• Steven Mead Answers Questions from Facebook

    Q and A with Steven Mead

    On November 25, 2014, euphonium virtuoso Steven Mead offered on his Facebook page (the "Steven Mead Euphonium Club") to answer three questions. He has kindly given me permission to display the complete list of conversations here so they will be more generally available. You can also follow Steven on his website, Euphonium.net.

    ASK me 3 QUESTIONS!!

    As you might expect, I get a lot of questions from people about different matters relating to the euphonium, and music, and the business and so forth and I think it might be nice to have a week now where everyone who wants can ask me three questions, and I'll post my answers here on this page. So feel free to ask your questions, label them one, two, three and I promise I'll answer. Try to keep the questions to the type that don't mean I need to write a doctoral thesis to reply Let's go! Finishing date will be a week today, Tuesday 2nd December

    Liam Parradine
    1) What's your favourite curry?
    2) What's your favourite beer?
    3) Would it be possible for you to send me a signed copy of your latest album?

    Steven Mead => Liam Parradine
    1. Lamb madras
    2. I have many, but Ringwood 49er is my favourite ale.it's from the south of England close to my home town, Bournemouth
    3. yes, with pleasure please take a look at my Web Store www.euphoniumstore.net, and order it there and I'll be happy to sign it for you

    Adam Wilson
    1. What's your favourite piece?
    2. What's the greatest highlight of your career?
    3. Can I get your autograph!

    Steven Mead => Adam Wilson
    1. I knew I would get asked this question, but I have so many favourite pieces it's almost impossible to answer, pieces for different occasions, my favourite large concerto is the Hallows Concerto by Rolf Rudin, followed by the famous Euphonium Concerto by Martin Ellerby
    2. again so many wonderful memories, but I keep thinking back to the first victory I had with the Desford Band in 1987 at the Royal Albert Hall, it was the most amazing day.
    3. certainly Adam, just send me a private message with your address and I'll see to it.

    Dave Werden
    The U.K. musical culture is different from ours in the USA, even though human bodies are pretty much the same. So:

    1. What is the earliest age you think a child should start learning euphonium?
    2. What mouthpiece would you suggest for a 12-year-old euphonium player?
    3. How soon in their development would you introduce a compensating euphonium?


    Steven Mead = > Dave Werden
    1. I started around the age of 11, and I think this is early enough, and I got to it by the cornet, the tenor horn ( alto horn), and the baritone. I think 11 or 12 is fine.
    2. depending on the maturity and strength of this 12 year old, I would probably recommend something like 6 1/2, moving onto a five or four by the age of 15 or so.
    3. for a young student it's more often a question of the weight of the instrument, and so a compensating instrument would normally be fine by the age of 14 or 15. Thanks

    Dave Werden => Steven Mead:
    This is fun and a great service - thank you for taking the time to do this!

    Chris Brown
    Hi Steve.

    1. Your on a desert island and you can only take one Euphonium soloists CD (not your own who's would it be... Past or present
    2. What is your greatest musical ambition yet to be achieved ?
    3. What gives you the most satisfaction, playing or teaching the young to play ?

    Steven Mead => Chris Brown
    1. A very good question, and just off the top of my head, probably the Elegie CD by Thomas Ruedi
    2. I'd love to play a concerto with either the London Symphony, the Berlin Philharmonic, or the New York Phil, or Chicago, don't mind which
    3.actually equal satisfaction, for different reasons. I was lucky to have fantastic caring teachers in the past, and it's brought me to where I am in my career, and I never forget this, happy to give back whenever possible.

    Emmanuel Giordimaina
    1. What's your favourite piece to play with your instrument ..czardas or carnival of vinice?

    2. What's your favourite classical composer?
    3. Pls its be possibile for you to sand me a signed copy of your latest album? Thanks emmanuel

    Steven Mead => Emmanuel Giordimaina
    1. I have about 22 versions of Carnival of Venice and about three versions of Czardas, so Carnival wins on points
    3. With pleasure, please order it from the store and I will sign it with a special dedication to you. www.euphoniumstore.net

    Dave Morefield
    1. Riffing on Dave Dave Werden's 2): If a new player of any age were to ask you in person which mouthpiece she/he should use, would you begin by taking into account the physical characteristics of the person's mouth?

