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Dear Brass Ensemble Candidate:

Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to
become the best that you are capable of being
John Wooden
It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to The Academy. This pack is full of important
information about The Academy Brass Technique Program and includes all of the necessary ensemble
exercises and audition materials. Read this information carefully and prepare the material to the best of
your ability before coming to camp.
We take great pride in our brass section. We look at the membership of The Academy as a privilege and
an honor. There are many expectations and responsibilities that accompany this honor. The greatest
contribution one can make to The Academy Brass Ensemble is the willingness to sacrifice self-interest
for the benefit of the group. A team is only as strong as the loyalty of its members. The successful
Academy member internalizes and is accountable for some basic expectations:

A respect for the people that surround you

A trust in both the staff and members
A dedicated effort towards everything you do
A desire to work hard
A commitment to excellence

These expectations, when rehearsed daily, can become part of a successful formula that leads towards
your membership in The Academy and can be applicable to the rest of your day-to-day life.
As you look at both yourself and this upcoming drum corps season, make and keep promises and goals
to both yourself and others. Ask yourself What do I want to get out of this experience? At the end of
every rehearsal, ask yourself What more could I have done to move better, play better, and make a
bigger difference? Am I doing whatever it takes to become the best I can be?
Goals should be high and attainable. You should strive each day to achieve both short-term and longterm goals. You must take pride in who you are and commit yourself to being a part of a world class

The Academy Brass Staff

Dear Prospective Member,

Welcome and thank you for your interest in The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps brass ensemble. My
name is Michael Larkin and I have the pleasure of serving as the brass caption head for the 2014
Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. This packet will serve as your primary resource for your audition
experience with The Academy and should be your constant companion throughout your preparation.
The brass staff is very excited to meet and work with all of you, and we are even more excited to create
a world class brass section in 2014 with The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps.
Throughout the audition camps, you will be evaluated on tone quality, range, articulation, flexibility,
overall musicianship, and the ability to move your feet and play at the same time. You can also expect
to be evaluated by the visual staff at some point during the audition process. In addition to music and
marching skills, expect to be assessed with regard to your work ethic, attitude, and character.
This packet is compiled so that you understand the process of how The Academy brass section works
from the inside. As a result, you should arrive at the audition/clinic fully equipped with the information
to not only rehearse with the brass ensemble, but also to audition for a spot in the 2014 brass
ensemble. Should you have any questions about the audition process, the requirements, or The
Academy organization as a whole, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to meeting you.


Michael Larkin
Brass Caption Head
The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps

Dear Brass Applicant,

Thank you for your interest in becoming a member of the 2014 Arizona Academy Drum and Bugle Corps! As the
visual caption head, I am excited about the 2014 season and I look forward to meeting you at this years auditions.
To help you better prepare for the audition process, below are some tips and guidelines on how you will be
evaluated and what exactly the visual team will be looking for!

Over the course of auditions, the visual team will evaluate all brass applicants on a number of different criteria.
Successful applicants should display several different characteristics including a strong work ethic, consistency in
performance, and the ability to quickly and efficiently process given information while maintaining a high level of
performance excellence.

Along with the criteria listed above, it is important that all applicants come to auditions in good physical condition.
Over the course of the weekend, you will be challenged with a variety of different physical training exercises
including jogging, pushups, wind sprints, and abdominal workouts. That being so stated, all applicants must wear
the appropriate clothing to meet such demands. Jeans, sandals, skater shoes, and baggy pants/shorts are not
acceptable. Applicants wearing clothing that is not conducive to the activity will not be allowed to participate in
visual auditions.

Throughout the audition you will also be evaluated on personal demeanor and your individual ability to perform.
The visual team may ask you to perform certain exercises that you are not familiar with or have never been taught.
While we understand that not all marching programs have the same exercises or expectations, we do expect you
to have an open mind for the information given and try to complete all exercises with outstanding performance
quality. Successful applicants should demonstrate proficiency in keeping feet in time at challenging tempos; the
ability to march forward, backward, slide, and jazz run techniques; as well as the awareness and control of space
and form. If you are unfamiliar with marching techniques or exercises please seek out additional information
before the audition.

