Hello, and Welcome!
Welcome to the online home of trombonist and educator Tim Dueppen. This site will provide information on my upcoming performances, clinics, recording projects, and all professional playing events. It will also be a source of information for my low brass students, who can download exercises, lesson assignments, and general tips on playing. I will also post information on my current research, such as my most recent project: the use of the trombone by Mozart as a sacred signifier in his operas. I will write blogs that will address certain playing issues, and give tips on how to fix these problems. I hope that you will enjoy my website as much as I have enjoyed setting it up. Also, a big thanks to my web designer Joe Sweeney. Please visit timdueppen.com often, and email me at any time with any questions or comments.
Moving Through Phrases
February 21, 2014
One thing that we all seem to forget about as Brass players, at least at times, is movement through a musical phrase. Often we are so focused on the start of a note, that we forget that we must work on musically moving all the way through a phrase and play through the length of the last note. Don’t misunderstand me, the beginning of a phrase is very important. By using unimpeded airflow and immediate change from inhalation to exhalation, you can achieve a great start to the phrase. However, when this is the limit of our vision, we are at a lost. As a professional performer, I have found that the one way to differentiate an amateur performer form a pro is the length of the last note, and general ease of airflow through the phrase.
In order to practice this type of idea, use a variety of methods. First, practice wind patterns through the length of the phrase. Use the rise and fall of the pitches and the harmonic contour as the basis for the musical phrasing. Be musical! Listen to recordings and mimic this phrasing. Also, remember to sing through the phrases. Use the same technique of phrasing as was just described, but remember to sing well!! So often, performers are timid about singing with a great sound. The more accurately and resonantly you sing, the better you will play. These simple two techniques will dramatically improve your airflow and phrasing. But, remember to play through the last note. This is something that can be learned by listening to great symphony orchestra brass sections and great soloists. Mimic their length and try to be exact
By following these techniques you can be on your way to playing full and resonant phrases!
Reflections From My Time with the LAUSD All-City Band
December 17, 2013
As an alumni of the Los Angeles Unified School District All-City band, I consider it a privilege to look back fondly on my experience and reflect on the amazing education that came from my time with the band. It is with great joy that I now prepare to come back to the group and mentor these young musicians as an alumni whose musical career began with Tony White and his music program. I can honestly tell you that some of my most important educational experiences happened while I was a member of the All-City band program.
As a musician, my training began early at Parkman Middle School, and progressed earnestly forward at Taft High School. My High School band director, Stephen Burch, soon became my favorite teacher, and introduced me to new and important educational approaches to learning and loving music. Mr. Burch did not just show me how to play my instrument, but taught me resilience and a passionate practice ethic that I still use to this day. It was Stephen Burch who encouraged me to enroll in the All-City Marching band program, a musical experience that two of my brothers had participated in before I attended Taft High School.
As I jumped off of the bus at my first day of All-City practice, I was extremely scared and nervous. Here, at Wilson High School, were hundreds of the best musicians in the city. Early, I figured that I would need to learn a level of self-determination and improve on my social skills. As director Anthony White approached the megaphone and uttered the now famous phrase “Who’s the best band in the parade?” and everyone in the know responded with “All-City, Sir,” I knew that I needed to learn even more.
Under Tony’s guidance, I did not just learn how to improve my music and marching skills, I learned life skills that made me the person I am today. First and foremost, Tony helped teach me, and everyone in the band, their own self worth. At every rehearsal, he and his staff challenged each of us to play and march more precisely and in turn use this level of individual accountability in every aspect of our daily lives. Tony and his staff also challenged us to learn new and innovative methods for practicing and performing, ideas that have only in the recent years become cornerstones of music education across the country.
In addition to the various skills learned above, my All-City experience also taught me how to properly socialize with students from every socio-economic and racial background. Thanks to my participation in the band, I learned how to treat and respect every type of person. In the band, Tony united us through one specific goal: Music. This goal did not see race or economic position or gender or sexual orientation; there was always simply the Music.
It was through All-City’s musical goals, that the specific skills of socialization, self-determination, individual accountability, and many others were fostered. Because of this, my challenging road to becoming a professional musician was made possible. After I left Los Angeles, I studied in New York and Houston, and now teach Jazz and Classical music at Montana State University as an Assistant Professor. I have used the skills I learned in the band to tour all over North and South America with the Brass Quintet “Metalis M5,” a Mexico-based group with whom I was able to use of all of the socialization and language skills I learned while in the All-City band.
Additionally I have become a musicologist, writing about the history of music and recently completing my Doctorate in music at the University of Houston in music performance with a concentration in music history. My journey to become a writer was influenced strongly by the level of self-determination I learned while participating in the All-City band. Furthermore, I am also a sponsored artist with a major music accessory company, the Denis Wick London Co., and am the Principal Trombonist in the Bozeman Symphony Orchestra.
My success in music, and in my life, is due in large part to the All-City band, and the musical training and encouragement I had at Taft High School. I cannot began to express the love and respect I have for the music programs in LAUSD, and I hope to see them grow stronger as the years progress. I believe that is important to understand that music does not just simply teach notes and rhythms, it educates our youth in their own humanity, and teaches skills vital to the development of our society.
I am deeply indebted to Anthony White and Stephen Burch for their work in teaching me, and countless others in the LAUSD music program, a love and respect for music and each other. The self-determination, accountability, and social skills I learned on top of the innovative musical practice approaches have made me who I am today. I am forever thankful and blessed that I received such an amazing education, and hope that all students in the city of LA get that same opportunity.