    2. Is there a single, best method book/series for the player who isn't able to arrange for private instruction?
    3. Do you regularly try instruments from various manufacturers, and if so, how long does it take you to learn its characteristics?

    Steven Mead => Dave Morefield
    1. No not really and less their mouth was excessively large or small. Often the best mouthpiece choices based on the amount of air that you think a student is able to use when playing.
    2. I'm not sure I can recommend a single best method book, and nothing can replace good private lessons. A book cannot tell you when you're doing something right, or wrong. There are several books that can work well when used correctly,ranging from the very traditional like the Arban to the highly successful Brass Gym, as well as Basics Plus, and so many others, once I start listing them I'll be sure to forget many important ones
    3.I don't regularly try other manufacturers instruments, but try to take opportunities at big festivals and exhibitions. I can usually assess an instrument within a couple of minutes if the acoustics are suitable.

    Jonah Zimmerman

    1. Some of your playing contains much jazz influence. As not just a euphonium player but a musician, how do you work to develop this?

    2. Do you believe that warm up routines should stay consistent or vary day to day?
    3. Does your euphonium have a name?
    So cool of you to do this!
    Thank you,

    Steven Mead => Jonah Zimmerman
    1. I've never studied jazz, but have been around several fantastic musicians over the years, for example at the Brass Band of Battle Creek, and it's inspired me to pick up some habits, an experiment at home from time to time.I'm really enjoying the new foray into this world, but need to spend a lot more time in a dark room learning to improvise freely!
    2. I believe warm-ups should have a consistent basis every day, but allow for expansion and flexibility within this
    3. no only girls name their instruments!!

    Donald Macmillan
    Hi Steve, great idea!

    1. What's your favourite original composition for baritone?
    2. What's your favourite brass band test piece?
    3. What footy team do you support?!
    All the best!

    Steven Mead => Donald Macmillan
    1. The Baritone Concerto by Martin Ellerby
    2. Harmony Music Philip Sparke
    3. Chelsea . All the best to you too

    Blake A. Birmingham
    1. As someone who has seen a majority of the world traveling, what are career options for euphonium players who wish to "play over seas" and what nations are leading the way in terms of a career for the euphonium? 2. What do you see in the future for the euphonium? 3. What are some good principles of establishing a successful business?

    Steven Mead => Blake A. Birmingham
    1. It's very hard for players to move countries and make a living playing Iphonium based there, particularly as military bands have all kinds of national regulations. There are however many professional wind orchestra around the world who employ foreign musicians. There is always a great demand for musicians to teach, and almost certainly this combination would have to be available. USA, Japan, Norway, UK, the Netherlands, and possibly Switzerland

    Blake A. Birmingham
    Yes, thank you Steven Mead!!!

    Robert Pendergast
    My first question is in 27 parts... Just kidding.
    1. I have a new arrangement for solo euphonium and trombone quartet. Would you like copy?
    2. What's your top 5 original euphonium works with piano accompaniment (not ensemble reductions).
    3. Any advice on making a recording?

    Steven Mead => Robert Pendergast
    1. Yes absolutely, would love a copy.
    2. Concert Variations Jan Bach. / Partita , Arthur Butterworth( RIP) / or aLa Suite Classique , Ito / Couleurs en Mouvements, Moreau / Sketches, Szentpali
    3.yes, lots, but not enough space here!!

    Robert Pendergast
    Thanks Steve! I'll get the Chesnokov out to you. This is a great idea about the 3 questions. I noticed that you mentioned that Butterworth past away. When did this happen? Anyway, I would love to catch up sometime. Thanks again!

    Steven Mead => Robert Pendergast
    we were talking about Arthur Butterworth, and sadly he passed away last week. A wonderful man, superb composer with such a strong human spirit.

