Preparing for a Show Chapter 4 (preparing your work area)

I must admit, I am much more deliberate in my preparations for a show than the average musician. The reason for this is two-fold; 1. I detest making mistakes 2. I am not the quickest learner in the section Because of these shortcomings, I tend to do much more preparation before a performance than any of my colleagues. My current work area consists of a traditional music stand which was popular during the 1940’s which is the time frame the show is set. Atop the music stand was a small goose necked LED light, not typical of that time frame.…

Preparing for a Show Chapter 3 (marking your music)

The Importance of Marking Your Music. Now that you understand the music and checked for any calls for mutes, the next step is to start rehearsals. Most of the time the director is reasonable and understanding during the first couple scheduled rehearsals and everyone learns their responsibilities for the show. In this particular situation our director not only wrote the arrangements but he also produced the show and is the leading entertainer in the production. This is unusual and has turned out to be a wonderful experience for all of us. What will they think of next! The director is…

Preparing for a Show Chapter 2 (setting up your practice routine)

Because of the short notice to play this show, my usual routine had to be changed. Usually I will check over the music to find what challenges it might have such as range, endurance, solos, unusual keys, etc. In this case it was and is a straight forward vocal/skit/comedy show with one band feature at the end. The range runs from below the staff to about 58 high C’s and D’s with only one Eb which for a capable second chair player is within my comfort zone. Only one featured solo and the changes are very common. One issue in…

Preparing for a Show- Chapter 1 (short notice)

Most often a musician is called to perform in a show in Branson at least a month before the first rehearsal, but recently the norm had changed. A new show is in Branson, “which you should go to if you enjoy New York level performers, excellent music and a trip back in history to what was going on in our country in 1942”. Because of a reaction to a medication prescribed by his doctor, a good friend of mine was unable to make the rehearsals and it was questionable if, because of this reaction would be able to play the…

Don’s Dictionary of Delirious Dictum

24/7: The time signature of the national anthem of India. Agent: A character how resents performers getting 90% of his salary. Ballet: An art form for people with eating disorders. Bandstand: The area furthest away from an outlet. Big Band: Currently referring to an aggregation of two musicians. Cabaret: A venue where singers do songs from shows that closed out of town. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: God’s way of telling you that you’ve practiced too much. Classical Composer: A Man ahead of his time and behind in rent. Cruise Ship: A place where a musician has two reasons to throw up.…

Brass Articulation- Triple Tonguing

From the material you have practiced in the preceding post (Double Tonguing) you should have an understanding of the use of multiple articulations. The next level will be using the Tah and Dah attack along with an additional Tah attack. This Tah Tah Kah articulation is called triple tonguing and will serve you well. The basic pattern for triple tonguing is, as I stated before, Tah Tah Kah, Tah Tah Kah, Tah Tah Kah. Repeat this pattern over and over until you feel comfortable with it. Amazing speed can be achieved with this articulation as illustrated by this video of

Brass Articulation- Double Tonguing

Double tonguing was developed to increase the speed at which a player could re-articulate a series of notes. From the time of Arban to the performances of Herbert L. Clark the technique was practiced and improved to the point where these musicians were able to accomplish fantastic performances of extremely difficult solos. The level at which they entertained their audiences was amazing. Many of these techniques have been lost or at least ignored and few modern players spend the required time developing these techniques. There are exceptions to this statement as illustrated by this video of

Brass Articulation- The Many Positions of Tah and Dah

To most brass players, the use of Tah and Dah is enough to comprehend but when you have nothing to do at this time of the morning, you need something more than coffee to keep you going and this next material may be beneficial to you. The many syllables based on the basic Tah and Dah articulation. How many variations of Tah and Dah can we come up with? Tah, Dah Ta, Da (long A sound) Tee, Dee Tie, Die Toe, Doe Too, Doo Notice that we have included all of the vowels including a long A and a soft…

Brass Articulation- Why We Use Tah and Dah

It is now 4:26 AM in the morning of Saturday, January 8, 2011 and you are probable asleep in your bed. You may ask, “Why am I sitting at my computer writing this post”? Moments ago, while laying in bed a question flashed through my head “why do we use the syllable tah when we articulate a note on a brass instrument. I hope to explain this practice by the time we finish this post. What are letters, what are syllables and what are words? In order to establish an understandable vocabulary for this discussion, we will have to agree…

Free Mute Holder!

After checking every mute holder on the market today, I decided I could do better than what was available on line and in the stores. If you need your mutes available in a short amount of time, you may be interested in my solution. I got the music for a new musical in town just a few days ago and after looking through the material, I realized that the number of quick mute changes was going to be a problem. No matter how close you get your mutes, it always puts pressure on these quick changes and I don’t enjoy…