Texas Gulf Coast Orff Association 2018-19 Workshops

The Texas Gulf Coast Orff Association presents 4 workshops every school year. The first one is this Saturday featuring Jim Solomon

For more information and workshop handouts please use this link.

Texas Gulf Coast Orff Association Workshops




2017-18 Texas All State Trumpet Audition Information

This is information that I copied from the Texas Music Educators (TMEA) website. I suggest that you read the instructions posted here and work on the fundamental skills (Lip flexibility, isometric exercises, technical studies such as Arban or Clarke) that will help you perform these pieces successfully. Merely learning the etudes will not get you the results you desire if your goal is to advance in the All State audition process. There are free resources here on my website under the brass tab at the top of this page. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.

Book – Editor Title Publisher Edition
Wurm, Voisin 40 Studies for Trumpet International No. 2025
Selection 1
Page(s): 22
Etude Title: No. 23
Tempo: Dotted Half Note = 58-74
Play from beginning to end.
Tempo range should be dotted half note (not dotted quarter note = 58-74 (revised 7/25/17)
Performance Guide:
This moderately technical etude is fun to play and needs to sound graceful and nimble throughout while maintaining a dance like “waltz” character. A slight emphasis on beat 1 and floating the rest of the measure will help with this so that the music always feels like one beat per bar. Practice slowly with metronome for rhythmic accuracy paying attention to tongued vs. slurred rhythms. Keep the airflow steady during slurred passages maintaining smooth note connections and a consistent tone. Daily practice of Clarke Technical Studies will be helpful for this. Always begin phrases with a full breath.

Articulated passages need to sound as smooth as slurred passages. Staccato markings should sound light and graceful, not overly short or harsh. Let only the tip of the tongue move as you articulate while keeping the flow of air as steady as if slurring or sustaining a single note. Additionally, it is imperative to keep the lips and jaw stationary while articulating. If the lips or jaw move, the tone and pitch will be affected and the line will sound rough. A helpful exercise for this is to practice blowing a fast articulation pattern on one hand while keeping the other hand on your chin and/or lower lip. Make sure the chin and lower lip stay perfectly still as the tongue moves to articulate. For extra practice with slurs and arpeggios refer to Arban’s pp. 48-51, 56, 144 and 146.

Selection 2
Page(s): 32-33
Etude Title: No. 35
Tempo: Quarter Note = 50-60
Play from beginning to end.
Performance Guide:
This etude should be performed with great lyricism and expression. The use of vibrato will be helpful in providing a vocal quality to the music. The performer may also use a little rubato, making some passages start slowly, speed up and then slow down within the structure of a steady beat. The grupetto or “turn” in m. 11 should be played like m. 9. Measure 26 should be treated as a cadenza. In keeping with the esspressione character of this etude, a legato style should be employed throughout. Keep grace notes and 32nds smooth and relaxed. Round out the ends of phrases so they sound polished and refined. Maintain a warm sound in all registers and dynamics, and never let the tone become edgy or aggressive – intense and dramatic, yes, but never edgy.

Very little information is given regarding dynamics; therefore it is suggested that the performer follow the shape of the melodic line and provide dynamics consistent with the direction of each phrase while still maintaining the character and color of the last printed dynamic. Keep the air moving through descending passages in order to maintain good tone and response. Keep your listener engaged by making the music express emotions or tell a story. Recommended studies for this etude include Clarke Technical Studies pp. 14-20 for work on smooth trills and Arban’s pp. 99-103 for exercises on the turn.

Selection 3
Page(s): 9
Etude Title: No. 7
Tempo: Dotted Quarter Note = 74-94
Play from beginning to end.
Performance Guide:
This etude is all about double tonguing in 6/8 time. While it may be possible to single tongue within the proper tempo guidelines, a double tongue is preferred in order to keep the music sounding light. Single tonguing will tend to make 16ths sound heavy and overly emphasized, while double tonguing will make them dance and move forward. Avoid extremes (too short or too legato). Strive for clarity of attack along with a steady airflow. In speech the vowel is just as important as the consonant. The same holds true for double tonguing. Make sure your tone remains centered and beautiful between the T and K. Refer to Arban’s pp. 175-178 for extra practice double tonguing. Play the exercises slowly making the T and K articulations sound exactly alike – same start, same tone, same pitch. Also try reversing the T and K, or using all Ks in practice.

