] Megumi Kanda: Yeah, it is quirky and cute. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, I had no idea. It was an audition. It was, you know, and my English was funky too. So it was just like a, you know, one mi one misunderstanding after another and I had no idea and I, I guess I realized that I was really going to Cleveland when they sent me a letter saying congratulations, welcome to the Cleveland Institute of Music. And I was like, whoa, ok.

[0:25:11] John Snell: Amazing. Did you apply any anywhere else or were you had, did you have anything else on your radar or that just that fell in your lab?

[0:25:19] Megumi Kanda: Not really, um you know, since money was always tight for us, uh we thought about Curtis, um but that was the bass trombone year and um I talked to um Glenn Dodson um when he was in Japan too and he said, hey, if you switch to bass trombone, you can come. Um But iii I don’t think I’m much of a bass trombone player. You know, it’s, I don’t know, you have to have the right personality in unrefined. Right. Right. I’m, I’m definitely a tenor person.

[0:25:56] John Snell: Oh, my gosh, you guys sound like trumpet players now.

[0:26:03] Noah Gladstone: Well, you don’t have to deal with the bass trumpet players. Uh, but we do. That’s true. That’s

[0:26:07] John Snell: true.

[0:26:08] Noah Gladstone: That’s true. Always people in a bad mood when you’re playing bass trumpet, I find it’s just the instrument makes people grumpy. It’s such a temperamental beast. Yeah,

[0:26:19] Megumi Kanda: you can’t, you can’t sound good no matter what.

[0:26:24] Noah Gladstone: Just a couple of moments, someone’s like, oh, what’s that? Beautiful? Oh, never mind. Couple good licks and then some really hard stuff that no one hears and then uh lots of exposed stuff where you can really make a fool of yourself.

[0:26:37] Megumi Kanda: So, totally. Yeah,

[0:26:39] Noah Gladstone: indeed. Indeed. Um So then you, you’re in Cleveland and yeah. Yeah. Oh gosh, culture shock. Totally different, right?

[0:26:51] Megumi Kanda: Oh, my gosh, completely different. Um Yeah, I, you know, I was actually visiting um I, I visited Cleveland Institute of Music for the first time in like 25 years just this last month and I realized how lost I was the whole time I was there. I mean, my, my English was, I mean, OK, so there’s this test um back then um it’s called TOEFL test and back then the cut off line was 500 points to get into um a college and I came here with 501 point so. Bare minimum. Bare minimum. So, um, yeah, yeah, big, big culture shock. I, I never understood like, the sense of humor, you know, like sarcasm. I thought everything was real for about two years. Um, um So, yeah, the culture shock was huge and then on top of that I got injured my first year, like, like maybe three months in my first year and uh at CIM I got injured so I couldn’t play the trombone anymore. So, you know, um yeah, 1819 years old, that was a really tough time, completely lost with no family and you know, you get injured. So, yeah. Um

[0:28:28] John Snell: can we talk, can we talk about that a little bit? Like what was that like? I mean, being that age being halfway across the world, I mean, what was going through your mind and, and then how did you cope with that?

[0:28:38] Megumi Kanda: Gosh. Yeah. So, um you know, so the injury came about because um you know, I over practiced, you know, I’m, I always had the tendency of practicing too much but, you know, I got too excited, you know, I was in a new place like Cleveland and I had a great teacher, great orchestra around. So um yeah, I was, I was practicing really insane amount. Um Yeah, and then it came to a point that I couldn’t even hold a note, you know. Um Yeah, not, not even a single note. Um, so, yeah, so I took, you know, I went to a doctor and, you know, they said it’s probably just overuse. So, don’t touch the trombone for eight weeks, don’t do anything on it. So I locked the trombone up. Um, and then after eight weeks, you know, he said try it and then that’s when you will decide if, um, you know, you may be healed, you may not be healed, but maybe you’ll find a way to go forward. So, you know, so during those eight weeks, I’m thinking, gosh, ok, you know, everything since I was 10 years old, you know, my passion has been trombone and like, you know, this, this could be gone. So then I started thinking, ok, what is my next career? Um And I tried to imagine myself doing something else. Um, you know, doctor sounded kind of fun but then it’s just not me, you know. Um So I thought about it but I just couldn’t find anything else. Um, that I wanted to do. So, yeah, while I was waiting for eight weeks, um you know, you do need an outlet. Um So I did a lot of painting, painting pictures and I went to the Cleveland orchestra rehearsal and concert every day and uh you know, they were playing BTEC at that time. So I had a score and I was like, ok, I’m going to like, you know, learn everything about BTEC. So I would have like, you know, different projects going on to um you know, try to distract me from wanting to practice. So, yeah, so it was really, really hard. Um uh Yeah, it was almost like, uh you know, like what has been my identity was going to be gone, you know, but, but, you know, that, that, that kind of stuff teaches you a lesson. Like, you know, actually trombone is not my only identity, you know, that’s how I speak. I speak through the trombone, but that’s not who I am, you know, so, so experiences like this, um you know, I think it makes you grow that way. Um So then after eight weeks, I get the trombone out, I tried to play and I still can’t play, you know, it’s like, yeah, it’s still like, I can’t hold a note. So then I’m like, oh gosh, OK, what do I do now? But then this is where I, you know, I had a great teacher, Jim Deano. He was a really, really great teacher and he said, well, you can’t hold a note. Can you buzz your lips and then I tried to buzz my lips and I can buzz. It’s like I just can’t put the mouthpiece on my face. So then he says, well, can you keep the same setup as free buzzing and then keep the same air speed as free buzzing? Can you buzz the mouthpiece and I try it and I can buzz the mouth piece. Hm. So, and then he said, ok, then try keeping the same setup and there’s the same air speed, um, as the free buzz on the trombone, see if you can play a note and then I could play a note. So, so I made a complete shift. Like, um, my lips were not usable anymore, but it’s, you know, it was like, I relied more on the muscles around the lips and relied more on the air. Then it was like, you know, it was almost like you didn’t need chops. All your lips had to do was to vibrate like it couldn’t support any weight, but with bigger muscles I could play again. So, um, yeah, I do remember, um, the first day I came back, I played a one Octave B flat major scale and I was so happy. It probably

