Australian Youth Orchestra and Prokofiev

More youtube searching – “prokofiev brass” – and found this from the AYO.  The tubist recorded this using his phone.  The video’s sideways, but who cares!  I’m McLuvin’ his sound.

The build-up starts around 1:30 with low brass in around 1:55 (and again at 3:50).  Great tone!  Fat sound!  Clean attacks!  No apologies!  I notice he’s breathing a lot but there’s no lack of sound with upper brass sustaining.

I also noticed the lick around 3:36 where tuba backs the trumpet.  Low D down to pedal Eb is nice and clean.  I want to work with the trumpet who’s got this in OT to make sure we’re together.

The Comfort Zone

I spotted this on tumblr from a trombonist I met in SF a few years ago:

It looks pretty simple, but it can take a few years before you can really get it.  I’m not going to pretend that I totally get it yet.  It also takes some time to trust this concept.  Just do it!

Brass Quintet + String Quartet + Percussion = Prokofiev Goodness

Last Friday, I attended a recital-masterclass of the Boston Brass at the University of Toronto.  Providence and co-incidences came together to have me attend this.  It was on a Friday and I just found out about it on Thursday night while at orchestra rehearsal.  There was a snow squall warning for home, so I stayed in TO.

I took notes of some gem concepts for musicians and I got to meet Andrew Hitz!  What a fantastic player and monster machine on the tuba.  He’s all about listening.  His opening greeting to the audience was about taking advantage of the internet and listening to just about anything you can listen to on the web (youtube, spotify, etc…).  If you’re not listening and learning, then someone else is and that person will have an advantage over you in technique and auditions.

So today I searched “prokofiev brass” to see what I could find to give me a hand with the Dance of the Knights in orchestra.  I found this.  😀

What am I watching for?  At time 2:21, the low f minor Knights.  I’m looking at his breathing and how it avoids breaking the musical line.  He’s not trying to tear down the walls either.  It’s musical and forte.  Plain and simple.

Chinese New Year and Fresh Starts

Really, it’s a double-new-year – a lot has happened with me in one month’s time.  Collin and I had some honest discussions about school and what we’d need to get ready to do this and what possible effects there would be.  Notably, my grandmother-in-law who lives in a granny suite in our house.

If life were a little simpler, there would some simple answers to going to school and keeping the house – rent it out.  Heck, not even keeping the house!  We love, truly.  But there are lots of properties out there that would interest us and that would have interesting growth potential (hobby farms, for one).  Anyhoo … a subject for another time. Continue reading

Arnold Jacobs Masterclass Notes

I missed out on the Arnold Jacobs era.  I was too young.  My teacher, Nick Atkinson, studied some with him and passed this knowledge on to me.

Mr Jacobs was THE legendary tubist with the Chicago symphony.  He was legendary for his teaching studio too.  Here are some masterclass notes, compile by Boston Brass tubist, and teacher, Andrew Hitz.  The original source is from Julia Rose, associate principal horn with the Columbus Symphony.

My quickie favourite?  “The horn in the hand must be a mirror of your thoughts.”  Though with my recent changes in warm ups, this is also a gem: “Match tone qualities when slurring octaves.”  And I remember this from my lessons with Nick: “Whether long or short tones, always play with the same quality of tone.”

The not-so-simple-and-easy-to-play

I’ve been working my butt off on my C lately – warm ups; harmonic series slurring; low range long tones; and orch rep – Prokofiev’s R&J Suite 2 and Holst’s Mars and Jupiter.  My rep focus has been on the low f minor Dance of the Knights:

Prokofiev, Romeo and Juliet: Dance of the Knights

  • where, when and how to breath to make it through the 4 bars
  • tone quality on the opening low Fs, and last one, plus the accent on the C in between

So I sat down in orchestra last night, all warmed up and ready to go.

Then I spot it. Continue reading

Hello high Ab! Buzzing and smart practicing

I like surprising myself – and this happens often when practicing regularly.  I worked last night, first on my C (Bordogni exercises; low F articulation and tone for Dance of the Knights from Prokofiev’s R&J; then Jupiter from Holst’s Planets) – then on to my Eb and the Vaughan Williams concerto.  I worked on page 1 and page 2, then spent a while on the cadenza.  And, casually, just played the high Ab and Gb “optional” parts.  And they are sounding!  whoa!  Surprise!  🙂  All the practice from last Spring’s Bydlo performance is continuing to pay off. Continue reading