Brian Allen Beyond Borderline

August 11th, 2009 by Brian Allen

The following is a message from Brian Allen

To all the folks in Mexico and other concerned parties…

I’m playing several times in the Mexico City area this month, so please come out and say hello. Check my MySpace for last minute updates, additional concerts and information if you’re planning to attend.

  • Festival Ollin Jazz Tlalpan w/Adrian Terrazas Quartet
    Aug. 12 @ 8PM
  • Cafe ES3 w/Adrian Terrazas Quartet
    Aug. 13 @ 9PM
    Hotel Virreyes, Izazaga y Eje Central
  • El Imperial w/Adrian Terrazas Quartet
    Aug. 14 @ 10PM
    Alvaro Obregon 293 esq. Oaxaca
  • Festival Ollin Jazz Tlalpan w/Daniel Zlotnik Quintet
    Aug. 15 @ 7PM
  • Casa Hilvana duo w/Hernan Hecht
    Aug. 18 @ TBA
    Colonia Roma
  • Cafe ES3 duo w/Hernan Hecht
    Aug. 19 @ TBA
    Hotel Virreyes, Izazaga y Eje Central
  • Zacatecas Jazz Festival, Zacatecas
    Aug. 27 @ 9PM
    Museo Manuel Felguérez?Calle Colón s/n esq. Seminario Col. Centro
  • El 81 w/Adrian Terrazas Quartet
    Sep. 4 @ 10PM
    Ajusco No. 81 Portales Sur

For venue info on concerts at the Ollin Kan Festival, please visit

There are so many great players in Mexico City. Adrian Terrazas ( plays woodwinds with Mars Volta and leads a energetic two horn quartet with me and Mexico City-based bassist Carlos Maldonado and drummer Hernan Hecht. Daniel Zlotnik is another fantastic woodwinds player that I met on my first trip to DF 2 1/2 years ago. And Hernan is in several projects with me now, including this duo and the Brainkiller Trio.

For more info, videos, sounds and more: (my website) (my solo MySpace) (my YouTube channel)

One Response to “Brian Allen Beyond Borderline”

  1. Franco Says:

    I had fairly limeitd music education within the public school system as a young child, and once I reached middle school I was only involved in choir, which does not function on a chair system. What’s more, there were very few soloing opportunities within this choir, which eliminated competition completely. But I do remember well the pressures my classmates faced in band and moving up within the chair system. I even remember an episode between two highly competitive flutists who were constantly battling for first chair, and constantly overtaking one another each semester. One day nearing chair auditions, one of the flutists was extending her music stand very close to the other flutist, and accidentally flung it up into her face and shattered her competitor’s jaw. This experience ruined my friend’s ability to practice or play her flute for the entire year. She eventually picked up the flute again and even went on to a very good music school for flute performance. But she still struggles with jaw-related issues as a result of this incident and suspects that her competitor hurt her on purpose, consciously or subconsciously, given the nature of their bitter struggles for the first chair.That aside, I still believe competition to be a healthy thing, just in small doses. And since I do not function well in a high-pressure environment, I certainly would not want to impose one on my students.As for Kratus’s suggestion that we ought to examine the societal needs of our students in order to succeed, I whole-heartedly agree. Music programs are struggling not only due to budget cuts this suffering is also the result of unexamined and obsolete teaching methods. And that students are not requesting to be in music classes is not because of their lack of interest in the art form. As Kratus states, Music is undeniably important in the lives of young people. Research suggests that adolescents in the United States listens to music an average of two to four hours per day (p. 45)! Perhaps students are perceiving this lack of relevance to their own needs in music classes and are opting out on purpose. And I totally disagree with the statement that kids are better off making music at home than in the schools (well, perhaps this statement is true if students are being turned off by the way music is being taught!). But not all students can afford private lessons. And we will be absolutely robbed as a culture if music disappears from our educational system. It is time to be more imaginative as teachers and figure out where music is headed. The use of technology seems to be a big part of the future life of music education once it becomes available to all of us. Until then, we must listen to the music the kids are listening to and look for parallels between our own knowledge and theirs.Also, I would have killed for the chance to play in a ukelele chorus growing up! I certainly would like to see a set-up like this in action. This way the teacher could focus on one instrument, simplifying his life and more evenly meeting everyone’s needs.

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