[0:33:44] John Snell: sounded weird. Oh

[0:33:46] Megumi Kanda: gosh. Yeah. And it was, I mean, I was so, so happy and I thought, gosh, you know what if one octave V flat major scale is all, all I can play for the rest of my life, I’ll be happy and, and I will consider every note that I can play from now on a gift. So, so there is like a major shift uh in my attitude, you know, it until then. Um, you know, I used to feel, I guess a lot of pressure to be good. Um Yeah, I never, I never talked to you about my nerve problems, you know, when I was in high school and stuff. Oh, gosh, I had the worst nerve problem you’ve ever seen, you know, it was so much. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Um, it, it may be partly, like, cultural too, you know, it’s, you know, I grew up in Japan and maybe the society is that way. But, um, yeah, there was so much pressure, um, that every time I performed I was throwing up backstage.

[0:35:01] John Snell: Whoa,

[0:35:04] Megumi Kanda: yeah. And then um you know, usually the morning of a performance, I would have a fever

[0:35:13] John Snell: so that your mind was affecting your physical body to that extent that.

[0:35:20] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. And then also, but then, then the worst curse was um I would get cold sores on my lip on the day of the performance. So,

[0:35:30] Noah Gladstone: so it’s like almost manifesting in you and you’re manifesting your own downfall in a sense of pressure.

[0:35:38] Megumi Kanda: So I had Yeah, totally. So I had that um you know, starting um I think from like 13 years old until I um got over that injury, you know, but, but then going through the injury, it’s my um uh outlook really changed that. It’s like, you know, every note I can play is a gift. Um So it was not anymore like I have to play good, you know, it’s like this is one more note than I thought I could play, you know. So, so yeah, so looking back, yeah. It was like the biggest gift looking back. But it’s, um, gosh, that was not a fun time to go through.

[0:36:25] John Snell: I can’t, I can’t, well, I can’t imagine. I mean, I know a lot of our customers and I’ve other people on the podcast have had various degrees of performance anxiety or whatever, you know, whatever vocal Estonia. Yeah. Um but, and it’s, and I appreciate you talking about it because, you know, first of all, there’s stigmas about those things, you know, still in, you know, in our, our, our fields, which is amazing because, you know, it shouldn’t be, we’re all human and we all go through these similar experiences. Um So, I mean, I was, it was it really that, you know, that you had it taken away from you so that every note was a gift as you say, was that really what mentally got you through that? I mean,

[0:37:08] Noah Gladstone: Disano, I’m sure helped also. I mean, he was such a every dishonor student that I meet always sounds great. He, he must have been really, really a terrific teacher. Oh, he was so much sound and, and character. Oh look, the cat is making an appearance. Here we go. Oh, ok. The cat is making her appearance. It’s not a trombone corner without the cat making an appearance. Sorry. Ok, I digress, please. Oh, no, I

[0:37:37] Megumi Kanda: wish my cats would show up too. Yeah, but you know, actually, so yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of stigma for the nerve problems. And, you know, when I was, uh you know, going into music, actually, uh one of my, like my band director at school said you should not go into music because you’re too fragile. Um uh But, but, you know, but I heard a story of uh Pavarotti, you know, Luciano Pavarotti um that he used to throw up every time he sang too. And I thought, gosh, you know, if, yeah, if the greatest singer was throwing up and then I got a chance too. So that’s, that’s why I like to talk about it because nobody talked about it. You know, when I was a kid, I mean, they said just give it up, you’re, you’re just, you’re just too sensitive, you’re too, too fragile. Um But hey, you know, he got over it, I got over it. So,

[0:38:41] John Snell: you know, I love it. I love it. And you persevered, you didn’t, you didn’t give up even though you couldn’t play, even though you went through all that physical trauma. You, you know, you knew there were still notes to notes to put out into the world. So, um so, I mean, after that, the B flat scale, uh you know, the things just start coming back again. What did that look like?

[0:39:03] Megumi Kanda: Oh, you know, it’s a, it’s a slow process. So, uh you know, when you come back from an injury, um Well, it’s like I had to do things absolutely right in order to play without pain. So, you know, it took so much focus that I couldn’t play for more than three minutes in a correct way because I’m relearning everything. So I started, um, uh, three minutes, three times a day. So morning, three minutes and then after lunch, three minutes, evening, three minutes, but then try to, like, really focus on the new way of playing. Um, and I remember I started playing in March and I set a goal. Um, you know, one of, one of the things that the doctor said when I went to see him, um, is that when you come back from an injury, often it becomes not a physical problem but a mental problem, like you get scared of playing in public and I did not want to be that scared person. So I set up a goal even though I could only play three minutes at a time in March. I said in September, there’s an international competition. I’m going to that and play in front of the whole world.

