Director’s Survival Guide

Director’s Survival Guide Chapter Sample

From Chapter 13E. Recruitment and Retention of Brass Players:

  1. Recruitment

As with any instrument, the most important element in the recruitment of brass players is student interest. Students who are genuinely interested in playing a brass instrument are far more likely to thrive than those who have been drafted against their will into a brass section to fill an instrumentation need. That is not to say that directors who need brass players should not transfer students from other sections, but care should be taken to match ensemble need with student interest.

There are two sources of brass players for directors: new students and transferred students from other instruments. To recruit new students requires cultivating interest at the beginning level by featuring soloists and playing recordings of great brass players. If it is necessary to transfer a student from a different instrument, follow these guidelines:

►Flute players make good tuba players because, like tuba, the flute involves little resistance to the air flow. As a result, flute players generally have a good idea of the air flow requirements to play the tuba.

►Trumpet players can be switched easily to treble clef euphonium because the fingerings are the same. The mouthpiece is, of course, larger, but the euphonium mouthpiece is generally easier to handle than the trumpet mouthpiece.

►Trumpet players can also be switched to horn because they read the same clef. The mouthpieces are quite different so there is some adaptation to be done with the embouchure.

►Euphonium players can switch to trombone because the mouthpiece, clef and range are the same. Obviously, learning the slide technique presents a challenge but is not insurmountable.

►Trombone players can switch to euphonium because the mouthpiece, clef and range are the same. Teach these students the slide position/valve combination equivalents to accommodate the transition.