Performance Video: Neuling Bagatelle

The Bagatelle for Low Horn and Piano by Hermann Neuling (1897 – 1967) has long been on my bucket list of solo works, and luckily I’ve had the opportunity to perform it a couple of times in the last few months. Most recently, I performed it for a “Horn Fest” concert organized by my colleague and friend Thomas Hundemer, Principal Horn of the Shreveport Symphony. If you’d like to listen to that performance, the YouTube video can be found at the end of this post. *The video quality is grainy because I stationed the camera at the back of a large church sanctuary and zoomed in.

If you aren’t familiar with Hermann Neuling or his works, check out this great thumbnail sketch by Dr. Jason Michael Johnston of the University of Idaho. It’s also worth noting that three of Neuling’s etude books, including the famous 30 Special Studies for Low Horn, are now available as PDF downloads through qPress. If you’ve listened to or played the Bagatelle, you know that it presents some challenges in both technique and flexibility. It is fun to play, and makes a great addition to a recital program. One interesting point is the horn’s pitch on the dotted eighth-note in the fourth beat of measure 23 (10 measures after rehearsal 1). See below for an image from the score,  © 1956, Pro musica Verlag Leipzig.

© 1956, Pro musica Verlag Leipzig

If you look closely, there is a pitch discrepancy between the horn’s written E natural (concert A) and the piano’s A-flat, both on the fourth beat of measure 23. The E natural in the horn sounds ok by itself, but will definitely clash with the piano’s A-flat! Harmonically, the horn’s note needs to be an E-flat, and is performed as such in the recordings I’ve heard.

If you’ve not taken a look at the Bagatelle, consider programming it in the future as it is a challenging and rewarding work!

Advertisements

More Warm-ups and Daily Routines!

I’m overdue in posting about some new daily routines. In this post (and others) I mentioned the benefit of periodically re-evaluating the daily warm-up and/or practice routine, and the summer months are a perfect time to do so. As with mouthpieces and horns, there is no one perfect example; rather, lots of options and subtle variations to explore. Here are some of those, with dates and publisher information, where available. To read previous posts in this series, see the links at the end of this post.

Horn Warm-ups and Beyond the Warm-up, by Bob Ashworth, Emerson Edition 2011 and 2012

Bob Ashworth has been Principal Horn of Opera North in Leeds, UK since 1978. Both of these slim volumes present several traditional and unique exercises, the first collection dedicated to “consolidating basic techniques and achieving a focused sound,” and the second containing “a collection of ideas and exercises based on fundamental elements of horn playing.” Slurred and legato tongued patterns in the middle range are the primary material in Horn Warm-ups, although the later exercises include staccato variations and higher transpositions. After this thorough grounding in fundamentals, several operatic and orchestral melodies follow. As the title suggests, Beyond the Warm-up expands upon the concepts presented in the first volume, including more variations in style and articulation. Many of the exercises are based on common excerpts found in the orchestral and operatic repertoire.


20 Minute Warm-Up Routine for French Horn, by Michael Davis, Hip-Bone Music

This routine is part of a series of publications for trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuba, and includes an excellent play-along CD with Chris Komer of the New Jersey Symphony. It contains some great stuff, consisting of fundamental exercises that are common across all the brass instruments: lip slurs, broken arpeggios, articulation studies, etc. In my experience, playing the entire routine takes a bit longer than 20 minutes, especially if one takes brief rests periodically. Many of the exercises begin on the open horn and work their way down, which might be a little high for some players to begin right away. In that case I would recommend that they be played from the bottom of the page to the top.


Warm-up Variations for Horn, Op. 94 by Richard Goldfaden, RM Williams Publishing

Mr. Goldfaden has been a member of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra since 1985, and previously held positions in the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and numerous groups in Mexico. His unique take on the daily routine consists of an 8-measure theme in C major, followed by 30 variations (plus a coda) which take the player through multiple styles, techniques (stopped horn, multiple tonguing, glissando, etc.), and degrees of complexity. Several of the variations incorporate motives from the orchestral repertoire, including works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Rimsky-Korsakov. He notes in the preface:

The purpose of the Warm-up Variations is to take the player from a cold lip state to being fully warmed up. It is especially useful after a day or two off the horn. The warm-up starts very comfortably, then gradually widens in range and dynamics. A generous amount of rests are used to prevent fatigue and to keep breathing comfortable.

