MAKING AND MAINTAINING

A GREAT LIP-REED

Dr. Stacy Baker Morehead State University As a product of the brass pedagogy of the late 1980s through the early 1990s, I had a theoretical understanding of Arnold Jacobs’ concepts articu - lated in the book Song and Wind and of Timothy Gallwey’s thoughts on peak performance from The Inner Game of Tennis . I was beginning to successfully apply those concepts in performance; yet, despite the countless hours of practice and years of investment, the upper range eluded me. During the second year of my master’s program in tuba performance, I was still strug - gling to produce anything above middle C with security. I had a beautiful, full tone in the rest of my range, but the upper range seemed impossibly out of reach and was a constant source of frustration and tension. Was a successful upper range some great mystery of the universe? What was the missing key that would unlock it for me? The Song and Wind approach avoided paralysis by analysis by focusing on the musical product, rather than the physical mechanics involved in creat - ing it. However, there are times when this approach may prove insufficient if there is a physical impediment to tone production that needs to be addressed. The germ of the solution to my upper range issue came about during a chance conversation with a peer in Professor Armando Ghitalla’s trumpet studio at the University of Michigan. We never know when (or from where) the inspiration is going to come—or from whom. The key is to pay attention and be ready to act on the insights we receive in these “Aha!” moments. My friend was experimenting with Professor Ghitalla’s method of rolling the lips in using an embouchure visualizer or mouthpiece rim in a mirror. My friend is now Dr. Kris Kwapis and teaches baroque trumpet and cornetto at Indiana University Jacob’s School of Music Historical Performance Institute. While I am not advocating Professor Ghitalla’s rolled-in method, it did lead me to a discovery that was the game changer for my upper range. Buzzing on a visualizer, I noticed my lower lip flattened out and rolled under my upper lip when I ascended above the staff. The embouchure lost its circular shape and looked more like a flat tire. The lower lip practically disappeared and only the upper lip could be seen vibrating. The result was an upper range that was weak, thin, fuzzy, flat, and completely unreliable. This moment was the tipping point for the development of my upper range. No amount of practice was going to give me the upper range I desperately wanted, and the repertoire required, until I had two lips vibrating properly. My playing was not going anywhere on a flat tire! I realized I needed a more thorough understanding of the mechanics of tone production on brass instruments. Our woodwind colleagues spend a dedicated amount of time making and maintaining their reeds because the quality of the reed directly impacts their performance. This is equally true for players of lip-reed, i.e. brass, instruments. The big difference is if our reed breaks, we cannot simply put another one on our horn. A broken embouchure is a potentially career-ending injury. Understanding and using proper technique in tone production is critical to career longevity for brass players. Today, I am highly recognized in the field of low brass performance for an upper range on tuba that sounds remarkably like a euphonium. I am grate - ful to the many guides and mentors, as well as the many lightbulb moments that helped me put the puzzle pieces together to make this mira - cle possible. I am living proof that the weakest area of a person’s playing can evolve into her greatest strength. Here are some of the things I have learned: Brass instruments are classified as lip-reed aerophones. Beyond air (or wind), so many aspects of fine brass performance depend on the quality of the lip-reed: the clarity and beauty of tone, response, accuracy, flexibility, range, endurance, control of dynamics, etc. Daily investment in making and maintaining a great lip-reed using simple tools and techniques will produce tremendous dividends in ease of playing and freedom of expression. A clear understanding of proper embouchure shape and the role of the oral cavity in achieving optimal use of wind speed and quantity will help brass players avoid common pitfalls that produce excess tension on the lip-reed. This unnecessary tension prevents the lip reed from vibrating freely and leads to chronic playing problems, potential injury, and ultimately, performance anx - iety.

GET A GRIP

Imagine the wind as a physical object such as a pencil or straw in the lips and “grip the wind” to produce the optimal embouchure shape. Renowned euphoniumist, Dr. Earle Louder, professor emeritus at Morehead State Uni - versity, once described to me how his teacher, the legendary baritone horn virtuoso Dr. Leonard Falcone, formed his embouchure by having him grip a clarinet mouthpiece in his lips with firm corners and a flat chin. After removing the clarinet mouthpiece from his lips, he was told to grip the wind in its place. The orbicularis oris, or kissing muscle, is not a simple sphincter like the iris of the eye, but rather a group of muscles in the lips that produce the circu - lar kissing shape at the aperture that grips the wind. When a person reaches for an object, the incredibly complex muscles of the fingers and hand automatically know how much grip is needed to hold the object with - out dropping or crushing it. This is easily accomplished, resulting from past practice and experience, and thinking about reaching for the object. Practic - ing breath releases both on the horn and on an embouchure visualizer rim with crescendo and decrescendo will allow the intricate facial muscles of the embouchure to discover just the right amount of grip needed for the speed and quantity of wind being blown through the aperture. It is impor - tant to avoid pinching or too much grip in the upper range, which will impede the flow of fast wind. This tension will also lead to a small, tight, and strident tone. Lack of grip in the upper range may lead to generally flat pitch, whereas lack of grip in the mid- and low ranges may lead to double buzzing and poor flexibility. The third year of my undergraduate degree I transferred from the Univer - sity of Illinois, where I was studying with Professor Fritz Kaenzig, to the University of Southern California and studied through midterm with Profes - sor Tommy Johnson. He correctly encouraged me to open my jaw and oral cavity more in the low range to improve the sound. However, in opening my jaw and oral cavity, I also opened the aperture at the lips and lost my grip on the wind. When I was unable to continue my studies that fall, I was left with months of double buzzing and no understanding of how to correct the problem. Two years later, it was serendipitous that Professor Kaenzig joined the faculty at the University of Michigan when I decided to complete my undergraduate degree in my home state. I was thrilled to finish the degree program I began with him at the University of Illinois four years prior. When I left the University of Illinois, he told me his studio would always be open to me. I had not played a note in almost two years when I returned to study with him. One of our first goals was to stop the rampant double buzzing in the midrange caused by the lack of grip at the aperture when I ascended from the low range. The grip at the aperture must be allowed to adjust with changing wind speeds and quantities the same way the iris of the eye adjusts to changing light—by automatically contracting when ascending and relaxing when descending. It is absolutely essential to change syllables in the oral cavity to deliver different wind speeds and quantities to and through the aperture. Blowing through a visualizer without buzzing, try making an ascending tin whistle sound with the wind by changing syllables in the oral cavity while making the move from low to high (this can also be practiced by blowing without a rim): Begin blowing using the syllable “poe” with lips forward into the rim, cor - ners frowning slightly, jaw open, and the tongue out of the way in the back of the mouth. Continue blowing while changing to the syllable “poo” as the lips contract and retract inside the rim without smiling. Maintain the poo shape while blowing and ascending through to the syllables “pih” and “piece.” The tongue will move to channel the wind to and through the changing aperture from its retracted position in the back of the mouth. It will move up from the bottom of the lower front teeth to touching behind the bottom lip in the highest range. The tongue moves exactly as it does when a person whistles from low to high, but without the exaggerated pucker used when actually whistling, the full whistle sound is not produced in this exercise. The changing pitches will still be faintly audible in the wind. The P.E.T.E. or “Personal Embouchure Training Exerciser” by Warburton Music Products is a useful tool for strengthening the grip muscles of the embouchure at the aperture and the area just beyond either corner of the mouth where strands of multiple facial muscles come together called the modiolus. These facial modioli should contract firmly to support the tissue inside the rim and allow it to be relaxed and free to vibrate. The P.E.T.E. can be effective in helping to correct a smiling embouchure, in which the hori - zontal stretching of the lips creates tension, lack of vibration, and a strident tone in the upper range. A word of caution: use the P.E.T.E. sparingly as it is heavy lifting for the embouchure muscles and will cause fatigue, requiring time for the muscles to rest and recover. My dad, Ed Baker, was an avid whistler and I was fortunate that he taught me to whistle at a young age. I often find myself whistling without realizing it. By the time Terry Warburton produced the P.E.T.E., I had already devel - oped strong orbicularis oris muscles through whistling. I am such an accomplished whistler that I was featured as puccalo soloist for an arrange - ment of Prokofiev’s “Troika” from Lieutenant Kije during my first concert with the Brass Band of Battle Creek! Whistling also gave me a physical understanding of how to change the oral cavity to change pitches in the wind. When I applied this concept to blowing wind patterns and then to the tuba, true ease of playing followed. Practicing blowing soap bubbles is another way to encourage a poo-shaped embouchure while observing the effects of wind speed and quantity. Blow - ing a stream of tiny bubbles requires the small, fast wind that produces high-range notes and a single giant bubble requires large quantities of slowly moving wind that produces extreme low-range notes. It is quite diffi - cult to blow soap bubbles while smiling.

