Becoming an International Soloist!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Seedhouse, Sep 25, 2003.

  1. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    Hello, a brief introduction to myself for those who haven't read any of my threads.

    I'm a 16 yr old Euph player working towards Grade 8, and after 6th Form i'm hoping to go to the RNCM and study under Steven Mead. After/ during my time at the RNCM I want to join one of the top bands, and after that become an International Soloist much like Steven Mead. :oops:

    Reason for this? Because I enjoy playing my Euph so much that I hope to make a career out of it.

    I know that this is going to take a lot of time and effort and I was hoping that some tMPers could give me some advice on a few things.
    a) anyone else in the group with the same career aspirations?
    b) any advice anyone could give me?
    c) anyone know what the RNCM is like? Is it good?
    d) anyone know a good daily routine that I could do?

    I know that i've asked a lot of questions, but I know that the tMP bunch are very friendly, and we all try to help out each other.
  2. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    hiya i went to the RNCM open day yesterday (funnily enuf) and i have to say before yesterday i was leaning so much more towards the welsh college of music but now i am completely and utterly confused cos if the open days anythin to go by it was soooooooo impressive!!!
    i had a great day and would really like to go there!!! they are really helpful as well they offer u a consultation audition to help you pick pieces for your audition.

    the head of brass wind and percussion there is james gourlay and the head of brass is john miller i spoke to john miller who seemed really nice and gave me some examples i could play at my udition i didnt get chance to speak to james gourlay but i walked past him and he said "hello how are you" which i thought was quite friendly so the staff all seem nice!!

    we sat in on a wind band rehearsal and they played the 1st mvemnt frm year of the dragon which was brilliant.

    so i can safely say that if i got in (thisd is the problem) i think i would definatly go there. i got my music teacher to sign my reference today and will hopefully be sendin the application off next week! (so fingers crossed)

    but my advice to you is go to the open day and ask as many questions as poss. it's alot of work to get in but i'd imagine it wouod be worth it!!! :)
  3. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    Thanks for your post, good luck with your audition! :wink: Tell me how it goes, I might see you up there sometime! :D Got another year and a bit before I audition. I really hope I can get in, because I don't want a gap year!
    If any other tMPers offer any advice about the RNCM or my other questions, your help will be much appreciated.
    Thanks again Leisa, (is that your name or is it lisa?? Just wondering)
  4. Cantonian

    Cantonian Active Member

    I knew Steven Mead when he was 16-18. You may have to be as single-minded as he was. i.e. to the detriment of everything and everyone else!
  5. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    Ello Alex.

    a) not really much of a career move for a budding international tenor horn soloist at the moment :S if i get good il think about it ;)
    b) practise lots and listen to lots of music (not just brass, and not just classical)
    c) I've just left the rncm for salford this year. rncm is a nice place, a lot of sitting around doing nothing, but there is at all the music colleges/conservatoires!!! Staff are mostly very nice and good to have a laugh with. (All the brass and wind staff anyway... any of the academic or string staff are mostly boc's!!! quite litterally! and many of them look down on brass players.
    d) Dont fall into the trap of thinking you have to practise all the time... You walk round college (or the halls) and you'll hear people practising 24/7, its quite rediculous! Just remember that you're a brass player and it isnt good for your lips to be playing all day. I know quite a few people of falling into the trap that they believe whenever they hear someone practising, they should be aswell... result: ruined lips/embochoures... not good! Find a nice routine for yourself.. if you feel you need to practise loads, start off doing 20mins or half an hour, then take 30mins/1hour rest.. then same again. This way you're building up your practise time without giving your lips a hammering and letting them recover afterwards.

    Feel free to pm me if you've got any questions :)
  6. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    ha!! it's leisa you just say it lisa (dont ask me i think my parents were just tryin to be different)

    i have to agree with what aiden said bout the other teachers looking down on brass players i was only there about 3/4 hrs and i never once heard the vice principle and other string/woodwind teachers mention brass!! and when i first wen in there was a string stnd, a vocal stand, a percussion stand, a woodwind stand, a composers stand and even a contemporary music stand................but they'd just bunged all the brass players with the woodwind..charmin eh??

    so that was the definate feelin i got although the niceness of James Gourlay and John Miller kind of made up fer it! :)
  7. amgray

    amgray Member

    [Wise Sage Mode]
    Its like the old question 'How do I get to Carnegie Hall?' - practice my friend!!
    Practice lots (of the right stuff) in blocks of 20-30mins followed by an equivalent length break.
    Have a routine of Warm Ups, Lip Flexibilities, Technical Exercises, Pieces and remember the practice starts when you get it right - don't stop the first time it works, reinforce the 'Correct' version.

    Be single minded and work hard, there are no short cuts.

    As for the soloist bit, contact the people who are doing it now (Russell Gray, Phil McCann, Bob & Nick Childs, Nick Hudson etc.) and ask them for advice - be polite and you may get very useful tips. Above all enjoy your playing and learn something from EVERYONE.

    Good Luck!!