If you’re looking for a musical yet thorough approach to the daily routine, try these variations.


The Hackleman Routine, by Martin Hackleman, edited by Natalie Brooke Higgins, Alias Brass Company, 2018

A member of the faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance since 2012, Professor Hackleman is highly regarded as a performer and teacher. Most of the material in this collection was created by the author, although there are a few patterns borrowed from (or based on) diverse sources such as Caesar LaMonaca (with whom Hackleman studied), Herbert L. Clarke, Robert Levy, and  Ottorino Respighi. Editor Dr. Natalie Higgins has done an excellent job collecting and formatting these into a unified whole. I don’t want to give too much away, but this collection is really worth checking out because it gives some insight into the author’s teaching and performing philosophy. There is a tremendous amount of food for thought here, some of which will challenge traditional thinking about warming up and horn pedagogy in general.


Daily Studies, compiled and edited by Caesar LaMonaca, published in The Horn Call, February 2017

A longtime member of the Houston Symphony, Caesar LaMonaca (1924-2012) taught horn at the University of Houston and later at Montana State University. Martin Hackleman is among his many former students, and one can certainly see the similarities between their daily practice materials. LaMonaca credits numerous influences in the development of these materials, including Bruno Jaenicke, Robert Schulze, H. L. Clarke, Anton Horner, and John Swallow. The author suggests “a light warm-up before playing the studies-a more extensive one when doing the higher keys,” though the first few exercises could effectively serve as a warm-up as well. Long tones, scale studies, broken arpeggios, breath attacks, and diatonic interval studies in all keys are among the many useful patterns to be found in this free (to IHS members) resource.


The Warm-up: A Basic and Practical Guide to Warming Up, by Wayne Lu, Veritas Musica, 2007

Though his name may not be as familiar as others on this list, Wayne Lu has established a multifaceted career as a performer, composer, and educator. His extensive list of compositions includes works for solo horn, horn in chamber music, horn ensemble, and many more. These are published by Veritas Musica Publishing, which he co-founded. In the Introduction to his very fine collection of warm-up materials, Lu credits A. Kendall Betts, Herb Winslow, John Cerminaro, and many others for their influence on his pedagogy. That being said, the ideas and patterns presented here are unique, and are accompanied by thorough written explanations. A Pre-Warm-Up section includes breathing exercises and aperture buzzing, followed by the Warm-Up proper. Although it consists entirely of slurred patterns, these could easily be adapted into tongued exercises. For more information about Wayne Lu and his music, refer to Laura Chicarello’s article “Becoming a ‘Complete Musician’ ‒ Wayne Lu’s 11 Exigent Etudes for Horn” in the February 2018 issue of The Horn Call.


Method for Trumpet Book 1: Warm-up Exercises and Etudes, by Anthony Plog, Balquhidder Music, 2003, 2015

Anthony Plog is internationally recognized as a composer, pedagogue, and performer, and is Professor of Music at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg, Germany. I first heard mention of this series of books on John Ericson’s Horn Notes Podcast, episode 28, during his interview with Gabriel Kovach, Principal Horn of the Phoenix Symphony. There are seven books in the series, covering numerous aspects of technique. I’ve not spent much time with the material in Book 1, but even a cursory glance through the pages was enough to recognize that this is not a typical brass warm-up. Each section contains a number of progressive exercises that can be combined with other sections, or played by themselves to craft an individually tailored warm-up. A series of 30 etudes follows, a logical extension of the preceding patterns. At $14.95, this volume and the others in the series are a bargain (also available as an Ebook).


