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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Michael Colburn

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

"The President's Own" Marine Band - The Liberty Bell: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

Listening to any of our nation's top military bands perform a Sousa march is a master class on many different things.  The first thing that jumps out at me from this clip is the amazing dynamic contrast across the entire ensemble.  This reminded me of a quote from Charles Lazarus: "Technique is the ability to control your sound on any given note. At any given dynamic, 100% of the time." This performance of The Liberty Bell exemplifies that quote. The other aspect that jumped out at me is the uniformity of articulation throughout the band.  As we all know, some instruments in the band have a very easy time putting a clear front on a note and others (like mine!) have a very difficult time doing so.  The untrained ear would have no idea that was the case after listening to this performance.  That comes from having amazing players with a great ability to listen across the ensemble.  It also comes from having a conductor with a very clear idea of what sound they are trying to get out of the band at any given moment.  Michael Colburn is one of the best at this.

"The President's Own" Marine Band performing one of  The March King's most famous marches is as good as it gets.  Enjoy The Liberty Bell!