Wednesday, February 21, 2007

New York Times Article: New World Symphony

This was pointed out to me by one of my students. Good article. I felt the writer really captured the feeling of professional auditions.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Tenuto: The Truth is Out There

So you're in an ensemble, playing a big tenuto passage. You feel as if you're really sustaining the notes.

Later you hear the recording and the trombone notes sound separated. "What's going on?" you think. "I know we were sustaining those notes..."

Look at the diagram below:

Everything above the line can be heard out in the hall. Everything below the line may audible where you're sitting but not out there.
If you're not really sustaining the dynamic the effect is separation.

Consider the reverse: if a younger brass section tends to "wah" their attacks...

In this case, they started the note on time but, to the conductor, it sounds like they are coming in late.

"Get right to the ah of tah"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bone Laws!

I guess I'm inspired by those beer commercials in which a bunch of guys sit around a table and declare things to be MAN LAW

Well, for the USC Band Clinic master class I thought I'd have some fun and create a list of Bone Laws.
Here's a link to the pdf file on the BoneZone website.

No, I'm not endorsing Miller Lite, or beer, or men or laws. I'm also not not endorsing them.
Please no lawsuits.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Little Dotted Magic Tricks

More image fun!
Try out these two:

"Hmm," you ask, "What could be the connection this time?"

The Carolina Trombone Collective recently performed a transcription of Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks. The allegro section of the overture has extended passages of dotted rhythms. Like this:

Maybe I'm hyper-sensitive to this but, in rehearsal I gave them grief for slipping into "triplet mode"...

And thus I return to my old theme..Relate to the Familiar!!

What do most kids say after pulling off a magic trick....


It's interesting how, wherever you go, people say those syllables with the same rhythm (quick "TA" right before the "DAAH")


Think of that dotted rhythm sequence as a string of little magic tricks...
"Daaah, Ta-Daah, Ta-Daah, Ta-Daah, etc.)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Horns and Sombreros

Two more images to link...

Perhaps you've worked on Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. This excerpt poses many lovely challenges. One of them: make sure the pickup notes are triplets.

A recent lesson: a student couldn't get the triplet feel. With the metronome running, I asked him to play the Mexican hat dance. BOOM! the triplet troubles vanish.

Old theme: relate to the familar!

Metronome still running, I ask him to start out with mexican hat dance and then transition smoothly into Valkyries. Like this:

No triplet troubles on hat dance BUT as soon as he switches to "Valkyrie Mode" the triplet feel is lost.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Cake and Colts

OK, so I'm going to try to link these two images:

Cake and the offensive line of the Indianopolis Colts.

Here goes:
Perhaps you've heard of the big three:

  1. In time
  2. In tune
  3. Good tone

In other words, the Three T's.

As you seek a vibrant, compelling musical performance, don't lose track of those basic three elements.
Think of it this way: it doesn't matter if you've got great frosting if you have a lousy cake.

The Three T's = the cake
Musical nuances = the frosting

Imagine the final two players at an audition. One player has all that "frosting" stuff but the cake isn't quite as solid. The other player may not be the most subtle musician but, man, that "cake" is totally solid. You want to root for the "frosting" player but the "cake" player is just so solid!

Reminds me of the superbowl. From what I saw of it, the real source of the Colts victory was that offensive line. Imagine those Bears defensive linemen: spinning, faking, twisting. But, play after play, there was just no getting past those stolid offenseive lineman.

Flashy defensive player = the "frosting" player
Immovable offensive player = the "cake" player

Of course, ideally, you want both great cake and great frosting...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Accurate Hungarians

Here's a good trick for improving slide accuracy. Take this example from Hungarian March by Berlioz...

Sometimes the slide placement/accuracy isn't so hot. To improve your accuracy (and your ear), try changing some of the notes in the run, like this....

Or this....

In other words: wrong notes on purpose BUT hear them as you play the run.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Swing and Sway with the CTC

The Carolina Trombone Collective has some performances coming up..
Wed. Feb. 7th, 12:30 pm, Trinity Cathedral
Mon. Feb. 12th 6pm School of Music Recital Hall
Fri. Feb. 16th 1:15 pm USC Band Clinic, Koger Center Stage.

Our Trinity Program:

Ave Maria (Angelus Domini) - Franz Biebl Arr. Royce Lumpkin

Royal Fireworks Music - Georg Friedrich Handel, Tran. Eric Carlson

  1. Overture

Scarborough Fair - Arr. Bill Reichenbach

BoneWeek Fanfare #4 - Brad Edwards

Beautiful Savior - Melius Christiansen

Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral - Richard Wagner, Arr. Rodney Miller

Our Feb. 12th Program:

BoneWeek Fanfare #4 - Brad Edwards

Scherzo Funebre, Op. 86 - Derek Bourgeois

Match - Rainer Lischka

Royal Fireworks Music - Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759), Trans. Eric Carlson

  1. Overture

  2. Boureé

  3. La Paix

  4. La Réjouissance

Hex Files - James Kazik

Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral - Richard Wagner, Arr. Rodney Miller

Oh, and about the swinging and swaying. Well, the 3rd movement of the Royal Fireworks Music is in a slow 12/8, a little hard to feel as a group. I suggested, for rehearsal purposes, we all sway in time to the big beat. A little goofy but it seemed to help.