Esercizi per Corno, by Corrado Maria Saglietti, IHS Online Music Sales

Corrado Saglietti joined the RAI National Symphony Orchestra of Turin, Italy in 1977, and has held the Principal Horn position in that orchestra since 1990. In addition to his distinguished performing career, he has published numerous solo and chamber works for brass and winds (see his list of works with Editions Bim, for example). His routine begins with middle register scale and arpeggio patterns to be played on the mouthpiece. And while many routines begin with long tones and/or lip slurs and save technical exercises until later, Saglietti includes slurred patterns in 16th notes right away. If performed correctly, this “flow study” approach to warming up can be effective. Later, traditional slurred and tongued patterns in the harmonic series are followed by a whole series of creative patterns covering the range of horn technique. This inventive collection is worth considering, and is very reasonably priced.


Other posts in this series:

Warm-Ups and Routines You May Not Know – Part I – Ifor James

Warm-ups and Routines You May Not Know – Part II – Dufrasne Routine

Warm-ups and Routines You May Not Know – Part III – Standley Routine

When to Change Routines

More Warm-Ups and Routines for Horn

The Daily Routine: A Modular Approach

Warm-ups and Routines Available Online

Changing Up the Practice Routine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goings-on Going on this Summer…

51p4EQDkYPL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_This will be an interesting summer for me, as I won’t be attending any major conferences. Instead, I have been and will be spending my time engaged in various projects here in town, as well as visiting relatives and friends in North Carolina.

New Music on the Bayou held its fourth annual summer festival last week, and as always it was a fantastic celebration of contemporary composers and their works. Mel Mobley and I performed the world premiere of Ken Davies  Crystal Kaleidoscope for horn and marimba, and Black Bayou Brass performed Finding Resolution, a brass trio by Brandon Dicks. *NB: Because of severe weather, we were not able to perform the premiere of Davies’ piece back in April. However, our performance at New Music on the Bayou went very well.

During the month of June I am teaching a course for our new summer Master of Music Education degree. We are very excited to be offering an MME program, and enrollment for this first session has exceeded our expectations. My course is Applications of Music Technology, and is designed to introduce music educators to a variety of technologies they can incorporate into their classrooms and rehearsal halls. Having taught an undergraduate introduction to music technology course for the past several years, I had a good foundation to begin developing the course. However, I obviously wanted to make it different from the undergraduate level class, as well as tailor it to meet the needs of current educators. After some searching, I decided to use a book by Scott Watson, Using Technology to Unlock Musical Creativity. Although it was published in 2011, much of the material on technology is still relevant, but even more valuable is the pedagogical and philosophical approach. I highly recommend it!

This summer I’ll also be working with the IHS Online Music Sales editorial team (Gina Gillie, Dan Phillips, Daren Robbins, and Jeffrey Snedeker) to prepare and make available in digital format numerous works by Douglas HillThe Music of Douglas Hill Collection on the IHS site already has several of Hill’s compositions and method books, and we plan to add more very soon. Perhaps the most significant of these is a digital version of  Extended Techniques for the Horn, complete with the original audio examples composed and performed by the author. For more information on this project (and much more), check out this interview with Doug in the June 2019 IHS E-Newsletter.

After June I’ll be teaching an online music appreciation course, and preparing for a recital tour this September to several universities. I’ll post more on this as the fall gets closer, but the program is going to be a mix of both old and new, including works by Gina Gillie, Paul Basler, Hermann Neuling, Jan Koetsier, and B. Ed. Müller.

 

Low Range in the Daily Routine: To Blast or Not to Blast?

In the past I generally avoided low register “blasting” in my warm-up and daily maintenance routine, but recently I’ve had some positive results using Denise Tryon’s routine. If you aren’t familiar with this one it is worth checking out. It’s a bit shorter than some other published materials, and covers all the basics in around thirty minutes.

Getting back to low note blasting, my previous experience was that too much of it early in the day made the high range feel unfocused. I still played over the full range of the horn in my daily routine, but left the extreme fortissimo exercises for later practice sessions. However, during a recent evaluation of my regular practice materials, I decided to incorporate some low, loud patterns back into my daily regimen. After two months of doing the exercise found in the Tryon Routine every day, here are a few of the benefits I’ve noticed:

  • It really gets the air moving. Breathing exercises are great, but playing as loud as possible (with a good sound) in the low range requires moving huge amounts of air. When done efficiently, it can help open up the rest of the range as well.
  • It helps loosen up stiff chops. I realize now that this should have been obvious, but old habits die hard, and I really had to give these exercises a chance to experience this particular benefit.
  • Flexibility and consistency in and out of the low range gets a lot easier. Passages that go across the break range (ex. opening of Ein Heldenleben) have become more fluid and dependable.

