A Quick Look at this Semester’s Recital Repertoire

Wow! 13 people giving a total of 11 recitals!
Adam Dixon, Hannah Raschko, Collin Logsdon, Liam Russell, Andrew O’Neal, Alex Mayhew, Ben Larson, Paul Lynch, Jordan Crimminger, Nate Bitter, Hasan Sannoufi, Chris Wengert-Ramos, Sydney Forgey.

Just thinking about all the wonderful performances.  Here’s a partial list:
Jacob Concerto, Mvt 1
Ewald, Romance
Peaslee Arrows of Time
Schumann, Five Pieces in Folksong Style
Creston Fantasy (two of them)
Bozza Ballade
Pyor Fantastic Polka
Ewazen, Concerto
Lebedev, Concerto in One Movement
Schnyder, Riffs
McCarty, Sonata
Ewazen, Sonata
Arnold, Fantasy
Culver, Suite
Bach, Cello Suite in D minor
Vaughn-Williams, Tuba Concerto
Tomasi, To be or Not to Be
Sulek, Sonata ‘Vox Gabrieli’
Vine, Love Song
Spaniola, Crossroads
Filas, Sonata ‘At the End of the Century’
JacobTV, I Was Like Wow
Du Silva, Brazilian Dances
Bex, Vademecum
Gillingham, Sonata for Bass Trombone
Hidas, Meditation
Monti, Czardas
Marcello, Sonata in A minor
Jorgensen, Romance
Grondahl, Concerto
Bourgeois Coat de Bone
DeFaye, A la Maniere de Schumann
Larsson, Concertino
and, of course..
Sandstrom, Sang till Lotta


All in all, quite a list!

Spring Trombone Night Program!

Spring Trombone Night
In celebration of International Trombone Week
Featuring students of the Arizona State University Trombone Studio
Katzin Concert Hall
Monday, April 10th , 2016, 7:30pm

Inveni David ………………. Anton Bruckner (1824-1896), arr. Douglas Yeo
Conductor: Paul Lynch

Crossroads………………………………………………. Joseph Spaniola (b. 1963)
Soloist: Ben Larson, Conductor: Allan Durazo

Suite for Trombone Ensemble……………… Michael Hennagin (1936-1993)

  1. Prelude
  2. Lyric Piece
  3. Dance

The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist……………. Greg Danner (b. 1958)
III. Chase Scene from Episode 122: “The Escapist vs. The Mindbots”

brief pause

Light Cavalry Overture Franz von Suppe (1819-1895), arr. Craig Kaucher
Andrew O’Neal, Gwyn Goltry, Kendric Knorr, Nick Lehnertz

Suite ……………………………………………… Kazimierz Serocki (1922-1981)

  1. Intrada
  2. Corale
  3. Toccatina

Chris Wengert-Ramos, Alex Mayhew, Seth Neufeldt, Collin Logsdon

Interludio…………………………………………….. Frigyes Hidas (1928-2007)
Adam Dixon, Andrew O’Neal, Paul Lynch

Sonata …………………. Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), arr. John Mortimer

  1. Grave
  2. Vivace
  3. Adagio
  4. Allegro

Nate Bitter, Sydney Forgey, Hasan Sannoufi, Nick St. Croix

Four Pieces ………………………………………. Jean-Michel DeFaye (b. 1932)

  1. Choral
  2. Mouvement Perpetual
  3. Lento
  4. Final

Ben Larson, Hannah Raschko, Liam Russell, Jordan Crimminger

brief pause

Transmogrify………………………………………… Christian Paarup (b. 1991)

Hymn of Acxiom………………… Vienna Teng (b. 1978), arr. Vernon-Young
Adam Dixon, conductor

Star Wars……………………………. John Williams (b. 1932), arr. McKinney
Andrew O’Neal, conductor

Fall Trombone Night Videos..

Well, better late than never.  Here are some video selections from the Fall Trombone Night concert.  Enjoy!

Enrique Crespo – Bruckner Etude

Kenyon Wilson –  Songs of Distant Earth

Fisher Tull – Concert Piece (quartet: Ben Larson, Hannah Raschko, Liam Russell, Jordan Crimminger)

Anthony Barfield – Reflections

Frank Ticheli – Earth Song (conclusion)


Congrats to Michael Wilkinson

ASU grad, Michael Wilkinson has just been named as the new Assistant Professor of Trombone at the University of South Carolina.  Michael was a faculty associate in jazz studies at Arizona State University where he also completed a doctorate in trombone performance (2013). He has a master’s degree in trombone performance from Arizona State University (2009).

Congratulations, Michael!

Here’s the announcement.



