STUDIO WITH DR. H: FUNDAMENTALS
Let’s begin my series on the Basics of Brass Playing, in four parts.
I like to think of brass playing as comprising four main elements, those of Tone, Rhythm, Clarity and Flow. With playing examples and tips, these tutorials break down each element into smaller areas of focus, providing a foundation of thought behind the way we approach our instruments.
Brass Basics No. 1: Tone
Join me as we walk through the four main elements of creating tone on a brass instrument, most specifically tuba and euphonium, in this first installment of thoughts on brass playing. In this video I am playing my 4/4 Rudolph Meinl C tuba, my Yamaha 621 F Tuba, and my Yamaha 321 Euphonium with added fifth valve. This is the first of the series of four videos.
Brass Basics No. 2: Rhythm
Join me as we walk through thoughts on rhythm, in this second installment of thoughts on brass playing. I like to think of brass playing as comprising four main elements, those of Tone, Rhythm, Clarity and Flow. Here, I bring in some helpful pieces of advice from educators and performers which showcase how our thinking on rhythm shapes our playing. I play some examples on tuba and euphonium of the types of exercises I find most valuable for developing a strong rhythmic sense.
Brass Basics No. 3: Clarity
Welcome to my studio as we walk through thoughts on clarity, in this third installment of the basics of brass playing. I like to think of brass playing as comprising four main elements, those of Tone, Rhythm, Clarity and Flow. Here, I discuss things to keep in mind as we strike for clear tonguing and slurring, and you’ll hear me play an excerpt from a lovely piece for tuba quartet by Portia Njoku entitled Fanfare for a King, composed in honor of Martin Luther King. Read more about her, find her compositions here, https://thattubalady.com, and look for the companion piece to this one, Elegy for a King. Thanks Portia for these great works! Comment on the video with your thoughts on how you strive for clarity as you practice.
Brass Basics No. 4: Flow
What makes music move? How do we think about our musical line and expression? What does it mean to have forward motion, or flow, in our performance? Join me for the final installment of thoughts on brass playing, taking a look at musicality and flow. Here, I play an excerpt from my new work for solo tuba and electronics, ElevenTwelve, which features a graphic score of Hildegard von Bingen’s convent at Disibodenberg, an example of technical flow from my arrangement of Camilla Polka by the 19th century composer Francisca ‘Chiquinha’ Gonzaga (1847-1935), and a classic holiday hymn, “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” as a reminder that flow in chamber music is central as well. After all of the discussion in the first three videos of this series on elements of technique, this final video is a reminder that we are making music, and singing through our instruments. To work with intention, and find the flow of the music, provides the foundation of connection to our audiences.