Overall, you should come to auditions prepared to work hard and have fun. Drum Corps is an incredibly unique and
rewarding experience for those who have the drive and passion to perform at the highest level. Please take
advantage of the information provided in this letter and come to auditions prepared and focused. Again, I look
forward to meeting you at this years audition and I wish you the best of luck!

Best Regards,
Brandon Wickham
Visual Caption Head

Musical Audition Information1
Audition Recommendations..2
Your Brass Audition.3
Important Materials for Rehearsals.5
Get in Shape..6
Brass Technique Program; Posture; Moving & Playing; Step-Outs; Air/Breathing Techniques.7
Breathing Exercises10
Embouchure Development...11
Singing & Long Tones; Lip Slurs/Flexibility Exercises12
Style Glossary..14
Volume; Pitch & Intonation15
Balance and Blend16
Bopping; Pedal Tones; Finger Technique.17
Technical Exercises & Pitch Tendency Sheet.18

Our number one rule in this brass section is to not be afraid. Many talented individuals fail to audition
every year because they dont believe themselves to be good enough. Every position in every section is
open every year; past members will re-audition. The following are requirements for becoming a
member of The Academy Brass Section:
TALENT: Your abilities on your instrument and your marching ability are very important to the selection
process. It is equally important to see your development and improvement from camp to camp. This
criterion is set and judged by our instructional staff. You will first be asked to play one or two exercises
from this packet, so be sure to familiarize yourself with all exercises in this packet. NOTE: We would like
for you to mark time as you play these exercises. Your specific audition music is included in this packet.
ATTENDANCE: All brass members MUST bring their personal calendar to all camps. Staff members will
go over your calendars at each camp and help sort out any conflicts or give advice to all students during
the busy times in their schedules. Attendance is required at all rehearsals and performances.
Occasionally, school and family conflicts may arise. In order for an absence to be excused it must be
communicated at least one week in advance to Michael Larkin at
All candidates and members who miss a camp MUST send a recording to their section instructors
BEFORE the camp begins. All pertinent information on how to get your recording to your instructor will
be given at the first camp.
*All NO CALL NO SHOW members will be removed from the brass ensemble roster.
ATTITUDE: As with any team sport, chemistry is very important towards success: the same is true for
The Academy Brass Section. Our brass section will be full of students who will do whatever it takes to
make the brass section great. It will be incredibly fun to be a part of this brass section as long as 100%
of the members work as hard as they possibly can, are extremely positive, and support both the staff,
and more importantly, each other.
HEALTH: Being healthy is very important to drum corps. You must be physically capable of withstanding
the requirements of rehearsals, performances and travel. If you have questions about the physical
requirements of the program, please contact the brass staff or the visual staff.
FEES/TUITION: Your account status will have a direct impact on your membership in the corps. Without
fees and tuition, we would not be able to operate as a drum corps. In reality, fees make up just a small
portion of the total funds needed to run an organization of this size.
-It is ESSENTIAL that you keep your finances up to date if you expect to march!Always be mindful of your account, and never be afraid to call The Academy office if you have questions.
Always get problems out in the open early rather than deal with them later. To do so will allow you
more time to assess the situation and figure out a solution.

