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TMEA All-State tenor trombone: Vobaron etude

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I have to say, when I saw the music selections for all-state auditions this year, I was really excited that Deborah Scott picked this etude.  I think it's a really neat little piece, and it has some really classic rhythmic problems to decipher that are difficult for most players to deal with.

First off, I like the beginning of this étude to sound very full and strong. In doing so, be sure to keep the time moving! Strong sound with forward momentum driving to the A in measure 8 is what I'm going for, initially. This really sets the rest of the piece up and allows the legeremente section to really contrast with the beginning. Speaking of light, how do we do that? How do we make something light? Leave a slight space between notes, tongue softer, and use a softer volume. That will make the overall character lighter.

When you get to the wide leaps beginning in measure 33, go for a round and full sound on the low notes. Take pains to not slap or blat those low notes out! Sound quality is key! Also, this piece has a lot of articulation markings. I would make sure to honor all the slurs that are printed. I added a slur in measure 12 between the B and C, as it seems likely there should be one there...

Now, on to the rhythm. Switching from duple to triple subdivisions can be a very difficult concept to master. I want to hear accurate subdivisions of eighth notes and triplets, perfectly in time. This takes LOTS of practice. I suggest using a metronome, and record yourself as always. When you listen back to the recording, listen for a tempo that remains constant, accurate triplet rhythms that don't drag within their given beat, and smooth transitions between the duple and triple rhythms. Lots of practice, recording, and metronome use is likely what this étude will require.

I think this étude is very straightforward with different moods to keep it exciting. Alternate between strong sections and light playing where indicated. Be very accurate with the time and the alternating triple and duple figures. Finally, keep it moving forward and play aggressively to help keep it exciting.

If you have questions, please ask in the comment section below! Have fun, and happy practicing!

Virtual Trombonist

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