I played selections from the first movement of the Tomasi trombone concerto for Colin during his class. The main point that he tried to make to me is not to get too caught up in the small elements of rubato-- think about the big picture. I had/have trouble with this aspect in my playing, especially in the Tomasi with the vast number of markings. I'm trying to work on not, for lack of a better word, romanticizing every small gesture, but rather striving to achieve long, sweeping musical lines.
The rest of my notes from this class were directed to the other participants. In every brass pedagogy course I've ever taken, we always had to list "teaching points." Think of the next statements that way; these points can be used for any brass or wind instrument.
- Even though it's a waltz, play more fluidly.
- Make slurs much more like the human voice. Think of Bordogni No. 6 and play in all clefs.
- Sound more vocal or song-like. Sing a phrase to get a more natural and musical sense of phrasing.
- Always go back to the basics.
- Drive wide and awkward intervals with your airstream.
- Work on Arban's Articulation Styles.
- Think of the tongue as a traffic cop for your airstream.
- If you blow faster air, then the tongue can almost bounce or spring off of the airstream like a lawn sprinkler.
After the class, everyone was pretty horrified after his descriptions of feeling a white-hot needle sort of pain in his lip when the muscle tore. Honestly, most players don't have to worry about this sort of thing. Practice smartly and efficiently, take breaks, etc. Since then, Colin is back to playing in the ASO. He is such a beast at the trombone and a really nice person. I can't wait to hear him again!