October Practice Reflections

I ask my students to write lesson notes and practice reflections.  I love seeing their comments in writing…

Working on making a beautiful sound in softer dynamics, air support, articulation
During run through ask yourself “Am I doing this the easiest way possible”
Let your body freely bridge the passage between your imagination and your lips
Working on phrasing and bringing character to everything I play; pinwheel concept for breathing; focusing on having no breaks in my sound
I think I need a clone… so I can multi-task more efficiently
Still trying to accomplish basic principles we have discussed, and with overall practice, it has seen progress; although, I am still trying to divide my time to initiate better management of what I need to accomplish.
Easier to play lip slur melodies and tbone craft etudes if I remind myself to look ahead. I think I am forgetting to do this sometimes.
Getting the lips to be proactive vs reactive
I found it easier to work on my material due to using this rotation method for practicing
It’s been an excellent practice week. The idea of simplifying and focusing only on listening, while I’ve heard it before, seems to have helped me considerably this time.
I think I learned to never underestimate how helpful mouthpiece buzzing can be. I always had an issue when slurring down to the lower register, I never liked the tone and the pitch was unsteady. I made the simple discovery that I was not buzzing the right pitch, I was always too high or too low.
I managed to translate the last song in my Brahms cycle, and have also spent tons of time singing. Both the translation and the singing practice have been really helpful for developing my interpretation, and I’m hoping to continue that progress.

September 2017 – Practice Reflections

I ask my students to write reflections in their practice notes. Every now and then, I like to compile some of their comments.
All in all, I’d say I have a very insightful studio!
Don’t expect a good sound, predict it. You have to work to meet an expectation, predictions just happen, they’re a given.
“Relentless patience”
Creative, come up with new solutions
Working too hard, put less effort into blowing
Celebrate successes and acknowledge failures
Lips are just there to respond to air
Discovered that if I don’t shift my face, I can play in and out of the pedal range without having to reset! Victory! Just hold the instrument straight, hear the note, relax and sing.
Working on bringing the intensity and purpose behind my Romeo & Juliette sound into everything that I play, from the studio tune to the Sulek
Experiment and try more things.
Lead to one of my most productive practice sessions this academic years.
2 observations
* Playing relaxed
* Lip and Horn harmony (lips put the pitch where the horn wants it)
~Isolating weak areas inside and outside of the context of the music
Snapshotting” – Don’t think of the movements between two points (inhale/exhale, large leaps, slide movement), take a snapshot of each end and just switch between the two images.
Something I didn’t realize that soft buzzing helps more than loud buzzing. I previously thought that loud buzzing could help you “open up” more in terms of tone. I learned of this when you mentioned this either Wednesday or Thursday of last week during studio class. I started doing soft buzzing and I feel like it has been benefitting my tone even more!
I’ve realized that I usually start playing by blowing air into the trombone before even consciously setting my embouchure. I guess I got away with it up to this point because it’s often overlooked, but I think I should improve at it. Before I start playing something, I will always consciously set my embouchure until it’s been ingrained as a natural habit.
Something that [name] brought up this week that helped me out significantly is playing a piece of music incredibly slow so that I can hear exactly what is coming out of my bell. I think it helped me with some of the intonation issues I’ve been having.
I have continued to use a tuner at least once a day to make sure I have a central focus on my intonation. If not using a tuner, I’ll just head over to the piano to make sure I can hear the notes correctly. So….
* Increased intonation
* Keep using tuner
* Correct intonation helps note changes?
* Continue to listen and reflect
Very hectic week, but have been trying to implement practicing within small windows like mentioned in last lesson. There’s always time somewhere!

Teaching Assistantship Available

Beginning Fall 2018, a Teaching Assistantship position will be available in the Arizona State Trombone Studio for either a tenor or bass trombone. This can be awarded to either a Master’s or Doctoral student.

Duties may include:
  • Applied trombone instruction
  • Teaching secondary trombone to music education majors
  • Supervising the trombone chamber music program
  • Helping to organize and conduct the ASU Desert Bones trombone ensemble.
Prospective DMA students are required to submit a pre-screening recording. Prospective MM students are encouraged to do so.

Graduate application details can be found here:
Interested candidates, please email me for details.

Andrew Glendening at ASU

Andrew Glendening, an outstanding trombonist, advocate for new music, dean of music school at the University of the Redlands and host of this past summer’s International Trombone Festival was our guest for a recital and master class.

On Saturday, Sep 16th, he presented a challenging recital featuring a retrospective of works for trombone and tape.  On Wednesday, Sep 20th, he gave a thought-provoking master class, working with three trombone students: Gwyn Goltry, Nate Bitter and Paul Lynch.


PSO Sub-list auditions

This past Saturday, 8 ASU trombonists had an opportunity to sub-list auditions for the Phoenix Symphony. The audition took place on the main concert hall stage and they received feedback from music director, Tito Muñoz and principal trombonist, Chris Wolf.
Many thanks to those two gentlemen for sharing their time and expertise!