WHAT’S THE BUZZ ABOUT?

Buzz on the mouthpiece, rim, or embouchure visualizer to eliminate puffing or air pockets, while listening for a resonant, dark sound. Euphonium and trumpet players—watch for air pockets in the upper lip, tuba players—watch for air pockets in the lower lip or cheeks. The lips and cheeks should adhere or be in constant contact with the sides of the teeth and gums. I remember a trombone student at the University of Michigan making an observation about my chronic, extreme, cheek puffing. My response was that my sound got smaller when I held my cheeks flat. He set me straight: “Your sound isn’t smaller, it is more focused.” I finally under - stood that my sound would have a solid core and better projection if I stopped puffing my cheeks! The modioli at the corners of my mouth were completely disengaged by the puffing and unable to provide any support to the vibrating tissue inside the rim of the mouthpiece. I found it was nearly impossible for me to puff my cheeks while buzzing on a visualizer and diffi - cult to puff on a mouthpiece. The more I buzzed, the less I puffed my cheeks when playing. The added bonus was that my upper range started to develop as I began to engage the facial modioli. I served as Featured Tuba Artist for the 2019 International Women’s Brass Conference (IWBC) at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. During my masterclass, I offered the student my visualizer (of Delrin plastic) with a handle which is easier to hold. Visualizers are also available in silverplate with handles for all brass instruments. I often refer to these visualizers as magic wands—they are such an effective practice tool for refining the lip- reed, focusing the wind stream, and get ting the wind moving efficiently to and through the lips. In the photo, I am playing on a tuba schnuller or tuba pacifier on a lanyard that I picked up at the 2012 International Tuba Euphonium Conference (ITEC) in Linz, Austria. The engaged facial modioli can be clearly seen outside my tuba schnuller in this photo. I also have a stainless steel rim from a marine store that can be carried in my pocket. I often purchase welded rings or curtain rod rings at the hardware store as temporary rims that I give to students so they can experience the magical effects of playing on a rim until they can obtain one with a handle. Just be sure to match the ring size to the mouthpiece rim. Consider the position of the mouthpiece on the lips. For euphonium I pre - fer closer to 2/3 upper lip and 1/3 lower over equal lip placement. On a visualizer rim, some skin should be visible inside the rim above the upper lip. For tuba place the bottom rim just below the lower teeth where the gum line indents. Some skin may be visible inside the rim above the upper lip here as well, but placement will appear more 1/2 and 1/2 with the larger diameter rim. All brass: the weight or seat of the mouthpiece should be on the bottom, never the top. This is true when buzzing on a visualizer, mouth - piece alone, or on the horn. The tuba’s bell should angle forward away from the body with the bottom bow close to the abdomen. A tuba stand is rec - ommended (Hercules is excellent!) for the contrabass CC and BB-flat tubas. Lean forward at the hips to be sure the weight of the mouthpiece or “seat” stays on the bottom—never on the top lip. Pressing on the top lip is like putting a finger on a vibrating string—the vibration stops. Euphonium bells should also tip away from the body with the bottom bow close to the ribs. Here I am using a visualizer to show a stu - dent how it should feel to put the weight of the rim below the lower lip. The wind stream will tip down slightly from horizontal in the midrange and more dramatically in the upper range; this is typical for most players with regular overbites. This photo from my solo recital at the 2019 International Women’s Brass Conference shows me sitting forward from the back of the chair with the bell of my F tuba angled away from my body to place the weight of the rim under my bottom lip rather than pressing on my top lip.

ORDER IT UP!

HEAR IT - BUZZ IT - PLAY IT! Hearing the music before playing it is absolutely essential to success as a brass musician. The ability to sing, or whistle, and buzz the music on pitch ensures the player is accurately hearing the music she is creating. Chicago Symphony Orchestra trombonist Michael Mulcahy brought this truth to life in his recital at The Midwest Clinic I attended during my DMA studies. He walked onstage without his trombone and performed an entire solo piece with piano accompaniment on his mouth - piece! I was so mesmerized by his absolutely stunning beauty of tone and musicality I could have listened to him buzz his entire recital! During my DMA studies at the University of Illinois my teacher Professor Mark “Micky” Moore encouraged me to attend the 1995 Brassfest at Indiana University. I heard the great tubist Sam Pilafian present an entire hour-long masterclass on mouthpiece buzzing. I remember thinking, “Sure! of course he can buzz everything on his mouthpiece—he’s Sam Pilafian!” I had always avoided buzzing (even though my teachers and countless clinicians and artists had suggested it). My buzzing sounded terrible and I could not buzz the extremes of my range at all—no vibration. But Sam offered a challenge that day which I was finally ready to hear and accept: “Try doing a thorough buzzing routine across the entire range every day for 3 months and see what hap - pens…” I remember the look of “Duh!” on Micky’s face when I came into my next lesson acting as if I had found the Holy Grail, “Sam Pilafian said I should buzz on my mouthpiece!” Why had I avoided doing it for so long? It turned out that eventually, with practice, even I could buzz everything on my mouthpiece and on a visualizer and what a difference it made in my playing. Magic! I have continued to buzz across my entire range every day. I typically play slurred major triads (up and down) beginning an octave below middle C, ascending by half steps through each key. I stop every fourth or fifth to rest and ascend through the entire range until I miss the top note three times. I may back up and try some of the highest triads on a visualizer or on a smaller mouthpiece for eupho - nium or trumpet. I then return to an octave below middle C and buzz perfect fifths (down and up) descending by half steps, taking breaks to rest, and continuing to buzz all the way down to CC. I may buzz some of these on my visualizer as I am descending through the low range. When buzzing, concentrate on producing the most beautiful, full, clear, resonant buzz whether on a visualizer or mouthpiece—a sound that people would want to listen to even without the horn!