[0:40:37] John Snell: Five months, March March or six months. My math is terrible. March to September,

[0:40:44] Megumi Kanda: to September. Yeah, I can’t, I can’t count either. Um Yeah, and then, um the requirement was to play nine pieces in this um, international competition. So, you know, it was really slow at, at first it was three minutes at a time until August. I could only do three minutes at a time. But I, I’m still signed up to go to Europe.

[0:41:13] John Snell: Yeah, you’re a month

[0:41:14] Megumi Kanda: away. I’m a month away. Yeah. And then in August I could play 15 minutes at a time and then, uh, about two weeks before the international competition I was like, I can play all nine pieces in a row. So, so it was like, slow, slow, slow, slow, slow and then, ok, it’s getting better and then it was like wing, you know, I got way better and you know, um that international competition that was a really interesting experience. I mean, you know, obviously I was not going there to win. I was there to um not be scared of playing, you know, that, that’s why I chose the biggest place I could think of. Um And um yeah, there were two people that made comments about my playing and um so one of one of the people that made the comments, it was um a couple of Japanese guys that was always, you know, following me and they thought I was the biggest star. Um They said you’re the biggest disappointment ever. Yeah. So, so, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And then right after that, I ran into uh Ron Baron who um you know, so, so back then he was playing um uh principal in Boston Symphony. And um he was one of the judges and he said, you know what? You missed, you, you missed too many notes, but you are my favorite. And I was like, whoa, that’s amazing. Like he could hear what I wanted to say even though I’m like, barely playing, you know. Um So, so that was such an encouraging um thing. Um So, so, you know. Yeah. So, so that’s another attitude shift, you know, it’s like I’m not playing for you guys that’s looking for perfection. I’m like trying to say something through my playing even if I’m not, you know, in top shape,

[0:43:30] John Snell: even if the notes aren’t there. Yeah. Wow. And I mean, I want something you said there though, you said, I mean, you purposely chose this big international festival to prove to yourself that you could do it without feeling pressure. Is that what I’m understanding correctly? Yeah.

[0:43:50] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. And also I think after you get injured, it’s like you have to make a decision uh to say like that is, you know, like everything before that is the past me and, and that international competition for me was the new me starting point in public.

[0:44:11] John Snell: Yeah. Great, great. Yeah. And you know, we were talking about the mental aspects of the physical injury or even just the mental uh issues. Um You know, the, the, the how you reframe something that’s really ne we would consider really negative to something that’s now going to propel you forward is uh I mean, it was such amazing advice. Um How did you uh during this after the, the competition, the things just keep steamrolling and going in the, in the right direction for you. Did you have any other missteps along along your recovery?

[0:44:42] Megumi Kanda: No. Um, you know, uh, I did not have any more missteps. It’s, um, you know, I, you know, I, I think this coming back from the injury has really trained me to, uh, really focus on the right things. Like, you know, I used to practice for like, hours and hours without like, really thinking. And now after the injury, I’m like, uh I was really focusing on what I need to be doing and I made sure that I never strayed off track. Um So there has not been any missteps since then, you know, so, so, yeah, like even practicing, you know, I always break up the practice and I always say it’s better to practice for a short time and really focus on what you have to do than to practice for a long time and just kind of stays out.

[0:45:40] John Snell: Mhm. Great advice. And, uh after you actually, you, you, you won your first position while you’re still in school, right? Or towards the end of your year’s time in Cleveland. Yeah.

[0:45:52] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. Yeah, I, I went to Cleveland for three years and um, yeah, in the, in September of my fourth year, I won the principal trombone position with the Albany Symphony in Albany, New York. And I think that timing was just right. Um I was at a point that, um, I needed to go out there. You know, sometimes, you know, some stages you need your teacher to tell you what to do and then there’s a stage that you have to go out and do it yourself and that way you learn. So, so the timing was just right. Um, I made a commute from Cleveland to Albany, New York. There was an eight hour commute in the snow belt. Um, yeah. Yeah. Quite the drive. Yeah. Eerie.

[0:46:51] John Snell: You have to do that.

[0:46:53] Megumi Kanda: I would do it about once or twice a month.

[0:46:59] John Snell: Oh, man, that’s dedication.

[0:47:04] Noah Gladstone: The trombone makes you do crazy things. John, you don’t understand, you know.

[0:47:12] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. But it, it was, it was so much fun though, you know, I, I died a few, I mean, I almost died a few times, you know, Buffalo, New York, my gosh, their snow is so bad. Um, yeah. Complete whiteout. Yeah, so much. Um, but, you know, I did it.

[0:47:33] John Snell: What would, what would you do in the car? You buzz your mouthpiece a little bit or, I mean, that’s before podcasts, right? So, I mean, listen to listen to.

[0:47:41] Megumi Kanda: Well, um, yeah. Yeah. You know, so one of my favorite things is to listen to Sibelius in a snowstorm. It’s so much fun. Um, so that was one of my favorite. Yeah. So, yeah, like it just makes sound so beautiful in a snowstorm. Yeah. And then I had a, uh, you know, I would do karaoke half of the time. Um, so I’m just like, singing pretty much the whole time. Oh, and then back then this is before cell phones. I mean, we, you know, we had a thing called like, car phones but it was like, so expensive you couldn’t use it. So I used to have a CV radio

[0:48:26] John Snell: and listen to the truckers and, yeah,

[0:48:29] Megumi Kanda: listen to the truckers and the policeman and see what, you know what they’re up, dude.

