Clark Media Productions

Clark Media Productions is a place for me to share my love of audio production, music, trombone, and music technology. Subscribe to my email list for late breaking blog posts, videos, and educational content!

Filtering by Tag: TXallstate

TMEA All-state tenor trombone étude: Belcke

  [soundcloud url="" params="color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]


A march, awesome! Really, we couldn't have an étude where the musical path is any clearer for our performance goals.

Let's first talk about march style. Rigid time, not too long, and not too heavy. Does that last aspect surprise you! I think this is one of the biggest mistakes people make in their interpretation of march style. Loud, yes. Heavy? Well, you just killed all the forward momentum in your performance. "Puffs of air" is a great concept I like to think when playing a piece like this, along with "light tongue" and "bounce".

Next, let's look at tempo. I strongly suggest you base your opening tempo on your ability to play the continuous 16ths beginning at m.33 cleanly and in tune. I find that the lower end of the tempo range works great. Yes, it's slower than true march tempo, but it's your solo and you have the option!

I opted out of the low D and low C octaves. I wasn't happy with how it sounded, so I didn't record it that way. I have work to do in that register! I suggest that you do what makes you sound your best. The low stuff doesn't add much to the music, but if you can do it well, then it is impressive.

Finally, on the continuous 16th runs, I am going for correct intonation via excellent slide placement at all costs. RECORDING YOURSELF is a necessity! Practice slow, and ingrain the pitches in your mind. Speed it up slowly, you have plenty of time. Don't panic! Most people will practice slowly just a little bit, then jump to full speed and simply not spend the time getting it in tune that they need to. Resist the temptation to play it too fast too soon!

Marches can be a very fun and exciting musical experience. With attention to detail, this étude will separate you from the people who don't practice thoroughly and carefully.

Practice hard,

Virtual Trombonist

TMEA All-State tenor trombone: Vobaron etude

[soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]  

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

TMEA All-State tenor trombone etude: Dieppo

[soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] What a beautiful little piece! This is one of those etudes that I'm always so happy to see among the selections, as it just lends itself so well to the trombone. I feel like a tempo close to the bottom of the suggested range works best, as I don't want this piece to sound hurried when I perform it. It should sound relaxed, beautiful, and make your listener say, "ahhhhhhh...".  A tempo of 120 to the eighth note will work well to accomplish this.

Strive for a comfortable, beautiful sound. I often find it necessary to somewhat ignore the piano marking at the beginning, it shouldn't be loud, but it should sound comfortable, confident, and really sing! Play it like you are the world's greatest soloist!  Also, imagine you are playing in a large auditorium and filling up the space with beautiful sound (or better yet, find a large room to practice in!)

I prefer to play the turns, or grupettos in a very unhurried way. Using the rhythm of an eighth and four sixteenth notes will accomplish this. Listen to the recording to hear what I mean...

Likewise, the cadenza sounds best to me when played in a relaxed way. This isn't a piece to show off blazing technique. It IS a place to show off smoothness and elegance! Again, listen to the recording!

Have fun with this beautiful little piece. It is truly a joy to work on, and a nice break from marching band parts you may be working on this time of year.

Powered by Squarespace