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Thread: Why We Play

  1. #1

    Why We Play

    I often call myself a "euphonium player" because is a good way to tell people a lot about me (assuming they know what the word means!). But I'm also a musician. In my heart and mind, I know that being a musician is the more important piece. As I posted in the blog years ago, it's not the instrument that makes the music. It is just a special amplifier for our musicianship.

    Most of us work daily on technical aspects of playing. We have to! If you can't comprehend anything shorter than a quarter note, then your realm is very limited, so you work to make more and more music available to you. I often tell students to be sure to put music into even simple scales - they should sound like musical lines (they ARE lines, after all).

    I've know players who have their head too exclusively into expression and some who have the head too exclusively into technique. Both are necessary, of course. We all face a very natural trap hiding inside complex technical phrases. When we have to work so hard to get notes out, music often gets slighted or even disappears.

    Russian trumpet/flugelhorn player Sergei Nakariakov manages to balance both nicely. There are times why my jaw drops over his technical prowess, but he is still making music, not just notes. Here is a link to a live video of Sergei playing a cello concerto on flugelhorn. This link drops you into the 3rd movement, just before his entrance. Listen for a few minutes and see if your jaw drops, too! But then go back to the beginning and listen to the whole piece. Lovely...and astounding:

    https://youtu.be/KltZ4rn7QUs?t=1171

    If you want to hear more, here is a 6-CD set:

    https://www.amazon.com/Trumpet-Orche.../dp/B005E1JA92
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Thanks for posting this Dave. Sergei has to be one of the best musicians right now. He started on piano at age 6 but due to a spinal injury age 11 had to find something else to play and chose trumpet (maybe that’s why he angles the horn down, not sure). He’s also mastered the art of circular breathing better than any other brass player I’ve seen. His musicianship is extraordinary! Technical prowess but always musical.

    I like him best when he’s playing flugelhorn — or soprano euphonium. He does play 4th valve with his left index finger, but I digress. I have 2 of his CDs but will have to check out your link for the 6 CD set. Thanks.
    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
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

  3. I enjoyed your post, Dave. It made me think of a story I heard or read many years ago. Reginall Kell was at a party when he was introduced to one of the guests. The guest was told that Reginall played with the London Symphony. "What do you play?" the guest asked. Kell replied, "I play music on the clarinet."

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
    I enjoyed your post, Dave. It made me think of a story I heard or read many years ago. Reginall Kell was at a party when he was introduced to one of the guests. The guest was told that Reginall played with the London Symphony. "What do you play?" the guest asked. Kell replied, "I play music on the clarinet."
    Yay for Reginall! I LIKE that answer.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  5. Wow!

    I just bought a flugelhorn, thinking it was a higher-end old flugelhorn, but it turned out to an entry-level old flugelhorn. Therefore I have been calling it my flugel-ish mistake, but now after seeing the video I am inspired anyway. I'm not sure if it is possible chops-wise to be proficient at both euph and flugel, but I am going to try.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
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    1,990
    Technically, the flugelhorn is the soprano voice of the tuba family (which includes sub-contra bass tuba, contra bass tuba (BBb, CC), bass tuba (F, Eb), euphonium/baritone, tenor horn (whatever this may mean), alto horn, and flugelhorn). I have lusted after a flugelhorn for a number of years, but can't justify to myself acquiring ANOTHER instrument and learning to play it at this point, particularly since I'm devoting all my time to bass trombone now. Also, decent ones with 4 valves and triggers tend to be a bit pricey for the casual user. But I do love the sound. I guess my ideal would be one of the old 4-valve rotary horns (pitched to 440).
    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. For me, Thomas Ruedi achieves this balance on the euphonium. Incredible technique that I never even notice because he plays the euphonium like a violin.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hidden Valley, AZ
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    643
    I parked the horn after my music degree in '76. There wasn't much for me to do, professionally with the horn without going into the military and the draft bypassed me for 'Nam.

    Radio engineering was a good choice for a living, turns out.

    I didn't play again until '99, when I saw a kid on a ten-speed carrying both a tuba & a euph (in gig bags!).

    I followed him to a local college campus, and asked him where he was playing.

    The rest is my history, and I'm still impersonating a euph player in various community, college, and the occasional military band sit-in.

    It is one of my true loves.

    DDG
    3 notes and the truth.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard, early model Wick 4AL
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1917 Conn C/D/Eb mellophone original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original, Bach 5GS

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis area
    Posts
    780
    A bit of Snorlaxian history TL: DR if you wish...guess I'm getting a bit philosophical after seeing these posts and Martin Cochran's post about adult amateurs.
    In 1980, I had made the finals for the West Point Band* (Thanks, Harvey!) and promptly flunked the physical. BEST THING that ever happened to me, in retrospect.
    For a while I was discouraged and put the horn away...I really missed it!!

    Fortunately, however, I already had a nice career in Finance that allowed me to earn a solid living while picking the horn up again.
    Along the way, I have met so many wonderful people and had any number of amazing experiences, including playing the
    Eric Ewazen concerto with Eric in the audience. Such experiences and friendships can't be measured in dollar terms.

    I should NEVER have forgotten that.

    I went through another period of discouragement after attending an event where the people in charge (prominent artists) were
    curtly dismissive, and sold off some horns in frustration.

    I finally decided not to let other people affect my enjoyment of playing, and have been back at it...having a career outside of
    music was a blessing that allowed me to do what I felt like doing on the euphonium--somewhat outside the norm--and still take care of my family.

    I should NEVER have forgotten that, no matter how dismissive "big name pros" might have been.

    Nakariakov and Demondrae Thurman are among the most complete brass players IMHO in terms
    of balancing monster technique and soulful expressivity...can't stop listening to either, though nothing
    will never match the exhilaration of hearing the Bill Evans Trio live.


    *The standard of playing today is light years beyond what it was in 1980!!

    Snorlax.
    Yamaha 642-II Neo, Wedge 103A/Wick 4AL
    Yamaha 321, Yamaha 621 Baritone
    Conn 50H trombone
    Blue P-bone
    www.soundcloud.com/jweuph

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