Needless to say, I’ve changed my thinking about low note blasting! However, I would offer a few caveats:

  • Avoid doing it first thing. I would recommend at least a few minutes of gentle, mid-range warming up before jumping into any kind of range or dynamic extremes.
  • Avoid distorting the embouchure. Looking back on it, I believe the problems I experienced with previous forays into this territory stemmed from over manipulating and/or distorting the lips.
  • If things aren’t working, change something. If, after trying a new variation/addition to your routine, you aren’t experiencing positive results, don’t be afraid to change. Make notes about what you notice, and keep looking for ways to be more efficient.

All right, time to go out there and get blasting!

 

Changing Up the Practice Routine

For the last several years my practice routine has been more or less set:

  • 50-60 minutes of warm-up/maintenance routine, occasionally changing up my regular materials or switching out various exercises.
  • 20-25 minute (or longer) break
  • 50-60 minutes of practice immediately following, or later in the day depending on my schedule
  • Long Break (2-3 hours)
  • Optional shorter session (20-30 minutes) as necessary

This worked pretty well for years, though from time to time I would have some issues with rebuilding endurance after heavy programs or breaks. For a variety of reasons (age among them) I decided this semester to change things up and see what differences, if any, resulted. In short, I suspected that my initial routine was too long and strenuous first thing in the day, and despite having a good break before continuing with further practice, the long first session was tiring me out instead of building things up. This is hardly a new idea, and lots of great teachers and performers have noted this before. But as any dedicated musician knows, it’s tough to change up your normal routine, even if it is less than ideal for you. For many (me included), the routine is a security blanket, a place to find refuge during tough playing times. In the midst of preparing some difficult repertoire for performances this spring, something needed to change. Here’s my newly-modified practice schedule:

  • 25-30 minute warm-up/maintenance routine
  • 10 minute break
  • 25 minute session
  • 5 minute break
  • 25 minute session
  • 5 minute break
  • 25 minute session
  • Longer Break
  • 15 minute session

It’s the same amount of time as my old practice schedule, but with more frequent breaks earlier on. In addition, I’ve made some changes to my regular warm-up/maintenance exercises. They still cover all of the essentials, but are more progressive and don’t start out so strenuously. I’ve been very pleased with the results, and feel that this the right path for me going forward. My endurance and efficiency are improved, and just as important, my recovery time after heavy performances has decreased.

I have a follow-up post coming on this, but to close I would recommend as a summer project for any horn students to switch up both your routine and practice schedule. Plan things out, take notes on how things feel at certain points in the day, and experiment with the order and pacing of your practice day. Have fun!

Textbooks, OERs, and a Free Scale Book

The end of our spring semester and academic year is a good time to reflect, and this post will focus on a couple of things that should be of interest to college students and teachers. Last fall I joined a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) at my university, tasked with discussing and developing Open Educational Resources (OERs) for current and future courses. While I was already aware of OERs, this faculty group gave me the opportunity to delve into them in much greater detail, and discuss other pedagogical issues with colleagues from across campus. In addition to myself, the members included a diverse group of faculty from education, health sciences, history, political science, English, communications, chemistry, psychology, and mathematics. We ranged in experience from first-year Assistant Professors all the way to Full Professors with decades of teaching experience. Participation in this FLC was a year long commitment, with monthly meetings. It was a great experience, and I would recommend it to any university faculty who have the opportunity to participate in a group like this. *One perk that we did not know we would be receiving prior to joining was a new Samsung tablet, and a stipend(!)