Snippets from Lesson Notes

As I teach, I do ask students to write down notes.  I also encourage them to write reflections from their practicing that week.  Here are a few snippets…

We’ve noticed that I am making improvements in my tension-related problem. I will keep working towards removing tension and try to stay aware of the instances that I play with tension. We talked a lot about finding the melody behind the melody- basically looking for a simple melody hidden behind ornamentation or flourishes. A good way to practice might be to begin with the stripped melody and slowly add variations and ornamentation until I play what’s written.

Clef studies become a lot easier when I look at the actual structure of the notes, rather than focusing on the specific notes and what clef they are in. For example, if I just recognize that a C major arpeggio is being lined out, then it becomes easier, even though the clef switches in between.

Rochuts in the back of the book are way cooler than the beginning few!
The absolute slowest practice is amazingly beneficial, but mentally so draining. Doing Kopprasch and lip slurs stupidly slow and focusing on the minutia of the slur translates to faster tempos more than I thought it would.


Bobbing in time hurts playing!!!
Don’t close off note endings (open)
No short notes; only short long notes

In Ewazen, are you counting big or small beat?


I decided to Google “left hand cramping trigger trombone” just to see what would come up, and also because I’m nervous about what kinds of damage could happen to my hand throughout my career. Oddly enough, an article by Doug Yeo is the first one that popped up. He presented a solution and I’m going to copy and paste two pictures: first of the way we are normally told to hold the trombone, and consecutively the solution he presents.

I tried out his solution and it feels really weird but I’m going to see how it turns out for the next couple of days in my practice sessions. He said it takes the tension away from between the second (index) and third (middle) finger and that it prevents the stretching of the “web of skin” between the second and third fingers.


Some common themes…

As the semester goes along, I find that no two lessons are alike.  An approach that works with one student doesn’t necessarily work with another.  Still, some common themes pop up here and there.  Here are three that I’ve found myself returning to:

Slide Accuracy

I have become more keenly aware of the fine details in a student’s slide movement.  Sometimes I point this out using slow-motion video capture.  A common ailment: “up-glissing” from isolated notes in longer positions (turning too early).


Calmer Starts

I’ve been on the watch for people moving a lot just as they start that first note.  I think trouble can arise with excessive motion.  Especially noteworthy: bobbing with the head and the bell for the first entrance.  Related to this: ‘keeping time’ by bobbing with the slide.  I’m not demanding motionless playing!  Some movement can be a natural outgrowth of expression.  But excess movement can be a real source of trouble.

Gentle Wind

I have an old saying, “Lungs deal in pounds.  Lips deal in ounces.”  I think problems can arise when the lungs are simply trying to push out more air than the lips need or want.  These include grunting (throat tension) and a too-tight embouchure set.



Excerpts with Chris Wolf

In today’s studio class, Chris Wolf of the Phoenix Symphony came in to hear some sections play through excerpts.

Adam Dixon, Andrew O’Neal and Paul Lynch played excerpts from
Brahms Symphony No. 4 and Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6

Ben Larson, Hannah Raschko and Jordan Crimminger played excerpts from Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis.

Liam Russell, Ben Larson and Jordan Crimminger played excerpts from Strauss Ein Heldenleben.

Many thanks to Chris for sharing his time and expertise.

Upcoming Master Class with Chris Wolf

Chris Wolf, Principal Trombonist with the Phoenix Symphony will be coaching students through some orchestral excerpts in studio class this Friday, Feb. 17th.

Two sections will perform for him:

Ben Larson, Hannah Raschko, Liam Russell and Jordan Crimminger (in rotation):
Strauss, Ein Heldenleben; Hindemith, Symphonic Metamorphosis

Adam Dixon, Andrew O’Neal, Paul Lynch:
Chorale passages from Brahms Symphony No. 4 and Tchaikovsky. Symphony No.  6


Modems and Myelin

Most of my studio members don’t remember dial-up modems but a few do.  I remember moving up from a 14.4 to a 28.8 and how *screamingly* fast it was!  Seems quaint now.

Today in master class I spoke a bit about The Talent Code by Dan Coyle.  One element of this book is a discussion of myelin, an insulating material that wraps around nerves.  Here’s a short video about it.   In short: myelin wraps around neurons, allowing them to fire more quickly (“a high speed rail upgrade for your brain”).   In other words: repeat an action (helpful or unhelpful) and that sequence becomes more automatic.

This provides a sort of medical underpinning to that time-tested adage:

Once you get it right, the practicing begins.

It fascinates me to think that I’m actually changing my brain with repetition in my practicing.

One important point:

Children do this instinctively and often find pleasure in it.

Sometimes as adult learners, we see repetition as drudgery or punishment.  If we allow ourselves to become more childlike in our learning, actually enjoying ‘nailing’ a lick over and over, we not only improve but enjoy it as well.  Consider this video from the world of cup-stacking.