    Jerry ___ Sam
    Good Day
    1. what are your practice routines these days?
    2. what is your favorite Korean Dish?
    3. Would love to know if I could get a poster of you and your wife in performance to put in my office. Cheers and Viva La Euphonium

    Steven Mead => Jerry ___ Sam
    Good day to you.
    1. I have many practice routines, that includes breathing exercises, a lot of mouthpiece buzzing, warmup exercises, and then specific exercises for all the different techniques. Then I move on to etudes of different descriptions, and then onto general repertoire
    2. easy, Korean barbecue
    3. I'll have a look to see what we have, sure

    Valeria Gariboldi
    Here my question:

    Will you return in Italy, nearby Milan?

    Steven Mead => Valeria Gariboldi
    hi, working on several Italian projects for next year. Was going to have a masterclass in Milan in April, but we're trying to reschedule a date as it clashes with something I have in the USA. Hope to see you in 2015

    Valeria Gariboldi
    Finger crossed! Hope to see you soon!

    Wing In
    Hello Mr. Mead! Hope you're having a good day! Here's my questions:
    1. Would you please tell me your top three favorite albums?
    2. If you can have have an extra life in the parallel universe, what will you do?
    3. If you need to give some advises to graduating students about life, what will you tell them? And again, thank you for doing this! Always a big fan of yours!

    Steven Mead => Wing In

    1. tough question, like asking me to say which of my children I prefer!! for different reasons, Euphonium Magic, volume one / Bravura/ Diamonds

    2. The same as I'm doing now!
    3. follow your dream, never give up, be true to yourself, work hard, and be happy.
    Thank you Wing In

    Dylan Baur
    Sorry if some of these have already been asked

    1. What do you think would be the best mouthpiece for an average high school student?
    2. Favorite brand of valve oil?
    3. Is there any way I could get your autograph?
    Thank you, and it's pretty awesome that you're doing this!

    Steven Mead => Dylan Baur

    1. I suppose a number five or six rim would be suitable for our average student, but I guess it depends what type of playing they are doing, brass band, wind orchestra, marching band, etc A musician with a good understanding of the basics may even be able to cope with a number 4 rim, especially if I was a little bit shallower, like the Ultra 4X, for example
    2. there are many good oils out there, my preference is the Denis Wick oil, or Hetman synthetic light oil.
    3. Sure, send me a message with your address. You are very welcome, thanks

    Albert Franco
    1. I bought the Arbans complete method book for Euphonium and it should be getting here tomorrow (just in time for my birthday haha), I'm not quite sure how to use it. So how do I use it to get maximum results

    2. I have schilke 52d, which recently fell and it got chipped, I'm looking into the Ultra X series because I heard it really focused your lower register and made it easier to play in the higher register and it helped with not getting chopped so quickly. My main question with this one is if the ultra X'S had comfortable rims like the 52d.
    3. do you know where I can find a copy of cafe 1930 for euphonium (bass clef)

    Steven Mead => Albert Franco

    1. Use a variety of the exercises, but set yourself a target of what to achieve every day. The opening couple of sections are great for our warm up, then use a metronome for all the technical sections initially, and make sure you cover particulation, legato exercises,and then select three chapters per day to work on, then very these. Then look at working on one or two of the 14 large exercises at the end of the book, and maybe one solo, then rotate these as progress comes.
    2. sorry to hear that you dropped your Schilke mouthpiece, and perhaps it's a sign from God you need to switch to an Ultra I think you should try the Ultra4 or Ultra 4X, super comfortable rim as well.
    3. Don't tell anyone but I'll send you a copy of the Piazzolla

    Albert Franco
    Thank you Steven! Btw where can I message you to send you my email?

    David Abram Grayling
    1. If Besson euphoniums ceased to exist, (including
    old brand Bessons) what euphonium would you play, and why?
    2. At what point in your life could you draw the line between being an amateur and a professional?
    3. What performance ?tools? do you use to stay focused, in spite of travel fatigue, minor illness, or other general
    performance hindrances?
    Thank you!

