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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: Tuba

The Brass Junkies: Michael Nickens aka Doc Nix

Andrew Hitz

TBJ117-Promo.jpg

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TBJ117: Mike Nickens, Director of "The Green Machine" pep band at George Mason University on being unapologetic about who he is and leading by example (while carrying a scepter). He has built a gig for himself which allows him to be fully him while enabling his students to do the same.

Don’t miss this one! Doc is one of my dearest friends and he has blazed a creative path across the music business that is a great model for us all.

Summed up, the dude is a badass!

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during TBJ117 over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 111: Tim Buzbee

Andrew Hitz

TBJ111-Promo.jpg

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TBJ111: Tim Buzbee on learning The Furies overnight, winning gigs in 8 countries and being put in a piece of metal

I had met Tim before but never really hung out with him. He is a riot!

The title of the episode is not an exaggeration. The dude has literally won auditions in eight countries! His wife won’t even let him take any more because she knows he’ll win and she’s sick of moving!

We talk about how a boy from a small town in Texas ends up a tuba superstar on the international stage. And we laugh a lot.

You can check out the complete show notes including all links mentioned during TBJ110 over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 109: Richard White

Andrew Hitz

TBJ109-promo.jpg

TBJ109: Richard A. White, RAW Tuba on his life, his gig and his upcoming documentary

For episode 109 of The Brass Junkies we had a truly inspiring conversation with tuba player Richard White. Richard is the subject of a brand new documentary and his story will leave you on the verge of tears. His journey from homeless four-year-old in Baltimore to the first African-American with a doctorate in tuba is almost too much to believe.

He is an incredible musician, teacher and human and we were honored to have him join us.

This one will leave a mark!

You can check out the complete show notes including all links mentioned during TBJ109 over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 105: Seth Horner

Andrew Hitz

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TBJ105: Seth Horner, tubist of the North Carolina Symphony talking to himself, studying with David Fedderly and his box of mouthpieces

Seth is really great friend and as nice a person as you’ll find in the music business. He has had one hell of a career so far! I really liked this conversation and especially about making fun of his box of mouthpieces!

You can check out the complete show notes including all links mentioned during TBJ105 over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 85: Tom McCaslin, Tubist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on audition prep, recording yourself and all things Canada

Andrew Hitz

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My good friend Tom McCaslin joined us for Episode 85 of The Brass Junkies. Tom is the Principal Tuba for the Calgary Philharmonic. He is a great dude and a monster musician. 

From the show notes:

TBJ85: Tom McCaslin, Tubist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on audition prep, recording yourself and all things Canada

Tom McCaslin, Tubist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Soloist, Teacher, and Clinician has been described by Fanfare Magazine as “one of the contemporary tuba virtuosos”. Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan Tom’s playing and teaching have taken him around the globe. He has performed and taught in Canada, the United States, Switzerland, Portugal, Finland, New Zealand and Australia.

  • The Boston Brass “I Left My Pants in Sarnia, Canada” story
  • New gig in Calgary
  • Canada jokes!
  • Audition preparation
  • How he developed his ears with the help of Sam (Pilafian) and then on his own
  • Put a premium on recording himself (84 hours worth!)
  • Trust in your own abilities
  • Use physicality to override thought, play your way out of it
  • Audition prep with Sam at Tanglewood
  • Systematic
  • Used a randomizer app, put excerpts in and created rounds for himself
  • Daily round of most likely candidates
  • Day of audition, puts himself in a cocoon, noise-cancelling headphones
  • Listened to Bill Simmons podcast and pop music to keep his head clear
  • Studying with Sam Pilafian at Arizona State University
  • Travelin’ Light
  • Studying jazz
  • Boston Symphony audition
  • The support within Sam’s teaching studio
  • Recording solos with Sam as producer
  • Christmas his first year at ASU story, audition prep, followed by turkey prep
  • Teaching at East Carolina University
  • Looking for the quality of person more than quality of player
  • Teaching studio curation
  • The importance of the Studio Class hour, setting the expectations
  • Studying with Roger Bobo in Switzerland
  • The Dog Whisperer
  • “Sack of nicknick” story at Banff
  • Lance’s spot-on Jens impression
  • Andrew’s Banff story with Joe Alessi in Jens’ Porsche
  • Sweat out the bad

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.

Article: Director’s Toolbox – Lead from the Bottom by Patrick Sheridan

Andrew Hitz

Pat Sheridan.jpg

Here is a fantastic read by my good friend Patrick Sheridan on engaging and challenging the tuba players in your band. This is must-read!

From the article:

Children want to be given responsibility! There are three responsibilities (opportunities) that belong to the lowest voice of an ensemble. The laws of acoustics dictate this scientifically.

They include:

1. Sound foundation of an ensemble
2. Intonation
3. Time

Patrick expands on all three of these points. Read the full article here.

You can also click on the logo below to hear my interview (along with Lance LaDuke) with Patrick from Episode 35 of The Brass Junkies.

The Brass Junkies 81: Matthew Murchison

Andrew Hitz

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Matthew Murchison, excuse me, DOCTOR Matthew Murchison, is one of the most creative people playing the euphonium professionally today. He is an incredible euphonium and tuba player, a composer, arranger, deep thinker, knucklehead and a dear friend of mine. Oh man did we laugh during this one...