[0:48:37] John Snell: That’s awesome. Did you ever get the nerve to talk back to him and say 10, 49, I got to go up ahead.

[0:48:44] Megumi Kanda: Well, I, no, I never had the nerve to talk to them but, you know, I, I was, I was prepared to talk to them, you know, if I ever got in trouble on the road, then the truckers were the only ones that could rescue me, you know, that back in those days when there were no cell phones. So, yeah, but, but that was kind of fun. Yeah.

[0:49:04] John Snell: Wow. So you, you were at, um, up in Albany? Albany? How did it come around that you ended up in, uh Milwaukee where you’ve been for now? What, 20 years?

[0:49:14] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, let’s see. So between Albany and Milwaukee there is one year of Rochester which, oh, this is kind of a fun story too though. Rochester,

[0:49:28] John Snell: maybe we should talk about that. I didn’t want to skip over Rochester. You got a lot of friends from Eastman out there. So we don’t want to offend them. So, yeah. Yeah. So tell us your Rochester story. Ok, so

[0:49:39] Megumi Kanda: the Rochester story. Ok. So, um I Rochester was not on my radar at all actually. Um when, when the Rochester audition was um announced I was in Japan and I did not see the ad, but my roommate saw it and she sent in a check for me and she, she forged a check for me. Um And then in my mind, there was an audition the day before Rochester, it was in Montreal and in my mind, I was going to win that one. Um So, um, but I didn’t, I mean, it was such a horrible gosh. Um in the finals, I let go of the slide in the middle of um, William Tell and the slide flew across the stage and, oh, it was a freak show. Um So, so then I, yeah, it’s like, oh, here it goes. So, um you know, so, so I’m in Montreal and I’m like, really mad that I, you know, my slide flew across um the stage and I’m, you know, call my roommate and I’m like, oh my gosh, this is so much, you know, like, so trash. Um And it’s 11 p.m. and she says, hey, did you know that there’s an audition in Rochester tomorrow morning? And I sent the check in for you. Are you gonna go take that audition? And I’m like, 11 pm in Montreal. It probably takes eight hours to get to Rochester. If I drove all night I’ll be there on time. Yeah, I’ll take that audition. So then I drive all night from Montreal to Rochester. I get in, uh, around 8 a.m. and, um, and I show up to this audition and I have no idea what’s on the list because I never paid attention to it. I didn’t even see the ad. Um So, um most of the pieces I have played, but I’ve never played um Shahrazad second trombone part. So then I have no idea how it goes. So there was this, you know, really kind looking guy and I’m like, hey, what’s your interpretation of Shahrazad? And then he shows me and I’m like, yeah, thank you. Thank you. You sound great. So that’s uh that’s, yeah, that’s how I got into Rochester. So that’s great,

[0:52:12] Noah Gladstone: great story.

[0:52:14] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. So, so sometimes, you know, you, you just gotta be prepared all the time and, you know, not surprises can happen, you know, like I was gonna win the other job and it’s like, ok, um I got into Rochester and actually that’s where I met my husband. Um he’s um he was a French horn player in Rochester. So, you know, I even found a husband and I was only there for one year, but it was a great time.

[0:52:46] Noah Gladstone: Preston is a French horn player. So he had to turn his camera on. He

[0:52:49] John Snell: approves.

[0:52:50] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. French horn players are awful.

[0:52:54] John Snell: Yeah. Oh, man. Well, I’m glad you shared that story. That’s, uh,

[0:52:58] Noah Gladstone: yeah, you never know when a door is gonna open and, you know, you have to take the opportunity when the opportunity presents.

[0:53:06] Megumi Kanda: Totally. Totally.

[0:53:08] John Snell: And always think on your feet. That’s, uh, yeah, although, I mean, you probably don’t recommend your students now to, uh, learn the, learn the excerpt and ask, ask for advice the day of the morning of the audition, right?

[0:53:22] Noah Gladstone: Desperate times for desperate measures.

[0:53:24] Megumi Kanda: That’s right. That’s right.

[0:53:27] Noah Gladstone: Excellent. Excellent. So then, then you win Milwaukee after

[0:53:32] Megumi Kanda: that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I was, I was, I was in Rochester for a year and a half and then the Milwaukee audition came up. It was actually a, a week and a half after. Um my husband and I started dating. Um So anyway, but, you know, um I, I uh yeah, I don’t know. I always, I always thought I was going to be living next to a great lake. So when Milwaukee, uh you know, came up, I was like, hey, it’s next to Lake Michigan. Maybe this is the place. Um So yeah, so then I came to Milwaukee. Yeah, it’s, it’s been 20 years. Great times.

[0:54:21] John Snell: That’s that. Do, do you remember that audition as well? Was that uh Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You talking about it or was it just,

[0:54:29] Megumi Kanda: gee that, that audition? It was more straightforward. There was nothing outrageous like the other auditions. Um I, I guess I remember um hiding in the ladies room though. Uh, you know, like in an audition sometimes, you know, it gets like, you know, sometimes it’s like, you know, uh people start doing like shop talk and, you know, like, uh play high notes and, you know, stuff. So my favorite place um in auditions, especially back then when I was like, the only girl and an audition, I would just go hide in the ladies bathroom because then you would have a, you know, private room and nobody will ever come in there. So um all I remember is I was hiding out in the lady’s room and, and then they’re like, where’s number 60? And it’s like, I’m just hiding out and it’s like you gotta play the next round. I’m just chilling in the bathroom.

[0:55:37] John Snell: No one could find you. No one would dare come in to see if you were in there. Wow.