    Steven Mead => David Abram Grayling
    1. As you know I adore my Besson euphonium and I'm heavily involved with research and development for the company, so in the highly unlikely event that this instrument was no longer available I would of course test all others to see which was the next best. It's hypothetical to make that decision now as I'm sure you can appreciate. It would also give nice publicity to rival brands!
    2. good question, I think when I stopped my high school teaching around 1990 I saw myself as a full-time professional, but from about five years before that I certainly realised where I was going with the euphonium,if this makes sense.
    3. you just need a sheer desire to make music to the best of your ability. This is my main performance tool, in addition to other routines, both physical and mental that I try to keep as part of my 'toolbox'. You're welcome

    Rajendra Narula
    Hi Steven. Hope you, Misa and the family are all well. It's been a while so hope to see you soon. My 3, if you will allow me:

    1. When is your next recital in the Midlands or Warwickshire?
    2. I'll attend the above only if I can buy you a pint after (not before. We need you to be sober)!)
    3. If invited to play with Mnozil, what would your choice of music be (allowing for showmanship whilst playing...)
    Take care, Raj.

    Steven Mead => Rajendra Narula
    thanks for the nice greeting.
    1. I seem to play all my concerts away from home, and there is nothing booked in the Midlands or Warwickshire at the moment. I am performing at the RNCM Festival of Brass with the Fairey Band on Saturday 24th January (Diamond Concerto)
    2. Nice idea
    3. Wonderful idea - we'd have to have something specially written !!!

    Steve Sharp
    Can I just ask one?

    1. Who's your biggest inspiration NOT as a euphonist, but as an entertainer?
    Steven Mead => Steve Sharp
    1. A very fine question - I really don't know the answer...let me get back to you on this one!

    George Butler
    1. Are there any disadvantages for you in being married to another world-class euphonium soloist?
    2. If they came to you and said, "You can't play the euphonium anymore, nor teach it," what would you do with yourself? What would you become?
    3. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

    George Butler
    (#1: No, I didn't think so. Not when her name is Misa, anyway.)

    Steven Mead => George Butler
    1. For sure there are more advantages than disadvantages
    2. George, who is"they"? ... This sounds ominous, and also hypothetical don't worry I'll keep myself amused somehow, probably go fishing
    3.I think I'd still play euphonium, put the money in the bank, and probably send some to you my good friend

    George Butler
    Ha! Why, MI-5, of course! And, yes, I KNOW you'd keep playing euphonium, playing duets with Misa, and sharing your (musical) wealth!

    Maureen Lister
    1. How do you do it all?
    2. Your favourite instrument (apart from the euph).
    3. Your favourite piece of music (apart from Diamond Concerto!)

    Steven Mead => Maureen Lister
    1. I don't really know, when I have tons of energy, I don't need much sleep, and tried to get everything done without causing too much stress to myself and the people around me :-)Think if you really love what you do, you always find time, and always can enjoy it.
    2. The cello
    3. Mahler's 2nd Symphony . Thanks for the questions !

    Manuel Di Luca
    Hi Steven... I'll know you in FEMUSC in January! So excited!
    My questions:
    1. I think you have a busy life and you haven?t got time everyday to practice to much! So, when you warm-up and practice, what are the most important things you do?
    2. What is a good routine?
    3. any advice to study the high register?

    Thank you! See you soon!

    Steven Mead => Manuel Di Luca

    I'm happy to see you in Brazil in January also.
    1. Getting all the basics right is essential, really open the body with good breeding exercises, maximising the lip response and vibration. Opening up a full low range of sound, starting with the low register, then working up. Flexibilities, lips slurs, single, double and triple tingling, long tones, dynamic exercises, and so forth, it's a long routine, but one that works for me,
    2. Mine
    3. It's an often asked question, and I always urge players to first firm up, solidify the lower register. Make sure the sounds are really stable, the diaphragm muscles are working smoothly and easily and without tension. Once this is good and reliable, and you are able to vary the speed of the air with tongue position and air support, higher range can be very easy, so long as you can stay relaxed, and not get too tense or close the aperture/tighten the embouchure too much. I hope this helps, I can explain more when I see you in Brazil in January

