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.
- Solo/Ensemble Festivals: If none exist in your district, is it feasible to start one or participate in another district’s festival?
- Extra credit/additional recognition for students who participate
- Feature chamber music performances during or prior to band concerts
- Outreach performances at hospitals, senior centers, elementary and junior high schools
- Additional performances at churches, athletic events, school board functions, and community events will help promote and sustain interest in your music program.
- 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:
- 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.
- Exercises or pieces which require players to listen and adjust to match their colleagues are highly recommended
- 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
|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)|