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Performance Tips

  1. Video: When Is an Easy Piece Hard?

    One would ordinarily think a piece in 4/4, named "Romance," marked "Moderato," where the quickest rhythm is in a few dotted-eighth/sixteenth figures would be pretty easy, right? Well, OK, it's in A concert, but that is one of the standard scales taught in school and used in high school band pieces (sometimes, anyway).

    There are two harder things about this piece. One is the upper range, which goes to a high C# concert (D# treble). That's a bit tough. But I find the hardest facet by ...
  2. Video: Exploring Double-Bell Techniques, Part 2 - the Yodel

    As I mentioned in my previous post, it is sometimes hard to imagine what the double-bell euphonium might be used for today if it had remained more popular throughout the the 20th Century. Here is my next experiment, getting a yodel effect. For this, I chose a fairly simple song from The Sound of Music, "The Lonely Goatherd." This also scratches another itch - to do more with Broadway and movie music.

    I have my eyes on another more complex example, but it will be while before I get to ...
  3. Video: Exploring Double-Bell Techniques with Gershwin's It Ain't Necessarily So

    I often wonder what the original double-bell euphonium artists did in the early 1900's. I read that they used the little bell for echo effects, and one would assume they would alternate between the bells per phrase or even per note. But I think if the instrument had gained mainstream popularity and kept it through the 20th century, new techniques would have evolved.

    I'm going to offer a couple different double-bell techniques in this video, plus two rarely-used conventional techniques. ...
  4. Listening to Recordings of Your Own Playing

    Have you ever met musicians who refuse to listen to their own recordings? I have... many times. They literally don't know what they are missing. On the other hand I have met players who are a little too enthralled with their own recordings. They also don't know what they are missing! Do you fit in either of those camps? Either one is actually understandable, but there are more useful ways to listen to your own recordings.

    Let me set some conditions before discussing this further. First, ...
  5. Developing Effective Vibrato

    Vibrato is a part of virtually every advanced euphonium performance. Among other instruments, it is used for most of the playing on strings, and much of the playing on cornet, trumpet, trombone, and tuba in the brasses, and flute, oboe, and saxophone in the woodwinds. French horn players don't use it as much in the USA, although Europeans use it more. The same is true for clarinet. Vocalists use vibrato most of the time. Clearly, any player beyond beginner level will need to learn how to produce ...
  6. Video: Very Unique Euphonium Feature on Melody Shop

    This is from a live concert by the U. S. Army Field Band. It is an example of what a little imagination can do with a march that is already impressive, and then becomes a genuine crowd pleaser! Video features Sergeant First Class Christopher Sarangoulis and Staff Sergeant Lauren Veronie on euphoniums.

    This is undoubtedly very difficult to do, either live or in practice, but they did it! What I like about this is that the march is first (apparently) played all the way through normally, ...
  7. Minnesota All-State Audition - Example and Tips - Video

    I've been asked to do a new project this year. Brian C. Wilson of iplayeuphonium.com is working to obtain recorded examples of the all-state audition pieces for all 50 U.S. states. I am doing the example for Minnesota.

    In this state a composer writes a special etude each year, which is one way to make sure there is an even playing field (i.e. the chosen piece is not one that anyone happened to have played in a lesson last year or something). Composer Timothy Mahr includes quite a lot ...
  8. Memorizing and Sight Reading

    I would like to memorize more often than I do. Playing without music, once you get to the point where you really have it memorized, frees you in several ways. But it takes time to get to that "safe" point.

    When you are looking at the music stand you are somewhat "locked" in position. That could actually be an advantage in a recording session if there is a mic on your bell, but for a live audience it limits your freedom to move along with your musical expression. You may also find that
    ...
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