GOOD VIBRATIONS!

Keep the buzz continuous when slurring by changing syllables to adjust the oral cavity and aperture while ascending and descending. Avoid pressing, pinching, or smiling when ascending. Practice lips slurs and turn studies first by singing them and then blowing them as wind pat - terns. Buzz them on a visualizer and the mouthpiece before playing them on the horn for flexibility and accuracy. Practice buzzing sirens, triads, and intervals across the entire range allowing the jaw to open when descending and close when ascending while maintaining the grip at the aperture. Turn studies are excellent for range building and refining pitch in each key (see No. 3, beginning in measure 31). I was warming up before a performance with Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band at The Midwest Clinic 2019 in Chicago when one of the trumpet players in the band came up and asked me if I had studied with Arnold Jacobs. With sincere emotion he commented on how much I reminded him of his teacher when he heard me playing Mr. Jacobs’ warm up. I told him I was a pedagogical granddaughter of his mentor, and that my teachers had shared his turn study warm up with me. Both of my primary teachers Professors Fritz Kaenzig and Micky Moore were students of Arnold Jacobs and Robert LeBlanc, professor emeritus of Tuba, The Ohio State University. The lasting impact of our mentors and the reach of their pedagogy cannot be underestimated. This was clearly apparent when I had the opportunity to play with Techni - cal Sgt. Willie Clark again in Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band. He currently serves as tubist in the Ceremonial Brass of The United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C. Our common approach to playing was evident. We sat next to each other in the Symphony Band at the University of Illinois when I was a sophomore and he was a freshman. I directly attribute this musical kinsmanship to our shared teacher, Professor Fritz Kaenzig, during those critical years of our undergraduate programs.

HOW’S THE WEATHER?

Wind quality (speed, temperature, and humidity) is directly related to tone quality. I like to compare range on the tuba to climate zones during sum - mer: Upper range = Arizona: hot 100+ degrees, fast wind, and dry Midrange = Michigan: 75 degrees, light breeze, and not too humid Low range = deep south: upper 90s, calm & sticky, 100% humidity Check wind speed, temperature, and humidity by blowing focused wind on your palm. Try blowing slow, warm wind on the bell that causes it to fog up as a reminder to relax the wind in the low range. Check wind quality with your other hand while buzzing on a visualizer. Practice the Bordogni/Mulcahy Melodious Etudes for Trombone in three octaves using wind patterns. The quality of the exhalation should match the quality of the inhalation. Play a few phrases blowing the wind on the left palm while playing the fingerings with the right hand. Next, buzz those phrases on a visualizer and then on the mouthpiece before playing them on the horn. This is a great way to “sand” the lip-reed to produce ultra-smooth slurring. Tubists: try playing Bordogni No. 4 down one octave for a week. During week two, play Bordogni No. 11 down one octave and Bordogni No. 4 down two octaves. During week three, choose a new Bordogni etude to play down one octave, play Bordogni No. 11 down two octaves, and play Bordogni No. 4 as written. By the third week, ledger lines above the staff will look easier to read and feel less intimidating because you have been reading them for a couple of weeks in the lower octaves. Reading upper-range notes down one octave is useful for training the ear to hear the notes before playing them. Playing in the range down two octaves strengthens the embouchure and demands excellent control of large quan - tities of wind. Playing Bordogni etudes in three octaves will homogenize the sound throughout the entire range and help refine pitch. Try playing these etudes in octaves with a low brass friend to improve intonation throughout the entire range. Developing the ability to fluently read down one and two octaves is essential for accessing music written for other low brass instru - ments as well as bass, bassoon, and others. Playing difficult high passages down an octave is a great way to learn to really hear them while saving embouchure capital for playing them as written. Upper-range playing can produce fatigue. I recommend following high-range playing sessions by relaxing the lips with low-range playing.

BREATHE…

Use the syllable “hoe” to inhale and “toe” to exhale with a relaxed throat. Playing the tuba relies on the natural recoil of the chest wall which requires full lungs. Breathe early to tank up when possible and then finish the breath in time, exhaling in a smooth motion at the top of the breath. Refuel by breathing again when the lungs are half full rather than waiting to breathe until you are pushing the wind out. Much of the tuba’s range requires large quantities of comparatively slower moving wind and a more relaxed abdomen. However, the increased wind speed in the upper range requires a more engaged abdominal core during the exhale. This is absolutely essen - tial for producing the fast wind speeds required above the bass staff as the oral cavity adjusts and the aperture focuses in for the upper notes. Daily practice of long tones, expanding from the center of the range out to the extremes, is highly recommended for breath control. Dr. Jerry Young (professor emeritus, The University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire) revised and edited Herbert L. Clarke’s Technical Studies for euphonium, trombone, and tuba; covering the extremes of the range for our instruments. These studies are also wonderful for breath control, finger dexterity, and range develop - ment. I enjoy playing Clarke’s Nos. 2-4 especially. Practicing two octave modal patterns in 12 major keys daily is also excellent for breath control, finger dexterity, and into - nation. On the five-valve CC tuba, begin an octave below middle C and play around the circle of fifths starting each scale below that first C (i.e. the key of D flat would start with all valves down). On BB-flat tuba, begin an octave and a ninth below middle C in the key of B flat (see No. 6 below). The goal is to play through all 12 modal patterns in under 10 minutes with a metronome.

JUST SAY “TOE”!

