Essential Concepts in Brass Playing 5: Everything You Play is a “Song”

A couple of years ago I wrote a post with a title very similar to this one, and although I don’t intend to repeat the content of that piece here, the concept is important enough that I wanted to include it in this “Essential Concepts” series. The main thesis is this: successful brass playing is never a matter merely of correct mechanics. There is a more intuitive musical element that must be present at all times. My favorite category for thinking of this is that of “song.” My best playing occurs when I subsume all of my efforts at playing under this very simplest of musical concepts, approaching even the most challenging works with the same basic approach that one would use to sing a simple folksong, hymn, or even nursery tune.

Let me use a recent example. While I have always dabbled in jazz and popular music despite being a primarily classical player, my usual role in big band gigs and such was to play the lead books and leave the improvised solo work to others. In the past few years, though, I’ve worked to improve my improvisation skills, a task made considerably easier with the advent of resources such as the iReal Pro app. This past week I played in a small combo for a charity event and played a solo on nearly every tune, and received a number of compliments on my work. Although this would surprise my younger self, I’ve become pretty comfortable as an improviser, at least on the standard Great American Songbook types of tunes.

So what changed? Besides improved opportunities to practice as I noted previously and the cumulative effect of 20+ years of listening, a change in my approach to improvisation really made the difference. My early attempts at improvisation as a young college student were essentially exercises in harmonic analysis. I made extreme efforts to read the changes correctly and play all of the “right” notes (whatever that means in this context). The results, as you might expect, were usually stilted, uninteresting, and fraught with tension as I worried about making “mistakes.” As I’ve gotten older my approach has become much more like composition or songwriting. Instead of worrying so much about analyzing the prescribed chords, I try to come up with interesting tunes or phrases (or “licks”), or maybe even melodic or harmonic variations on the main melody. This approach delivers better results that are more pleasing to the listener, as well as more fun for me. Essentially, I’m playing “songs” over the changes when I improvise now.

But this approach does not only work in jazz playing or improvisation. All music benefits from the approach. I’ve mentioned repeatedly in previous posts the need to move as much of the physical activity of playing to a subconscious, intuitive level rather than making these the subject of constant and intense thought. We really do want the mental process of playing to be as much like singing as it can possibly be. The result, even in fundamental exercises or challenging “technical” works, is a relaxed, expressive, enjoyable performance for all involved .

Everything you play is (or should be) a “song.”

 

Posted in Alto Trombone, Baritone Horn, Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Improvisation, Music, Musical Interpretation, Performing, Playing Fundamentals, Practicing, Teaching Low Brass, Tenor Trombone, Trombone, Tuba

Essential Concepts in Brass Playing 4: Airflow Is a Means, Not the End

Last week I began the third installment in this series with the following sentence: “Generous, efficient airflow is vital to playing any brass instrument, but it is important that players understand just what the role of the air is, and what it is not.” This week’s post might seem a little bit redundant, as I am going to touch on some of the same ideas as I did last time, but I want to do so today with a little bit different, perhaps more negative focus. Whereas last week I mentioned the subservience of airflow to buzz regarding their relative importance to playing, today I want to highlight some misconceptions that often happen with regard to airflow.

The primary misconception—really the one from which everything else I’ll discuss today is derived—is that taking in lots of air automatically leads to a great sound. Last week I emphasized that great sounds come from lots of vibration being produced by the lips. This requires generous airflow, but one can move lots of air—particularly during the inhalation—without necessarily producing a good sound. Even the biggest breath, taken incorrectly, will not lead to the best sound. Why is this? In a word, tension.

Emory Remington (1891-1971), whose concept of the daily routine I referenced a couple of weeks ago, was an advocate of using a “conversational breath” in trombone playing. He believed that various forms of overbreathing led to tension that compromised tone quality. For a long time I dismissed this element of Remington’s teaching, concluding that this type of breathing could not yield an adequate amount of air to play the lowest registers of the bass trombone and tuba at high volume. However, as I noted in a post a few years ago, I have revisited this concept, wondering if the term “conversational breath” referred not so much to volume as to quality. In other words, what if one were to endeavor to take in a larger than normal amount of air, but still keep the body in the same relaxed disposition that it would have in daily conversation? Would this not yield the relaxation of the “conversational breath” but with the airflow necessary for all playing demands? I am increasingly convinced that this is so.