Preparation is the key to all successes. The more you prepare yourself, the better you will play your
audition. Find a practice routine that works for you and stick to it. If this habit continues throughout
the winter camps, you will be amazed with your growth as a musician.
Play for as many people as possible. Private instructors, band directors, and peers are all great people
to play for. Their suggestions and criticism can also be incredibly beneficial. Your biggest critic will
always be YOU. Record yourself and make notes; the recorder never lies!!
Your audition music does not need to be memorized, however we will always encourage you to go
above and beyond what is asked of you.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but
where he stands at times of challenge and controversy Martin Luther King
The first thing you must understand is that being nervous is normal. Once you understand that, it
becomes much easier to deal with your nervousness. Fighting nervousness can bring about negative
physical effects; instead, strive to embrace nervous feelings and focus that energy in a positive way.
Breathe. Let go of your emotions and being with deep breaths. Whenever possible, practice dealing
with your nervous feelings by putting yourself in high-pressure situations. Play in front of as many
people as possible and record yourself frequently: give yourself only one chance to performance for the
recorder and see what kind of results you produce. Always visualize yourself playing something in
your audition that will not go quite the way you would have liked. The manner in which you deal with
those mistakes can be just as impressive as if you had played your piece perfectly. ALWAYS keep going,
DO NOT apologize for your audition, and NEVER give excuses.
Before you enter the audition room, be certain that: 1) your instrument is in good working condition and
2) you have all paperwork, including your personal calendar with you. Face your bell off to the side of
the peop0le listening to you. Always ask questions if you do not understand something.
Play at your highest ability. Once you are finished playing, there will be a short conversation between
you and members of the brass staff. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask at this
Finally, the brass staff would like to stress that the audition process does NOT end after the audition
camp. Final decisions for the Crown Brass Section will start being made at the February camp.
Preparation, improvement, attitude, attendance, section ranking, marching ability, and physical
condition will be the determining factors for awarding a spot in the group.


One you come into the room you will be asked a series of questions. Make sure you come in ready to
answer these questions due to the number of auditionees we will need to make sure the process goes

Name, age, & future age out year

School you attend and major (if in college)
Any previous drum corps experience
Email address and phone number
Camps you will be missing & expected move-in date

Audition performance
Solo of Etude #1 of your choice. One that demonstrates your best technical abilities such as
rapid articulation, style, and finger technique.
Solo or Etude #2 of your choice. One that demonstrates your best tone and musical abilities
Chromatic scale from memory (Quarter note = 160). Scale pattern should be: Eighth notes. You
should start on your best sounding low pitch and play up to your best sounding high pitch.
Pattern should be tongued and performed both ascending and descending. Again, a
metronome WILL be on during this portion of your audition.
Finally you will be asked to play 2 note lip slur = (this will be found in the brass technique
packet) while marching. A simple box drill (forward for 8 Left slide for 8 Backward for 8
Right slide for 8) and repeat until the playing exercise has been completed. We want to see how
well you can play and move at the same time. Tempo should be quarter note = 152. This will be
done on your marching instrument.
The audition process does NOT end after the first camp. Final decisions for The Academy Brass Section
will start being made at the February camp. Preparation, improvement, attitude, attendance, section
ranking, marching ability, playing on the move, and physical condition will be determining factors for
awarding a spot in the group.

The number of spots available in the brass section may change slightly from year to year, however, we
must be clear that every spot is open again each year. Returning members must demonstrate
improvement and continued effort to be considered for membership.

TRUMPETS: Please bring your own trumpet to at least the first 2-3 camps. Corps trumpets may, or may
not, be available for check out during the winter. You are responsible to bring your own mouthpiece to
all camps.
MELLOPHONES: Whenever possible, bring an F mellophone to at least the first 2-3 camps. Corps
instruments may, or may not, be available for check out during the winter. You are welcome to audition
on a concert horn (you will need to bring your own instrument), however you will be asked to perform
on a marching mellophone at some point during the audition process. You are responsible to bring your
own mouthpiece to all camps.
BARITONE/EUPHONIUM: If possible, bring a marching baritone to at least the first 2-3 camps.
Baritones may, or may not be available for check out during the winter. You are welcome to audition on
a concert euphonium or trombone (you will need to bring your own instrument), however you will be
asked to perform on a marching baritone or euphonium at some point during the audition process. You
are responsible to bring your own mouthpiece to all camps.
TUBAS: If possible, bring a marching tuba or sousaphone to at least the first 2-3 camps. Corps tubas
may, or may not, be available for check out during the winter. You are welcome to audition on concert
tuba (you will need to bring your own instrument) however, you will be asked to perform on a marching
tuba at some point during the audition process. You are responsible to bring your own mouthpiece to
all camps.