    Timothy Norris
    Steve, whay are the upper notes always so sharp on the Sovereign Euphs. ie E,F,F#, G#. ? Has this always been the case or has the larger bore since the 1970s made them thus ? Is the use of the trigger, on the main slide, the best way of sorting the tunning or can lipping down be best policy in that register ? PS Have you done all your Xmas Shopping yet ? Take care

    Steven Mead => Timothy Norris

    hello cousin Tim
    1. traditionally, on the older Sovereigns these notes were very high, its just a design fault, that was a result of a balance between getting a big open sound, response, and some sharp partials appeared.
    2. The new large bore was undoubtedly a factor, but I think they've been sharp in this region for some time before that.
    3. easy answer Tim, the main slide trigger fixes all sharp notes, but doesn't fix the flat ones on other instruments :-) I haven't done any Christmas shopping yet, it's all going to be done this coming Sunday take yourself, hope to see you soon

    Micah Dominic Parsons
    Even though I take lessons with you I could not resist asking you 3 questions.

    1. What advice would you offer to those of us nearing the end of our music degree in terms of progression to the next level?
    2. Throughout your career as a euphonium player where has your inspiration come from to keep things new in terms of commissioning music and promoting the euphonium?
    3. As a world renown teacher what bit of advice would you class as most important for your students?
    November 26 at 9:42am Edited Like 8
    Manuel Di Luca Thank you so much, Steven! It's going to be a pleasure talk about all of these advices in person! See you soon!

    Steven Mead => Micah Dominic Parsons

    1. well, it depends what you mean by the next level. I'm guessing the next level could be the real world, and there you have to find something that you can do that uses your talents, builds the foundations of a career, and hopefully earn you some money. Each musician must be honest with themselves about where their prospects lie and what opportunities are out there.I see too many students who only start to make these decisions at the moment that they have to, rather than planning strategically ahead.
    2. as many people know my inspiration originally came from the fact that everybody told me it was impossible to make a living playing the euphonium! I was determined that it must be possible as the instrument is special enough to find a position in the world for those dedicated enough to play it, and play it well. Not much has changed in terms of this inspiration and motivation and with plenty of concerts and workshops in the diary, there's always the motivation to do the best possible job at each venue and country.
    3. most important advice: practice hard, practice well, understand what you doing, its value, and find a place in the world to make your music and show what you can do. Be an 'honest' musician, totally reliable, dependable and trustworthy. If you decide to teach, be a great teacher, bring out the best in your students, be patient yet firm. .. See on Saturday for the lesson

    Jeferson Roberto de Lima
    1. I know many peole that want to start to play euphonium not early but 19, 20 years old or more. What kind of instrument and mouthpiece you recommend in this case and what is the best studies to develop more quickly?
    2. Here in Brazil we there aren't many symphonic bands and there is not brass bands. How to keep motivated euphonium students, since the labor market is so scarce.
    3. In my college had much more music theory than practice of euphonium, and many papers to write which left little time Daily studies. What types of study do you recommend for those who have little time to study and need to keep the technical and musical quality in day?

    Steven Mead => Jeferson Roberto de Lima

    1. if the player is able to fill the instrument with sound, and is taught correctly, there is no reason why a person of this age should not start with a high-quality instrument, 4v compensating. This often depends on budget however. A new player may not wish to invest in such an instrument. In which case a four valve non-compensating instrument at a good price might be a good option.
    2. I understand, and this is an important question. Motivation is the key to successful and regular practice. Small ensemble playing might be a good way, quartet playing, even duet playing, with somebody of an equal standard. This not only teaches and encourages the basics of good musicianship, but could be a source for initial performance opportunities and can get the performers known in the local community. The establishment of new ensembles, maybe quintets or 12 piece ensembles might be a good way of creating something special. It's the players that will change the current situation not governments or bigger organisations
    3. it sounds like you need an emergency practice routine, but to be honest real progress can only be achieved by sustained and methodical practice of a variety of exercises. There is no quick pill that you can take like in a medical emergency.I would definitely recommend the use of three or four method books that have a variety of exercises that demand different skills. Use these methodically and create variety with your practice, even if you only playing for 30 minutes a day.A good mix of technical and lyrical exercises are essential, remembering all the time to focus on the basics, good breathing, good open the use of air, quality lip vibration, and always thinking musically. This is a huge topic and really requires a lot more space for me to answer than is suitable here. I hope we can meet sometime or discuss this further. Best wishes

    Jeferson Roberto de Lima
    Thank you very, very much Steven Mead. I hope to see you soon to discuss this topics better and other things about our beautiful instrument. Best regards.