[0:55:43] Megumi Kanda: So, yeah, so, so they were totally looking for me and stuff. Um But yeah, other than that, it was like, really straightforward and yeah. Yeah. Really, really great times.

[0:55:55] John Snell: Yeah. And you had mentioned earlier, you know, there’s things that you learn from your teacher and then there’s things you have to go out on your own to, to learn. Uh I mean, in your years with the symphony, I mean, what are, can you speak to some of the things you had to learn on your own, playing in a major symphony with a, you know, heavy season touring, things like that. Yeah.

[0:56:14] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. Um Well, I guess one of the challenges when I joined Milwaukee was um uh that it was a very mature, mature section like everybody was um you know, 50 something, 60 something. And then here’s, you know, a young girl that shows up as a principal, you know. So, so that was actually kind of a, a learning experience for me like, OK, so how am I gonna be a principal um with a really experienced section. Um And one of the things that I le learned quickly is um you know, the respect you show your colleagues comes straight back to you, you know, so like if you’re like a young, you know, principal that comes in and you’re like, oh do this, do that, do that to like, you know, a bunch of experienced people like that’s not gonna go well, you know, they have more experience in you and you gotta be open to like their suggestion because, you know, they’ve been there forever. So, you know, um showing respect for what they know and what they can teach you then, then they want to help you out, you know, and, and make a, a really good section together. So that was uh that was definitely something I learned uh in Milwaukee and uh gosh, playing in a symphony is busy, like, gosh, you always have like, you know, a bunch of stack of music and then, you know, if you like mix in some recitals on top of that, um It gets really tricky and um the thing that I always try to do is advance planning, like, you know, just, just plan everything out, like way early so that you have plenty of time to, you know, prepare for everything. Um So, yeah, right now I’m practicing things that I’m playing like a year from now, you know,

[0:58:27] Noah Gladstone: just, you know. Yeah. So you’re not cramming. It’s, it’s, it is, it is important, I think. Absolutely. Absolutely. I have a, I have a fun question for you. Um, is there a piece in the repertoire that when you see it come up in the calendar that you’re like, I am so excited to play this piece even though you’ve played it a bunch of times.

[0:58:50] Megumi Kanda: Oh, my gosh. You know, I’m kind of weird that way. I’m usually excited about everything. Um, you know, it’s, you know, when people ask me, like, oh, what is your favorite piece? It’s like, usually it’s like anything that I’m playing at the moment. I’m like, I just love this piece, like, um, you know, whatever I’m playing. Yeah.

[0:59:15] John Snell: Unless it’s snowing and then it’s Sebelius. Yeah.

[0:59:17] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. Yeah. When it’s snowing it’s like, oh, hands down seus. Um,

[0:59:21] Noah Gladstone: it snows a lot in Wisconsin too.

[0:59:24] Megumi Kanda: Oh, gosh. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like Yeah, when it’s a snowstorm, let’s just listen to all seus symphonies. Um, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s hard to say. I mean, mahler symphonies are always really exciting to play and it’s kind of weird, but I love Stravinsky. Like, I think he’s really cool. Um, yeah, the only pieces that I don’t like is like, you know, like mathematical music that doesn’t have any emotion, you know, it can be kind of mathematical as long as there’s like an emotional connections that we can make. Um But, but when a music is more like an object or a noise and I hate those. Um But other than that, usually I’m like, oh, this piece is so cool. I love it is um how I feel like, no matter how many times I play,

[1:00:22] Noah Gladstone: that’s great. That’s great. Well, then you’ll never get bored. Yeah,

[1:00:26] Megumi Kanda: I’m, I’m never bored. Yeah. You know, the, the, I think the thing about like orchestral music or, or like classical music, there’s so many layers and it’s so intricate that every time you play, you hear something you’ve never heard before. And, and I, you know, I haven’t been bored, uh ever, like what, I’ve been professional for like, 20 like, over 25 years, I’m not bored yet. Every time it’s fun. So, we’ll

[1:00:58] Noah Gladstone: see how trombone is the least boring instrument I think of all of them. So, totally

[1:01:02] Megumi Kanda: trombone is so awesome.

[1:01:05] Noah Gladstone: It is, it is a perfect, it is a perfect instrument. I mean, let’s just accept it.

[1:01:10] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. Yeah, totally. And then when you play with the section, the blend is just like, oh, you know, let me blend is just so, yeah, it is the best. It’s so much fun.

[1:01:19] Noah Gladstone: Everybody respects the trombones even though they, you know, they don’t want to admit it, but they all respect the trombone. I love when, you know, you play a beautiful Corral and then all of your colleagues turn around and look at you and they never look at you, but like you’ll play the mall or Corral or, or, or, or Brahms and you know, they’ll turn around, the viola will turn around and look and be like, oh, wow, that’s, that’s really nice and it’s a satisfying moment.

[1:01:43] Megumi Kanda: Oh, totally.

[1:01:44] John Snell: Isn’t, isn’t there a famous line? Like you don’t look at the trombones? It only encourages them, right? Like

[1:01:50] Noah Gladstone: attributed to Strauss, I think. But yeah. Wonderful, wonderful. Um Tell me about your, your colleague, Gary Greenhoe because you play a Greenhoe trombone and, oh, he was in your section when he was developing his instrument. So I’d love to nerd out a little bit just about because you were there while he’s kind of building the bones. And I’d love to hear just about your interactions with him and I know his design concepts and you play a Greenhoe. So, uh what was it like when you got your first Greenhoe trombone?

