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Professional Trombone Performance Opportunities in the U.S.

Jerry Fallenberg

Jerry Fallenberg

Never has it been easier to learn to play the trombone skillfully, but being a highly skilled trombonist gives no assurance of earning a high income as a player. The supply of competent trombonists far exceeds the demand for professional trombonists, especially in metropolitan areas.
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Educate or Train

Barry McCommon

Barry McCommon

Brass teachers need to educate their students to put their own personal interpretation on the music, rather than training them to be a carbon copy of the teacher. In his own teaching, Barry tries to give his students the tools and freedom to make a musical statement uniquely their own.
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Six Golden Rules for Conquering Performance Anxiety

David Leisner

David Leisner

Performance anxiety can begin so innocently. First you notice someone in the front row tapping his feet. You wonder to yourself whether you're really maintaining a steady beat. Then someone else whispers something to her neighbor, and you worry that perhaps your hair is disheveled or your tie is crooked, or maybe you're making those funny grimaces again that you thought you'd conquered. Worse yet, they are probably discussing how strange or inappropriate your interpretation is, or they are commenting on how many notes you are missing (you are missing a lot by now). Oh, your teacher is really going to yell at you. And your girlfriend or boyfriend is going to be very disappointed. Your students aren't going to know what to say to you because this is going so badly. Your hands are shaking or sweaty or cold. Maybe you're not cut out for this stuff after all...
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Be Nice to Your Accountant

Frances McGuckin

Frances McGuckin

There seems to be a serious misconception that accountants can survive on no sleep for four months, work eight days a week, 30 hours a day, and not make mistakes – all for a small and reasonable fee. Get your taxes in early and make your accountant's life a lot easier!
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Articles by Brad Howland

Handy-Dandy Guide to Music Industry Acronyms
Have you ever attended a meeting of your AFM Local and been confused by the acronyms? I certainly have, which is why I made this quick reference. Feel free to print it and take it to your next union meeting, and you too will soon be slinging acronyms with aplomb!

Babylon 5 and the Power of Collective Bargaining
I prepared for a recent round of symphony orchestra negotiations by watching all five seasons of the television show Babylon 5 and writing down several key concepts. Those ideas were then brought into the negotiating process, with excellent results. I believe that Babylon 5 is a helpful resource for any musician going into a contract negotiation.

The Complete Low Brass Excerpt Collection - A Review
A huge collection of orchestral excerpts is now available on CD. It's an amazing resource for trombone students, professionals and teachers, or for any low brass player that plays in an orchestra.

The Business of Getting More Gigs as a Professional Musician - A Review
Musician, writer, and speaker Bob Popyk has long been familiar to union musicians as a monthly columnist for the American Federation of Musician's newsletter, the International Musician. His book offers a wealth of information for anyone wanting to earn a decent living playing music.

Why Practicing Berg's Opera “Wozzeck” is Like Painting the Golden Gate Bridge
Practicing the trombone part to Berg's 20th century masterpiece “Wozzeck” is a huge, ongoing maintenance job, just like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Here are four sample licks from a virtuoso trombone part, with advice on how to prepare them.

Quick Cleaning Method for the Mobile Trombonist
Here's how to clean out that “slide-cheese” if you are away from home and don't have your cleaning tool with you. Bonus tip: how to clean the mouthpiece with a piece of paper towel.

Design a Great Concert Program
I borrowed most of the ideas in this article from a book by Robin Williams: The Non-Designers Design Book, Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice. In this book she talks about the four basic principles of good graphic design: Proximity, Alignment, Repetition, and Contrast. These principles can be used to design a great program, whether it be for a solo recital, orchestra/band concert, or CD recording.