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View Full Version : Trombone player wanting to learn the euphonium - advice needed please



DeedleBone
29.05.2012, 18:44
I have been playing the trombone for about seven years and would now like to take up the euphonium in addition.

I am 14 and have passed my grade 8 recently with distinction and I think that being able to double on euphonium would be very well looked on by the music conservatoires that I hope to attend when I am older. I'm from South London so I don't do much "brass band" playing I'm afraid! :eek:

Does anyone have any advice or tips as to whether this is a sensible idea, what type of euphonium I should get and also if the transition between instruments would be difficult?

Thanks - any advice will be gratefully received

Andrew Norman
29.05.2012, 18:58
Well done on passing your grade 8.
Euphonium would be a useful double and (at least initially) you needn't use too different a mouthpiece (watch everyone shoot that down in flames)....
Buy the best you can afford... if cash is tight an older B&H Imperial would be a sensible buy in my opinion. There are also some great value chinese instruments about which would see you through. Obviously if you have loads of money there is much more choice.
There is always the valve trombone option - have you considered that ? It would help you learn valve fingering with even less disruption to your embouchere.
Good luck

Oxted Band
29.05.2012, 19:39
Great idea, I'm a Euph player, but play trombone also. Sound production is most definitely different between the two, but many people switch quite happily.

Have you thought about going along to a brass band local to you? Many have spare instruments, so you might be able to have a play on Euph and see how you get on? Especially if you like it so much you decide to stay with the band!

Gazabone
30.05.2012, 20:14
I have been playing the trombone for about seven years and would now like to take up the euphonium in addition.

I am 14 and have passed my grade 8 recently with distinction and I think that being able to double on euphonium would be very well looked on by the music conservatoires that I hope to attend when I am older. I'm from South London so I don't do much "brass band" playing I'm afraid! :eek:

Does anyone have any advice or tips as to whether this is a sensible idea, what type of euphonium I should get and also if the transition between instruments would be difficult?

Thanks - any advice will be gratefully received
Hi,
Good thinking, always useful to be able to play valve and slide. I started off on cornet for 5 years then had massive embouchre problems - lost an octave in range and tone within about 15 minutes of playing (but all that's another story). I've played trom now for about 30 years but fancied euph about 5 years ago so bought myself one. It's certainly great fun and adds another dimension to playing. The biggest problems I encountered were (are!!!);
1. Training the muscles that work the fingers - it's surprising the fatigue that sets in - it's not like learning a new instrument completely from scratch and you'll probably find you equate valve combinations to slide positions. All that means that you'll be able to tackle more difficult music earlier than your finger muscles will develop to cope with it!
2. Co-ordinating your tongue to your fingers!
3. Intonation - it doesn't half feel strange to have to lip a note in tune when you're used to being able to do it with a slide!

Personally, I would advise against going for a chinese instrument, if you can stretch to a new, quality instrument (e.g. Sovereign, Prestige, Neo, Meastro, York etc) that's great but they require a significant number of beer vouchers. A good alternative is to go for a 2nd hand quality instrument. John Packers in Taunton have a few in stock and they will normally post them to you to try for a few days - well worth a try.

Hope this helps

MoominDave
31.05.2012, 10:33
It's eminently doable to play both to a high standard. At first, you'll notice the differences more than the similarities, but as you progress, you'll realise that they really aren't such different instruments as all that.

As Andrew says, you may well be able to reuse your current mouthpiece. I'd add that this is provided that your trombone mouthpiece choice isn't too small (anything down to about a 5 rim size should work fine - and a relatively deep cup is quite important) - that's assuming that you are a tenor trombone player, not a bass...

simonium
31.05.2012, 11:53
Congratulations on your exam result - well done. I'll be a dissenting voice here and say don't do it. Every time I've heard a trombonist play euphonium - and remember that David Childs used to do it - the result for me has been somewhat dissatisfactory. Think also of the guy that plays the euphonium solo on the Last Night Of The Proms. I tried to do it for a while, but going from euph to trombone and try as I might I couldn't make what I would call an authentic trombone sound - too woolly and almost muffled. I reckon it was because I'd got dependent on the tightness and complications of the euphonium tubing that the directness of the trombone was entirely alien.

As for mouthpieces to be honest you can't go wrong with a good old fashioned "4" of any type. I've played on all major brands of euphonium as up until recently I worked in a major brass specialist store. Avoid Chinese like the plague - very, very poor quality in my experience of both playing and repairing. I agree with the second hand sentiment too - there are lots of decent pre-owned Sovereigns about - go for the large bell large bore combination as it is more popular so there will be better choices available. I would avoid the Maestro too. If you stretch to new, The Yamaha Neo is the best euphonium I've played. York are good, new German model Bessons are excellent - except for the 967T which is just odd, Sterling are good also, if expensive.