Brass ensemble members are responsible for having the following materials at ALL rehearsals.
THREE RING BINDER: This contains all music handouts in organized clear sheet protectors. Any
information you could possibly need should be in this binder.
PENCIL: Every brass ensemble member must have a pencil at all times. Notes should be taken at every
rehearsal, especially when rehearsing with the arrangers. Write EVERYTHING down!
GLOVES: These must be worn when handling corps-owned instruments. You will go through many pairs
of gloves during the season. It is important that your gloves remain in good condition and are replaced
as necessary. Gloves that are dirty or contain holes are never acceptable.
BLACK TOWLEL: Your Academy instrument is in one of three places at all times: in your hand, placed in
line on the ground, or in its case. The black towel is used to protect your instrument when placed on
hard surfaces, especially when rehearsing outdoors.
BASEBALL CAP: This will be worn when rehearsing outdoors. Hats are required to shade your face, your
eyes, and your chops. When rehearsing indoors, hats are optional.
TENNIS SHOES/TRAINERS: Movement will occur at all rehearsals and therefore tennis shoes are
required at all times. Sandals, shower shoes, flip-flops, etc. are never acceptable.
CLOTHING: You must wear clothing that will allow you to perform excessive movement such as sweats,
shorts, t-shirts, etc. NO JEANS!!! Again, movement will occur at all rehearsals.
TUNER/METRONOME: Every person is required to have a tuner, metronome, or turner-metronome
combo. We recommend that you consider the Korg TM4.
TAPE RECORDERS/RECORDING DEVICE: Recording is encouraged at all Academy rehearsals because it
will aid in your individual progress. In addition, tapes/CDs/online recordings are REQUIRED for those
brass ensemble members at the BEGINNING of the camp weekend.
WATER BOTTLES: Each brass ensemble member is required to have a water jug (no smaller than 1
gallon) beginning at move-in in May. These jugs must be present at all rehearsals.

The Academy considers all members to be professional athletes. It has been proven that drum corps
members actually perform with a physical effort equal to a professional athlete. Every successful
professional athlete has a very strict off-season fitness plan; you must think of yourself in the same way.
It is imperative that all our brass members be in excellent physical health. If you have, or have had,
heart problems, this activity may not be for you. All members of The Academy Brass Section must be
capable of sustaining a high level of cardiovascular activity for extended periods of time. It is
recommended that you seek out a physical trainer to assist you with creating a physical fitness plan for
yourself in an effort to be in the best physical shape possible.


To be the most efficient when playing and marching, the body should be in the most natural and upright
position. Improper posture can cause injury and negatively affect your brass playing. While playing your
brass instrument, your weight should be evenly distributed on both feet; your upper body weight should
be lifted up from your waist (NOT leaning on the lower part of your back); your shoulders should be
relaxed and your instrument bell angle is 10 degrees above parallel. The basic rules that apply to all
hand positions is that the hands are relaxed, finger tips are on the valves, valve casings are
perpendicular to the ground (except for the tubas), and your wrists are straight.
Marking time will be used in all music rehearsals where we do not march drill. Some basic rules of
marking time are as follows:
The initiation of the mark-time will be one count or the and count (this depends on the tempo of the
exercise). The heels of your foot will hit the ground on all down beats. Your heal will come up to your
Your upper body must not bounce or sway while you mark time; it should look as if you are standing
still. The success of the brass ensemble will be determined by how well you play and move at the same
time. The sooner you start adding movement to your playing, the better you and the section may
In drum corps or marching band, you will find that nearly all timing & technique problems related to the
music or drill occur within the first two counts of a phrase or drill move. As an effort to tackle this
problem, step-outs were created. You simply take 2 steps in any direction (left foot, then right foot) at
the beginning of each musical phrase or during what would have been a drill move. You will take one
step with the left foot, and then bring your right foot to the left on the second count. On the next two
counts, you will go back to your original placement. You should vary the direction and step size taken so
that you may work on various areas of your marching technique while you play.
A state of relaxation is a very important aspect of great ensemble brass playing. Students enter a
rehearsal in various states-of-mind. It is imperative that we formulate a common physical and
emotional point of reference when we begin a rehearsal. Physical stretches are very important in the
process of relaxing the body. One method is to roll the head forward, left, back, right, and then in
reverse. This will help assure that the neck muscles are loose and will not impeded the flow of the air in
the breathing process. A variation of this exercise would be to roll the shoulders forward and back, and
then pull them straight up (as if trying to touch the ears). Hold them in that position for approximately 3

