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Performance Tips

  1. 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 ...
  2. 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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  3. Video - I Know Why and So Do You - Euphonium and Piano

    I just uploaded a new euphonium/piano video to my YouTube channel. In this one we are playing a song that I heard in the movie "The Glenn Miller Story" called "I Know Why (and So Do You)." The series of videos I've been doing lately are partly intended to give players ideas about songs they can perform to help develop style. I've been choosing songs that don't require advanced technique or range, and as such they would be doable by anyone from high school on up. They would be a good way to help ...
  4. More on Playing in Church - New Video

    Here is a new video of me playing euphonium for a recent church service, with Sara Brunk, piano. This piece was the offertory: "You Raise Me Up" - words and music by Brendan Graham and Rolf Lovland.

    I have to confess that I came across this song accidentally. I heard the Irish Tenors (probably during PBS fund-raising) in concert, and Ronan Tynan sing a piece called "Grace." I was struck by the melody and wanted the music. The only way I could purchase it was within a book of Ronan Tynan ...
  5. So, Playing in Church Is Too Hard, You Say?

    For many years I have been advising euphonium players to connect with a local church and volunteer to perform euphonium solos now and then (plus play in a brass ensemble if they have one). This is a great way to gain experience and it's a nice contribution to the church. Euphonium is a great fit for a worship service!

    Some of you who are not associated with a church may find it uncomfortable to approach them. Don't worry - in most cases they will be glad to hear from you! "But," I hear ...
  6. Learning from Others - Comparisons

    I was browsing some of the videos on my Euphonium Videos page, and found an interesting contrast between performances of the same music by Lyndon Baglin, Adam Frey, and Steven Mead.

    Lyndon performs in a very traditional British style. Steven also shows a British style, but sounds quite different. And Adam plays with a mostly-American style, although one can hear the British influence in his sound. Because they are all playing the same arrangement (mostly), it is a great opportunity ...
  7. False Tones in the Low Register

    We all know how brass instruments work, right? Without using any valves, our instruments are like a Boy Scout bugle - there are a bunch of relatively fixed notes available over the range of the horn (the partial series). We can bend each one a little flatter or sharper to match pitch with other players on the same note, but most of us can't bend as much as a half step dependably.

    While I was in high school I discovered an exception to that limitation. I learned that I could start on ...
  8. When Is a Breath Mark Not a Breath Mark?

    Sheet music is a symbolic language. If you're reading this I assume you are a musician, so therefore you know that when you see a solid black oval notehead with a straight line sticking up or down, that is a quarter note. You also know it is equivalent to two eight notes. That's a mathematical relationship that is fairly basic to music. Other notations are also clear. We see the # sign and know that it can change the pitch of a note (unless it is a courtesy reminder of what the note should be in ...
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