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Audition Observations

By Tom Gibson • March 01, 1999
I was recently afforded the unique opportunity to sit on an audition committee with my section-mates. In discussing the experience afterwards with some of the candidates, I came to realize that a majority of them were unaware of their musical and physical reactions on stage. For their benefit, and for all of us who plan on taking auditions in the future, I decided to document the experience in order to shed light on the matter. I truly believe that we can all gain from others' experiences.....good or bad.

Getting Ready for College Auditions

By Tom Ervin • December 01, 1996
A trombone student requested advice on college auditions, and this was my advice. (Much of this could also apply to other auditions and tape producing, such as for regional competitions, all-state tryouts, graduate schools and summer camps.)

If You Practice

By Tom Ervin • October 01, 1996
Let us discuss the benefits that come from focused practice, and the need for such practice by any trombonist who is ambitious, or is considering a musical career. This article was originally submitted to the trombone list in September 1996. The list also holds many fine posts on structuring and optimizing practice time.

Letters from New York: Carmine Caruso

By Sam Burtis • July 02, 2000
In this edition of "Letters From New York," Sam Burtis discusses the quintessential New York brass teacher Carmine Caruso and some of his teaching methods.

Lip Flexibilities for the Advanced Jazz Trombonist

By David Wilken • April 30, 2002
Good lip flexibility, meaning the ability to change quickly and smoothly between pitches, is an essential ability for any trombonist. This article is designed to help the jazz trombonist, although classical trombonists will find many of the exercises and routines described here helpful for developing all around good lip flexibility.

My Summer With the Mouse

By Jennifer Wharton • July 02, 2000
Come spring, there is probably no question more frequently asked of a college student than "What are you going to do this summer?" In the spring of 1999, I was a junior bass trombone performance major at the New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, Massachusetts) when I asked this question of myself. The rest, as they say, is history.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Berlioz, Hungarian March

By David Gier • November 01, 1997
Hungarian March has proved to be an excellent audition piece because the seemingly universal flaw of dragging at louder dynamics is quickly assessed. This excerpt tests a trombonist's ability to play with strength, character, quality of sound and volume, while moving rapidly and rhythmically through the often cumbersome mid-register.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Bolero

By Tom Ervin • April 01, 1997
There are many challenges in performing this solo. They include waiting through so many "verses" before you get to play, making a perfect "bulls-eye" entrance, using an excellent ballad legato, and maintaining accurate control as the pitches descend. Also keep in mind that this solo has long phrases which may require the performer play louder than they might like.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Brahms - Symphony No. 1

By M. Dee Stewart • September 01, 1997
Lewis Van Haney and I used to compare our experiences with various pieces. I remember he said that Leonard Bernstein wanted the notes in the chorale to be quite separate. Whereas, my experience with Eugene Ormandy was that he preferred a very legato interpretation. The exact meaning of the dots under the slurs has always been confusing to the trombone players. It is an indication that is more common in string writing.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: La Forze del Destino

By Andrea Conti • September 01, 1999
Like almost all 19th century Italian operatic literature, Verdi's "La forza del destino" was written for valve trombone. This is the reason why we find so many technically difficult passages in this literature. Good technical control of the instrument and of the slide is therefore a prerequisite to the successful study and mastery of the parts.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Mahler Symphony No. 3

By Heinz Fadle • September 01, 1998
After having studied this symphony with my teacher Professor Willy Walther, who had performed it very successfully with the Berlin Philharmonic under the late Sergiu Celibache, and having performed it more than 30 times myself, I have very strong convictions about this wonderful music. These convictions have quite naturally developed and changed over the years.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Mozart, Tuba Mirum

By John Seidel • April 01, 1997
Tuba Mirum, from W.A. Mozart's "Requiem Mass", is used in virtually all orchestral auditions as a measure of a player's legato style and musically expressive capabilities. We are often asked why Mozart used the trombone as a solo instrument in this movement, but a quick perusal of sacred choral works of the pre-classic and baroque periods reveals plenty of precedent for this choice.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Overture to Tannhauser

By Francois Godere • November 01, 1997
The sound, rhythm, and intonation are crucial to the correct performance of Tannhäuser. The two main sections, rehearsal letters "A" and "M," are quite similar, but their differences should to be observed very carefully. One would be wise to learn both passages thoroughly for an audition.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Ride of the Valkyrie

By Elliot Chasanov • April 01, 1997
In order to prepare this excerpt, I suggest starting with several recordings. Be sure to not tempi, style of articulation, rhythmic accuracy, and placement of accents. After listening with score in hand, start practicing the excerpt slowly, with a metronome or a Dr. Beat, setting the metronome on a subdivision of eighth notes.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian Easter Overture

By David Mathie • May 01, 1997
One of the most famous orchestral excerpt for the second trombone is The Russian Easter Overture, by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The work is based on themes from the musical tradition of the Russian Orthodox church, with the solo tenor trombonist (now, second trombonist) representing the medieval chant of a priest. The composer marks the solo "a piena voce" - at full voice; thus, the solo should be interpreted as a vocalist would.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Schubert, Symphony No. 9 in C Major

By Marc LaChance • September 01, 1998
Though rare on auditions, this work is frequently performed and recorded by orchestras. On older recordings it may be referred to as the 7th symphony. This numbering inconsistency is due to the large number of Schubert's works left unpublished at his death, which has made putting these compositions in chronological order very difficult. The subtitle, "Great C Major," is almost always included, and makes finding recordings easy.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Schumann Symphony No. 3

By Tom Ervin • September 01, 1997
This challenging excerpt is among the most requested passages in orchestral trombone auditions. Usually only the first 8 bars are requested , but the rest of the piece is tricky also, and it would not be unfair of them to ask for more.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Till Eulenspiegel

By Lawrence Borden • November 01, 1997
When practicing the first solo, you should be careful to bring out the humor that is in the work. This is hard to do if you try to play too loud, but a light touch with a rapid decay on each note will give this passage the lithe, carefree quality that is desired. The rhythm here is very important. Take care not to 'crush' the last eighth of each triplet into the first eighth the succeeding triplet. If you do, the rhythm will acquire a limp that ultimately robs the passage of an even, forward drive.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: William Tell Overture

By Joseph Alessi • May 01, 1997
With all the fast and technical excerpts, it is important to realize that sound should still be of prime importance. As you practise this excerpt, try taking a sound bite (snapshot) of your tone and ask yourself if it is the best tone that you can possibly play.

The Doctrine of Intent

By Lawrence Borden • March 01, 1998
What I find disturbing is how rarely students ask questions of a philosophical nature. After all, this is a consuming profession and the quality of their future growth will not only depend on the number of hours spent in the practice room, but also upon the reasons why they practice. It is not often that I hear "why?" questions and it distresses me.

The Slide Heard 'Round the World!

By Colleen Wheeler • March 12, 2005
Using the Internet and Internet2 (I2), The Slide Heard Round the World! celebrates International Trombone Week (ITW) with events that include masterclasses, solo recitals, ensemble performances, and lectures,

Three (quick) Steps to Better Articulation

By Alex Iles • April 18, 2003
It was the night before my first big concert with a high school state honor band and I was in a panic! How am I going to learn how to play something that was beyond my immediate technical ability? The object of my fear was Fillmore's Rolling Thunder, a very fast circus march with several challenging double tongue passages.