Play wind patterns on the palm of the hand using the syllable “toe” for the low range, “too” for the midrange, and “tih” for the upper range, and per - haps “tiece” for the highest range while listening for the slightly audible pitches in the wind and articulating the music as marked. Play the finger - ings while blowing the wind patterns. The changing oral cavity will focus the wind through the poo-shaped aperture with active direction and intensity. Practice tonguing patterns, intervals, and arpeggios for accuracy while lis - tening to the beginning, middle, and end of each note and matching the note shape. Wind patterns are excellent for checking accuracy in passages with mixed articulation markings and are extremely effective in producing consistent note shapes and lengths. I routinely practice entire works with just wind patterns while playing the fingerings. In this photo the student is blowing a wind pattern on his right palm while trying to match the wind quality I am blowing on his left hand in speed, temperature, humidity, focus, intensity, quantity, etc. The actual note will be faintly audible in the wind and is easily produced by blowing this wind into the instrument. Jean Baptiste Arban’s method is my go-to text for brass technique development and maintenance. Wes Jacobs, retired principal tubist of The Detroit Symphony introduced me to Arban’s Complete Conservatory Method for Trumpet when I studied with him during my senior year of high school, and I have been a devotee ever since. He already had a vision to publish a version for tuba which he realized in the J.B. Arban Complete Method for Tuba , transcribed and edited by Dr. Jerry Young and Wes Jacobs. Now in its fourth edition, the first edition was published in 1996 just in time for me to share it with my students as a new faculty member at Morehead State University! By then, my well-worn copy of the Thompson/Mantia Trombone edition was literally being held together with duct tape! I also use the Alessi/Bowman Arban Complete Method for Trombone and Euphonium both with my euphonium students and in my own practice on F tuba playing as written. My upper range really started to mature after I began teaching. I have found communicating pedagogical concepts to students and working with them to improve their playing has reinforced and refined correct con - cepts in my own playing. Music is a unique form of communication that connects us. A young, autis - tic, non-verbal child gave a loud “WOW” of amazement in the silence after a recent performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Masonic Funeral Music by the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston. When music is performed well, the connection can be transcendent for the performers and the audience. Anyone who has experienced it can attest to the incredible feeling expressed by this child. These moments of musical connection are worth cultivating the ability to communicate at this level. Performers seek to be in the zone as much as possible. With the mind focused on the song, playing seems effortless—the mechanics of technique no longer interfere with freedom of expression and musical communica - tion. We can focus on the message instead of struggling to form the words. In the end, Song and Wind is still the ultimate goal and I try to relax and remember Professor Micky Moore’s best advice during my DMA studies: “Just play the tuba.” It’s so simple…

COLLABORATION = FUN!

In addition to teaching, performing chamber music has been the single most important factor in my development as a musician. Chamber music performance provides a rich environment for honing technique and raising the level of musical communication and connection. It demands deep lis - tening and promotes a heightened awareness in the moment of all aspects of playing—tone, time, tuning, blend, balance, etc. It is impossible to over - state its value to the development of complete musicianship. I have been playing in a brass quintet since my freshman year of college. The faculty brass quintet at Morehead State University, Horizon Brass, was one of the main reasons I was interested in the position. Collaborating with other musicians to perform chamber music has had a tremendous impact on the musician I have become. Susan Slaughter, IWBC founder and retired principal trumpet of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, invited me to join Monarch Brass, the IWBC’s all-women premier brass ensemble, in 1996 on its inaugural tour with con - ductor Marin Alsop. Here I formed a musical bond playing with Velvet Brown, professor of tuba and euphonium at The Pennsylvania State Univer - sity. The third International Women’s Brass Conference was held at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music in 2000; Monarch Brass recorded an album there, released in 2003. Velvet Brown and I formed the professional tuba-euphonium quartet, JUNCTION, with euphoni - umists Angie Hunter and Dr. Sharon Huff in 2000 and toured together until 2007. In 2001, JUNCTION presented a recital at the International Tuba Euphonium Conference in Lahti, Finland. Austrian composer, Franz Cibulka heard our recital and wrote the first Konzert fur Tubaquartett und Blasorchester for JUNCTION to premiere at the prestigious Mid-Europe Festival in Schladming, Austria in 2002. The audience was so ecstatic to see four women take the stage as soloists carrying the heavy brasses, that they leapt to their feet in a standing ovation before we even played a note! This work pushed the range and technical limits for our instruments with both tubas playing well into the top of the euphonium’s range. Velvet and I both always played F tubas in JUNCTION and split the first tuba book. This year, we performed together in Monarch Brass for the St. Louis Holiday Brass Concerts and at the 2019 IWBC in Tempe, AZ. Whenever we have the opportunity to play together, the musical communication is still effortless. Euphoniumist, Dr. Gail Robertson, assis - tant professor of tuba and euphonium, the University of Central Arkansas and President of the International Tuba Euphonium Association, joined Monarch Brass for the 2006 International Trumpet Guild Conference at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ. We felt the strong connec - tion in our approach to playing as we sat together in rehearsal. Gail had played with Willie Clark in Disney’s Tubafours for over a decade. I have wondered if our shared musical kinsmanship with Willie influenced our immediate strong connec - tion as players. We formed SymbiosisDuo in 2007 to increase awareness of the tuba- euphonium duo as a performance medium and to promote and dissemi - nate new works for this unique combination of instruments. We chose the name SymbiosisDuo from the concert duet of that name written for us by American composer Chris Sharp. In the program notes for the work Sharp wrote, “Symbiosis is defined as, ‘a relationship of mutual benefit or depen - dence’…” The technical and range requirements for each solo instrument are comparable, suggesting a separate-but-equal relationship. This is an innovative and challenging approach to duet writing for tuba and eupho - nium. The symbiosis effect is produced because the tuba is not relegated to an accompanying role, but is equal in all aspects of music with the other voice in the duo, the euphonium. Our first album, Symbiosis (2009) was selected as finalist for the 2010 Roger Bobo Award for Recording Excellence in Chamber Music by the Interna - tional Tuba Euphonium Association (ITEA). In 2012, we joined a commissioning consortium and performed the world premiere of American composer, James Grant’s Double Concerto for Eupho - nium and Tuba with piano at Michigan State University and the American premiere of the concerto with the Morehead State University Symphony Band in Morehead, KY. Here is a recording of James Grant’s work: We premiered Franz Cilbulka’s Wallstreet at the 2014 ITEC at Indiana Univer - sity in Bloomington, Indiana and recorded this ground-breaking work on our second album, Playground , in 2015. At times it is difficult to determine which instrument is playing because the parts are so intertwined with the ranges overlapping. Here is the performance from our album Playground : In 2017, SymbiosisDuo served as featured artists for the 32nd Annual Leonard Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Festival at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, MI and pre - sented the premiere of the double con - certo, Twin Lake Reflections by American composer, Eric Knetchges with the BLFAC Festival Band. SymbiosisDuo was recently honored to present the American premiere of the first double concerto for euphonium, tuba, and orchestra, The World of Dreams (2016 orchestral version/2010 band ver - sion) by Spanish composer, Eduardo Nogueroles at the 2019 International Tuba Euphonium Conference at the Uni - versity of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa with Orchestra Iowa. .
Photo courtesy of Britanny Haas
Amy Feeney, tuba and Dr. Stacy Baker. Photo courtesy of Cavitt Productions
ARBAN ZONE
Dr. Stacey Baker

Stacy Baker

Dr. Baker’s biography Dr. Baker’s website
Week 1
No. 4 down one octave
Week 2
No. 11 down one octave
No. 4 down two octaves
Week 3
New Bordogni down one octave
No. 11 down two octaves
No. 4 as written
Week 4
New Bordogni down one octave
Last week’s Bordogni down two octaves
Bordogni from two weeks ago as written
Week 5
Continue this rotation
(Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band 2017 Iowa Bandmaster’s Associa- tion, Des Moines, IA: Tubists Tech- nical Sgt. Willie E. Clark, Jr. and Dr. Stacy Baker)
Photo courtesy of Cavitt Productions
Noah Chard, trombone and Dr. Stacy Baker. Photo courtesy of Cavitt Productions
SymbiosisDuo: Dr. Gail Robertson and Dr. Stacy Baker with Orchestra Iowa, Dr. Timothy Hankewich, Music Director, ITEC Iowa 2019 Photo courtesy of Tom Hentschel (L to R: Brady Perian, Dr. Stacy Baker, Dr. Remus Webb and Larin Long) Brass Band of Battle Creek 2019 Youth Brass Band Camp.