One of the driving reasons behind the formation of this FLC is the rising cost of college textbooks. If you haven’t bought any yourself or paid for someone else’s lately, you are in for some severe sticker shock the next time you visit a college bookstore. There are several reasons for this high cost, but they are beyond the scope of this post, and were beyond the scope of our FLC. To sum things up, many college textbooks are far too expensive for students to reasonably afford, with the end result being that many simply do not buy them. As you can imagine, this impacts passing rates, retention, etc. While faculty have the academic freedom to choose the textbooks they feel will best fit their courses, it is important to at least consider the financial burden on students. This is where OERs come in. While music as a discipline is lucky when it comes to textbook costs – if you don’t believe me check the cost of an introductory biology book, for example – I was able to find and present on several great OERs for music. I have used many of them in the past, and in many cases they are as good or better than their paid (or higher cost) counterparts.

OERs aren’t the answer to everything, of course. Developing quality course materials is a time-consuming process, and the convenience of well-researched textbook and ancillary packages from big publishers can’t be underestimated. It is a thorny question, and our FLC did not come up with all the answers. However, we did our part to present the issues to other faculty in our respective departments, and discovered (and even created) some new OERs.

To finish out this post, I am including an OER developed a few years ago, a book of intermediate scale studies. My original thought was to publish this text at some point in the future, but I’ve decided to share it here as an OER, under a Creative Commons Attribution License.  Provided that you give appropriate attribution, you are free to do the following:

  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

You may already have developed something similar for use in your own studio, but if you are looking for something or simply want a change from your current materials feel free to check it out! DOWNLOAD HERE: Intermediate Scale Studies for Horn

Here is a list of other free (or low cost) OERs for music. There are of course many more, but these are the ones I use on a regular basis.

Naxos Music Library *Free access if your university has a subscription.

SmartMusic *Student subscription ranges from $4 to $12/year

Sight Reading Factory *Student subscription as low as $2/year

Horn Matters *Free

Hornexcerpts.org *Free

IMSLP *Free

 

Horn Pedagogy Videos and More from Eli Epstein

Renowned horn pedagogue and performer Eli Epstein has a posted a  new video on Breathing and Breath Support to his YouTube Channel. Mr. Epstein gives a concise, yet detailed and anatomically correct, explanation of breathing, and also demonstrates how to put these concepts into practice. Before further discussion, you should watch the video!

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, Mr. Epstein’s approach to the horn is relaxed, methodical, and overwhelmingly positive, which makes for a very effective teacher. One especially unique element is the use of a chair to engage the same muscles used in breath support. Mr. Epstein expertly demonstrates by playing Mendelssohn’s Nocturne from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, accompanied by a silhouette and animated meter showing varying levels of breath support There is a lot of information packed into this six and half-minute video, so it should be viewed multiple times if possible.

If you like this video and find it useful, be sure to check out his other videos on Relaxation Before Performance and Radical Practicing. The relaxation video comes at a very fortuitous time, as many of us in the education field are approaching the end of our academic year. If you find yourself getting tense and more stressed than usual, take five minutes to listen to this video. You’ll feel more relaxed afterwards.

In Radical Practicing, Mr. Epstein discusses and demonstrates the importance of varied repetition as the pathway to learning new material. When we repeat material over and over in exactly the same way, we become bored, even if we continue making the same mistake. Varying our repetitions to target specific elements of a passage is a much more effective way to learn and retain. On a personal note, this concept played a huge role in the development of my etude book Solo Training for Horn.

If juries, final exams, and other end-of-term tasks are starting to stress you out, take a break and view the above videos. It will be time well spent!

Performing from a Tablet

I took the plunge recently and performed from a tablet. Overall, the experience was very positive, and I thought it might be worth sharing some thoughts. I’ve noticed my colleagues and others using tablets for the past several years, and while I understood the benefits – convenience, organization, etc. –  I just didn’t have a compelling reason (until now) to make the switch from paper.

