Practice, Progress, Performance
Books You All Need to Read
Today we'll discuss five books I think every aspiring musician needs to read..
Last weekend our local library had one of their semi-annual book sales. This is an event which is near and dear to my heart as it involves two of my passions: books and bargains.
The library off-loads surplus inventory three times a year during these sales by offering books, which are often in excellent condition, for $7.50 for a grocery bag full of books. Yes, as many books as you can fit into a large paper bag! Weeks-worth of learning and/or entertainment for the price of a burger and fries. If that's not a good enough bargain for you, on the final day of the sale it's just $5 per bag!
This got me thinking about the books I've found most useful over the last few years. None of them is specific to music, but are more general to improving some aspect of your life. Take a look and let me know what you think.
Mindset by Carol Dweck
Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? People with a growth midset are much more likely to succeed and to be happy.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Transform your life by developing better habits. It's often our habits which hold us back from getting closer to our potential. So why not implement new habits which help us instead of hinder us?
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
Develop your talents and optimize your performance. I'll let you in on the secret of the book; talent isn't the most important thing when learning a skill-based task (like a musical instrument).
The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
I got so much out of this book that I bought the print and ebook editions. Ready to take productivity to the next level? Find the one thing that by doing it you can make everything else easier or unnecessary.
Performance Success by Don Greene
This book is harder to find the the others on this list. However, I'm not exaggerating when I say that it has revolutionized the way I approach preparation for performances.
Thank you for reading!
Online Resources Part II
Today I'll be short and to the point (mostly).
This has been a hectic couple of weeks. So in an endeavor to stay in the groove of producing a new Tuba Tuesday edition every two weeks I'm sending out a couple more online resources that one of our readers (and current WTAMU junior), Alex Rivera reminded me of.
I honestly can't understand how I forgot these two resources, but stranger things have happened.
International Tuba-Euphonium Association
Thank you for reading!
Today we'll discuss the most important book in your journey to become a better brass player, the Vocalise etudes (euphonium/trombone and tuba) of Marco Bordogni.
There are many reasons to use the Bordogni book; it's an excellent resource when you're learning to play expressively. Since all of the etudes are written with slurs pretty much the whole way it's also great for working on playing with smooth legato. Since smooth legato requires smooth air stream, it's also a superb study in breath control. Finally, It's a versatile wealth of music that can be adapted and adjusted to suit your needs as a player.
The one time in my career where I think I've made the most progress as a tuba player was when I was playing Bordogni etudes for roughly an hour every day. I'd work through my daily routine, then move on to Bordogni, then practice other repertoire for the rest of the day. Wow, those were the days! No responsibilities except to make myself a better player. I digress...
I wasn't just mindlessly playing though the etudes. I had a purpose to everything I did. You can do anything you want with the etudes. You're limited only by your imagination.
Below is a list of the things I would do regularly that I found most useful.
1) Sing each etude using solfege if possible
2) Buzz large portions of each etude with particular attention to large/awkward leaps
3) Play them at the written octave but change certain aspects such as:
If you're familiar with the Bordogni etudes, what do you do that I didn't discuss here? Reply to this email if you'd like to talk about it.
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Jeremy is Associate Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at West Texas A&M University.