MAKING AND MAINTAINING

A GREAT LIP-REED

Dr. Stacy Baker Morehead State University As a product of the brass pedagogy of the late 1980s through the early 1990s, I had a theoretical understanding of Arnold Jacobs’ concepts articu - lated in the book Song and Wind and of Timothy Gallwey’s thoughts on peak performance from The Inner Game of Tennis . I was beginning to success - fully apply those concepts in performance; yet, despite the countless hours of practice and years of investment, the upper range eluded me. During the second year of my master’s program in tuba performance, I was still struggling to produce any - thing above middle C with security. I had a beauti - ful, full tone in the rest of my range, but the upper range seemed impossibly out of reach and was a constant source of frustration and tension. Was a successful upper range some great mystery of the universe? What was the missing key that would unlock it for me? The Song and Wind approach avoided paralysis by analysis by focusing on the musical product, rather than the physical mechanics involved in creating it. However, there are times when this approach may prove insufficient if there is a physical impediment to tone production that needs to be addressed. The germ of the solution to my upper range issue came about during a chance conversation with a peer in Professor Armando Ghitalla’s trumpet stu - dio at the University of Michigan. We never know when (or from where) the inspiration is going to come—or from whom. The key is to pay attention and be ready to act on the insights we receive in these “Aha!” moments. My friend was experimenting with Professor Ghi - talla’s method of rolling the lips in using an embouchure visualizer or mouthpiece rim in a mir - ror. My friend is now Dr. Kris Kwapis and teaches baroque trumpet and cornetto at Indiana Univer - sity Jacob’s School of Music Historical Performance Institute. While I am not advocating Professor Ghi - talla’s rolled-in method, it did lead me to a discov - ery that was the game changer for my upper range. Buzzing on a visualizer, I noticed my lower lip flattened out and rolled under my upper lip when I ascended above the staff. The embouchure lost its circular shape and looked more like a flat tire. The lower lip practically disappeared and only the upper lip could be seen vibrating. The result was an upper range that was weak, thin, fuzzy, flat, and completely unreliable. This moment was the tipping point for the development of my upper range. No amount of practice was going to give me the upper range I desperately wanted, and the repertoire required, until I had two lips vibrating properly. My playing was not going anywhere on a flat tire! I realized I needed a more thorough understanding of the mechanics of tone production on brass instruments. Our woodwind colleagues spend a dedicated amount of time making and maintaining their reeds because the quality of the reed directly impacts their performance. This is equally true for players of lip-reed, i.e. brass, instruments. The big difference is if our reed breaks, we cannot simply put another one on our horn. A broken embouchure is a potentially career-ending injury. Understanding and using proper technique in tone production is critical to career longevity for brass players. Today, I am highly recognized in the field of low brass performance for an upper range on tuba that sounds remarkably like a euphonium. I am grateful to the many guides and mentors, as well as the many lightbulb moments that helped me put the puzzle pieces together to make this miracle possible. I am living proof that the weakest area of a person’s playing can evolve into her greatest strength. Here are some of the things I have learned: Brass instruments are classified as lip-reed aero - phones. Beyond air (or wind), so many aspects of fine brass performance depend on the quality of the lip-reed: the clarity and beauty of tone, response, accuracy, flexibility, range, endurance, control of dynamics, etc. Daily investment in mak - ing and maintaining a great lip-reed using simple tools and techniques will produce tremendous div - idends in ease of playing and freedom of expres - sion. A clear understanding of proper embouchure shape and the role of the oral cavity in achieving optimal use of wind speed and quantity will help brass players avoid common pitfalls that produce excess tension on the lip-reed. This unnecessary tension prevents the lip reed from vibrating freely and leads to chronic playing problems, potential injury, and ultimately, performance anxiety.

