Monday, April 8, 2013

Still here....



I haven't disappeared. I promise. I have been away from my computer for a while doing all kinds of things and believe it or not THIS BLOG IS STILL GOING...

I bought a home and have been doing everything involved with that and have been helping my friends (almost all of which are music educators) with various teaching or repair projects.

There will be new content soon; articles, interviews, tech tips (really!) and more exciting Tuba and Sousaphone stuff.

I apologize for the absence, but hang tight we will have new content soon!

Best wishes -


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Complete Guide for the Successful Tuba Player: Daniel Perantoni's clinic from the 2013 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic

above: Daniel Perantoni at the 2013 Midwest Clinic

While attending the Midwest Clinic this year on business, I choose 1 or 2 clinics to attend to hear great players and try to learn something about Tuba, performance or education. This year I chose to attend Daniel Perantoni's "A Complete Guide for the Successful Tuba Player" clinic. To some people this information might not be new but it is always good to refresh fundamentals and strive to constantly improve. 

Below is a scan of the handout from this clinic. I have posted it with permission from Daniel Perantoni. Click on the image for an 8 x 10 printable format. 

Daniel Perantoni is professor of Tuba at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana Universtiy. To read his bio click here: Daniel Perantoni at IU

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Concept of Sound: What a Tuba SOUNDS like..Arnold Jacobs: Portrait of an Artist

I originally just wanted to do reviews of Tuba recordings but I think this is better. I want to review and suggest recordings not only for our listening pleasure but also to help develop a concept of sound for students and educators who don't have a background in low brass. A concept of sound with regards to any instrument is so crucial because our brain will imitate what we hear when we try to create music and if you don't know how your instrument is supposed to sound it can be a major set back for some students. In my opinion, the more educated a student is with regards to how their instruments SOUNDS the more successful they will be as they progress as a player. 

What better place to start than with the gold standard: Arnold Jacobs. Not only is Jacobs one of the finest Tubists to play the instrument, he is arguably the greatest brass teacher ever.

The recording put out on Summit records is Arnold Jacobs: Portrait of an Artist. It is one part of a two part series. The second is Arnold Jacobs: Legacy of an Artist. One of the great features of these recordings is that there are recordings of Jacobs with chamber ensembles, solo practice in his studio, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and intertwined between the music are excerpts from Jacobs' lectures about music, song and wind. 

My favorite bits from this recording are the lectures. Much of Arnold Jacobs' philosophy revolves around getting out of your own head, getting out of your own way and making music. A few of his former students would tell me that Jacobs said "You have two horns; the one in your hand and the one in your head." All of his philosophy put more simply is song and wind.

Since this is an article about developing a concept of sound PLEASE purchase these recordings and listen to them. I will make it easy for you and provide links where the records can be purchased:

Truly the only way to develop a good concept of sound is to listen to the recordings...

A better version..."I'm using my F tuba, and no, I'm not transposing."

 Rachel Matz

I wanted to write something on this topic and just when I think I am ready I go to Rachel Matz's  blog and she has done a better job on the subject than I could. So I do what any sane person might...I link to her version because I honestly think it is terrific. Check it out!

Rachel Matz is a great Tubist and educator. Please check out her other blog posts.

SPAM! Yeesh...

Okay, so it looks like I have made it! My blog is now being graced by spammers. I try to clear this up as soon as I can, but sometimes I miss it. It makes me sad that so many great places on the internet get all gunked up by spam. If you are a regular visitor to this blog and run into some spam, send me a note and I will burn it from my blog. 



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sousaphones and Tubas: The jokes of the advertising world... (or are they?)

above: if Buddy Rich were to switch instruments, at least he would have good taste...

In advertising and movies Tubas and Sousaphones are usually used as comic relief. Here are a few examples of Tubas and Souasphones in advertising. 

above: from Capri Sun's Disrespectoids campaign

On a previous blog post I wrote a little about Sousaphone Simon.  Simon's story is explained in detail from their wiki: 

"Simon Timpanelli is a tuba player in a marching band. He was extremely talented at playing tuba. Simon was jealous of another tuba player named Susie Violini. He was fed up with Susie always trying to kiss up to the band leader, Stan Mandolini, to make Simon look bad. So while Susie was practicing, Simon secretly dropped his Capri Sun into Susie's tuba. Unfortunately for Simon, sabatoge was a super stupid idea! Simon's neck turned into a sousaphone, keeping his normal head sticking out of the wide end, and keeping his normal body. Now he is known as Sousaphone Simon."

above: ACEA "rhythm" ads

The Italian public utility company ACEA put out a few advertisements with the caption at the top reading "Get the right rhythm for your water bills." I think this particular ad is great.  

above: Can you find the Sousaphone?

In 2009 First Bank ran three different ads similar to this one with a sort of "Where's Waldo" style to them with an obvious answer. The other two used a komodo dragon and a submarine instead of a Sousaphone. The caption in the lower left corner reads "Find the sousaphone to win free checking." 

above: I love that "for strength" is in lower case...oh sweet irony

According to some beer connoisseurs, this is Guinness ad #41.  This is one of those ads where Tubas or Sousas become "Suessian" creatures.  

I am sure that there are MANY more ads that I have missed. Do you know of any? Please share if you do!


 above: I LOVE the Ohio State University Marching Band

A reader sent a link to this great Hyundai Sonata commercial. The Ohio State University Marching Band performs the "script Ohio" as part of their pre-game show. This involves the band spelling out "Ohio" in cursive. When this is done a senior Sousaphone player will run out and literally
dot the I in Ohio. This commercial involves a man wanting to live his dream of dotting the I.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Great Tuba Solos: Bydlo from Pictures at an Exhibition

above: Arnold Jacobs performs the solo from Bydlo 

In orchestral Tuba literature there are a few well known great solos. One of my favorite is Bydlo from Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. 

The original Pictures at an Exhibition was composed as a piano solo. It later became a staple in orchestral literature following Maurice Ravel's orchestration. 

Pictures at an Exhibition is the musical embodiment of Modest Mussorgsky's trip through an art gallery viewing the works of his friend Viktor Hartmann. Pictures is a suite of ten movements. Between each "picture" movement is a promenade that repeats the opening theme in a different mood. In my opinion, the various promenades act as palete cleanser between each of the movements.  

Bydlo or "The Ox Cart" is the 4th movement. The creaking, motion of the cart is represented by the droning eighth notes in the basses. The song of the cart driver is the solo. This movement starts with the cart prominently out front, builds and ends with the cart moving off in the distance. 

This solo isn't always played by Tuba player. Sometimes it is played by one of the Trombonists. Gene Pokorny says of Bydlo on his recording Orchestral Excerpts for Tuba

"Bydlo: In spite of the fact that playing Bydlo justifies a whopping 2% at most, of the total job description of an orchestral Tubist, be ready for an ill informed conductor or audition committee to put too much weight on this excerpt in the overall evaluation of the player. Be ready to have it played very slow, or very fast as is demonstrated on this recording and try to find an instrument that has some good in tune slots for the highest notes in the excerpt. Incorporate alot of contrasts with the dynamics. After you win the job, get your ego out of the way and decide who can make more music out of the piece; one of your tacit Trombone colleagues or yourself."