~*~Maddness~*~ (mindymaddness) wrote in tubatalk,

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Trouble with new big tuba; honor band @ UGA

Hello all.

Anyways, next month in February, I should be going to University of Georgia for honor band. They say that I'm already in, but I need to play to the judges for chair positions. There is only 4 tubas. I don't know if we all have the same part or not. So if we do have all the same part, do we still have to try out for chair positions? Just wondering, because this is my first time doing anything like this...

My band director says to practice scales and sightreading...Is there anything else I really need to practice, and what do the judges like to hear the most from scales and such?


Oh, and I'm also having breathing trouble. I just got this really new BIG tuba. It's a whole lot bigger than the last one. My band director says that the pros play that kind. But anyhow, I've been noticing that I've been having trouble with it. I put so much air in it, and I already have to take another breath. It makes me kind of irritated and breathless, like if I just did a 100 yard dash, sprinting. What should help with that? I know that breathing exercises will, but it just doesn't feel like it...Will getting into better shape also help?



P.S. I love Phantom Regiment with all my heart!!! Yae!!!

Much love ya'll, Peace!
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What did you play and what are you playing now? (horn)

As for the breathing, exercises are the best way to do it. Even something as simple as in 1 out 1 (in fact, I recommend that). Also, make sure you're taking what my professor calls "vital capacity" breaths. When you take a "deep" breath, you're actually taking in about 80% of your full capacity, but if you make sure your whole torso expands (both chest and stomach) you'll be able take take in as much air as physically possible.

When you do in 1 out 1, how well you are doing with taking a vital capacity will be evident by how long you last. When you START to feel dizzy, stop (Trust me when I say it'll really hit you a few seconds after you first feel it). If you get dizzy within about 4-6 breaths, you're doing a good job. 7-9, you need a lil work still. And if it takes 10 or more, chances are that you're sick or your asthma (if you have it) is acting up, or if not you need a lot more work on your breathing.

One thing that'll help a LOT when you do any sort of breathing exercise (or when you play for that matter) is staying completely relaxed. If you need to, take a few minutes and meditate beforehand.

Hope this helps :)
O yeah, and ditto on the Phantom comment ;)
Well I was playing one of those 3/4 sized tubas, now I'm playing a 4/4. It doesn't sound like very much, but it feels like I'm putting 50% more work into it.

Gracious for tips on breathing. We already do those in marching band, but you put it so detailed that I might be able to do them better.
What brand/model is it?
Don't know how the Georgia Honor Band system works (I'm in Louisiana myself) but tubas almost never have separate parts in a full band piece. You'll probably find the occasional solo or soli or just a section of the music that calls for one or two players only, and then you have times where the music calls for the section to split octaves (sometimes even thirds or something) but the individuals in a tuba section almost never play anything too different from one another to the point that a separate part needs to be created. I'm a college freshman at Nicholls State University majoring in music right now and since I started tuba in the 6th grade I have yet to ever play a piece with more than one tuba part. The chances of a high school honor band playing something with two tuba parts are very slim to none.
However, chair placement is usually still necessary for tubists, just so the director can gauge skill level of his section. Typically, one player and solo parts will go to the principal tubist. But that's up to the director.

As far as scale preparation goes, your state music association should have some sort of standard rhythm to play the scales in. Talk to your band director about it. For Louisiana honor bands we had to tongue the scale going up and slur it down. Generally, though, judges are probably listening mostly for intonation and pitch accuracy above all else in a scale. Tempo, articulation, and so forth are smaller priorities. Don't try to take a scale really fast if you might screw up your pitches along the way. Pace yourself, use a consistent tempo, and be accurate.

It's tough to consistently practice sightreading...look out for the important things: key signature, tempo, time signature. Make sure you nail these first. Worry less about tricky rhythms (but do give them a decent effort, judges even like a good effort) and make sure you stay in key. Any sort of repeat/Dal Segno/Da Capo should be sorted out also.

Hope this will help you out some!
-Dane J. Hitt
Nicholls State, eh? I'm up at ULM. Fun stuff. Anyways, there are a few pieces I've played with seperate tuba parts. Interestingly though, they were mostly grade 3 or 4 pieces. I have played a number of pieces that were written mostly in divisi (not the tenor tuba octaves, but true divisi), so I guess those count as well.

It's rare, but it happens. And most Tuba players self-destruct during it because they're not used to playing something different thatn the person next to them.
Okay, I will sure ask my band director more about these things in honor band...I don't know why, but he ONLY gives the basics and won't say much of anything else. I even had to ask him what I should work on, and he just said-scales and sightreading. Not very much to feed off from, but what you gave me is much appreciated. I was just thinking, you know, just do hard scales or ones that's not the basics just up and down, but putting individuality into it is hip.
Kinda funny, one comment up, he's in Louisiana and doesn't know how the GA system works. I'm in Louisiana, but I was in Georgia for High and Middle school. Anyways...

Sight reading is something that gets better with practice, but it has to be GOOD practice. Sight reading improves automatically the more etudes and music you get under your belt, but that just gets the fundamentals and patterns under your fingers.

To practice sight reading, you need to set yourself up with tryout conditions. Time yourself for that 30-second review period, and then play the piece. Don't stop playing, if you miss a not, find the next one. Keep a steady tempo. And during your review time check for accidentals, key, any strange rythms (look for dotted notes/rests) can come last, but make sure you see them so they don't panic you while playing.

While practicing sight reading, it's good to sight read selections that are challenging in rythm and key. Pitch range is rarely an issue in sight reading.

For Georgia makes sure your scales are two octaves and the more fluent, the better. If I recall correctly you choose what scales to perform. That makes it a cinch for you if you practice.

For breathing, grab a copy of "The Breathing Gym". :-)
I have another question about sightreading....How high/low are the notes? Cause sometimes I hear that some judges want to challenge you with range. I think I'm kind of dreading this the most because I work on very high notes on tuba the least.

But thanks anyways on the helpful tips on sightreading. I think I just need to buy a cheap tuba book and just play page by page through then go back over it and see how I could of done it better.
Generally speaking, sight reading is not a range challenge, so you shouldn't have to worry. In my twelve years or so of tryouts, I've never come across a sightreading piece that was hard in range. Technicality, and hitting precise notes has always been there however.

There are actually books made specifically for sight-reading. I don't know where to tell you to look, but I'm sure you can find them if you search around or ask.