So what does this “bigger conversational breath” look like? First of all, it has a quiet inhalation. Often when students begin trying to take bigger breaths they unconsciously modify the throat, tongue, and soft palate in such a way that the air rushing in creates a very noticeable sound. While this tricks the player into thinking that he or she is taking in more air, in reality there is the same amount coming in, if not less. Moreover, the changes that create this noise indicate tension in those structures of the body which will have a negative effect upon the player’s tone upon exhalation. A good inhalation is as quiet as possible.

The Breathing Book by David Vining

Secondly, this breath is taken with no effort to manipulate the muscles of the torso in a misguided effort to assist the expansion of the lungs. Many of us (myself included) were admonished as young players to “breathe low,” pushing out with the abdominal muscles in an effort to help the diaphragm to flatten and the chest cavity to expand downward. This is entirely unnecessary and ends up leading to excessive abdominal tension (ask me how I know), an inhibition in the natural expansion of the upper chest, and ultimately less air available for playing. I suspect that this error arose in response to the equal and opposite error of lifting the upper chest and shoulders when breathing. This causes a different but equally deleterious form of tension. Arnold Jacobs (1915-1998), another famous brass teacher that I am fond of quoting here, admonished his students to “suck air at the lips,” and to play with “minimal motors.” He wanted students to take in lots of air, but to give little or no thought or conscious effort to movements in the torso as that air filled the lungs. Those movements should just be allowed to occur naturally, freely, and without tension. “Minimal motors” is an expression meaning that one should play with as little physical effort as possible. Once you stop trying to be a “belly dancing breather,” as David Vining calls it in The Breathing Book (which I highly recommend), moving air and playing becomes a significantly less taxing affair, and as a result becomes more consistent and more enjoyable.

BG_Cover_1024x1024The final breathing error I’ll address here is the habit of many players to focus on the inhalation rather than the exhalation. As I mentioned earlier, many people seem to think that taking a big breath—in other words, a full inhalation—will automatically lead to a great sound. We’ve already seen that this is not the case. If that full inhalation comes with excessive noise and tension in the oral cavity, throat, chest, abdomen—and even shoulders, back, glutes, and legs—the sound will not be full and the tension will render you unable to even use all of the air you have inhaled. Additionally, one must learn not only to inhale in a full and relaxed manner, but to exhale in the same way. After all, the reason we inhale when playing our instruments (well, other than sustaining life) is so that we will have plenty of air to exhale through the instrument! Many of the exercises in The Breathing Book (Vining), The Breathing Gym (Pilafian/Sheridan) and similar resources have as a partial goal the getting the player to both inhale and exhale in the fullest, most efficient, and most relaxed way possible.

So if airflow really is a means and not the end when it comes to tone production, why spend so long talking about it? Because erroneous thinking in this area—whether due to an unbalanced focus on inhalation over exhalation, to poor technique and associated tension, or other factors—leads to so many errors. We must first understand that getting the lips to vibrate freely and vigorously is the path to a great sound, and that generous airflow is only a means to that end. Then we must make sure that we are moving air both in an out in a way that best enables us to achieve that sound, that vibration, and we must eliminate extraneous actions and other errors that ultimately inhibit the free and relaxed movement of air. Once we do this playing becomes easier, better, and more enjoyable both for us and for our listeners.

Airflow is important, even vital, but it is only a means to the end of a full, vibrant sound, produced by a freely vibrating embouchure.

 

Posted in Alto Trombone, Arnold Jacobs, Baritone Horn, Bass Trombone, Breathing, Contrabass Trombone, Daily Routine, David Vining, Embouchure, Emory Remington, Essential Concepts in Brass Playing, Euphonium, Music, Pedagogy, Performing, Playing Fundamentals, Teaching Low Brass, Tenor Trombone, The Breathing Book, The Breathing Gym, Trombone, Tuba

Essential Concepts in Brass Playing 3: Vibration Creates Tone

Generous, efficient airflow is vital to playing any brass instrument, but it is important that players understand just what the role of the air is, and what it is not. When working with new students one of my first questions is something to the effect of “how do you produce a tone on your instrument?” The answer given nearly always focuses upon airflow. The problem with this way of thinking is easily demonstrated by blowing air through the instrument without producing a pitch. After such a demonstration, students quickly correct themselves, stating that the tone on a brass instrument is created by buzz, by vibration. The role of the air in brass playing is to cause the lips to vibrate. The vibrating lips—the buzz—creates the tone.

