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Thread: Tuba Christmas

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Vacaville, CA
    Posts
    3

    Red face Tuba Christmas

    On Youtube, I watched a Huell Howser program about Tuba Christmas. It looked like so much fun that I decided I'm going to play in one -- hopefully, this year. Since I haven't played an instrument in about 50 years -- seriously -- I realize that it might seem kind of arrogant of me to assume that I'll be able to. Especially since I've never played any horn before.

    I've been learning euponium for about 3 months now, and I'm on fire about it! My rented horn is a beautiful, laquered Olds NA 370, and the mouthpiece is a foxx 6 & 1/2 AL-L. I have no idea if this is a "good" horn or if the mouthpice is what might work best for me, but I love more and more of the sounds that we can make. And I love trying to make them, even if they often do come out quite squawky and blatty.

    My son-in-law, who is a professional trombonist and teaches it and other low brass up in the Portland area says I'm doing pretty well. My teacher here has said I'm doing well, too. Little do they know that I probably wouldn't quit even if they told me I'm terrible, because I'm having a ball. And, after all, even though I can't carry a tune, I keep on singing.

    I'll be 70 in a couple of months, and this late start does worry me. After all, realistically, I don't have enough years left to get really good -- if I even could. But I'm doing some things that I hope will speed the learning process a bit. For one thing, I found this forum & blog and have been reading the entries and articles for a couple of weeks now. I've watched dozens of Youtube videos about embochure, how to clean the horn, etc. And many, many videos of performances. I practice twice for about half an hour nearly every day. I got this embochure exercize thing called a P.E.T.E. to get my chops in shape faster. I got a ping-pong ball breath training tube thing-y. My clip on tuner works great. I found a great metronome app. And I use them all. Tonight I ordered Arban 1st & 2nd Year and Rubank Elementary Method books.

    If any of you have any tips or suggestions for an absolute beginner, I'd truly appreciate hearing them. In a few months, I'll probably hit you up for suggestions about what horn to buy.

    Oh, and David Werden, the article with the flash demonstration about how the air goes through the horn was absolutely terrific!

    Tomorrow I'm ordering my Tuba Christmas music. Maybe a hat, too.



  2. Hi Marcie It's great to see someone catch the fire so to speak no matter when it happens! If the relationship permits, leaning on your son in law a bit is a great asset many of us don't have. A professional trombonist, I'm certain he could recommend a private "personal trainer" if and when you decide to go that route. Among other groups, I play once a week with a large community band in a (somewhat) local retirement community and there are people up to their early 90s keeping their lungs, brains and hearts young. Some off them retired professional musicians, it's inspiring to play with them. Maybe a community band is in your future. Have a great time with this, welcome to this forum where folks are helpful and friendly, and definitely find yourself a Tuba Christmas and do it! Oh yeah, get the hat too! Bob
    Last edited by tampaworth; 06-27-2015 at 06:42 AM.
    Bob Tampa FL USA
    Euph -- 1984 B&H Round Stamp Sovereign 967 / 1978 Besson NS 767 / Early 90s Sterling MP: 4AL and GW Carbonaria
    Tuba -- 2014 Wisemann 900 CC / 2013 Mack 410 MP: Blokepiece Symphony American Shank and 33.2 #2 Rim

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,218
    Welcome Marcie. It's always great to hear when someone gets the bug for making music. Even when starting a bit late, it's good for the soul and helps keep us young at heart. Sounds like you're doing a lot of things right in watching videos on proper embouchure and getting help from your son-in-law... a professional player. By all means get the Tuba Christmas music, practice and participate in one of them. It will be a lot of fun.
    Last edited by RickF; 06-27-2015 at 07:10 AM.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Cumbanchero (Rafael Hernández) cell phone video

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    The Villages, FL
    Posts
    7
    I just needed to reply to this thread because I am planning to play in a Tuba Christmas next year. I have been playing saxophone in a concert band for 10 yrs but just started learning baritone a couple of weeks ago. I am 67 and love playing music. I haven't found a teacher yet but am using the Standards of Excellence book and another easy book of solos both with play along cd's. I am really excited about it. So I ordered Tuba Christmas music and set my goal!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    804
    Marcie & Marilyn:
    Go for it! TubaChristmas is a great event and a perfect place to learn from experienced players.
    As a long-time associate of Harvey Phillips, his Foundation, and his family, I've been a part of many TubaChristmas events throughout the country...the only time I missed one is when I lived overseas in the mid 70s--I was in on the very first one in NYC.
    Please do order the music ASAP and start working on it. Practice with friends, if possible, too. Buy the CD as well to get a feel for the tunes! (Ignore the fact that I'm on it). You'll also see my name on the inside front cover of the more recent music books!
    Merry TubaChristmas to you and all...
    Jim Williams (Snorlax)
    Last edited by Snorlax; 11-23-2015 at 12:30 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    2,031
    One important piece of advice: When you order the Tuba Christmas book, make sure that (a) you order it in the CORRECT CLEF for you, and (b) make sure that you order the ENLARGED version.

    At this point I've managed to play each of the Tuba Christmas parts at one or another Tuba Christmas event: Euphonium 1, Euphonium 2, Tuba 1, and Tuba 2. Euph 1 can be challenging in terms of the high range. Euph 2 can be challenging because at times it plays peculiar rhythms, counter-melodies, or progressions. Tuba 2 is pretty straightforward (as a contra-bass tuba part). Tuba 1 may be, overall, the most challenging because it often plays "against" the others and has a number of pretty weird arpeggios and sequences where the intervals from one note to another are (for lack of a better word) "strange". You really have to use your ear(s) and "hear" what note you're supposed to play before you play it -- while everyone else is playing something else.

    Keep in mind that in a fairly large 4-part ensemble (and in my experiences the groups tend to range between about 25 to over 100), you don't have to play every note or every run since your part will be covered by a number of others. So you can play what you can and just not play what you can't (which is much better than playing it poorly or incorrectly).
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    The Villages, FL
    Posts
    7
    Gary, I didn't order the enlarged since I read music from my iPad and figured it would be similar. I did order treble clef for baritone - the only choice. It said something about 2 upper parts and I didn't know what that meant but there wasn't any other choice anyway.
    I play sax in a concert band and you are right about letting others cover if you can't play a run or something. I always back out if I need to rather than throw anyone off. The great thing about being in a band.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Leadwood, MO
    Posts
    541
    Congratulations on your choice to learn to play! I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I agree with Bob's comments about community bands. They are tremendously fun! Best wishes to you in your new journey!

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