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General Tuba-Euphonium Blog

  1. Marcus Bonna Case Zipper Pulls

    I recently used a product from the electronics world to make my Marcus Bonna (Adams) euphonium case more convenient to use. The older Bonna cases had zipper pulls with an extra leatherette tab for each zipper pull. These were handy because when you are closing the case, the 2 zipper pulls are behind the case and out of your line of site. The leatherette extensions made the pulls easy to find by touch.

    But the new Bonna cases have a zipper tab that is a custom design. It's attractive, ...
  2. Four Videos for Independence Day

    The 4th of July is a national holiday in the USA - today is the 241st anniversary of the signing of our Declaration of Independence.

    Let's start with a piece by the iconic American composer John Philip Sousa: Nymphalin. It's a nice little parlor piece with a rather sweet sound.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9uKuq0uKRk

    This is the University of Iowa's Hawkeye Marching Band playing "American the Beautiful." Sorry I don't have a real video because there are heralding
    ...
  3. Listen to the Angel and Devil on Your Shoulders

    When I was growing up I used to love Looney Toons cartoons. One of the visual themes that was used in various ways was a person with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. The two mini characters would try to convince the main character to do something bad or something good. That was an effective tool for the stories, and its use dates back millennia (in somewhat different forms!). An early Disney Pluto cartoon used it as well. It continues to be useful to today's audiences, as shown ...
  4. Starter Pieces for Euphonium-Tuba Quartet

    I was just asked for a list of pieces suitable for an amateur quartet. The particular question in this case was about using them at an OcTubaFest, but these suggestions should work for several situations. Note that all are available as printed music or immediate download.

    The title of this post mentions "Starter" but these are not for raw beginners. I'm referring to tunes to help get your group's repertoire started, although I have tried to stay within a fairly easy realm. If you can ...
  5. The Basics: Scales and Arpeggios

    Would you like to be able to sight read better? Would you like to be able to improve your technique? Would you like to relax more when playing music so you can focus on the music instead of the notes? Then keep reading!

    I have always emphasized that students and advanced players should be doing scales and arpeggios every day. You should know them well enough to incorporate them in your practice without needing music in front of you. That step may take a while, but it is not too difficult
    ...
  6. Concert Polka - Special Cadenza - Free Download

    I've had several questions about my cadenza in my solo of Concert Polka. On YouTube the video I posted of this solo features a different cadenza from what is written. It has a couple non-standard techniques. The simpler of the two is simply a "messy gliss" (like a French horn section often does in dramatic passages, where their upward slur is not clean, but rather includes all the partials along the way). The second one is simple enough if you have a decent lip trill ability, but it will test your ...
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  7. How Valve Pistons Are Made

    When I was younger I more-or-less assumed that a valve (piston) was a solid rod with holes drilled in it. I never stopped to think about the difficulties of drilling curved passages into a solid tube. Later I figured out that the valves were actually hollow, but how they were made was still a mystery. Now that I have seen the process in person I thought I would share it here. I don't have photos of that experience, but Adams was kind enough to provide me with some photos (not from an Adams euphonium), ...
  8. 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 ...
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