From the show notes:

TBJ81: Matthew Murchison, Sexiest Euphonium Player in West Virginia on playing, writing and charting your own course in music

Composer, tuba and euphonium soloist and all-around fellow knucklehead Matthew Murchison joins Andrew & Lance to discuss his bands Mainspring and the Matthew Murchison Mutiny, studies with Brian Bowman and being yourself as an artist.

In this fun and lively conversation, we cover:

  • Being the Sexiest Euphonium Player in West Virginia
  • That he is, in fact, a Doctor
  • Teaching at Marshall University
  • Former Solo Euphonium with River City Brass
  • Workin’ on (p)stuff
  • Breaking a spring
  • His method book for teaching euphonium players to play tuba
  • Studies with Brian Bowman in undergrad
  • His band Mainspring: (flute, euphonium and rhythm section)
  • Composing and arranging
  • No preconceived notion of what euphonium music should be to regular audiences which is a huge opportunity
  • Expanding his writing to include electronics
  • Chewy
  • Being yourself as an artist
  • Who is doing interesting stuff right now (Demondrae Thurmon, Ben Pierce, Fernando Deddos)
  • Whether competitions help or hurt young players
  • Asking for feedback after competitions

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 77: Deanna Swoboda

Andrew Hitz

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Deanna is a dear friend and one of my favorite tuba players in the world. She is also an incredible force in the music business. Both Lance and I have known her for a very long time and we were really happy she could join us on The Brass Junkies.

From the show notes:

TBJ77: Tubist Deanna Swoboda on her gig at ASU, Brass Rap and the difference between entertainment and art

Deanna Swoboda has been a longtime friend and colleague to both Andrew & Lance and has had a great career as a performer, teacher and leader from her days with Dallas Brass to her current gig at Arizona State University.

In this episode, we cover:

  • The value of studying music at the college level
  • Her gig at ASU
  • Her five years with the Dallas Brass
  • The difference in approach between playing in the Dallas Brass and the Western Michigan University brass quintet
  • Working with trumpeter Scott Thornburg
  • The difference between entertainment and art
  • Dan Perantoni “When the phone rings, are you ready?”
  • Deanna’s Wonderland
  • Brass Rap
  • Band Blastoff!
  • Tuba Tex How the West Was Fun (a project Lance participated in and forgot for 15 years. He's old.)
  • Eastman tubas
  • Eastman Company Tuba Euphonium Workshop in the summer of 2018

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 74: Bill Pritchard of Amplituba and Mercury Orkestar

Andrew Hitz

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Bill Pritchard is a bad, bad man. He is a good friend and one hell of a creative force within the brass world today. I love how he is always moving his art forward, not just trying to "master" what he can already do. We can all learn a lot from him.

Our conversation with him for TBJ74 was great and inspiring which is good timing coming at the end of the year. You'll dig it!

From the Show Notes:

Amplituba and Mercury Orkestar tubist Bill Pritchard joins Andrew & Lance to discuss Bill's amazingly diverse career and his exploration into the ins and outs of combining electronics with brass playing. In addition to his amazing music-making, Bill teaches at five (5!) colleges, plays all over Atlanta with tons of groups and gives us a step by step tour of his electronic rig/setup.

Some of the topics we cover include:

  • The challenges of giving Skype lessons
  • His use of technology in lessons
  • What to do if the chaps are at the cleaners (don't ask)
  • The simplest setup to start messing with electronics (mic, cable, digital effects/multi-effects unit, into a keyboard or bass amp)
  • Why delay and chorus effects are a good place to start
  • How to get started with looping pedals
  • How he sets up his musical improvs
  • His influences, from Reggie Watts to Matt Owen and David Wolf from Drums & Tuba
  • How David Vining and Jan Kagarice helping him overcome challenges
  • Playing w/a drummer and a theremin at an Invent Room Pop gig and creating Amplituba
  • Blow into the small end

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.

The Brass Junkies 71: Jonathan Dorn

Andrew Hitz

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What a life Jonathan Dorn has led! Professional tuba player for 30 including performances on Saturday Night Live and touring all over the world. Professional chef. The list goes on and on.

From the show notes:

Jonathan Dorn has played tuba for everyone from Leon Redbone to The Philadelphia Orchestra and got to hang out with John Belushi in the 70s, 'nuff said. He shares incredible (and hilarious stories) from over 50 years in the business.

Some of the crazy things he shares in this interview:

  • How he got started on the tuba as a kid and worked his way through the ranks in Philly
  • What it was like taking lessons with the legendary Abe Torchinsky
  • Playing 16 shows (16!) a week with Ringling Brothers Circus (think bleeding chops) and getting to work with legendary cornet player and bandleader Merle Evans
  • How he learned changes on the fly
  • Passing off his regular gig with Your Father's Mustache to the legendary Bob Stewart
  • What it was like performing on Saturday Night Live four times with Leon Redbone and partying with John Belushi and Chevy Chase in the '70's
  • And how he became a professional chef after 30 years of playing the tuba professionally!

You can check out the complete show notes including all of the links mentioned during this episode over at Pedal Note Media.