Louisiana Music Educators Association Clinic Preview

In a few weeks, my colleagues and I will be presenting a clinic at the 2013 Louisiana Music Educators Association State Conference in Baton Rouge. The topic of our clinic is chamber music for brass, and is intended to be a guide for music educators who wish to start or develop a brass chamber music program at their schools. Although geared towards high school band directors, much of the presentation could also be applicable to other music educators. I’ve included the main points from our presentation below, as well as some repertoire lists at the end. Thanks to Dr. Aaron Witek and Dr. James Layfield for their assistance in putting together the repertoire lists. The lists are simply a starting point, and are not meant to be all encompassing. In addition to elaborating on these points, we’ll also be doing a good bit of playing during our presentation to demonstrate repertoire and rehearsal techniques. If you will be attending this year’s LMEA Conference, I encourage you to stop in and check out our clinic!

Chamber Music for Brass: A Guide for Directors

Presented by Black Bayou Brass

Resident Faculty Brass Ensemble, The University of Louisiana at Monroe

2013 Louisiana Music Educators Association State Conference

Dr. Aaron Witek, trumpet, Dr. James Boldin, horn

Dr. James Layfield, trombone

This clinic will focus on three issues related to chamber music for brass instruments.

  • The benefits of having chamber music in your band program.
  • Developing the time, resources, and incentives necessary for a chamber music program.
  • Repertoire recommendations for beginning, intermediate, and advanced chamber groups


Chamber music can be an incredibly rewarding experience for young musicians, with many benefits for both the individual student and the program as a whole.

  • Improved large ensemble playing (rhythm, intonation, accuracy, blend/balance, etc.)
  • Greater technical and artistic confidence
  • Improved interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Exposure to a wide variety of musical styles and eras
  • Chamber music groups are far more portable than large ensembles, and can act as ambassadors to the community for your school and your program.
  • State of Louisiana curriculum standards for secondary music education state that “alternative performing organizations” and “experience in small ensembles” should be available for band and orchestra students. [Louisiana Department of Education Academic Curriculum Standards, available at http://www.louisianabelieves.com/resources/library/academic-curriculum/]

Time, Resources, and Incentives

Here are some recommendations for starting and maintaining a chamber music program at your school.

  • Incentives
  1. Solo/Ensemble Festivals: If none exist in your district, is it feasible to start one or participate in another district’s festival?
  2. Extra credit/additional recognition for students who participate
  3. Feature chamber music performances during or prior to band concerts
  4. Outreach performances at hospitals, senior centers, elementary and junior high schools
  5. Additional performances at churches, athletic events, school board functions, and community events will help promote and sustain interest in your music program.
  6. Assign a chamber music project as part of band class, which will factor into the students’ overall grade. Students could be responsible for organizing a free performance in the community.
  • Start with brief but regular rehearsals, and build from there. If your chamber ensemble(s) will be meeting after school to rehearse, you might be in competition with lots of other extra-curricular activities for that time slot. Alternative times could include after school, before school, study hall, elective classes, etc.
  • At first, groups may need coaching at every rehearsal, but the ultimate goal is for these ensembles to be largely self-directed by the students. Effective rehearsal strategies include:
  1. Warm-up chorales to work on balance, intonation, and ensemble. These should be easily playable with a minimum of rehearsing, so that the students can focus on listening to each other, and not worrying about their own parts.
  2. Exercises or pieces which require players to listen and adjust to match their colleagues are highly recommended
  3. Spend some rehearsal time listening to professional recordings of brass ensembles (see recommended list below). These are great for inspiring players as well as teaching them important tone and style concepts.
  • Reach out to local universities – their faculty and music education students (especially student teachers) may be willing to assist with or coach chamber groups.
  • Parental support is also critical, especially when after school activities are often seen as just “one more thing” in an already busy schedule. Refer to the beginning of this handout for arguments to support chamber music, and you might also remind parents that activities which show personal initiative and organizational/communication skills look very good on college applications.