    Pieter van Diepen
    Hi Steven; great to see you again at the Dutch National Championships ; here a short 'promo' ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=351AsyvNQrc

    Pieter van Diepen
    Just one Q for the moment; there is a lot of development in 'material' choices for the euphonium (bell) lately aka the (bass)trombone world; the Besson Prestige is still 'yellow' and no so 'heavy' (I believe). Can you give us some thoughts about this issue...? thanks..

    Steven Mead => Pieter van Diepen

    hi, thanks for the question. The Besson Prestige bell is the brass, and not really heavy. 967 is 0.1 mm thinner than 2052. My thoughts are that these work great, but we are scheduling tests on different materials during 2015. The sound of our instruments are quite famous, and rightly so. But you never know, we could be using different material on future models.

    Wolfgang Weichselbaumer
    Hi Steve! Thank you for sharing this all! Here are my questions
    1. You look always so relaxed on stage when you perform, what I believe is one important aspect why listening to your playing is so enjoyable. I wonder: did or do you ever get nervous when going on stage (or beforehand)? Is there an advice you could give to players who are suffering from nerves or stage-fright?
    2. I believe many euphonium players get sooner or later in their life in a situation where there are supposed to teach. I know it is a complex topic, but maybe you have some advice how to develop and improve as a teacher?
    3. If you could record a CD and also commission a new piece without limitations of budget and time, what would you record and what composer would you consider to approach for a commssion? Thank you very much in advance and all the best! Hope you are well! And hope to see you again soon!

    Steven Mead => Wolfgang Weichselbaumer

    1. I'm happy to think that I look relaxed when I play, and sometimes I am, but not always! The confidence of course is purely a psychological state that we can create for ourselves,and we learn to build upon this as good performances go by. We also learn from the not so good performances, but we must try to get stronger step-by-step, year by year. There is no substitute for good preparation, solid practice, methodical approach to learning music, and this is where the confidence comes from, knowing we can do it when it matters. Thinking only positive thoughts, if this is possible, is the one solid piece of advice. Do not allow negative thinking to creep into your psyche!
    2. teaching well is always a combination of skills, knowledge of the subject, and knowledge of how to project this knowledge in a structured and logical way, and most importantly, try to understand each student that you're working with. By this I mean, what motivates them, how they think, how they learn, and then help them either to refine the techniques or simplywork more efficiently. If you can motivate a student, they often find their own way there
    3. over the years I've always been motivated by interesting recording projects, rather than simply recording music that is out there. I recorded with many different ensembles, and each creates variety, new challenges for me as a musician, how to play with a brass ensemble, wind quintet, trombone quartet, how to record with a cathedral organ etc.I have a variety of projects that I'd like to do in the next 5 to 10 years, some of them extremely ambitious, and probably very expensive. But I will get there I hope. There are many composers that I'd like to commission, and I will give you more news of some future projects coming soon. I hope this is okay Wolfgang.

