Giving Lessons in Haliburton

I’m starting to give lessons in Haliburton. Not a full marketing drive, but I asked a new trombonist in the Highlands Wind Symphony if he’d like to get some lessons from me to help improve his tone and he said yes. So we’ve had lessons two Saturdays in a row. I don’t play trombone but that’s ok because my focus is on breathing and buzzing. Both work together to give a good foundation for all brass musicians. Yesterday, we were working on the harmonic series in warm ups and he played a high Bb. He said it was the first time he’d done that! I said it was due to faster air flow encouraged by his work with the Breathing Gym and the emphasis on buzzing. The noted sounded great too! I was really proud of him and took it as a bit if a nod with my methods. I picture running a brass education studio up here. I don’t know how profitable it could be, but it would be very enjoyable.
In related news, I sent an application in coach the winds in the Kawartha Youth Orchestra. I don’t know it would work with my schedule or theirs, but the person I was in contact with suggested I apply anyhow. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Tchaik 4 with Orchestra Toronto

We’re on to the next rehearsal schedule for Orchestra Toronto and the main piece on the program is Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony. This is a powerhouse piece for brass, even with us only really involved in the first and last movements. Sure, there’s some cute stuff in the third movement for all brass (except for tuba), but it’s nothing compared to the power in the opening and closing.
I got familiar with this symphony because it was prominently featured in the audition list for the Montreal Symphony. There are countless important licks for tuba here and just about all of them are double- or triple-forte!! So when I saw the draft for this year’s program last year I got really excited. I printed the part off the Internet and started getting familiar with it. Oh, I almost forgot, I have snippets of the part in my excerpts book and I had considered playing them for my audition to the GGS a few years ago.
So I was super excited to get back to OT rehearsals after the holidays. The first two rehearsals were good. We read through the outer movements really slowly. Especially the first one. Between the counterpoint and the emphasis away from the downbeat, it’s not a cinch to put together.
More importantly, I was looking forward to the big brass sectional of the season. This would be our second year at it. Last season, we had a sectional for Holst’s Planets and Ravel’s La Valse. Trumpeter Guy Few was our coach and he was fantastic. This year, we had some trouble booking someone in advance because many were busy on that Thursday night. We finally confirmed with Rupert Price, principal trombone with the Windsor Symphony. That night, just this past Thursday, we spent 2.5 hours on Tchaik 4. He had some great advice on articulation, style and interpretation. All which made it easier for me to play. It was fantastic to get his view on the piece, and the brass section sounded fantastic with he suggestions. I’m sure my ears took a hit in that boomy room, but I loved every minute of it. I’m looking forward to hearing it all put together next week with the rest of the orchestra.
In terms of my musical career, the opportunity to play Tchaik 4 is very important to me. In the world of community orchestras, I might not have another chance to play in a good number of years. I’m definitely happy with the brass section we have right now. We have some recent additions from UofT who are contribution a lot to the brass section and we’re all gelling well. We’re going to bring the house down on this one!

Product Review: Winter Lip Care for Brass Musicians

It’s January.  It’s cold.  It’s dry.  The time of year that many brass musicians in my climate are struggling to maintain lips in good working condition.  I don’t know what it was, but overnight from De 31 to Jan 1 my lips were on fire and started cracking.  I quickly reached for a product I bought a year earlier:  Chop Saver Gold.  It was doing an “ok” job, but then I thought of asking around on Facebook about what other people use.  Then I thought of blogging a review about them.  Here we go!  (I’ll be expanding this post as I try out more products, so return now and then to check for updates) Continue reading