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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Band

The Brass Junkies: Michael Colburn, Former Commander of The President's Own Marine Band

Andrew Hitz

Listen via


Mike Colburn, former Commander and Conductor of The President's Own Marine Band in Washington, D.C., joined us to discuss his impressive career.

Colonel Colburn (or "kernel" as Lance like to call him) recently retired from a long and distinguished career, which began as a euphoniumist (probably a word.) He is now the Director of Bands at Butler University and believes in living a forward-focused life.

Oh, and he suffered a severe wally-ball injury and has a thing for ficus trees.


Mike's Butler Univeristy Page

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Produced by Austin Boyer of FredBrass

UT Wind Ensemble Performing John Mackey: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Here is the University of Texas Wind Ensemble under the direction of Jerry Junkin performing John Mackey's "Wine-Dark Sea: Symphony for Band".

This is a live performance from 2/12/14 at Bates Recital Hall in Austin, TX.

John Mackey is one of my favorite composers writing music today. This piece is awesome.


Insights on Playing from Mallory Thompson

Andrew Hitz

"I think that….wherever you are in your career, it’s all the same…you’re working on the same things…making good attacks, making good releases, playing musically, showing a wide dynamic range, and not taking anything musical for granted."

-Dr. Mallory Thompson (Director of Bands at Northwestern University)

Dr. Thompson is probably the best conductor I've ever played for in my career. I had the privilege of being in her first band at Northwestern on the heels of being in John Paynter's last band there.

The beauty of her as an educator is that she demands the exact same things of everyone in front of her, like the list above.

Pleasing a set of ears like Mallory Thompson's is not complicated. It's just a lot of work long before you sit down in front of her.

Frederick Fennell with the US Navy Band: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

A small portion of this video of Lincolnshire Posy made the rounds on Facebook a couple of weeks ago but the whole thing is even better.  Frederick Fennell is of course one of the greatest band conductors of all time.  The amount of information he is communicating to the US Navy Band in this clip is stunning.  His stick, his facial expressions, his shoulders, his hands, everything.

This clip is a master class for all conductors on how to convey a clear idea of how you want a piece to go to an ensemble.