The impetus was an upcoming performance of Dana Wilson’s song cycle for soprano, horn, and piano, Love Me Like a Beautiful Dream. After preparing the horn part individually I realized in rehearsals that my performance would benefit from using a full score, which I’ve done many times in the past, especially with new music. However, the page turns were so fast and frequent that it proved difficult to do so with a paper part. After considering a few other options, such as reducing the part and attaching the pages to a large board (percussionists do this frequently), I decided to explore the tablet option. Here’s the equipment I used:

  • Tablet – Galaxy Tab A 10.1 with S Pen 16GB (Wi-Fi)I already had this model in my possession, courtesy of a program from my university. While not a top of the line tablet, it was more than adequate for my needs. Its 10.1 inch screen makes it one of the larger tablets out there, without getting into significantly higher-priced iPad Pro territory.
  • Footpedal – PageFlip ButterflyNot the priciest model, but a reputable brand with lots of good reviews. The bluetooth connection is strong and dependable, and setup is very easy.
  • Operating System and Sheet Music Software – Android OS and MobileSheets Pro I had to do a bit of searching to find a suitable music reader for Android, as the most popular app, forScore, is only available for iOS. I wanted an easy-to-use app that would allow me to make and save annotations using my tablet’s stylus. After trying the free version of MobileSheets, I upgraded to the paid version.

First, the positives:

  • The performance went very well, with no malfunctions or user-error with the tablet, footpedal, or software.
  • Page turns with the footpedal were easy and seamless.
  • Annotations in the score were easy to make and save using MobileSheets. The zoom feature allowed for precise markings.
  • Backlit screen means no worries about lighting.
  • Don’t have to worry about loose pages getting out of order.
  • Easy to organize and transport hundreds of works – anything in PDF format can be imported, and the software’s import and organize features are user-friendly. I can easily see myself using my tablet in lieu of a stack of books and solos, especially on vacation.

And now, some drawbacks:

  • Coordinating the footpedal for fast page turns took some practice, especially when standing. By the time of the performance I felt pretty comfortable with it, but in order to have my right foot poised and ready to tap the pedal, I ended up putting more weight on my left foot. This created some fatigue that I don’t normally experience when standing. Using the footpedal while seated avoids this issue though.
  • Despite the screen being larger than many tablets (with the exception of the iPad Pro), I still found the display a little smaller than I was used to seeing with printed music. You can zoom in, but then the entire sheet does not fit on the display. A tablet with a larger display is an option, but not one I’m willing to consider at this point.
  • While I didn’t experience any issues with this, I would stress the importance of making sure your tablet and footpedal are fully charged before a performance, and that all alerts are turned off. *Bluetooth must still be enabled in order to connect to the footpedal though, and set your display not to automatically sleep.

Though I haven’t decided to scan and import all of my sheet music and books to a tablet, I have been using it frequently for works that are already in PDF format. This list is continues to grow, and I foresee myself using a tablet more frequently in the future.

Brass Pedagogy Interview Questions

Earlier this semester I was contacted by David Mercedes, a doctoral tuba student at the University of Iowa, with several interview questions for his Advanced Brass Pedagogy course with Professor Jeffrey Agrell. David had some very insightful questions, and I have shared these (and my candid responses) below, with David’s permission. The questions are similar, though not exactly the same, as those posted by John Ericson at Horn Matters. I assume both projects are for the same pedagogy class – BRAVO to David Mercedes, Professor Agrell, and the rest of the Advanced Brass Pedagogy class on a fantastic project!

During your years of collegiate teaching, what do you think you have brought to your studios that has been most valuable to them?

I think I’ve brought a variety of professional experiences as well as enthusiasm and passion for what I do.

What is the best way you motivate your students?

Leading by example! I never ask students to do anything I don’t already do or have done in the past. I try to be as excited as I can about whatever it is that they/we/I are doing, with the hope that my excitement is contagious. Attitudes are contagious, and having a positive attitude is one of the most important attributes you can bring to your teaching.

How do you work with students who don’t seem to be motivated, and are complacent with not progressing as a musician?

I try to find something that they are interested in, whatever that may be, and use that as a conversation starter. Students almost always have something they are passionate about, and I try to help them transfer some of that passion to their musical studies. I ask them to provide both long and short-term goals, and we use that as a basis for materials and strategies covered in lessons.

What are some of your recruiting strategies?

Recruiting has been and continues to be a major component of my current position. Here is a short list:

  • Regular visits to local schools
  • Recruiting tours with other brass faculty
  • Develop a robust, professional online identity through website, social media, YouTube videos, etc.
  • Email, hand-written letters to prospective students
  • Annual on-campus recruiting events (Brass Day, Horn Day, etc.)
  • Building relationships with local music educators

How strict is your personal practice plan? What makes you stick to it, and how often do you change it?