seconds and allow them to drop. Arm circles and upper body stretches are also excellent exercises to
relax the body before playing. After several repetitions the player should feel more relaxed and can
then begin the breathing process.
Great breath control is an important key toward playing a wind instrument well. There are many
components involved with taking a proper breath, and many books and articles have been written on
this particular subject. To achieve clarity though simplicity, we prefer to keep the following concepts in
mind while playing:

To achieve maximum breath control, breathe deeply into the lungs. As the diaphragm (a strong
doughnut shaped muscle under the ribs) pulls downward, room is created for the expansion of
the lower back, abdomen, and ribs. Lastly, the chest should expand after the capacity of the
lower torso is reached. One should inhale to the point where the body feels relaxed and full of
air. Never try to take in too much air and go towards a state where the body is at an
uncomfortable state.

To maintain a state of relaxation, the shoulders and the upper back must not be tense so that
the breathing passage is never constricted while inhaling or exhaling. Keep the throat open and
relaxed so there is no resistance or audible friction. The only sound accompanying the inhale
should be a very soft hoe.

Air NEVER stops while playing. Air is either going in or out. Be careful not to cap the breath.
Capping occurs when the air is stopped after inhalation. Visualize the lungs as a giant bellows
that is constantly expanding and contracting.

During exhalation there should be a feeling of total release in the upper body. The air should
have a warm, engulfing sound and texture. An exhalation should never be forced. As the air is
released through the horn, it should reflect the timbre of that particular instrument. Exhale to
the point where your body reaches a state that is similar to when you are resting. Never try to
squeeze out the last bit of air in the lungs. Simply take a fresh full inhale when you feel you are
about halfway toward being out of air. Maintaining a constant in & out sensation will result in
strong air-support that will produce a beautiful tone and stable pitch.

Releases should be approached through the initiation of a short inhalation. Using the tongue or
contraction of the throat and jaw should never be used to release a note. Simply breathing
inward on a predetermined count will create a defined release. A uniform timing of the breath
will ensure uniform timing of the release throughout the entire ensemble.

To create a seamless sound, we utilize a technique called stagger breathing. By staggering the
points of breathing throughout the ensemble we can create an impenetrable wall of air or tone.
The basic rules of stagger breathing are:
o Never breathe on a bar line
o Never breathe between phrases
o When you take a breath, take a full breath
o When you breathe, leave notes out rather than playing a partial note value (except long
o Do not Breathe when the person next to you takes a breath
o Sneak in and sneak out (to sneak out, get softer before you breathe and when coming
back in, start softer and crescendo back to the ensembles defined volume)
The timing of the breath is the utmost importance. The breath will occur two counts before the
attack (one count for slower tempos). Failure to utilize this technique will result in significant
timing problems.

All air exercises, technique exercises, and show music are performed with the instrument in the correct
playing position while using the correct playing embouchure. As the air is blown through the
instrument, the player should use different valve combinations. To force the performer to use more air
in their playing, many times we will have the player press the valves half way down to create more
resistance. In regards to airspeed, there SHOULD BE a difference in the air based on the range that is
being played: faster air for higher notes, and slower air for the lower notes. There is also a difference
when the player changes volumes: more air for the lower notes and less air for the softer notes. Air
exercises should have different volume levels as well as different ranges. A key point is to always have
consistent, MOVING air.
Breathe and play. THE TIMING STARTS WITH THE BREATH! In other words, if we are to play together on
beat one, we all need to take a full breath on either beat three or four.
Whenever an attack is early, it can usually be traced back to improper or poorly timed breathing. Late
attacks typically result from capped breaths (stopped air between in and out) or poor timing. The
performer must ALYWAS breathe and play with his or her feet to stay in time with the ensemble.