Musically this etude should sound playful, not harsh or frantic. Emphasize the downbeat and let the rest of the measure float. Practice m. 16 slowly with double tongue using a metronome. Gradually speed up keeping the rhythm steady. Breathe quickly and efficiently where indicated. For quick breathing open up and get the tongue out of the way of the moving air. If you hear a hissing or slurping sound, you are breathing incorrectly and inefficiently. Say “Woe” or “Hup” backwards. The “P” at the end of “Hup” gets your lips back into playing position after the breath.

TMEA 2015-2016 Trumpet Etudes 3 Big Ideas 4 Success

Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for your region and area auditions.

  • Start Early
  • Practice fundamentals-focused embouchure, less pressure, use tongue arch, lip slurs, flow studies, scales and arpeggios, intervals, Clarke studies.
  • Practice every day-even if you only have a small amount of time.
  • Start with the end in mind.
  • Work small spots first, then small section. Never the whole etude at once.
  • Listen to your sound
  • Play musically. Think about phrases.
  • Use a metronome.
  • Be positive and have a plan.
  • Follow your plan.

This years etudes have some challenges that can be met if you work smarter. Start early and work a little everyday. Trust me, it will be difficult to pull these etudes off by practicing one or two weeks prior to the auditions. Plan ahead, please don’t ask me or your private lesson teacher to help you with the notes and rhythms of the etudes the night before an audition or the night before you have to play a section for your band director. You need time to process the information you receive and to practice at your pace. That takes days, not minutes.

Big Idea Number 1

If you avoid practicing lip slurs, scales and arpeggios, you are not going to have the range, flexibility and endurance to reach the level of playing that you desire. So get going on this one now.

On my website there are free copies of lip slurs, flexibility drills, flow studies, scales and arpeggios. (If you are an advanced player work on the Frank Brown drills for lead players.)  Play these everyday. If you do, you will have more fun playing music. And after all we play to play music.

Big Idea Number 2

Less Pressure-one of the biggest improvements to your playing is to learn to use less mouthpiece pressure in all of your playing. I know that can be difficult during marching band, but you can do it if you think about it every time that you play. You will develop more strength, range and have great endurance if you take the time to do it. Contact me or check out Greg Spence videos on Mystery to Mastery.

Big Idea Number 3

Here are 3 excellent videos to show you how to play the etudes. They are performed by Dr. Brian Shook of Lamar University. There are also additional videos from his clinic on how to prepare these etudes. Well worth your time looking them up and watching them. Repeatedly. Over and over.

Brandt No. 30 https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRI7hBoSEwI

Brandt No. 7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRUt5fa2AHI

Brandt No. 15  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmDPrzdGjg0

Best wishes on a successful audition.


Audiation, Mental Sound Images for Brass Players = Successful Students

brainI started my music education career teaching junior high band. Beginners through high school players. I have and currently teach people to play instruments. However it was not until I started teaching children to sing that I discovered a powerful teaching tool for brass players. Audiation.  I think good brass players do this all the time and may not realize it. My good students do it. The children at my school do it. I often have to get them quiet! But I never specifically set out to have my brass students learn to use this technique as they performed music, sight-read music or struggled with a passage of music. Continue reading

Drumming & Barred Instruments for Elementary Teachers

As a former band director now teaching K-5 elementary music, I found comfort in teaching recorders, drumming and playing barred instruments (xylophones) mallets.  I needed lots of coaching on teaching children to sing properly. So I attended workshops and asked other teachers how to they do it. And so often the response from vocal majors was, teaching children to sing is easy.  Yes, but not for me! Continue reading

A Conversation with John – A Workshop with John M. Feierabend Ph.D.

Updated March 10, 2015

A Conversation with John

The John Feierabend workshop “A Conversation with John” sponsored by TMEA was one of the best music education workshops that I have attended. If you have the opportunity to attend a John Feierabend workshop or certification event, I encourage you to do so.

I have really examined what I do as a music educator at my school because of this workshop. I like most of what I do and want to improve the things I feel need to be improved. There was so much information to take in that I found myself listening and participating rather than furiously taking notes.

WWUH has a podcast of an interview with Dr. Feierabend. Continue reading

Increase your strength, range and precision with the Carmine Caruso Six Notes Exercise

For a long time, I have been using one of Carmine Caruso’s teaching techniques with all of my brass students. This exercise works for woodwind players too. The results are noticeable in about a week  and include: increased endurance, precise note starts and increased range in brass players. So I thought I would share what I have learned through teaching brass students in elementary, middle, high school and adults. It works for all levels of players Continue reading