I’m fairly regimented in this area, although age and experience have taught me to be more flexible. I strive for 2 hours of focused practice throughout a work day, unless rehearsals, performances, or other obligations prevent it. I enjoy practicing and learning new repertoire, and that’s what keeps me motivated. I am almost always planning a future program in my mind and thinking over repertoire choices.

How did you go about getting invited to perform at festivals, conferences and other institutions?

Persistence – keep applying for as many of them as you can and eventually your proposals will be accepted. Ask for feedback on your proposals from others who have been successful in applying for those festivals/conferences. Cultivate relationships with people in and out of your field – you never know when those relationships may bear fruit. Be a GOOD PERSON.

What advice would you have for someone who is looking to follow a career path like yours?

Stay interested in what you do, and stay positive. Figure out what it is that you do well, and continue to improve on those things. You can’t do everything, and no one expects you to. Seek out others who are doing the same kinds of things you are and ask them questions about their success, failure, etc. Be honest with yourself and your capabilities – this is very important in avoiding burnout. Try to avoid over-committing yourself. Be especially careful in how you represent yourself on social media. This is incredibly important today.

What is a typical day like for you?

It really varies depending on my teaching and performing schedule. I almost always start the day with some meditation and breathing exercises, followed by a warm-up/maintenance routine. I feel like if I can get that part completed early in the day then I am well-prepared for whatever challenges come my way.

What is the on – campus interview like?

Varies depending on the position and duties, but here are some general components.

  • One or more meetings/meals with the search committee
  • Exit meeting with search committee
  • Q&A with faculty/students
  • Meetings with various administrators
  • Master class and teaching demonstration
  • Rehearsal with collaborative pianist and a recital performance, hopefully not on the same day.
  • Reading session with faculty ensembles (if applicable)

These can be stressful, and you should make sure you take time throughout the day or days that you are there to relax and have a little time to yourself. Remember that from the time you are picked up at the airport until the time you leave that you are being interviewed. The members of the search committee will probably be very relaxed and social with you and each other, which is a good thing, but don’t let it lull you into a false sense of security about your words and actions. Always represent yourself as positively as possible!

What do you think has been your biggest challenge as a musician?

Balancing the physical demands of playing with achieving musical goals. I tend to be an analytical player, which is helpful as a teacher and performer, but can sometimes get in the way.

Upcoming Concert: Black Bayou Brass

This Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m., Black Bayou Brass presents our annual faculty recital. As always, it will be a fun, challenging evening of music for the ensemble. I’ve included a program below, with links to recordings (where available). We’ve performed the Ewazen, Frackenpohl, and Debussy frequently, but the Trio by Mark Wolfram, selections from Voyage, Op. 27 by Robert Muczynski, and Triga by Frigyes Hidas are all new to our performing repertoire. Everything but the Debussy is an original work for brass trio. These are all very solid compositions, and if you are looking for some new brass trio rep for yourself or your students, consider checking out the Wolfram and Hidas especially. The V3NTO Brass Trio has an excellent recording of the Hidas available on CD Baby, and I highly recommend it. It’s also noteworthy that the Wolfram Trio was the First Prize Winner in the Brass Trio category of the International Horn Society’s 1989 Composition Contest. Though brief, it’s a wonderful work, full of contrasts and exciting lines for all three parts.

If you’d like to hear more about these works (and hear them performed) come out to our recital on Wednesday at 7:30!

A Philharmonic Fanfare Eric Ewazen (b. 1954)

 

Brass Trio (1966) Arthur Frackenpohl (b. 1924)


The Girl with the Flaxen Hair Claude Debussy (1862-1918)  arr. Christian A. Eriksen

Brass Trio (1988) Mark E. Wolfram (b. 1955)

 

Voyage for Brass Trio, Op. 27 Robert Muczynski (1929-2010)

Triga Frigyes Hidas (1928-2007) *Samples available here.

 

%d bloggers like this: