During one of my lessons last week I mentioned a certain player, who he is, where he played, etc. The student then asked “How is it that you know so much about these kinds of things?” I mentioned a couple of professional journals and websites, and the student indicated that he was unfamiliar with these. Until this point, I had been taking for granted that students were aware of the various resources available to them, when in fact not all of them were—and how could they be, if I had not told them? This week’s post is an effort to remedy that omission.
This list by no means comprehensive, and to a certain extent duplicates the links and bibliography found on my website at Ole Miss. What I have done here is reduce those lists to materials with which someone that has done very little low brass-related reading should begin.
There are a number of music and brass-related organizations which can be useful to low brass players. For most, the primary benefit of membership in such groups is their journals, which in most cases are mailed on a quarterly basis. While not every article in these publications will be of interest to every individual player, and while some articles are better than others, overall these journals are a good way to stay abreast of developments in the low brass world, including “who’s who,” new research, and new music and recordings.
Founded in 1972, the ITA is “dedicated to the Artistic Advancement of Trombone Teaching, Performance, and Literature.” The ITA sponsors the annual International Trombone Festival, and publishes the quarterly ITA Journal. Recently, the ITA Journal archives have been placed online, and are available to members. That alone might be worth the price of membership!
Formerly known as the Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association (TUBA), the ITEA “is a worldwide organization of musicians whose purpose is to maintain a liason among those who take a significant interest in the instruments of the tuba and euphonium family – their development, literature, pedagogy, and performance.” Like the ITA, the ITEA publishes a quarterly journal, sponsors a biannual International Tuba-Euphonium Conference (and regional events in the “off years”). Also like the ITA, back issues of the journal can be read by members online.
The HBS is more “scholarly” than the above organizations, with its activities and publications directed primarily towards those interested in “academic” study of brass instruments. The HBS Journal is published only once per year, but is a large, book-length publication each year, with a number of interesting and well-researched articles and reviews. The HBS also publishes a number of books.
Besides the websites of the organizations listed above, the following links lead to sites of interest to those wanting to learn more about low brass.
TTF is a great place to learn useful (and sometimes not so useful) information about trombone and low brass playing (and other things). Like any discussion forum, pretty much anyone can post here, so it is necessary to view the information one reads here with a certain amount of skepticism.
There are a number of resources available here, including the TubeNet BBS. Like The Trombone Forum above, this is a discussion forum with posts from a variety of individuals. In recent months it has become increasingly necessary to “filter” the information read here, but still useful tidbits can be gleaned by the careful reader.
This site, maintained by former US Coast Guard Band solo euphoniumist David Werden, offers many free articles and listings, as well as a discussion forum. The Euphonium Music Guide found here is especially useful.
Back in the “old days” we had to purchase scores, parts, and recordings when we wanted to study orchestral trombone parts and prepare for auditions. It is still a good idea to have those things, but this site does provide images of some of the most commonly-asked trombone excerpts, along with multiple recordings of those excerpts by some of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.
Douglas Yeo, former bass trombonist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, offers hundreds of pages of free information relevant to all trombonists (alto, tenor, and bass) on his website. An accomplished performer on the serpent and ophicleide, Yeo’s interest in historical brass instruments is also evident in his offerings here.
Although this is my “short list” of books related to low brass playing, time will not allow for me to write a “blurb” about each of these. Suffice it to say that if I wanted to begin building a library of books related to low brass playing, this is where I would begin.
Please note that while I have, for simplicity, linked to all of these books at Amazon, that might not be the best place to purchase all of them. The bibliographic information listed here or on the page at Amazon can be used to find the website of the publisher or another vendor that might provide a better price, particularly for older publications from small publishing houses. Used book dealers such as AbeBooks might be a good place to look, as well. University libraries are a great resource, and most will have some or all of these books available.
Students, here is a good place to start. Happy reading!