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.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 34

Etude No. 34 (the final study in Book 1) marks the end of my Kopprasch project, at least for the immediate future.  Suggested tempo is quarter=96, although the Cornopub edition lists a range from quarter=80-120. The biggest issue in the first half is finding a place to breath. It is possible to play from measure 5-12 in a single breath, but in the interest of clarity and tone quality I found it necessary to catch a breath at the end of measure 10.  I felt pretty good about this particular “take,” although six measures from the end there is what is known in the lexicon of clams as a “no-speaky.”  Verne Reynolds doesn’t hold back in his opinion of No. 34 in The Horn Handbook, noting that this is “Kopprasch at his most predictable and repetitious.” (p. 61) He does point out, however, that changing the articulations, rhythms, dynamics, and transposition can breath new life in this study. For my part, I found improved endurance and more consistent articulations among the benefits of practicing this etude.  Coming up on Wednesday: some final thoughts on this project, and news on future projects.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 19

Here’s the next installment, No. 19.  Suggested tempo for this one is dotted quarter=60-65.  One stylistic thing is to make sure that when slurred sixteenth notes are immediately followed by staccato sixteenths that the last of the slurred notes is not clipped.  This is a very easy habit to fall into, especially at faster tempos.  Play the slurred notes full value, and then proceed with staccato. Another issue is concentration.  No. 19 is one of the longer studies in Book 1, and it is very easy to space out towards the end.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 17

For some reason, No. 17 was particularly difficult for me, but I eventually got it recorded.

Actually, I know exactly why this one was challenging – it emphasizes the area in and around my “break,” and I’m betting this is a range many other players struggle with also. One thing that helped me is practicing it very slowly, as well as using the provided rhythmic variations. Even with this preparation, however, I still found myself flubbing an attack or clipping a harmonic every now and then.  This rendition isn’t perfect, but it was the closest I could get on that particular day.  No. 17 is definitely one to come back to for work on the middle register!  Suggested tempo is dotted quarter=92-100.

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 11

Here’s your weekly Kopprasch.

This particular etude is quite unusual in that it doesn’t really seem to fit with the progression of the rest of the collection.  Many editions in fact suggest that this study be postponed until later, usually in Book 2.  However, in the interest of thoroughness I decided to go ahead and record this one.  Unfortunately, none of the previous studies – with the exception of No. 5 – really prepare the student to tackle this one, which is devoted almost entirely to lip trills.  My suggestion for students is to wait until your trills are more or less developed before working on No. 11.  Otherwise the whole thing can become quite frustrating.  Although there are probably lots of possible tempos for No. 11, I settled somewhere around quarter note = 80.  This may be on the slow side, but it gave me enough time to start each trill and get to the following eighth note while staying in time.

Kopprasch Project continued, No. 10

Here’s the next installment in the Kopprasch video project.

Suggested tempo is half note=92.  As with No. 8, this study emphasizes patterns largely composed of thirds and whole/half steps.   Pay particular attention to those measures where the pattern deviates (i.e. m. 13 and m. 29).  Keep it light.

Kopprasch Project continued, No. 8

This week’s Kopprasch combines triadic and stepwise patterns.  Strive for evenness of sound and articulation across the dynamic and register changes.  Focus on air speed intensity rather than excessive embouchure motion at a slow tempo before attempting faster speeds.  Suggested tempo is quarter=84-88.  Make sure you put enough air into the descending octave slurs, (mm. 17-18).

Kopprasch Project Continued, No. 7

This week’s Kopprasch is the first in this collection with the tempo marking Adagio.  Although the majority of Kopprasch etudes tend to focus on drilling fundamental technical elements at moderate to fast tempos, the slower etudes are great for working on breath control, phrasing, intonation, and yes, even musicality.  While No. 7 appears quite simple, for me it was probably the most challenging etude to prepare up to this point.  I highly recommend practicing it with a tonic drone, as well as in various transpositions, both high and low.  If you really want to work on breath control, start with a metronome marking of quarter=52 or slower.  I think I settled somewhere around quarter=54-60 for this recording.  As for the recording setup, I thought I’d try standing up for this one, since I normally stand for most of my practice sessions.  I also turned the camera and microphone slightly.   All in all, I was pretty happy with the sound, although I set the microphone levels a little too high – there is some minor distortion on a couple of the higher and louder notes.

Kopprasch Project continued, No. 6

Here’s your weekly dose of Kopprasch.  Recording things should get interesting in the next couple of weeks with the Southeast Horn Workshop coming up, as well as a recital and several orchestral and chamber music performances.  Actually, I am really enjoying going back over these etudes – trying to get them into shape for recording purposes forces me to pay very close attention to every detail, and as a result I’m getting more benefits out of each one.  Take, for instance, No. 6 below.

Though one might be tempted to worry about the high A, the real beauty of this etude is the work you get to do in the middle-low register.  Getting clarity of tone and articulation in the range just below the staff can be a challenge, especially at faster speeds.  Although it’s marked “Allegro vivace,” I think a tempo of around quarter note=92 is a good ballpark figure.  As always, make sure to exaggerate the dynamic changes.