[1:02:19] Megumi Kanda: Oh gosh. Yeah. So um, well, before the trombone and I got to tell you a little bit about Gary. Gary, you know, we don’t look at alike at all. He’s like 6 ft seven and, you know, he’s definitely, uh, you know, definitely a man. Um, but I, you know, when we play, we were like twins, like the long lost twins and often when we played something together, we would just look at each other and it’s like, that’s how it goes, you know, um you know, he studied with um Remond then and Jim Deano studied with Rein then too. So it was, you know, we, our age was like, you know, 40 years different, but it was like, we were, you know, we studied with the same teacher and every time we played, it was um when we played together, it was really a magical experience. So, um yeah, I just absolutely loved playing with Gary. So, um yeah, so then he started making the green hole trombones and of course, um you know, the sound concept is like, yeah, this is how it should sound naturally because, you know, we’re, we’re basically the same person when it comes to playing. So, um yeah, it was, it was really fascinating. Um He was always thinking about a new design, you know, during the rehearsals and he would be writing down notes and um and then, you know, sometimes he would bring in a new trombone that he just made. Um and then he would have me try it and, and, and then we would just talk about it and, um, you know, sometimes I liked it so much that I would never give it back. Um

[1:04:11] Noah Gladstone: I mean, it’s kind of fun to be part of the R and D department for a trombone maker.

[1:04:16] Megumi Kanda: Oh, yeah, it was so much fun. And then sometimes we were really bored and we were drawing, um, you know, Gary was coming up coming up with the logo for Green Hole and you know, I was like, yeah, we should put some oak leaves on it. Um And uh and then I, I said we should put some acorns on it. Um And then later on the acorns got taken away because it looked really wrong. We put two acorns on it but there,

[1:04:54] Noah Gladstone: this is the trivia that nobody knows except on the trombone corner. So I love,

[1:05:00] Megumi Kanda: yeah, there’s only like three trombones with acorns on it and then it was like, it looks really cool. We should put it away. So yeah, there should be about three out there. But you know, it, it was really, really fun. Oh, there was one time Gary brought in a um just as an experiment, he brought in a nickel bell trombone. And now that that was really interesting, it was like a laser tone. It definitely had charm, but then it didn’t blend as well. So, so it was really like, you know, really fun to try out, you know, like great instruments that he keeps bringing in and it, yeah, it was just like, so much fun to have somebody that had, I mean, but it basically my twin, you know, we, we were twins, uh, when it comes to playing so much fun. Yeah,

[1:05:51] Noah Gladstone: that’s great. Now, I heard a rumor that you may be working on an alto trombone with, uh, with Shy and Greenhill right now. Is that, is that true? Yeah.

[1:06:00] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, we have been um, yes, uh you know, uh Jay Friedman and um, I uh yeah, we uh went to Green Hall and um, we tested a couple of alto trombones and we decided that um, there’s this con um, yes, yes, we decided that one maybe

[1:06:32] Noah Gladstone: with it.

[1:06:33] Megumi Kanda: Oh, goodness, yeah, that one is a really, really good instrument. So we’re basing. Yeah. Yeah, it was, it was kind of between this 1916 K and uh there was a minor trombone too and um, I love the ML so much. I ended up buying it.

[1:06:56] Noah Gladstone: You have the mine, I do, I think that was mine actually originally I sold it to. So now you have my old alto trombone. So there you go. And the con, the con I sold for Ralph to in, and I regret selling that alto trombone. It’s just the most wonderful instrument. So

[1:07:19] Megumi Kanda: it is a wonderful instrument. So it was kind of between the Mino or this con, you know, they’re very

[1:07:27] Noah Gladstone: similar actually.

[1:07:29] Megumi Kanda: They are very similar. Yeah, we, we kind of decided the Mino is a little more of 1/19 century type of a sound and Khan is a little more, uh, I don’t know, more modern or a little more universal kind of a sound. Yeah. So that’s why we’re basing the new model after this con. But you had both of them. What are you doing? Selling those? Oh, my

[1:07:57] Noah Gladstone: gosh. You, you know, if you knew how many trombones that I have. Megumi, it’s a disgusting disorder actually.

[1:08:08] Megumi Kanda: Well, well, shame on you for selling that. But then you, you lost my gain. I, I’m,

[1:08:15] Noah Gladstone: I’m so glad I’m so glad to know that it’s with you. So, it is a real,

[1:08:21] John Snell: no one just wants the best for his customers, including the best instruments. That’s right. It sacrifices everything

[1:08:27] Noah Gladstone: for his customers. It’s part of my job. I think my service to the community.

[1:08:34] Megumi Kanda: There you go. And then it went to Sweden and now it’s in the Midwest.

[1:08:39] Noah Gladstone: I love it. It really is a wonderful instrument, you know. Um, Ewald ML is no longer making those, at least the last time I talked to, to Bernhard Ml. They’re not making those romantic trombones anymore, which is a shame because they’re really, really wonderful instruments. So he only made a handful of them. I think there’s maybe three or four altas. I don’t

[1:08:55] Megumi Kanda: know. Yeah. I’m not selling it.

[1:08:59] Noah Gladstone: It’s great. It’s great terrific. Um And what, what kind of mouthpiece do you use? Megumi?

