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Suggested Reading

1. Rehearsal Rooms

Struggling to improve the acoustics in your band room? Check out how the Medan Band did it.

2. Concerned about playing swing music properly?

Check out my guidelines

3. Ear training exercises for bands

Unlike piano players, ear training is essential for wind band performers. But how many band directors bother to give their bands suitable exercises?

4. Intonation problems

While tuning is simple act of adjusting a length of tubing on a wind instrument (often by reference to a single note), intonation is an ongoing process in which a player strives to match the pitch of others in the ensemble during performance. 

5. “Blowing” a wind instrument

A common misconception among wind players is to believe that the air moves through the instrument in order to produce the sound. This is simply not true. 

6. Conducting – suggestions for home practice

The best way for a conductor to improve is in front of a live ensemble. The unfortunate reality, however, is that this is not always possible. Aspiring conductors therefore have little choice but to find other ways of honing their skills.

 

Definition

Brass instruments have at least two distinctive characteristics in common.  They are: (1) the sound is initiated by the vibration of the player’s lips; and (2) the instruments themselves are constructed of brass (usually plated with silver or gold lacquer). The definition does not, of course, include instruments once made of wood and now made of metal (such as the flute), or instruments made of metal which employ reed mouthpieces (such as saxophones).

These facts are usually quite well known among young brass players. Beyond this, however, many secondary school band members (and, I suspect, quite a few more advanced musicians as well!) do not seem to have any real understanding of how the different brass instruments produce sound.  Even fewer have any clear conception of how variations in design can alter tone colour or throw up slightly different problems in performance.

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