Close the jaw upon the release

Choke the air with your glottis (closing your throat)
Use your tongue to stop a note (this can detected 100 yards away!)

A clean release will ring for a moment even after the air has been released. Strive to make that note

While performing the following exercises, the player should be concerned with filling up his or her lungs
completely while maintaining relaxation. In normal, everyday situations, humans use about 20-25% of
their lung capacity. In playing a wind instrument, we strive to push that towards 90%.
Proper use of the diaphragm should allow an outward expansion of the midsection of the body. The
easiest way to see is in the stomach area, but the expansion should also be felt in the sides as well as the
back. Once the lung capacity is full, the focus should switch toward releasing all of the air out. It is
important to completely empty the lungs because the lungs will start to store carbon dioxide. If the air
is not released to its natural point, this carbon dioxide will build up and begin to decrease the players
lung capacity, causing unnecessary stress, tension, dizziness, and exhaustion.
When you begin these exercises, take in as much air as possible, then release ALL of the air through the
horn (again, this is essential). You should concentrate on taking ALL of the counts to perform each
portion of the exercise. If four counts are given to take in air, the player should take all four counts to
do so, then turn the air around, moving it out. This will take away any dead time that is similar to
holding your breath. There should be no hitch in the breathing process. This will give the player the
greatest efficiency with regards to the use of air when playing.
The exercises should be done with and without the instrument. In both cases, relaxation is a key factor
towards producing a proper air-stream; the avoidance of tension will allow for a more effective use of
the air-stream. It is important with all of these exercises that you try to imitate the way you play in a
performance situation as closely as possible. Simply playing through the exercises without a thought of
application is not effective and will form bad habits.
There are many different kinds of breathing exercises and devices that we will utilize throughout the
winter and summer such as sizzling, and various other methods without the mouthpiece. All exercise
will develop and improve your air support.


Most professional brass musicians practice with the mouthpiece on a regular basis. The benefits of
mouthpiece buzzing include: being able to isolate embouchure and tone production problems;
improved aural skills; and less lip fatigue (the exercises are easier to produce without the brass
instruments resistance).
The first notes we on most days will usually be on the mouthpiece. There will be much attention placed
on how you produce that sound and its overall quality. The mouthpiece, embouchure, and air support
combine to create the true instrument; the tubing of the brass instrument merely resonates your buzz.
The quality of the sound on the mouthpiece directly correlates to the players tone quality when the
mouthpiece is added to the instrument. Therefore, steady focused sound on the mouthpiece should be
a priority for all brass players.
There are numerous articles written about embouchure development for each of the instruments. We
strongly recommend that you find and research these articles so that you may apply the information to
your specific instrument. You should also continue to reinforce the embouchure work that you may have
done with your private lessons instructor.
There are some basic embouchure rules that can be applied to all brass players:

The corners of the mouth need to be firm and strong with a comfortable set.
The mouthpiece should be placed as close to perpendicular on the lips as possible not too
upstream or downstream.
Both lips should have enough flesh on the mouthpiece to allow for a steady, focused buzz.
Always bring the mouthpiece to the same place on your lips.
The jaw should always be open especially in the lower register.
The teeth are apart.

The mouthpiece should be held with your non-dominant hand, palm facing out, with the shank of the
mouthpiece in between your middle and ring finger. This method of holding your mouthpiece will force
you to use very little pressure against your embouchure. If the lips are buzzing freely, a steady sound
will result. Again, be certain that the corners are locked and there is always excellent breath support.
When buzzing, there should always be a dark, open Oh sound. Be sure to check that the mouthpiece
is not forced against your lips.
In addition to warm-up exercises, mouthpiece playing will help improve accuracy discrepancies in the
show music. Every player in the ensemble should be able to play any part of the show music on his or
her mouthpiece.