In light of this, I want to briefly highlight three concepts in this area that help to facilitate quality tone production. First, despite the way in which I introduced this article, airflow really is important. Breathing exercises such as those in The Breathing Gym and related resources really do improve playing by helping musicians to move air effectively. Aerobic exercise—I am partial to swimming because of its peculiar benefits for wind players—has a similar outcome. While the buzzing of the lips is what creates a musical tone, the air is what causes the lips to vibrate. Make sure you are able to move a maximum amount of air throughout both inhalation and exhalation.

Secondly, embouchure strength, flexibility, and response must be maintained and increased. In last week’s post I discussed the importance of structured, comprehensive, daily fundamentals practice. A key purpose of the daily routine is getting the muscles and tissues of the embouchure into the best possible shape. When the embouchure is in top shape the lips will vibrate with less effort—and even less airflow—than they otherwise would. Effortless playing is efficient playing, and is more enjoyable for both player and listener.

Finally, the more flesh you have vibrating in the mouthpiece, the fuller your sound will be. One major pitfall of an excessive focus on airflow is that players will mistake “using lots of air” for “creating a full sound.” The two do not necessarily coincide. For example, when the aperture is too large a great quantity of air can pass through the mouthpiece and instrument without actually contributing to the vibration of the lips. This leads not to a fuller sound but rather to a more airy one, and leaves the player needing to breathe more frequently in order to produce this inferior result. An opposite problem has to do with allowing too little of the lip tissue to vibrate in the mouthpiece, such as what happens when a trumpet player tries to play on the tuba, but still using a trumpet embouchure. The tone is thin because the entire lip area inside the mouthpiece is not contributing to the buzz.

To put this more briefly, if you want a full sound your goal is to fill the instrument not with air, per se, but with buzz. Play in such a way that the entire lip surface inside the mouthpiece contributes to the vibration—imagine the whole mouthpiece cup being filled with vibrating flesh. Learning to move large quantities of air is a vital means to this end, as are exercises to improve the strength, flexibility, and efficiency of the embouchure. But the goal must always be to fill the instrument and, in turn, the room in which you’re playing, with vibration. The more vibration there is, the better the tone will be.

Posted in Alto Trombone, Baritone Horn, Bass Trombone, Breathing, Contrabass Trombone, Daily Routine, Embouchure, Essential Concepts in Brass Playing, Euphonium, Music, Pedagogy, Performing, Physical Fitness, Playing Fundamentals, Practicing, Teaching Low Brass, Tenor Trombone, The Breathing Gym, Trombone, Tuba

Essential Concepts in Brass Playing 2: Daily Routines Work

I cannot think of a time in my life as a brass player that I did not believe in the importance of daily, systematic practice of playing fundamentals. The public school band program of which I was a part growing up always had us playing ensemble routines of at least long tones, lip slurs, scales, and articulation exercises, along with regimented systems of “pass-offs,” and my private instructor prescribed her own routine, as well. I had heard of “Remington long tones” long before I knew anything about Emory Remington (1891-1971), the famed trombone teacher from the Eastman School of Music who ended up becoming, in a manner of speaking, my “trombone grandfather,” since my undergraduate trombone professor was a student of Remington.

Emory Remington (1892-1971)

Emory Remington

There are two developments in trombone pedagogy, as well as brass pedagogy more broadly, with which Remington is perhaps most often credited. One is the use of the trombone ensemble as a teaching tool. While the idea of a trombone choir or ensemble or consort goes back at least four or five centuries, the establishment of the Eastman Trombone Choir as a combination of performing group and group instructional time started a trend that has been replicated in college, university, conservatory, and other music programs worldwide, and on more instruments than just the trombone. Like-instrument ensembles provide a special forum for group instruction, in which younger or weaker players learn by emulating the sounds and techniques of more experienced players, and all benefit from the challenges of perfecting balance, blend, and intonation in a context where minor discrepancies cannot hide among the timbres of different instruments. For low brass players such ensembles also provide an opportunity to perform more challenging melodic and figurative material than our instruments are normally assigned in orchestras or bands, and transcriptions of band and orchestra works allow future conductors to learn parts normally assigned to other instruments. Such ensembles really are a vital part of applied instruction, which is why I established both trombone and tuba-euphonium ensembles at Ole Miss immediately upon my arrival.

