Thursday, June 11, 2009

Low Brass Boot Camp – Day Two

Larry and Roberta Zalkind arrived from Salt Lake City that morning in preparation for their recital the next day and Larry's masterclass. Mike, Larry and myself briefly rehearsed some of the trio works that we were to perform on Thursday. During the day's session, several of the students also had the opportunity to get individual lessons with Larry Zalkind.

The Boot Camp would go from 1pm to 6pm everyday except Sunday. Sunday was the last day and reserved for a final mock audition. Wednesday's session started off by going over Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphosis in full low brass sections. The students worked on matching sound, style and pitch on this particular work.

For the second part of this day's session, Mike Becker led an in depth discussion and exercise on breathing, balance and sound production. He talked about many of the principals behind yoga and breathing, as well as using some techniques from David Vining's The Breathing Book. Mike had the students use a proper breath to make a vibrant sound on the first note of a standard audition piece: Ravel's Bolero for tenor trombone, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for bass trombone and Wagner's Die Meistersinger for Tuba. We did further exercises beyond this, such as matching notes in pairs and playing Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries in pairs.

The afternoon for the students concluded with a mock audition for a couple of the trombonists who were unable to arrive by the beginning of yesterday's session. This was followed by Mr. Becker working with both students on their audition performance. Larry Zalkind, Mike Becker and myself then rehearsed several of the orchestral excerpts that we were going to perform at Mr. Zalkind's masterclass the next day. It was so nice to play with Larry and Mike! Things pretty much locked in right away and we did not have to discuss very much.

It looks like I will be unable to post articles about the Low Brass Boot Camp on a daily basis like I had originally planned. We have a very busy schedule with the Elgin Symphony this week...four performances of Nielsen's Fourth Symphony this weekend! I will attempt to have articles on each day of the Low Brass Boot Camp up by the end of next week.

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