GET A GRIP

Imagine the wind as a physical object such as a pencil or straw in the lips and “grip the wind” to produce the optimal embouchure shape. Renowned euphoniumist, Dr. Earle Louder, profes - sor emeritus at Morehead State University, once described to me how his teacher, the legendary baritone horn virtuoso Dr. Leonard Falcone, formed his embouchure by having him grip a clar - inet mouthpiece in his lips with firm corners and a flat chin. After removing the clarinet mouthpiece from his lips, he was told to grip the wind in its place. The orbicularis oris, or kissing muscle, is not a sim - ple sphincter like the iris of the eye, but rather a group of muscles in the lips that produce the circu - lar kissing shape at the aperture that grips the wind. When a person reaches for an object, the incredibly complex muscles of the fingers and hand automatically know how much grip is needed to hold the object without dropping or crushing it. This is easily accomplished, resulting from past practice and experience, and thinking about reach - ing for the object. Practicing breath releases both on the horn and on an embouchure visualizer rim with crescendo and decrescendo will allow the intricate facial muscles of the embouchure to dis - cover just the right amount of grip needed for the speed and quantity of wind being blown through the aperture. It is important to avoid pinching or too much grip in the upper range, which will impede the flow of fast wind. This tension will also lead to a small, tight, and strident tone. Lack of grip in the upper range may lead to generally flat pitch, whereas lack of grip in the mid- and low ranges may lead to double buzzing and poor flexi - bility. The third year of my undergraduate degree I trans - ferred from the University of Illinois, where I was studying with Professor Fritz Kaenzig, to the Uni - versity of Southern California and studied through midterm with Professor Tommy Johnson. He cor - rectly encouraged me to open my jaw and oral cavity more in the low range to improve the sound. However, in opening my jaw and oral cavity, I also opened the aperture at the lips and lost my grip on the wind. When I was unable to continue my stud - ies that fall, I was left with months of double buzzing and no understanding of how to correct the problem. Two years later, it was serendipitous that Professor Kaenzig joined the faculty at the University of Michigan when I decided to complete my undergraduate degree in my home state. I was thrilled to finish the degree program I began with him at the University of Illinois four years prior. When I left the University of Illinois, he told me his studio would always be open to me. I had not played a note in almost two years when I returned to study with him. One of our first goals was to stop the rampant double buzzing in the midrange caused by the lack of grip at the aperture when I ascended from the low range. The grip at the aperture must be allowed to adjust with changing wind speeds and quantities the same way the iris of the eye adjusts to changing light—by automatically contracting when ascend - ing and relaxing when descending. It is absolutely essential to change syllables in the oral cavity to deliver different wind speeds and quantities to and through the aperture. Blowing through a visualizer without buzzing, try making an ascending tin whis - tle sound with the wind by changing syllables in the oral cavity while making the move from low to high (this can also be practiced by blowing without a rim): Begin blowing using the syllable “poe” with lips for - ward into the rim, corners frowning slightly, jaw open, and the tongue out of the way in the back of the mouth. Continue blowing while changing to the syllable “poo” as the lips contract and retract inside the rim without smiling. Maintain the poo shape while blowing and ascending through to the sylla - bles “pih” and “piece.” The tongue will move to channel the wind to and through the changing aperture from its retracted position in the back of the mouth. It will move up from the bottom of the lower front teeth to touch - ing behind the bottom lip in the highest range. The tongue moves exactly as it does when a person whistles from low to high, but without the exagger - ated pucker used when actually whistling, the full whistle sound is not produced in this exercise. The changing pitches will still be faintly audible in the wind. The P.E.T.E. or “Personal Embouchure Training Exerciser” by Warburton Music Products is a useful tool for strengthening the grip muscles of the embouchure at the aperture and the area just beyond either corner of the mouth where strands of multiple facial muscles come together called the modiolus. These facial modioli should contract firmly to support the tissue inside the rim and allow it to be relaxed and free to vibrate. The P.E.T.E. can be effective in helping to correct a smil - ing embouchure, in which the horizontal stretching of the lips creates tension, lack of vibration, and a strident tone in the upper range. A word of cau - tion: use the P.E.T.E. sparingly as it is heavy lifting for the embouchure muscles and will cause fatigue, requiring time for the muscles to rest and recover. My dad, Ed Baker, was an avid whistler and I was fortunate that he taught me to whistle at a young age. I often find myself whistling without realizing it. By the time Terry Warburton produced the P.E.T.E., I had already developed strong orbicularis oris muscles through whistling. I am such an accomplished whistler that I was featured as puccalo soloist for an arrangement of Prokofiev’s “Troika” from Lieutenant Kije during my first con - cert with the Brass Band of Battle Creek! Whistling also gave me a physical understanding of how to change the oral cavity to change pitches in the wind. When I applied this concept to blowing wind patterns and then to the tuba, true ease of playing followed. Practicing blowing soap bubbles is another way to encourage a poo-shaped embouchure while observing the effects of wind speed and quantity. Blowing a stream of tiny bubbles requires the small, fast wind that produces high-range notes and a single giant bubble requires large quantities of slowly moving wind that produces extreme low- range notes. It is quite difficult to blow soap bubbles while smiling.

WHAT’S THE BUZZ ABOUT?

Buzz on the mouthpiece, rim, or embouchure visu - alizer to eliminate puffing or air pockets, while listening for a resonant, dark sound. Euphonium and trumpet players—watch for air pockets in the upper lip, tuba players—watch for air pockets in the lower lip or cheeks. The lips and cheeks should adhere or be in constant contact with the sides of the teeth and gums. I remember a trombone stu - dent at the University of Michigan making an observation about my chronic, extreme, cheek puffing. My response was that my sound got smaller when I held my cheeks flat. He set me straight: “Your sound isn’t smaller, it is more focused.” I finally understood that my sound would have a solid core and better projection if I stopped puffing my cheeks! The modioli at the corners of my mouth were completely disengaged by the puffing and unable to provide any support to the vibrating tissue inside the rim of the mouthpiece. I found it was nearly impossible for me to puff my cheeks while buzzing on a visualizer and difficult to puff on a mouthpiece. The more I buzzed, the less I puffed my cheeks when playing. The added bonus was that my upper range started to develop as I began to engage the facial modioli. I served as Featured Tuba Artist for the 2019 Inter - national Women’s Brass Conference (IWBC) at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. During my masterclass, I offered the student my visualizer (of Delrin plastic) with a handle which is easier to hold. Visualizers are also available in silverplate with handles for all brass instruments. I often refer to these visualizers as magic wands—they are such an effective practice tool for refining the lip-reed, focusing the wind stream, and getting the wind moving efficiently to and through the lips. In the photo, I am playing on a tuba schnuller or tuba pacifier on a lanyard that I picked up at the 2012 International Tuba Euphonium Conference (ITEC) in Linz, Austria. The engaged facial modioli can be clearly seen outside my tuba schnuller in this photo. I also have a stainless steel rim from a marine store that can be carried in my pocket. I often purchase welded rings or curtain rod rings at the hardware store as temporary rims that I give to students so they can experience the magical effects of playing on a rim until they can obtain one with a handle. Just be sure to match the ring size to the mouthpiece rim. Consider the position of the mouthpiece on the lips. For euphonium I prefer closer to 2/3 upper lip and 1/3 lower over equal lip placement. On a visu - alizer rim, some skin should be visible inside the rim above the upper lip. For tuba place the bottom rim just below the lower teeth where the gum line indents. Some skin may be visible inside the rim above the upper lip here as well, but placement will appear more 1/2 and 1/2 with the larger diam - eter rim. All brass: the weight or seat of the mouth - piece should be on the bottom, never the top. This is true when buzzing on a visualizer, mouthpiece alone, or on the horn. The tuba’s bell should angle forward away from the body with the bottom bow close to the abdomen. A tuba stand is recom - mended (Hercules is excellent!) for the contrabass CC and BB-flat tubas. Lean forward at the hips to be sure the weight of the mouthpiece or “seat” stays on the bottom—never on the top lip. Press - ing on the top lip is like putting a finger on a vibrating string—the vibration stops. Euphonium bells should also tip away from the body with the bottom bow close to the ribs. Here I am using a visualizer to show a student how it should feel to put the weight of the rim below the lower lip. The wind stream will tip down slightly from horizontal in the midrange and more dramat - ically in the upper range; this is typical for most players with regular overbites. This photo from my solo recital at the 2019 Inter - national Women’s Brass Conference shows me sitting forward from the back of the chair with the bell of my F tuba angled away from my body to place the weight of the rim under my bottom lip rather than pressing on my top lip.

ORDER IT UP!