Recommended Repertoire for Brass Ensembles

Easy/Intermediate Intermediate/Difficult
Trumpet Duo Amsden – Celebrated Practice Duets Thrower – A Palette of Colorful Duets
Voxman- Selected Duets Bk. 1 Voxman- Selected Duets Bk. 2
Wurm – 41 Duets Vizzutti – Trumpet Method Bk. 3
Trumpet Trio Nagel – Sound the Trumpets Olcott – Fanfare for a Festive Occasion
Anderson – Bugler’s Holiday (w/piano) Sampson – Flight
Walters – The Three Jacks (w/piano) Britten – Fanfare for St. Edmundsbury
Trumpet Quartet Fitzgerald- Scherzino Kase – Call
Brand – Country Pictures Ruglo – Four Trump
Rubank – Quartet Rep. (collection) Tull – Canonical Trilogy
Trumpet Ensemble Broiles – Fanfare (6 tpts) Ewazen – Fantasia in B-flat (7 tpts)
Jacob – The Canterbury Flourish (8 tpts) LoPresti – Suite (5 tpts)
Olcott – Christmas Carol Acc. (6 tpts) Morales – Metallic Fury (5 tpts)
Horn Duo C. Fischer – Progressive Duets Franz – 100 Duets (2 vols.)
Morais – Brazilian Short Studies Shaw – Bipperies
Voxman – Selected Duets, Vol. 1 Voxman – Selected Duets, Vol. 2
Horn Trio Bach/arr. Shaw – Trios Gallay – Trio, Op. 24
Balent – Classical Flex Trios Reicha – 24 Trios, Op. 82
Holcombe – Suite Shaw – Tripperies
Horn Quartet Bach/arr. Shaw – Quartets Bozza – Suite
Shaw – Fripperies (6 vols.) Hindemith – Sonata
Various/arr. Holmes – Horn Symphony Mitushin – Concertino
Horn Ensemble Grieg – Peer Gynt Suite (6 horns) Basler – Harambee (5 horns)
Franck/arr. Martinet – Panis Angelicus(6 horns) Ewazen – Grand Canyon Octet
Mozart/arr. Martinet Ave VerumCorpus (6 horns) Humperdinck/arr. KirschenHansel und Gretel Prelude (8 horns)
Trombone Duo Voxman – Selected Duets Vol. 1 Voxman – Selected Duets Vol. 2
Ostling – Duets for Trombone StudentsLevel I Alessi/Sachs – 14 Duets
Clark – Progressive Duets for Trombone Ostling – Duets for Trombone StudentsLevel 2
Trombone Trio Mendelsshon – Lift Thine Eyes Speer – Sonata
Miller – 24 Bach Chorales Hartley – Three Pieces
Bruckner – Aequale No. 1 or 2 Premru – Two Pieces
Trombone Quartet Fetter – 22 Bach Chorals Bruckner – Three Motets
Beethoven – 2 Equali Crespo – Bruckner Etude for LowBrass
Morley – Morning Has Broken Farrell – Fanfare Brillante
Trombone Ensemble Handel/arr. Myers – Alleluia! (8 Tbn.) Tchesnokov – Salvation is Created(8 Tbn,)
Holst/arr. Fetter – Ava Maria (8 Tbn.) Bach/arr. Sauer – Jesu, Joy of Man’sDesiring (6 Tbn.)
Bach/arr. Erickson – Arioso (6 Tbn.) Ewazen – Great Lakes Octet
Tuba/Euphonium Duet Arban/arr. Mead – Play Along DuetsFor Euphonium Gillis – 10 Duets
Beethoven/arr. Sauer – 3 Duos Handel/arr. Doughty – Selected Duets
Sheridan – Play Along Duets for Tuba Nelhybel – 10 Duets
Tuba/Euphonium Trio Miller – 24 Bach Chorales Bach/arr. Cherry – Sleepers Wake
Schubert/arr. Singleton – 4 Choruses Handel/arr. Dishinger – Allegro, fromFlute Sonata, op. 1, no. 4
Anderson – Sea Chanty for Three Anon./arr. Garrett – Im Wald und aufDer Heide
Tuba/Euphonium Quartet Bennet/arr. Friedrich – Weep, o MineEyes Gabrieli/arr. Gionanidis – Canzone PerSquare No. 1
Scheidt/arr. Friedrich – GalliardBattaglia Bruckner/arr. Adler-McKean – TwoMotets
Grieg/arr. Wilkinson – In the Hall of theMountain King Holst/arr. Goble – Jupiter Chorale,from The Planets
Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble Mauer/arr. Stevens – Four Pieces(2 Euph, 3 Tuba) Holst/arr. Forbes – Second Suite in F(3 Euph, 3 Tuba)
Stevens – Suite of English Madrigals(2 Euph, 3 Tuba) Dukas/arr. Roesch – Fanfare from “LaPeri” (3 Euph, 3 Tuba)
Susato/arr. Stevens – Five Dances(4 Euph, 4 Tuba) Nimrod/arr. Forbes – Nimrod from“Enigma Variations” (3 Euph, 3 Tuba)
Brass Trio (trumpet, horn, trombone) Bruckner – Two Aequales Ewazen – A Philharmonic Fanfare
Frackenpohl – Brass Trio Michel – Suite
Nelhybel – Trio for Brass Poulenc – Sonata
Brass Quartet Various – Program Repertoire for Brass Quartet (flexible instrumentation) Bernstein – Fanfare for Bima (trumpet,horn, trombone, tuba)
Various/arr.Voxman – Ensemble Classics(flexible instrumentation) Hindemith – Morgenmusik (trumpet,horn, trombone, tuba)
Various/arr. Holcombe – Four for Four: Beginning Quartets(flexible instrumentation) Koetsier – Quartettino (2 trumpets, horn, trombone)
Brass Quintet Cheetham – Scherzo Arnold – Quintet
Ewald – Quintet Nos. 1-4 Bozza – Sonatine
Various – The Progressive Brass Quintet Horovitz – Music Hall Suite
Brass Ensemble Gabrieli/arr. King – Canzonas Böhme – Sextet, Op. 30
Various – Brass Recital for Brass Sextet Dahl – Music for Brass Instruments
Various – Concert Repertoire for BrassSextet Ewazen – Symphony in Brass (with percussion)

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