New Video: Louisiana All-State Etudes, Set 2

Happy New Year to all of my readers!

For my first post of 2017 I am sharing a video recorded back in December; two Kopprasch etudes that will be used for the upcoming Louisiana Music Educators Association All-State Auditions. Although these auditions are generally held in September and October, many districts in Louisiana use them as Honor Band audition material during the spring. I last recorded these etudes about 10 years ago, so it was time for a new (and hopefully improved) version. As with the previous set of etudes in this new series, I’m working on a set of preparatory exercises to accompany them. Look for those in a future post and video recording.

If you’re interested in the equipment I’m playing on this video, the horn is my new Yamaha 671, and the mouthpiece is a Laskey 75G in silver plate.

New Videos: Louisiana All-State Horn Etudes and Preparatory Exercises

One of my mini-projects this summer was to make new recordings of the Louisiana Music Educators Association All-State etudes for horn. I last recorded these about 10 years ago, and it was time to update at least the first set with video recordings, as well as some preparatory exercises to help guide students in their practice (similar to my Solo Training for Horn studies). I hope students and music educators in the state find them helpful. There are three main components to this collection:

  1. An unedited video recording of the Set 1 Etudes by Kopprasch and Gilson, shown below.
  2. Suggestions for performance and several preparatory exercises, which can be downloaded here: Preparatory Exercises LMEA Etudes Set 1.
  3. Video demonstration of the above exercises, shown below.


Job Listings Page Update

Check out the Job Listings page for information on several upcoming auditions, including positions in the New York Philharmonic, U.S. Marine Band, and Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.

Notes from a Master Class on College Teaching Jobs

Continuing in this series of master class notes (part 1 is here), here are some ideas from a class I attended in doctoral school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The presenter was John Stevens, Professor of Tuba and Euphonium, and Director of the School of Music at UW. Professor Stevens was on my doctoral committee, and his ideas about college job searches – and many other things – were very helpful.
College Job Search Master Class with John Stevens, The University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Three types of positions for a typical job search: tenure track (usually at the Assistant Professor level), staff/instructor (still fairly long-term, but not tenure track), and interim (1 year)
  • Search committee is usually comprised of people inside and outside of your area.
  • The search committee will formulate the job description and advertise in several places, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, College Music Society, and possibly in a flyer sent to music schools. [My note: see the bottom of this page for a list of places where positions are advertised.]
  • The committee reviews all the applications, and typically narrows the list to 10 or 15 candidates. At this point they may request a recording, and further narrow the pool down to 3 or 4 finalists.
  • Finalists for the position are invited to campus for a visit, usually 1 1/2 to 2 days. While on campus the finalists will perform a recital, conduct a master class, and meet with the search committee, director of the school, and dean(s) of the college.
  • The search committee wants to assess your playing and teaching, and find out if you will make a good colleague.
  • For the audition recital choose repertoire that an accompanist can play. Show a range of styles, including standard repertoire as well as pieces which are a specialty for you. Don’t present yourself as something you aren’t.
  • Make it clear that you want the job, without seeming desperate.
  • Ask plenty of questions. The interview process is two-way.
  • Gear your questions to express enthusiasm. You want to show that you are going to fit in, and also be able to make a difference in their school.
  • Don’t ask about salary, retirement, etc. at the interview.
  • Try not to be too paranoid about normal conversation, and try to assess whether the search committee is happy or unhappy with the status quo.
  • Show the committee that you are a person with whom others will want to work.
  • The search process is not finished until the job has been offered and accepted in writing.
  • Once an offer has been made, determine how much room there is for negotiation. Are you operating from a position of strength?  Have a bottom line salary in mind, as well as other aspects of the job situation (moving expenses, etc.) The dean or director usually has the final say on a new hire.

In addition to the above advice, I also highly recommend The Academic Job Search Handbook  and The Chicago Guide to Your Academic Career.  These books elaborate and expand on the suggestions given by Professor Stevens, and include detailed information on writing cover letters, preparing your curriculum vitae, and interviewing.

Coming up on Friday, notes from a master class on performance anxiety with David Sternbach.

Notes from a Master Class on Auditioning

This week I’ll be posting notes from various master classes I’ve attended over the years, covering such topics as orchestral auditions, college job interviews/applications, and performance anxiety.  Today’s notes come from a class by William VerMeulen given at the Round Top Festival Institute in the summer of 2003. Looking back over these notes I wish I’d either written more or just recorded the entire lecture! However, I think what’s here gives a good overview of the material presented in the class.

Audition Master Class with William VerMeulen, Round Top Festival Institute, 2003

  • The person with the largest “envelope,” and who stays within that envelope, wins the audition.
  • There is tremendous power in the words “I can.”
  • Play with controlled abandon.
  • Adopt a declarative attitude.
  • Audition for the right reasons.
  • Preparation: use penalties, and simulate the performance environment. Never stop at the point of a mistake, but continue through until the end of the excerpt. Stopping at the point of a mistake tells the brain that it is ok to make that mistake. Categorize the excerpts into three different groups based on how much work they need. Play for other people, and simulate the conditions of an actual audition.
  • Mental Preparation: Use positive self talk, and personify your negative side – this makes it easier to get rid of him or her. [My note: some people even have a separate chair for their negative, judgmental selves in the practice room. Thus, one can more easily tell this aspect of your personality to be quiet and get out of your way.]
  • Use affirmation cards. Write short, positive sentences saying what you want to accomplish in the present tense form. Say the phrase(s) ten times in the mirror morning and night. The law of accommodation is stronger than the law of reality.
  • Mental training and visualization are incredibly important.

These ideas have helped me quite a bit in auditions, and in preparing for other performances. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. For some more resources on auditioning, check out the online index to The Horn Call: Journal of the International Horn Society, and search by subject for “auditions.”  Other useful publications include The Inner Game of Tennisby W. Timothy Gallwey, Audition Success, by Don Greene, and Horn Playing from the Inside Out, by Eli Epstein.

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