HEAR IT - BUZZ IT - PLAY IT! Hearing the music before playing it is absolutely essential to success as a brass musician. The ability to sing, or whistle, and buzz the music on pitch ensures the player is accurately hearing the music she is creating. Chicago Symphony Orchestra trom - bonist Michael Mulcahy brought this truth to life in his recital at The Midwest Clinic I attended during my DMA studies. He walked onstage without his trombone and per - formed an entire solo piece with piano accompani - ment on his mouthpiece! I was so mesmerized by his absolutely stunning beauty of tone and musi - cality I could have listened to him buzz his entire recital! During my DMA studies at the University of Illinois my teacher Professor Mark “Micky” Moore encour - aged me to attend the 1995 Brassfest at Indiana University. I heard the great tubist Sam Pilafian present an entire hour-long masterclass on mouth - piece buzzing. I remember thinking, “Sure! of course he can buzz everything on his mouth - piece—he’s Sam Pilafian!” I had always avoided buzzing (even though my teachers and countless clinicians and artists had suggested it). My buzzing sounded terrible and I could not buzz the extremes of my range at all—no vibration. But Sam offered a challenge that day which I was finally ready to hear and accept: “Try doing a thorough buzzing routine across the entire range every day for 3 months and see what happens…” I remember the look of “Duh!” on Micky’s face when I came into my next lesson acting as if I had found the Holy Grail, “Sam Pilafian said I should buzz on my mouthpiece!” Why had I avoided doing it for so long? It turned out that eventually, with practice, even I could buzz every - thing on my mouthpiece and on a visualizer and what a difference it made in my playing. Magic! I have continued to buzz across my entire range every day. I typically play slurred major triads (up and down) beginning an octave below middle C, ascending by half steps through each key. I stop every fourth or fifth to rest and ascend through the entire range until I miss the top note three times. I may back up and try some of the highest triads on a visualizer or on a smaller mouthpiece for eupho - nium or trumpet. I then return to an octave below middle C and buzz perfect fifths (down and up) descending by half steps, taking breaks to rest, and continuing to buzz all the way down to CC. I may buzz some of these on my visualizer as I am descending through the low range. When buzzing, concentrate on producing the most beautiful, full, clear, resonant buzz whether on a visualizer or mouthpiece—a sound that people would want to listen to even without the horn!

GOOD VIBRATIONS!

Keep the buzz continuous when slurring by chang - ing syllables to adjust the oral cavity and aperture while ascending and descending. Avoid pressing, pinching, or smiling when ascending. Practice lips slurs and turn studies first by singing them and then blowing them as wind patterns. Buzz them on a visualizer and the mouthpiece before playing them on the horn for flexibility and accuracy. Prac - tice buzzing sirens, triads, and intervals across the entire range allowing the jaw to open when descending and close when ascending while main - taining the grip at the aperture. Turn studies are excellent for range building and refining pitch in each key (see No. 3 below, beginning in measure 31). I was warming up before a performance with Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band at The Midwest Clinic 2019 in Chicago when one of the trumpet players in the band came up and asked me if I had studied with Arnold Jacobs. With sincere emotion he com - mented on how much I reminded him of his teacher when he heard me playing Mr. Jacobs’ warm up. I told him I was a pedagogical grand - daughter of his mentor, and that my teachers had shared his turn study warm up with me. Both of my primary teachers Professors Fritz Kaenzig and Micky Moore were students of Arnold Jacobs and Robert LeBlanc, professor emeritus of Tuba, The Ohio State University. The lasting impact of our mentors and the reach of their pedagogy cannot be underestimated. This was clearly apparent when I had the opportunity to play with Technical Sgt. Willie Clark again in Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band. He currently serves as tubist in the Ceremonial Brass of The United States Air Force Band, Washington, D.C. Our common approach to playing was evident. We sat next to each other in the Symphony Band at the University of Illinois when I was a sophomore and he was a freshman. I directly attribute this musical kinsman - ship to our shared teacher, Professor Fritz Kaenzig, during those critical years of our undergraduate programs.

HOW’S THE WEATHER?

Wind quality (speed, temperature, and humidity) is directly related to tone quality. I like to compare range on the tuba to climate zones during sum - mer: Upper range = Arizona: hot 100+ degrees, fast wind, and dry Midrange = Michigan: 75 degrees, light breeze, and not too humid Low range = deep south: upper 90s, calm & sticky, 100% humidity Check wind speed, temperature, and humidity by blowing focused wind on your palm. Try blowing slow, warm wind on the bell that causes it to fog up as a reminder to relax the wind in the low range. Check wind quality with your other hand while buzzing on a visualizer. Practice the Bordogni/Mulcahy Melodious Etudes for Trombone in three octaves using wind patterns. The quality of the exhalation should match the quality of the inhalation. Play a few phrases blow - ing the wind on the left palm while playing the fingerings with the right hand. Next, buzz those phrases on a visualizer and then on the mouth - piece before playing them on the horn. This is a great way to “sand” the lip-reed to produce ultra- smooth slurring. Tubists: try playing Bordogni No. 4 down one octave for a week. During week two, play Bordogni No. 11 down one octave and Bordogni No. 4 down two octaves. During week three, choose a new Bor - dogni etude to play down one octave, play Bor - dogni No. 11 down two octaves, and play Bordogni No. 4 as written. By the third week, ledger lines above the staff will look easier to read and feel less intimidating because you have been reading them for a couple of weeks in the lower octaves. Reading upper-range notes down one octave is useful for training the ear to hear the notes before playing them. Playing in the range down two octaves strengthens the embouchure and demands excellent control of large quantities of wind. Playing Bordogni etudes in three octaves will homogenize the sound throughout the entire range and help refine pitch. Try playing these etudes in octaves with a low brass friend to improve intonation throughout the entire range. Developing the ability to fluently read down one and two octaves is essential for accessing music written for other low brass instruments as well as bass, bassoon, and others. Playing difficult high passages down an octave is a great way to learn to really hear them while saving embouchure capital for playing them as written. Upper-range playing can produce fatigue. I recommend following high- range playing sessions by relaxing the lips with low-range playing.

BREATHE…

Use the syllable “hoe” to inhale and “toe” to exhale with a relaxed throat. Playing the tuba relies on the natural recoil of the chest wall which requires full lungs. Breathe early to tank up when possible and then finish the breath in time, exhaling in a smooth motion at the top of the breath. Refuel by breath - ing again when the lungs are half full rather than waiting to breathe until you are pushing the wind out. Much of the tuba’s range requires large quan - tities of comparatively slower moving wind and a more relaxed abdomen. However, the increased wind speed in the upper range requires a more engaged abdominal core during the exhale. This is absolutely essential for producing the fast wind speeds required above the bass staff as the oral cavity adjusts and the aperture focuses in for the upper notes. Daily practice of long tones, expanding from the center of the range out to the extremes, is highly recommended for breath control. Dr. Jerry Young (professor emeritus, The University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire) revised and edited Herbert L. Clarke’s Technical Studies for euphonium, trombone, and tuba; covering the extremes of the range for our instruments. These studies are also wonderful for breath control, finger dexterity, and range develop - ment. I enjoy playing Clarke’s Nos. 2-4 especially. Practicing two octave modal patterns in 12 major keys daily is also excellent for breath control, finger dexterity, and intonation. On the five-valve CC tuba, begin an octave below middle C and play around the circle of fifths starting each scale below that first C (i.e. the key of D flat would start with all valves down). On BB-flat tuba, begin an octave and a ninth below middle C in the key of B flat (see No. 6 below). The goal is to play through all 12 modal patterns in under 10 minutes with a metronome.

