TMEA All-state tenor trombone étude: Belcke
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A march, awesome! Really, we couldn't have an étude where the musical path is any clearer for our performance goals.
Let's first talk about march style. Rigid time, not too long, and not too heavy. Does that last aspect surprise you! I think this is one of the biggest mistakes people make in their interpretation of march style. Loud, yes. Heavy? Well, you just killed all the forward momentum in your performance. "Puffs of air" is a great concept I like to think when playing a piece like this, along with "light tongue" and "bounce".
Next, let's look at tempo. I strongly suggest you base your opening tempo on your ability to play the continuous 16ths beginning at m.33 cleanly and in tune. I find that the lower end of the tempo range works great. Yes, it's slower than true march tempo, but it's your solo and you have the option!
I opted out of the low D and low C octaves. I wasn't happy with how it sounded, so I didn't record it that way. I have work to do in that register! I suggest that you do what makes you sound your best. The low stuff doesn't add much to the music, but if you can do it well, then it is impressive.
Finally, on the continuous 16th runs, I am going for correct intonation via excellent slide placement at all costs. RECORDING YOURSELF is a necessity! Practice slow, and ingrain the pitches in your mind. Speed it up slowly, you have plenty of time. Don't panic! Most people will practice slowly just a little bit, then jump to full speed and simply not spend the time getting it in tune that they need to. Resist the temptation to play it too fast too soon!
Marches can be a very fun and exciting musical experience. With attention to detail, this étude will separate you from the people who don't practice thoroughly and carefully.