Singing is a wonderful tool for developing great ensemble tone quality and intonation. The brass section
will sing frequently, and we will have a very serious approach to the technique of singing. The
resonance and breath support necessary for singing are quite similar to proper brass playing. When
singing, we use the radio announcer voice, the voice that seems to project a great distance. The
following are guidelines for all singing exercises:

The throat should be open using the same approach to breathing, air support, and direction of
air will be enforced in singing as in our instrument playing.
Everyone should always be listening to match the pitch.
We will use different vowel sounds, including humming and will always be checking the pitch
before and after we have sung.
We will work on and be able to sing everything in the technique book, chorales, and show

There are several benefits from playing long tones every day. Along with mouthpiece work, this allows
the muscles in your face to loosen up and helps you to become comfortable with the instrument.
Primarily, this is an opportunity for the player to concentrate solely on tone quality, breath support, and
intonation. Without the distraction of rhythms and notes, the player can focus on playing in tone with
his/her section and throughout the ensemble. Long tones are essential toward establishing a solid
center of pitch for warm-up. Balance and blend are key factors to this portion of the warm-up. Players
should be listening for intonation, blend of tone, intensity, as well as quality of sound. Our long tone
exercises consist of 9, 7, or 13 count tones going down in half steps and/or Remington studies.
Lips slurs play a huge part in the development of any brass players flexibility. The ability to move fluidly
from partial to partial while maintaining accurate pitch is essential. Providing a consistent air stream
throughout the musical line will allow the player to attain this fluidity. The exercise should not be
thought of merely as an exercise, rather as a musical phrase. Each musical line should have purpose,
movement, and arrive at a destination.



Articulation should be executed with no explosion in the attack. Every note should be started with the
sound dAAh in mind (notice the lowercase d and uppercase A). Each player should strive for less
tongue in the sound and focus on providing more tone. Close to 90% of an attack is the air and only 10%
When tonguing in a legato style, the air is virtually unbroken as the tongue plays each note like a soft
paintbrush. Be mindful to keep the tongue moving fast; do not chew the notes.
Remember, staccato does not always mean short!! It means separated or detached. To produce a good
staccato, keep the air stream supported and create perfect blocks of sound; each block identically
matching the one that preceded it.
Make sure that the tongue starts every note, but does not finish it. Otherwise, a DIT articulation will
result. Remember to keep every articulation an open-ended, even staccato.
This style lies between the staccato and legato articulations. It can be best explained as a sustained
staccato with only a small bit of separation between notes.
By isolating a particular style, the player can maximize his or her practice time by supplementing the
music with style exercises. Rhythmic integrity is a primary focus with style exercises. The correct
interpretation of each style beings with rhythmic accuracy. From there, note duration and articulation
clarify the intent of the music.
Articulation exercises are an integral part of developing the relationship between the tongue and the air
stream. It is important to understand that the tongue cannot articulate properly if there is not enough
air support. These exercises are intended to develop a consistent and clear approach to the motion and
speed of the tongue and air. It is also important to know that the clarity of the articulation should not
be affected by tempo, technique, note length, volume, or range. The only time an articulation will
change is when the style being played changes.



Power and quantity of sound are trademarks of great brass ensembles. This type of playing requires a
constant monitoring of the players quality and intonation. The key to playing loud is relaxation. An
ugly, spread tone is often the result of tension and forced breathing. You must stay open to
maximize the amount of air involved during the inhalation to produce a large and flowing fff exhale.
The corners of the mouth must be kept firm to support the large volume of air pouring through the
aperture. Visualize the lips wrapping around the air stream when playing at fuller dynamic levels. Great
care should be taken through the building of volume over a given period of time. Playing loud with a
round, beautiful sound is a goal that will require great concentration over a long period of time.
It is not whether the instrument is built in tune, but if it can be played in tune.
All brass instruments have various inherent intonation deficiencies. As a brass ensemble, we need to be
aware of what deficiencies exist, and how we can correct them with our playing. We build our system of
tuning through the matching of overtones, which are by definition, never out of tune. Overtones will
ring when the pitches coming out of the horns are in tune. For example, when the baritone section
locks in on an open Bb, usually the F above can be heard quite clearly even though there are no
performers playing it.
There are also many natural intonation deficiencies when dealing with the structure of chords. The
following is a list of intervals (from the root of the chord) and the natural pitch tendencies each interval