[1:09:06] Megumi Kanda: Oh, gosh. Ok. Um You know, th this is an ongoing question for me now, I’m, um, I’m kind of in the transition. Um I was, I was using a, um, uh Giardelli Symphony tea, um, a very old one like from the 19 fifties. But, um, right now I’m actually trying something much smaller and I’m really loving it. It’s a Doug Elliott, um, D Cup. Um, Doug Elliot. Yeah, D cup and Ad Shank. And it’s, it’s smaller but I think it, it suits my job really well, you know, I mean, my job is kind of to play high and it’s like, huh? It sounds really right as a first

[1:10:02] Noah Gladstone: embrace the brightness of a first trombone. So. Right.

[1:10:05] Megumi Kanda: Right. Right. So, so I’m kind of kind of transitioning right now. So I can’t give you like a really solid answer on that. But, but I’ve been playing this Doug Elliot D Cup for like, oh, no, DD plus, sorry. D is too small.

[1:10:22] Noah Gladstone: What size, what size R do you use?

[1:10:25] Megumi Kanda: You know, it’s a custom rim, um, that Jim Disano was using. So I have no idea, um, what it is, but, you know, the rim rim actually rim is kind of a big deal for me because, um, I use a Lexan rim. So this is another thing I developed a nickel allergy. So, I can’t play on a brass rim anymore. So, um, yeah, so, so it’s Alex and rim and I love it. But, you know, nickel allergy is something that is way more common then. Um, then I thought so, you know, um, and it shows up in different ways on people. Some people, it shows up as a pimple. Some people like me, it shows up as like, um, delayed reaction. Like, you know, when I play a metal mouthpiece, my inside of the lip swells up exactly four weeks later. So it’s, you know, it’s, it’s really interesting. So, yeah, if, if any of the listeners have some suspicious activity going on then I would totally go to Lex hand room.

[1:11:39] John Snell: Mhm. Yeah. And that’s, I mean, that’s something they can test, test the allergy too as well if you go to the doctor. Oh, totally. Yeah, definitely recommend doing that. Yeah. Some, yeah, we’ve, we’ve had all kinds of clients here that, yeah, it manifests in different ways. Soreness, swelling. Yeah. First time I’ve heard of the Delayed reaction. But it’s not surprising, you know, because if it’s, you’re making that contact.

[1:12:01] Megumi Kanda: Yeah. Yeah. It took me, like, you know, like, two years to figure it out because, you know, I was using a Lexan rim on my tenor trombone, but then on alto, I was using a regular mouthpiece and, you know, randomly for like two years, my lips would just swell up and I’m thinking, gosh, what am I allergic to? And, and then I look at, like, my program and then I kept the diarrhea when my lips were swelling up and it’s, it’s, it was always four weeks after I played an alda trombone. Yeah. Yeah.

[1:12:40] John Snell: So why you should keep a journal, journal? Um, so there’s so much we could talk about, we didn’t even get to your albums and you’ve written two books. Um, do you have any projects in the works that you want to talk about? Any uh anything in the pipeline,

[1:12:58] Megumi Kanda: I guess? You know, I, I wrote a piece recently and it was uh it was just premiered a few weeks ago. So, um

[1:13:07] John Snell: congratulations. Well,

[1:13:09] Megumi Kanda: thank you. Yeah. Yeah, that, that um you know, I, I guess I always thought I wanted to write something but then I was asked um by a consortium to write something and I’m thinking, oh, my gosh, are you kidding me? Like, I’m not a composer. Um But so I was like, no, I’m not writing anything but then they kept coming back. Um And then I started thinking, you know, actually it has been my dream to write music at some point. Um So, yeah, so I was like, well, I’m kind of busy now but why not? Let’s give it a try. So then uh yeah, I did write a piece for trombone and piano. It’s called Morning Dub. And yeah, it was premiered a few weeks ago. I know, if somebody else is playing it at ITF and then there’s some, a lot of recitals that it will be played on. So, and then I’ll be playing it. Um, next September too on my recital tours and stuff. So, yeah. Yeah. So, and then if people like it enough, uh, maybe I’ll keep writing more music. So it’s, you know, it’s something ongoing and maybe, maybe it’s something I’ll do when I grow up. Um

[1:14:28] John Snell: I love it. I love it. Um And also I wanted to mention the thing I wanted to ask you about in this season, later this season, you’re performing a new work, right? By Tan Dun. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

[1:14:40] Megumi Kanda: Oh, gosh. Yeah, it is like so much fun that piece. Um So it was um it was a co commission um piece that was written in 2021. It was a co commission from um the concerto gau orchestra and uh Seattle Symphony and then Hong Kong, I may be forgetting one more orchestra. Oh, I think there was like a Belgian orchestra. I don’t know, it’s like three or four orchestras cocom commissioned this piece. And um yeah, I was, I was asked to play a concerto this year and I was like, oh, gosh, what am I going to play? Um You know, that’s always the problem. Like, you know, I don’t like, like, you know, I played all the good pieces. So then um, um, yeah, so, so I was looking for something and then I came across this piece and it’s like the most fun Drom Bone piece ever written. You know, it’s, it’s kind of, um, it has some extreme stuff but, you know, some pieces are worth it and some pieces are not worth it and this one is totally worth it. So, um, yeah, it’s kind of, it sounds, um, I don’t know, it sounds like a Chinese Hollywood music. Um,

[1:16:06] John Snell: interesting that it’s called Three Muses and video game. Right. That’s the,

[1:16:12] Megumi Kanda: yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, that, yeah, it’s, it’s kind of like movie music. It just makes you feel like you’re going on a, you know, like a really fun adventure and it’s just, I don’t know, it just features like the heroic part of the trombone and the, you know, really beautiful part of the trombone and the quirky side of the trombone. Um, yeah. So, so I’m kind of addicted to this piece. It’s so much fun. So, yeah. So, so hopefully, you know, I know, um, Joe Alessi is playing it with the New York film in March. Um, so I, I think it’s a piece that, you know, a lot of people are going to play.