A second development associated with Remington, and the primary topic of my discussion today, is his concept of a “balanced daily routine.” Remington believed that trombonists should practice playing fundamentals each day in a consistent, balanced, and comprehensive manner in order not only to “warm up,” but more importantly to both maintain and extend basic playing skills. I wrote at length about the elements of such a routine a number of years ago when first starting this blog, so rather than repeat myself today I’ll refer you to that two-part series here and here. As you’ll see from reading there, I advocate covering in some way practically every facet of brass playing technique in some way on a daily basis.

As I alluded in the opening paragraph, I began approaching playing fundamentals practice in this way even before I had heard much—if anything—about Emory Remington, and have continued to practice in this way for nearly thirty years. As I am fond of telling my students, I came by having a “good ear” more or less naturally, but technical playing skills do not come naturally to me at all. If I neglect fundamentals practice for even a day or two I notice an immediate decline in my playing abilities. Nevertheless, in the past ten years or so I have heard more and more players, particularly in online forums of various kinds, “pooh-pooh” the idea of a daily routine. These folks insist that daily repetition of exercises leads to stale and uninteresting musicianship, and is a waste of time that could be better spent playing “actual music.” To that argument I would respond in several ways.

First of all, I’m willing to concede that there are some people who are simply gifted technicians on the instrument, people who develop even the most advanced technical skills with seemingly no effort. I had a friend like this in college and it made me sick—he could do some of the fastest lip trills I’ve ever heard without practicing them at all, while I had to practice them daily for five years before I could play them decently. I still have to practice them daily to maintain the skill! Most of us aren’t so fortunate in this area, and even those who seem to be “naturals” on the instrument should still engage in some daily fundamentals work, both to build stamina and to better learn how to teach others who have a more obvious need for such exercises.

Secondly, most players who argue against playing the same fundamentals routine each day do not actually advocate totally neglecting fundamentals practice. They are simply more willing to modify their routines from day to day, selecting from a wide variety of exercises according to the needs of the moment. One way or another, their practicing still tends to systematically address the same types of skills that I listed in those previous two articles. And while I definitely tend toward the “same routine every day” end of the spectrum, even I will make small modifications as needed for time, or to address particular needs.

Finally, while the voices on the internet questioning the need for a daily routine sometimes seem to be many, they aren’t usually the best voices. One of my favorite activities when attending conferences like the International Trombone Festival and the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference is going to the daily group warm-up sessions, which are conducted by some of the leading players and teachers in our field. Interestingly, they all advocate some kind of thoughtful, thorough, daily approach to playing fundamentals. None of them “just pick up the horn and play.” I enjoy taking insights from these sessions and making improvements to my own routines in response.

In last week’s article which began this “Essential Concepts” series I opined that sound concept is more important than technique, and in subsequent entries in the series I hope to advocate something of a “singing approach” to playing. Indeed, if I were to add a third element of Remington’s influence to the two I mentioned earlier it would be his practice of singing with his students for the entire hour, seeking to instill in them an approach to tone and expression that were like those of great singers. While the daily routine’s focus on technical skill development might seem to be at odds with this more intuitive approach, it really isn’t so—and Remington clearly didn’t think so. Rather, the daily routine’s purpose it to prepare the body in such a way that it is most responsive to the commands given by the player’s brain. Only when the body is optimally prepared to play can that intuitive, singing approach truly take place.

 

Posted in Alto Trombone, Baritone Horn, Bass Trombone, Conferences, Daily Routine, Emory Remington, Essential Concepts in Brass Playing, Euphonium, International Trombone Festival, International Tuba-Euphonium Conference, Music, Pedagogy, Playing Fundamentals, Practicing, Teaching Low Brass, Tenor Trombone, Trombone, Trombone Ensembles, Tuba, Tuba-Euphonium Ensembles, University of Mississippi

Essential Concepts in Brass Playing 1: Begin with Sound Concept

Today’s post is the first in a series of short articles I have planned for the summer entitled “Essential Concepts in Brass Playing.” I’ve always considered myself to be a primarily “nuts and bolts” kind of brass teacher, and since the vast majority of my students are aspiring music educators it is right that I be so. While I make sure that these students gain adequate exposure to solo and orchestral repertoire and other advanced materials, they will benefit most directly in their careers by thoroughly understanding the fundamental techniques and concepts that inform great musicianship and—more importantly—how to explain those techniques and concepts to others.

