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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Warren Deck Master Class Quotes (Part 1 of 2)

Andrew Hitz

Back in April of 2015 I was honored to do a music business presentation at the Northeast Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference at Ithaca College hosted by Aaron Tindall. The lineup was better than some of the national conferences I've attended and it was an honor to be a part of it.

One of the real treats of that week was getting to attend a master class by former New York Philharmonic tuba player Warren Deck. I had a lesson with him in his New Jersey basement back in 1992 but hadn't been exposed to his teaching since then.

Warren is one of the all-time great tuba players and teachers. He is that rare combination of superb player and phenomenal teacher. I love these quotes and glad that I remembered that I was sitting on them!

You can find part two here.

  • A great writer has a really huge vocabulary and by using that they can evoke a wide range of emotions by their choice of words.
  • Musicians manipulate audiences emotions. They willingly pay to be taken on a journey.
  • I advocate that people commune with the page. Ask 'what is this composer trying to tell me through this archaic notation system?'
  • How many different ways can you say the word hi?
  • How can we change little things to find just the right inflection when we play?
  • Think of different interpretations as saying the same things with different accents.
  • The same person might play things completely differently depending on the acoustical settings.
  • An actor acting to the back of a hall would look ridiculous doing the same thing for a camera right in their face.
  • I was always chasing the tuba in my head.
  • Can I articulate a note any way I want at any dynamic?
  • I found that the louder I played the harder I tended to tongue. I needed dynamics and articulations to function separately.
  • The difference between ta and da is compression.
  • I took (the relationship between dynamics and articulation) and was able to practice an Arban's exercise much more mindfully.
  • I want to be able to change octaves where my air thinks it's one note.
  • The older I get the more I admire Gil Johnson for his ability to phrase and soar.
  • I just heard a person who has had a good deal of success with auditions say that they learned how to play their instrument before they learned excerpts.