JUST SAY “TOE”!

Play wind patterns on the palm of the hand using the syllable “toe” for the low range, “too” for the midrange, and “tih” for the upper range, and per - haps “tiece” for the highest range while listening for the slightly audible pitches in the wind and articulating the music as marked. Play the finger - ings while blowing the wind patterns. The changing oral cavity will focus the wind through the poo- shaped aperture with active direction and inten - sity. Practice tonguing patterns, intervals, and arpeggios for accuracy while listening to the begin - ning, middle, and end of each note and matching the note shape. Wind patterns are excellent for checking accuracy in passages with mixed articula - tion markings and are extremely effective in producing consistent note shapes and lengths. I routinely practice entire works with just wind pat - terns while playing the fingerings. In this photo the student is blowing a wind pattern on his right palm while trying to match the wind quality I am blowing on his left hand in speed, tem - perature, humidity, focus, intensity, quantity, etc. The actual note will be faintly audible in the wind and is easily produced by blowing this wind into the instrument. Jean Baptiste Arban’s method is my go-to text for brass technique development and maintenance. Wes Jacobs, retired principal tubist of The Detroit Symphony introduced me to Arban’s Complete Con - servatory Method for Trumpet when I studied with him during my senior year of high school, and I have been a devotee ever since. He already had a vision to publish a version for tuba which he real - ized in the J.B. Arban Complete Method for Tuba , transcribed and edited by Dr. Jerry Young and Wes Jacobs. Now in its fourth edition, the first edition was published in 1996 just in time for me to share it with my students as a new faculty member at Morehead State University! By then, my well-worn copy of the Thompson/Mantia Trombone edition was literally being held together with duct tape! I also use the Alessi/Bowman Arban Complete Method for Trombone and Euphonium both with my euphonium students and in my own practice on F tuba playing as written. My upper range really started to mature after I began teaching. I have found communicating pedagogical concepts to stu - dents and working with them to improve their playing has reinforced and refined correct con - cepts in my own playing. Music is a unique form of communication that con - nects us. A young, autistic, non-verbal child gave a loud “WOW” of amazement in the silence after a recent performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Masonic Funeral Music by the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston. When music is performed well, the connection can be transcendent for the performers and the audience. Anyone who has experienced it can attest to the incredible feeling expressed by this child. These moments of musical connection are worth cultivating the ability to com - municate at this level. Performers seek to be in the zone as much as pos - sible. With the mind focused on the song, playing seems effortless—the mechanics of technique no longer interfere with freedom of expression and musical communication. We can focus on the mes - sage instead of struggling to form the words. In the end, Song and Wind is still the ultimate goal and I try to relax and remember Professor Micky Moore’s best advice during my DMA studies: “Just play the tuba.” It’s so simple…

COLLABORATION = FUN!

In addition to teaching, performing chamber music has been the single most important factor in my development as a musician. Chamber music per - formance provides a rich environment for honing technique and raising the level of musical commu - nication and connection. It demands deep listening and promotes a heightened awareness in the moment of all aspects of playing—tone, time, tun - ing, blend, balance, etc. It is impossible to over - state its value to the development of complete musicianship. I have been playing in a brass quin - tet since my freshman year of college. The faculty brass quintet at Morehead State University, Hori - zon Brass, was one of the main reasons I was interested in the position. Collaborating with other musicians to perform chamber music has had a tremendous impact on the musician I have become. Susan Slaughter, IWBC founder and retired princi - pal trumpet of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, invited me to join Monarch Brass, the IWBC’s all- women premier brass ensemble, in 1996 on its inaugural tour with conductor Marin Alsop. Here I formed a musical bond playing with Velvet Brown, professor of tuba and euphonium at The Pennsyl - vania State University. The third International Women’s Brass Conference was held at the Univer - sity of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music in 2000; Monarch Brass recorded an album there, released in 2003. Velvet Brown and I formed the professional tuba-euphonium quartet, JUNCTION, with euphoniumists Angie Hunter and Dr. Sharon Huff in 2000 and toured together until 2007. In 2001, JUNCTION presented a recital at the Inter - national Tuba Euphonium Conference in Lahti, Finland. Austrian composer, Franz Cibulka heard our recital and wrote the first Konzert fur Tubaquar - tett und Blasorchester for JUNCTION to premiere at the prestigious Mid-Europe Festival in Schladming, Austria in 2002. The audience was so ecstatic to see four women take the stage as soloists carrying the heavy brasses, that they leapt to their feet in a standing ovation before we even played a note! This work pushed the range and technical limits for our instruments with both tubas playing well into the top of the euphonium’s range. Velvet and I both always played F tubas in JUNCTION and split the first tuba book. This year, we performed together in Monarch Brass for the St. Louis Holiday Brass Concerts and at the 2019 IWBC in Tempe, AZ. Whenever we have the opportunity to play together, the musical communication is still effort - less. Euphoniumist, Dr. Gail Robertson, assistant profes - sor of tuba and euphonium, the University of Central Arkansas and President of the Interna - tional Tuba Euphonium Association, joined Monarch Brass for the 2006 International Trumpet Guild Conference at Rowan University in Glass - boro, NJ. We felt the strong connection in our approach to playing as we sat together in rehearsal. Gail had played with Willie Clark in Dis - ney’s Tubafours for over a decade. I have won - dered if our shared musical kinsmanship with Willie influenced our immediate strong connection as players. We formed SymbiosisDuo in 2007 to increase awareness of the tuba-euphonium duo as a perfor - mance medium and to promote and disseminate new works for this unique combination of instru - ments. We chose the name SymbiosisDuo from the concert duet of that name written for us by Ameri - can composer Chris Sharp. In the program notes for the work Sharp wrote, “Symbiosis is defined as, ‘a relationship of mutual benefit or dependence’…” The technical and range requirements for each solo instrument are comparable, suggesting a sep - arate-but-equal relationship. This is an innovative and challenging approach to duet writing for tuba and euphonium. The symbiosis effect is produced because the tuba is not relegated to an accompa - nying role, but is equal in all aspects of music with the other voice in the duo, the euphonium. Our first album, Symbiosis (2009) was selected as finalist for the 2010 Roger Bobo Award for Record - ing Excellence in Chamber Music by the Interna - tional Tuba Euphonium Association (ITEA). In 2012, we joined a commissioning consortium and performed the world premiere of American composer, James Grant’s Double Concerto for Euphonium and Tuba with piano at Michigan State University and the American premiere of the con - certo with the Morehead State University Sym - phony Band in Morehead, KY. Here is a recording of Jam es Grant’s work: We premiered Franz Cilbulka’s Wallstreet at the 2014 ITEC at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and recorded this ground-breaking work on our second album, Playground , in 2015. At times it is difficult to determine which instrument is play - ing because the parts