Saturday, August 03, 2013

A Big Honking Spreadsheet of Etudes

As the semester approaches and I have some free time, I decided to tackle a project I've been meaning to hit for a while now.  I thought it wouldn't take long......that was two days ago.

I created a spreadsheet of etudes from which to choose when assigning things for my students (or having them self-assign).

I don't want a cookie-cutter approach in which everyone plays the same thing.  However, if two students are enrolled in the same course number, there should be some expectation about the level of material they are playing.  After all, I'm at a university and grades are part of the process.

In building this spreadsheet I also tried to be mindful of not making my studenta purchase too many books. Therefore, I tried to narrow my focus.

One book isn't represented yet.  I just ordered Charlie Vernon's new edition of the Blazhevich Studies which I hope to use with my bass trombone students.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that some of my own books show up on this list. The Trombone Craft and Bass Trombone Craft books don't appear on this list only because they fall into a different category for my teaching.  (Yes, I use them a lot).  My latest book, Lip Slur Melodies appears on this spreadsheet also.

I decided to keep a simple dichotomy of Lyrical and Technical Etudes.  Sometimes that means shoe-horning something that doesn't really fit into one category.  Oh well.

Will you agree with my choices?  I doubt it.
Will I keep changing this spreadsheet as I use it?  Absolutely!
Are there errors and contradictions in it?  Probably.
Will some complain that the etudes should be harder?  Sure, and others will complain that it's too hard.

If you like the idea, feel free to download the spreadsheet and adapt it to your needs.  Notice that the spreadsheet has a key defining the abbreviations.

How will I use this in my teaching?
Well, suppose I'm looking to suggest some etudes for a sophomore performance major on bass trombone.  I can click on the column for lyrical etudes, sort that column A-Z and presto, I have some possible etudes to choose from.  Here's a screen shot of the sort menu...

Once sorted, I see a list of etudes I might use with that student.  It includes things like 
  • Bordogni (Rochut) #53 in tenor clef down an octave
  • Grigoriev #22
  • A bunch of Lip Slur Melodies from sections 4 and 7 (not in the picture below)

Anyway, you get the general idea.  Feel free to hack around with it.  

If it works for you, great.  I plan to use it this year and will adapt it as needed.