And yet there can be a danger in too much focus on technique and even in the various rules by which we often seek to explain musical expression. At any given time I will have at least one student—often more than one—who seems to think that if he or she will simply apply the right techniques and the right phrasing rules, quality musicianship will happen. I sometimes call this the “recipe approach” to brass playing. Just as one bakes a cake by mixing correct proportions of sugar, flour, eggs, etc. and baking for a prescribed amount of time, these students think that if they will “do all the things” then great playing will occur automatically. This never, ever works.

What’s the problem? There’s a lot more to great playing than the actions of which we are consciously aware. When a student tries to play by micromanaging all of the aspects of the physical execution I challenge him or her to walk across the room while describing in detail all of the muscle movements from the hips down. This, of course, is impossible. We don’t walk by sending detailed commands to individual muscles or muscle groups; we envision moving from one place to the other and then the body executes the needed actions automatically, the mental commands occurring entirely on a subconscious level. The physical actions involved in playing must occur as much as possible on the same level. Arnold Jacobs (1915-1998), Chicago Symphony Orchestra tubist and famed brass pedagogue, had much to say about this. Here is a short extract from a master class he gave in 1991, hosted by the United States Marine Corps.

Arnold Jacobs (1915-1998)

…what we must understand is that we are an enormously complex piece of machinery but made very simple for use by what I would call it, “bio-computer level” of the brain. Regions above the brain stem where the coordinate functions of widely diverse fiber groups that coordinate what ones to fire, what ones keep you straight, what ones should not fire—and it takes all of these things at a computer level rather than at the intelligence level of the person. You don’t even know that they exist and that makes you free to do what you want with your body because you don’t have to worry about it. Only in music do I find people worrying about using their bodies right. Go to the products, get the results—don’t worry about the body, just make sure it sounds better than anybody else. That is the big factor.

 “Go to the products, get the results.” In order to do that, one must have a clear mental concept of the desired result; this critical factor is nearly always missing in students using the “recipe approach.” They think they know all the physical techniques and musical rules to apply, but fail to understand that in great playing there is activity going on both physically and mentally of which the performer is consciously unaware. When one begins with a desired sound in mind, the brain can—on an unconscious level—set about sending the body the commands necessary to bring about that desired result. This does not totally negate the necessity of being consciously aware of certain physical and musical techniques, but one should seek as much as possible to move these to the automatic, subconscious level, as well. In this way brass playing becomes more and more like singing, except that the source of vibration is the lips rather than the vocal folds.

Of course, in order to begin with sound concept one must listen to enough great music—both by players of one’s own instrument and by others—to develop such a sound concept. Happily, there are more readily available resources for this today than ever before, if one will only take advantage of them. Live music is best, of course—go and listen whenever possible!

 

Posted in Alto Trombone, Arnold Jacobs, Bass Trombone, Essential Concepts in Brass Playing, Euphonium, Music, Pedagogy, Performing, Playing Fundamentals, Practicing, Teaching Low Brass, Tenor Trombone, Trombone, Tuba

Revisiting the Word “Euphonium”

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A humorous diagram showing the differences between the euphonium, baritone horn, double-bell euphonium, and ophicleide.

In a tongue-in-cheek article posted here a few years ago I confessed to a certain dissatisfaction with the word “euphonium.” While that is the correct term for the large, conical-bored, valved brass instrument with a fundamental pitch of B-flat1, I have also contended that the word “euphonium”—following a similar Greek word meaning “pleasant sounding”—is really a remnant of nineteenth-century marketing. It is something of a “three-dollar word” coined as much to sell instruments as anything else. Because the history of low brass instrument nomenclature is not as “nice and neat” as current players might like to think, I’ve tried to avoid an elitist mindset which faults band directors and others for calling this instrument and labeling its parts as “baritone.” The distinction between the baritone horn and euphonium, while significant, has never been as clear in the American context as the British one, or at least it wasn’t before British-style euphoniums began to take hold in this country around 1950. In working with band directors and students I have emphasized means of conceptualizing and achieving a characteristic euphonium sound, but have downplayed the importance of the word “euphonium.”

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Playing and speaking at the ASBDA Region 5 conference.