As all of the voices become more in tune with each other, entire chords can be heard ringing above the
brass ensemble. In addition to working with a tuner every day, our singing, mouthpiece, long tone, and


relative pitch exercises will help you develop your ears for tuning chords and unison notes. We strongly
recommend investing in a good tuner and practicing with it on a regular basis.
Chord progressions are an integral part of every brass players daily routine. As we play through these
progressions, be aware of all the notes changing around you. For example:
If you play the same note in two different chords, you almost always have to do something different to
the note to keep it in tune.

Recognize what part of the chord you are playing. Is it the root? Or the third?
Listen with big ears. Know all of the parts and how your part fits into the ensemble.
Crescendo the moving lines (especially the descending passages).


The first criterion toward achieving great balance and blend is perfect intonation. If one note in a chord
is played out of tune, then balance cannot be achieved properly. The second criterion is to always know
who has the moving line, and who has the melody. This is achieved by keeping your ears aware of the
parts being played around you. The third criterion is a combination of balance, support, and playing in a
soloistic manner. Each part in an ensemble is unique in its own way. We, as good musicians, know
when to support a given line, create balance within that line, or project an important line with a full
supported sound.
When trying to achieve a good balance and blend:
Ask yourself, Am I in tune with the ensemble? First listen to intonation in your section, then branch
out to other sections, always keeping in mind that you should listen down to the bass voice. If you are
supporting a moving line, ask yourself, Am I playing louder than that line? Finally ask yourself, Am I
playing within the other sounds, balancing my sound against it with a rich, supported, full bodied tone?
Balance and blend requires the performer to listen very closely. There are 3 levels of listening required
if you are to become balanced brass section:
1. Level one listening focuses on the sounds, volume, style, etc. of his or her self. Self-awareness is
an important key toward higher level playing.
2. Level two listening focuses on the sounds, volume, style, etc. of the other members in each
representative section.
3. Level three listening focuses on the sounds, volume, style, etc. of all instruments in the


Bopping is a technique that is used to improve timing and perfect uniform articulation and tone
production. Bopping is executed by reducing every note down to a staccato eighth note. In essence,
you are only playing the attacks of the notes.
Additional rules to bopping are as follows

Everything is played at the dynamic of p (piano).

Slurred passages are played full duration to the end of the slur.
Tied notes are not to be played.

Make sure the throat is open and relaxed. No DIT articulation should be heard, only dAAh. Keep all
notes open-ended.

Pedal tones are an important part of our brass program and should be a part of every brass players
daily ritual. When playing pedals, listen carefully to the pitch, especially to F, E, Eb, D, and Db. These
notes do not actually exist and you need to push them down as you play them. Once you hit pedal C
and downward to F#, they will be flat. This occurs because these notes are in the overtone series of
your instrument. Make sure that your corners stay somewhat firm in the pedal register.
The effective use of pedals in your warm-down and practice routine will:

Soothe your embouchure

Provide greater command of your instrument
Aid your attack confidence
Create a bigger sound in all registers
Develop endurance

When playing fast passages, we recommend pressing the valves down with authority, while keeping a
relaxed feel in the wrists and fingers. Do not lose controls of the valve on the way back up. The fingers
should be rounded and the tips should press the valve straight up and down. If a player pushes the
valves on an angle, the valves will stick and make technical passages unplayable.


The Academy Brass Program


The Academy Flexibility Exercises


The Academy Brass Program


The Academy Brass Program


The Academy Brass Program



The Academy Flexibility Exercises


The Academy Brass Program


The Academy Flexibility Exercises


The Academy Flexibility Exercises


The Academy Brass Program