I had a wonderful time presenting at and attending both ITF and IWBC! Unfortunately, both conferences were at the same time, so I had to split my time between the two. It was great to be in Rochester and experience the famous Eastman School of Music. It was even better to see good friends and colleagues. I finally experienced Abbie Conant’s live performance of Street Scene for the Last Mad Soprano. This chamber music theater work left me feeling inspired by the beauty of Abbie’s trombone playing and singing. The subject matter of this piece is dark, though: subjugation of women in opera, violence against women, misogyny, etc. There were many times when I felt a tear in my eye or a chill down my spine. Good theater does that– makes you feel a sense of vulnerability as an audience member. It was an honor to present my lecture the next morning, especially with Abbie and Bill in the audience. IWBC was great, too. I saw some outstanding performances at Northern Kentucky University, and I had a really enthusiastic audience for my presentation. If anyone wants to download my PP presentation, I put the files under my “Projects” section of my site.
I am incredibly excited to present my doctoral research on William Osborne’s chamber music theater works for trombonist Abbie Conant at The International Trombone Festival and The International Women’s Brass Conference this summer. The ITF will be held at The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. I am really looking forward to Abbie’s performance of Street Scene for the Last Mad Soprano on June 4th at 4:30 pm– my presentation will be the next morning at 9:00 am. The IWBC will be held at Northern Kentucky University (just outside of Cincinnati). I hate that I will miss the beginning of the conference, but my presentation will be the last day, June 8th at 9:00 am.
It may be hard to attend both conferences, but I would encourage all brass players to consider attending one of these summer conferences. I always learn so much and enjoy the various concerts and masterclasses. It’s also nice to catch up with old friends and meet new people. After all, the music world is small– we might as well get to know each other!
Come on out February 16, 2014 and support The Lexington Brass Band. “Triumphant Rhapsody” is the third concert of the season and should be a lot of fun for all!
Happy New Year! What better way to celebrate the new year than to attend the 2014 UK Brassfest?! This festival begins February 1st is open to all middle and high school brass players. This year’s featured ensembles will be the UK brass faculty and The Gaudete Brass Quintet. There are some amazing opportunities for young musicians to compete in solo competitions as well as a brass quintet competitions. Prizes include a full, in-state tuition scholarship to UK and Pickett mouthpieces! For those not wanting to compete, all registrants can participate in a mass brass choir. Registration is only $20– a great deal for an invaluable educational experience!
If you are interested in registering and possibly competing for some great prizes, then please register ASAP! The deadline for competitors to register is January 17th. Please check out the following links for more information:
Today is the first day of the Asbury All-Star Band Clinic! Beginning today, November 21 and ending Saturday, November 23, high school band students will have the opportunity to audition and perform with guest conductor Dr. Bruce Moss from Bowling Green State University. I am looking forward to hearing some great auditions and working with some very talented young trombonists in our sectionals and clinics. I will be presenting What Makes a Great Warm Up Routine and Strategies for Effective Practicing.
For more information, please visit http://www.asbury.edu/academics/departments/music/all-star-band-clinic.
I have had the pleasure of playing with the Lexington Brass Band. LBB’s first concert of the season will be on November 8th at Asbury University, 7:30 in Hughes Auditorium. This first concert of the season will feature alumni soloists from Asbury University such as Mark Ridenour, trumpet (Chicago Symphony Orchestra); Tom Bratten, tuba (U.S. Army Band); Shawn Okpebholo, composer (Professor, Wheaton Conservatory of Music); Stan Pelkey, organ (Dean of Arts and Sciences, Roberts Wesleyan University).
This has been my first British style brass band experience, and I have enjoyed every bit of it! If you are in the Lexington-area, please consider attending the concert. It is free to the public with a reception following the performance.
Directions to Asbury University http://www.asbury.edu/about-us/map-directions
Many of my Kentucky trombone students are auditioning for All-State band this year. Here are some helpful hints as you prepare…
Not sure if you want to audition?
You can come up with as many excuses to not audition as you want, but the fact is– if you don’t try out, you will definitely not make the group. It seems obvious, but sometimes we set ourselves up to fail by not attempting new and challenging things. But, set your self up success by working hard, and you might just surprise yourself.
Preparing and performing your lyrical etude:
- The most important thing to remember is to play with a beautiful sound. Strive for a rich and resonant tone.
- Be musical! How expressive can you play? What emotions or stories can you reveal with your trombone?
- Just because it’s a lyrical etude does not mean that you can forget about time and rhythm. Be musical and rhythmically accurate. Try conducting and singing the etude with a metronome.
- How smooth can you make your legato technique? Let’s face it– playing legato on the trombone is challenging. Remember to always keep your air stream constant and move your slide quickly. Try practicing without using your tongue at all. You will hear lots of glisses, but you will also learn where the natural slurs occur. Be sure to identify the natural slurs in your music so that you don’t articulate more than you need to.
- Keep in mind that you can use alternate positions in order to facilitate ease and eliminate extra motion.
- Play all grace notes lyrically and with a beautiful sound.
Practicing and performing your technical etude:
- Again, most importantly– play with a beautiful sound!
- Aim to perform the etude at the requested tempo, but know that the judges would rather you perform a little under tempo if it means that you can be more accurate.
- When working on building up to a fast tempo, set your metronome as slow as you need to and gradually bump it up. Track your progress by writing down the tempo and date. Once you master a tempo, bump it up two clicks, then master that, etc.
- “Technical” does not mean “robotic!” You should still be musical and expressive.
- Practice in chunks. Isolate small portions of the etude and workshop them to perfection. Don’t just “run it”– work on specific things.
- Conduct and sing or conduct and tap out tricky rhythms.
- Consider using alternate positions when helpful.
- Practice sight reading every day. Pull out any etude book and open it to a random page. Take 30 seconds to look at the material, and then play.
- Even though you are sight reading, play with a beautiful sound and be musical.
- During your 30 second review of the material follow the same protocol each time: key signature(s), time signature(s), tempo, clefs / clef changes, tricky rhythms, etc.
- Even if you mess up, keep playing.
- Try your best– that’s all that you can do.
The day of the audition:
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before.
- Don’t play too much the morning / day of the audition.
- Eat a good breakfast–nothing too salty or sweet. A banana might help with nerves and is a good beforehand snack.
- Bring a bottle of water in case you get dry mouth.
- Make sure your horn is in working order (smooth slide, quiet trigger, spray bottle).
- Bring all music you might need in a folder.
In the warm up room:
- Ignore the people who are showing off. Focus on your own preparation.
- Do a short warm up, but don’t over-play.
- Look at your music and do some “mental practicing.”
- Keep track of your audition time and know where you need to go.
- There will probably be a proctor. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.
- Refrain from speaking once you enter the audition room.
- If the judges allow you to play a few notes to get used to the room, then choose wisely which notes you play. Be sure to make a good impression. It might be helpful to play the first note of your etude or a scale in the appropriate key.
- Play the best that you can. Remember, you prepared yourself well, so try your best and make some music.