    Fernando Manso Gomez
    Hi! I`m only a 17 years old euphonium student from Valladolid, Spain. I want to ask you :
    1. Do you recomend study music to everybody or only for the best students?
    2. For you, the music career is for have success or for enjoy? and finally,
    3. Have you got any secret, or everybody can become like you? Sorry for my little english

    Steven Mead => Fernando Manso Gomez

    1. I think you mean should everybody study music seriously, with a view to a career, or only the best students. It's a good question, if I understand you correctly, and the music world has never been so competitive in terms of employment as it is now especially with so many cutbacks for music funding, sadly. If music is what you have to do in your life, then you have to study it, and take it to the highest level. If you enjoy music but can imagine doing something else with your life, it's probably best you treat it as a hobby.
    2. it's a combination of 'motivations' that help you play music professionally, especially as a soloist. It's hard to quantify success, as I'm not competing any more. I play music for people, and I teach people, it's really that simple. If I feel I've done a good job and if people tell me after a concert how much they've enjoyed it and why, I can have a nice feeling for a short time, and if my students have success, and play beautifully, then I rate this as a success too. I enjoy it all very much, and despite some of the hassles with travelling I wouldn't swap it for anything.
    3. yes I have a big secret, is called hard work and dedication :-)you also need some luck in your career, and I've had quite a lot I think, especially in the early 1980s when I met Howard Snell and the Desford Band, those years were amazing and so many doors opened for me during this time.I was very fortunate that in my first job the Headmaster loved brass bands, and gave me so many opportunities to work with the students. He also gave me time off for some of my first tours, I shall be for ever grateful to him for allowing me to make a transition from high school teacher to professional soloists so easily. Luck aside, it's the business of practice, and really focusing on how to do your job the very best you can. Your English is excellent, a million times better than my Spanish!

    Jacob Barnby
    Thanks, Steven!

    1. What weaknesses as a performer have you had to overcome to get where you are?
    2. Where's the favorite place you've traveled?
    3. What would you define as the pivotal moment in your career? Was the change from amateur to professional gradual, or sudden?

    Steven Mead:
    Hi Jacob Barnby , Thanks for the questions.
    1. Well, like all musicians we all have to work on our weaknesses, so they don't detract from what we try to do musically, And everyone has their weaknesses, whether they like to admit it or not. I guess with me it's a question of keeping the finger technique as good as it can be, and, as years progress working on tongue speed and stamina. I'm quite lucky in that I've always worked on breathing techniques, and always had a good feeling for the melodic line.also, in terms of performances, I have always had to try to keep the nerves in check, and found various solutions to this over the years.
    2. so many favourite places, almost too numerous to mention, but I do really enjoy Thailand as a venue to play and more importantly to relax and enjoy life. I also had my honeymoon there
    3. I think the pivotal moment was when I gave up the high school teaching which I enjoyed so much to venture out as a freelance professional soloist and teacher. I kind of knew it would work, but it was still a bold step, going away from the safety of a 'normal' and regular job.

    November 30 at 12:08pm Like 2

    Michael Blackmon
    1. What are the biggest health concerns you face as a professional musician?
    2. What is your funniest airport story?
    3. What should we as Euphonium players do when we are faced with criticism about the legitimacy of our instrument just because we haven't been accepted in a major orchestral sense?

    Steven Mead => Michael Blackmon

    hello Michael
    1. The biggest health concern probably is over work, not resting enough, not listening to what doctors family and friends tell you! I think daily exercise is the most important thing I can advise, as it's so easy to get swept along with high level musical activity, and sometimes the stress that goes with that, can be dangerous. Try to keep a good perspective on what you do.
    2. there are many, but briefly, practising on the top floor of a multistorey carpark in San Francisco, being approached by a guy who I thought looked a little suspicious, only to find he wanted to come and listen to the music. We became friends over the next 20 minutes, and talked about life and music. A touching moment!
    3. we have to educate people who are ignorant, and tried to overcome prejudices that people hold, based on this ignorance. Yes we are not a member of the symphony orchestra, we just have to get over this. We have the most beautiful sound of all the brass instruments, let people hear it, explain about the history of the instrument, do what you can every day to be an ambassador for the euphonium, as I'm sure you do. And, if you wish, feel a little bit sorry for them, as they don't get the chance to play this instrument every day like you do

    Adrielle Lima

    Here are some of my curiosities...
    1. What is the key word that you think a student should have always keep in mind?
    2. What hopes and expectations you have for the future of the euphonium in music?
    3. Can I get your autograph?
    All the best to you and your family!

