What about the Trombone Studio?
At Carolina, the focus is more on cooperation than competition. In weekly master classes you often find students performing for each other and helping each other out to improve both technique and musicianship. Students frequently borrow music and recordings and get together to play and listen.
On the concert calendar you can usually find a Fall Trombone Night or Spring Trombone Night, which gives us a chance to perform as soloists or in duets, quartets or trombone choir. Often these programs feature pieces suggested by the students. You might even find student arrangements or compositions being featured.
Some students want to become symphony players, others want to be great band directors, still others want to play jazz. In spite of our differing goals, we work to get along and support each other along the way. If you're serious about working hard to improve on your instrument, you will find kindred spirits here.
Typically, the trombone studio ranges between 15-20 students (but has gotten as large as 25!). We are a mix of mostly undergraduate students with a few graduate students. The majority of the undergrad students are pursuing degrees in music education but a few are performance majors. We also have had some composition and jazz majors.
What about lessons?
Every student gets a weekly individual lesson with me. I encourage my students to take initiative and set goals for themselves. I’m a big believer in solid fundamentals. We devote time to eliminating tension, improving posture, promoting good breathing, buzzing well on the mouthpiece, and refining inner hearing especially for pitch and rhythm. Each week students get an assignment that is a mixture of technique building (scales, arpeggios, lip slurs) and repertoire (etudes, solos excerpts).
I do a lot of recording in lessons. Sometimes I ask students to listen back and critique themselves for both negative and positive aspects of the performance. Other times, I will use a “side by side” technique in which the student and I alternate playing a short passage so I can demonstrate to them.
Sometimes I offer encouragement, sometimes criticism. From student to student my methods may vary but my goal remains the same: We are all serving something larger than ourselves.
We have had quite a few wonderful trombone guest artists visit the trombone studio including:
- Denson Paul Pollard, Bass Trombone ~ Metropolitain Opera Orchestra
- Milton Stevens, Principal Trombone ~ National Symphony Orchestra
- James Miller, Acting Principal Trombone ~ Los Angeles Philharmonic
- Trombones de Costa Rica ~ Internationally renowned trombone quartet
- Colin Williams, Principal Trombone ~ Atlanta Symphony
- George Curran, Bass Trombone ~ Atlanta Symphony
- John Marcellus, Professor ~ Eastman School of Music
- The United States Marine Band section
Scheduled for Spring 2014
- January 4
Sam Schlosser, Principal Trombone ~ San Francisco Opera
- March 24
Matt Vaughn, Associate Principal Trombone ~ Philadelphia Orchestra
Want to learn more?
Prospective students (graduate and undergraduate) can get a free lesson when they visit. Please contact me if you would like to schedule a lesson/visit. You should suggest some dates/times (weekdays are best) when you'd like to come by.