    [/Wise Sage Mode]
  8. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    aha alex some wise words spoken :wink: well here's my 2 pennoth, dont just limit yourself to RNCM, there are others you know, have a look at em all, think what sort of course you want to do, think about a second instrument, think about teaching, peri work etc, come along to our training band to see how it works and maybe help out, be one step ahead, try a little conducting (training band 1st), try the trombone! etc

    there thats summat for you to think about :wink:

    shazza your thoughtful friendly MD 8)
  9. Euph Kidd

    Euph Kidd Member

    I sent emails to Euph players like Tormod Flaten from Norway and Adam Frey from the US and asked them if they had any general hints and tips for competitions as I have entered quite alot this year. They were really useful and were pleased they could do something to help. Their websites are (Adam Frey) and (Tormod Flaten) Once you get into these websites you'll find links to other Euph sites. I also quite like the idea of studying Euph but my parents like the multi-millionaire idea better so Im working on that first! GOOD LUCK!
  10. Di B

    Di B Member

    The one thing that I would recommend is review your situation every 6 months. Review your dreams, your achievements to date, and your goals and aims in life. This will help you see what you have done and what you still need to do very clearly. Your goals may well change as you get older.

    Also, be realistic. Unless you are exceptionally talented and prepared to sacrifice everything you have for it there is a chance you may well not make it as a soloist. There are many reasons why dreams don't work out the way we would like them to. In these circumstances you need to have a back up plan. What would you do instead? Make sure you cover yourself for the bad bits as well as all the positive ones.

    The only reason I didn't go to music college myself was because it seemed like a waste of time. I didn't want to teach music in a school and what else could I do with a music degree? Why spend a few years achieving something I could do nothing with when I could work and earn instead? This was a few years ago, and I admit to being very glad that in the last 10 years the further education of a brass student certainly seems so much more normal and acceptable than it used to be.

    I say this because I wanted to tell you I didn't follow my dreams Alex. Even *if* you fail at yours in the long run it really doesn't matter. Just follow them and go as far as you can. Best of luck!
  11. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    Thanks Di, and the rest of you. Your advice is much appreciated and i've taken your thoughts into account.
    If anyone else could post anymore advice though, it'd be much appreciated.
    Thanks again,
  12. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Becoming International takes a lot of hard work... and a lot of time.
    Enter as many competitions as poss and get yourself known everywhere!
    oh, and practise practise practise....

    Look for all vacancies in Champ section bands.
    That's what I did and found Leyland... well, they found me! :D
    ALways go for the best you can...

    As Di said you need to be realistic...

    Dreams of being and becoming international soloists or whatever are all every nice... but be warned; it's a hard business to get into... Music is hard to make money out of it as it is; so make sure you have things that you can fall back on and do at the same time...

    Good luck with all your studies and I look forward to seeing your name everywhere winning all those competitions! ;-)
  13. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    I've been told by many that I have a great attitude towards the Euphonium, and that this will benefit me in years to come. I think it also reflects in my banding. I may not be the greatest player yet, (in fact i'm a bit disappointed in my playing and over critical of myself!) but i'm having a lesson off Steven Mead soon, and am very excited! :p Keep your eyes out for me in the future! :wink:
  14. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    Good luck!! :p
  15. hey man
    the northern is a great place, especially for band instruments cos not many other conservatoires take an awful lot of interest in them. a good way of getting a little bit of experience of the place is auditioning for the junior school there, and seeing as you've got another yr+a bit, its well worth it. iv been at the JS for eight yrs now (probably a tad more than a bit of experience) but iv had a well good time. for a euph player, i'm not entirely sure who would teach you because there is currently none in JS, but im positive it'd be a top flight player maybe from one of the best bands.
    if you did end up going to the northern, im pretty sure u'd be snapped up by a good band because they are usually quite keen on eager students looking for a seat.
    it would be nice to be an international soloist, but you really have to be incredible, but if thats what you want, do it definately. im looking more towards a professional orchestral job, or to be a member of a professional brass quintet or ensemble (hopefully)
    try the junior school on 0161 9075264 or go on the JS website through
    i'm auditioning for the northern, and i am currently swung that way as opposed to the Royal Academy of Music, London and Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London where i'm also auditioning, but the RNCM is probably the best college around (i think) for euphonium tuition.
    Good luck man, sorry if i bored anybody, im jst a boc at heart
  16. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    heya just thought id say! i got back from the welsh college of music and drama 2day and it was top!!!!!!

    looks great for brass!!!

    Just thought id tell ya!! :shock: :p
  17. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    I can't really say much more to whats already been said, but really echoing what Naomi Cornish said. Who says you have to join a top band after you've graduated? Plenty of top bands have students in them (Leyland with a certain percussionist hehe, and Natsumi Inabi (or whatever her name is!) at Fodens). Playing in a top level band (even if its not a 'name' band like Black Dyke etc) will give you loads of valuable experience.
  18. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    all the top bands have a lot of students, many more than you would think!
  19. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    Inaba* :wink:
  20. Seedhouse

    Seedhouse Active Member

    Thanks guys, can anyone else offer anymore help/ advice?
    The more the merrier! :lol:

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