Yesterday I presented a clinic at the American School Band Directors Association Region 5 Conference, entitled “Getting the Right Euphonium Sound.” In that clinic I took the approach indicated above—I discussed and demonstrated what the characteristic sound of the euphonium is, how it differs from a trombone sound (or, for that matter, a baritone horn sound), and how to instruct students to achieve that sound. At the same time, I was less insistent about using the term “euphonium,” especially in concert band contexts where most of the parts are often labeled “baritone,” even where the euphonium is the intended instrument and timbre. We had a great question-and-answer time at the conclusion of the clinic, and one question in particular made me begin to rethink this approach.

The director who asked the question teaches at a school where most students rent or buy their own euphoniums, rather than using school-owned instruments as is the norm in many districts. She has begun to encounter a significant problem in that parents of “baritone” players have been perusing online catalogs and then purchasing British-style baritone horns, rather than the euphoniums that are the actual desired instruments. This particular problem might not have occurred in previous generations, when American manufacturers in particular had a habit of labeling their top-line instruments as “euphoniums” and their lesser-grade ones “baritones,” despite there being little or no distinction in sound or construction. But in the current global market quality manufacturers such as Yamaha and Besson that market instruments to American wind bands also make instruments for British brass bands, where the “baritones” and “euphoniums” are markedly different animals. Well-meaning parents who have always heard the terms “baritone” and “euphonium” used interchangeably (if they have heard the latter term at all) are understandably displeased to learn that the baritone horns they have purchased for their children are not usable due to their not having the correct sound for the American concert band context.

In the previous post mentioned above I indicated a wish that the low brass community would dump the word “euphonium” and use “tenor tuba” instead. I would still be glad to see this, and the distinction between this instrument and the baritone horn would remain. But for now, “euphonium” is still the correct term, and while composers for American wind bands have not always appreciated the distinction between baritones and euphoniums, manufacturers do, and the instruments currently marketed as “baritones” are almost never called for in wind band repertoire. While sound is more important than nomenclature, directors who want their parents and students to purchase the correct instruments will have to insist that they buy euphoniums. As it turns out, precision in terminology is important, after all.

 

 

Posted in Baritone Horn, Euphonium, Mouthpieces, Music, Music Education, Musical Instrument Manufacturers, Nomenclature, Pedagogy, Teaching Low Brass

My First ITEC…Not Really…but Kind Of

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University of Mississippi Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble, with composer Kenyon Wilson

As was the case with my previous post, I’m writing this morning from a hotel room near Iowa City, where I am still attending the International Tuba-Euphonium Conference at the University of Iowa with my students. The University of Mississippi Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble had a successful performance on Tuesday, and we have enjoyed the remainder of the week attending concerts, lectures, master classes, and exhibits. This was my first time bringing a large student group to a conference like this, so this was a new experience for most of them. As we were preparing for this trip a few students were obviously skeptical that attending ITEC would be worth the trouble and expense (some of which the students bore themselves), but in the end I think all of them decided the trip was worth it. Some seem to have preferred the concerts, others the exhibits, and still others simply having the opportunity to meet and get pictures with their “tuba heroes,” but all have greatly enjoyed the experience.

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Students participating in a group warm-up class.

For me, this experience is not new at all, and yet it is. I attended my first ITEC in 2002, when I was a graduate student at the host institution, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Because my entire career has spent with one foot in both the trombone and tuba-euphonium worlds and funding is limited, I have not been able to attend the ITEC or its counterpart, the International Trombone Festival, every time they have been held, but I have been to both events enough times that attending is, in a sense, “old hat.” While I enjoy attending and participating in performances and presentations, as well as making and renewing connections with colleagues, I see little at these events that is truly “new” for me. But watching my students experiencing all of this for the first time has been reinvigorating, and reminds me of the sense of amazement that I had when attending events like this for the first time. I told the students all along that their opportunity to take in everything at the conference was more important than their own performance, but I’m not sure I realized just how true this was until I actually saw it. I find myself even more excited now about taking my “other” student group to the International Trombone Festival in a few weeks, and determined to find ways to fund more and more frequent opportunities to participate in conferences like this.

Speaking of which, I should stop writing and get ready to leave—this morning’s class with tuba virtuoso Øystein Baadsvik begins in less than an hour!

Posted in Conferences, Euphonium, International Trombone Festival, International Tuba-Euphonium Conference, Oystein Baadsvik, Pedagogy, Performances, Teaching Low Brass, Tuba, Tuba-Euphonium Ensembles, University of Mississippi, University of North Carolina at Greensboro