[1:16:52] John Snell: Oh, that’s awesome. Looking forward to that. Looking forward to that. So much fun. Well, we can’t believe we’ve gone over an hour. Noah. Any, any last questions, I

[1:17:07] Noah Gladstone: think we’ll just have to do a follow up because, uh, this has been so great and so nice to have you on the podcast and, and big fans and, you know, it’s just, it’s great to have our listeners get to know you a little bit and, uh, thank you so much for being with us. Um, we’ll have to do another, we’ll have to do another one of these with a follow up.

[1:17:27] Megumi Kanda: Well, that sounds awesome. Yeah, you guys are too much fun to talk to.

[1:17:31] John Snell: Well, well, I know where the follow the follow up, the follow up is we’re gonna drive from Cleveland to Albany and we’re gonna do karaoke. Well, that would be fun. Right. Yeah. And with AC B and we’re gonna talk to the Truckers along the way too. Live stream live there. We’ve got it.

[1:17:49] Megumi Kanda: All right. Bring some good snack too.

[1:17:53] John Snell: Of course, Preston, you’re in charge of the snacks. Um, absolute honor to have you Megumi on the show. Uh, before we let you go though, uh, if you could leave our listeners with one piece of advice that you would consider to be your best piece of advice, what would that be?

[1:18:12] Megumi Kanda: Oh my gosh. One piece. That’s a, that’s, that’s tricky. Um gosh, just one, just

[1:18:21] Noah Gladstone: one you can change, you can change it on the next interview. Yeah.

[1:18:25] Megumi Kanda: Ok. Well, ok. So for today, let’s just say that, you know, whatever comes out of your trombone is who you are. Like, whatever you’re thinking will come straight out of your trombone. So play with joy. So, you know, your, your music sounds joyful, you know, and always have something to say through your music. Because if you have nothing in your mind, then your music is nothing, but always try to speak to the audience through your music and I may change,

[1:19:04] John Snell: you can change it. That’s your artistic license, you can change it next time. But we’re in the moment. That’s absolutely wonderful. Mami, absolutely honored to have you on here. Thank you so much for your time today. Thank you. Oh,

[1:19:19] Megumi Kanda: thank you so much for having me on.

[1:19:24] Noah Gladstone: Well, that was just a really terrific interview. Um Thank you so much to Megumi. I really, really enjoyed our conversation and like I said, we’ll have to have her back because I could have at least talked another hour or two and, and we got an appearance of the cat. So, uh, but not, not, not her cats. So maybe her cats will join next time. But, uh, no, I really, really enjoyed that and, and a lot of really good advice and stories for people uh to, to listen to and, um, it was great to have her here.

[1:19:50] John Snell: Yeah. And I mean, I love her openness about having everything taken away, you know, and at such a vulnerable age too, you know, like what, 1819 years old and to not be able to make a note and you’re halfway around the world. And what are you going to do with your life and to be faced with those kinds of pressures? Uh uh I think it’s great how she talk about it because to some degree we’ve all gone through something like that, you know,

[1:20:17] Noah Gladstone: a real role model and, you know, a strong woman in a, in a leadership role in a, in a major symphony, I think. Just wonderful. Wonderful.

[1:20:24] John Snell: Yeah. And every, every note of gift that’s uh that’s my takeaway. Even on trumpet, every note’s a gift. There you go. No matter what you want to think about. Speaking

[1:20:34] Noah Gladstone: of gifts, uh it was coming up to the holiday season. So uh I’ll make sure to give you a gift, John. Oh, a gift of friendship.

[1:20:43] John Snell: Thank you, Noah. And uh thank you for listening. Uh We wouldn’t be a podcast without our loyal listeners and uh I really appreciate all the feedback we’ve gotten like we brought up in the uh in the uh intro uh hit that subscribe button, hit that review button uh because it really does help us remain visible in the trombone and low brass community. And I even know some Trump of players that listen to the podcast as well. They’ve sent me some messages. Uh They want to remain anonymous because they don’t wanna, you know, they don’t want, they don’t. Yeah. But uh you know, really the goodwill that this podcast and the others out there uh bring the community. Uh It’s really fulfilling. So, uh again, hit that subscribe button, hit that five star review button. And speaking of other podcasts, uh Noah, do you want to break the news about who some of our future guests are?

[1:21:32] Noah Gladstone: Yeah. So this is very, very exciting. Um Our next guest is gonna be Adam Woolf, uh very, very, a famous historic trombonist uh play Sack Butt and Royal Academy and his Majesty’s cornets and sack butts and uh excited to have him on the podcast coming up. But uh really exciting is we’re gonna do a crossover episode with our friends at the, at the Third Coast uh Trombone podcast with uh Sebastian Vera and Nick Schwartz. And we’re gonna do a crossover episode where uh we’re all four are gonna be on a conversation and it’ll be for both of our podcasts. So, uh looking forward to kind of wrapping up the end of the year and early into next year with these exciting podcasts coming up.

[1:22:11] John Snell: Excellent. Yeah, we got a lot coming up and a lot of exciting things coming up in 2024 that we will talk about shortly. So that’s it for this episode of The Trombone Corner. Until next time. Keep on sliding.

Author Bob Reeves Brass

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