    Steven Mead:
    Hi Adrielle Lima ,thanks for being curious
    1. dedication
    2. well from my perspective, the 'improvements' that have been seen in the euphonium world over the last 25 years have been considerable. Instrument design, mouthpiece design, the quality of the music written for us, performance opportunities around the world, the state of music and higher education, in many countries but not all, are better. I'm incredibly optimistic, but we need players who do more than just play the instrument, or there is a danger things could go backwards. Historically we are playing catch-up with the other brass instruments, and if we keep going we could even overtake the popularity of some more established instruments, but many things have to move at an equal basis, higher education, study resources, performance opportunities in particular, and educated players, like I said, who are prepared to do more than just play it!!
    3. with pleasure, just send me a message with your mailing address, and I'll get a signed photo to you. Best wishes for the future. I don't know if you're going to the course I'm giving in Brazil in January?

    Low Kim Hoe
    Hi Steven, I'm so excited can meet you in Singapore. Hope my question are not missing this awesome movement
    Here the question.
    1. How did you practice on running notes while getting the new piece?
    2. Any advice for travelling with euphonium ?

    3. What's the food you want to try first in Singapore?
    Hope you understand my English.

    Steven Mead => Low Kim Hoe

    thanks for the message, and I'm very much looking forward to meeting you in Singapore in a couple of weeks.
    1. I always practice new pieces slowly, there is nothing to be gained from playing too fast, as faults will become normal! Everything slow, measured, so the brain understands and sends the right signals to lips, tongue, fingers etc
    2. i'm often asked about travelling with a euphonium, especially plane travel which is the most difficult, especially with some airlines. I always carry my instrument in a gig bag, and almost never have problems. Where is there is a difficulty I can normally negotiate my way out of trouble. It is good to know the regulations that certain airlines have towards musical so you know how to prepare. Make sure you always have your instrument in sight, if you , never leave it casually lying around at an airport, or restaurant etc as somebody is sure to give it a kick sometime!
    3. I know it's not the most interesting but duck and rice in Singapore is SO good!! See you soon

    Steve Kyle
    Hi Steven, have you got any tips for warming up please? I don't always have the time to do it properly due to hectic life. I used to used the Remmington and lately Alwyn Green's from Eurythmics, but they take at least half an hour and sometimes I only have a few mins before band!

    Steven Mead => Steve Kyle

    Hi !
    1. yes lots. Have you seen my Italian Masterclass videos? There's five of them, here's are the links...many useful tips for warming up and practising, especially in the first 4 of them:
    Steven Mead - Italian Masterclass No.1
    During the 'NonSole International Brass Masterclass' held in Smarano, Italy 9-13 July 2013, Steven Mead...

    Nathan Kim
    1. When did you really start getting serious about your playing?
    2. I love your vibrato and tone but i can't seem to get a great vibrato like yours, what could i do to improve it drastically.
    3. Did you ever do marching band and if so what how fun was it for you?

    Steven Mead => Nathan Kim

    1. I think I was about 13 years old, it was then I realised how important playing was, and by the age of around 15 I definitely had the 'bug',and by that time playing the euphonium had superseded my favourite hobby: fishing
    2. vibrato is a very personal craft, and different people have a concept of how they want to 'beautify' the sound. It's a very divisive topic amongst teachers and the brass fraternity, but this is for another article! Talking of articles, if you go to my website www.euphonium.net, then to 'Articles' and then scroll down the page you'll find an article I did on vibrato many years ago. I hope you'll still find it interesting.
    3. no, I never did marching band, in the UK it's not so popular, and unheard of when I was young, and so my experience of marching was limited to street marching with the Salvation Army band many years ago. That was quite fun, although I can't say I have a desire to do it again now

    Nathan Kim: Thanks for sharing!

    Steven Mead
    Hello all, the Question Time session finished on December 2, thanks all of you for the questions and I hope you enjoyed it. The next one I'll be doing will be video replies on technical topics, I'll post information at the weekend.

    Follow Steven on his website, Euphonium.net.

  • Shop for Music

    Sheet Music Plus Teacher

    Sheet Music Plus Play Alongs