Whatever you decide to do good luck, and hopefully you'll enjoy playing the euphonium so much the blight of the trombone will be forever removed from your life! :D

MoominDave
31.05.2012, 12:11
Simon, you're a man of strong opinions, that's for sure... I don't agree with some of those expressed here, and I think it's worth going into one in a little detail.

"The guy that plays the euphonium solo on the Last Night Of The Proms" is playing orchestral-style euphonium. It's not the same desired sound as brass-band-style euphonium - what the conductor wants is straighter, more direct, no wibbly-wobbliness for sure, indeed more like a trombone sound. Andy Fawbert delivers that par excellence (it was him last time I watched the LNOTP, but that must be 10 years ago - maybe someone else does it now? Duncan Wilson, it's not you, is it?). Equally, I'm sure he must be able to switch on the brass band style - after all, he was solo euph with the excellent Jones & Crossland / Birmingham School of Music band in the 70s.

I would tactfully suggest that maybe you haven't heard many doublers of quality - there are plenty about in brass bands who try but haven't devoted the necessary time to working it all out whose work may be leading you to underappreciate the possibility of knowing your way around both to a good level.

Andrew Norman
31.05.2012, 12:37
Let's also not forget that the original poster is 14 and has time on his side to make decisions about the direction his playing is going to take.
The idea of taking up a valved instrument as a second option should not be stiffled just because he may end up not playing one as well as the other.
Also with cost likely to be a strong factor don't be too quick to deride chinese instruments. Having just purchased a new Euphonium for our band from Wessex Tubas (and an EEb Bass) we have been delighted with the quality and value for money.
Yes - there are dodgy instruments out there - but for something to start on there are lots of options.

Rob
31.05.2012, 13:35
Congratulations on your exam result - well done. I'll be a dissenting voice here and say don't do it. Every time I've heard a trombonist play euphonium - and remember that David Childs used to do it - the result for me has been somewhat dissatisfactory. Think also of the guy that plays the euphonium solo on the Last Night Of The Proms. I tried to do it for a while, but going from euph to trombone and try as I might I couldn't make what I would call an authentic trombone sound - too woolly and almost muffled. I reckon it was because I'd got dependent on the tightness and complications of the euphonium tubing that the directness of the trombone was entirely alien.

As for mouthpieces to be honest you can't go wrong with a good old fashioned "4" of any type. I've played on all major brands of euphonium as up until recently I worked in a major brass specialist store. Avoid Chinese like the plague - very, very poor quality in my experience of both playing and repairing. I agree with the second hand sentiment too - there are lots of decent pre-owned Sovereigns about - go for the large bell large bore combination as it is more popular so there will be better choices available. I would avoid the Maestro too. If you stretch to new, The Yamaha Neo is the best euphonium I've played. York are good, new German model Bessons are excellent - except for the 967T which is just odd, Sterling are good also, if expensive.

Whatever you decide to do good luck, and hopefully you'll enjoy playing the euphonium so much the blight of the trombone will be forever removed from your life! :D

Interesting viewpoint - would have to disagree as well! In our band we have several trombone players who can and regularly do double up without any problems at all. For example, at the Masters at the weekend three out of the four players in the euph/bari section study trombone at the London colleges. Our solo euphonium, Rory Cartmell, has won the euphonium prize at the Area both times he has sat in the solo chair with band, and he is studying trombone. Apart from Rory, the two other players have also played in the trombone section. I think that if you're a decent player doubling can be done without too many problems!

JimboFB
31.05.2012, 14:08
Interesting viewpoint - would have to disagree as well! In our band we have several trombone players who can and regularly do double up without any problems at all. For example, at the Masters at the weekend three out of the four players in the euph/bari section study trombone at the London colleges. Our solo euphonium, Rory Cartmell, has won the euphonium prize at the Area both times he has sat in the solo chair with band, and he is studying trombone. Apart from Rory, the two other players have also played in the trombone section. I think that if you're a decent player doubling can be done without too many problems!

Great shout Rob, problem is in the 'brass band world' unless you're relatively well known and/or play for one of the 'name' bands, people assume you are rubbish and have no ability.

Your point about your top euph player winning the solo prize sums it up perfectly. A lot of people (not saying all), would assume "he wont be any good, he's a trombone player..." etc etc. I've heard these type of comments flying around over the years, same with trumpets vs cornets, tenor horns vs french horns etc etc.

For what its worth, i did the opposite, learnt Euph all through school, did my grade 8, then learnt trombone. My only observation is how much easier (or so i thought at the time) trombone was to learn and technical aspects were to get to grips with having played euph for a while.

One good thing that learning trom opened me up to orchestral/jazz etc styles which just sticking on euph wouldnt.

I would say to the OP go for it, there is certainly no harm in it, and if you dont get on with it, and cant be bothered etc, just getting a basic grasp of valves is essential if youre thinking of getting into any form of teaching further down the line. Guessing bass clef from playing trom has already been mastered which many 'brass banders' dont get involved with - another added advantage!

euph77
31.05.2012, 15:13
Andy Fawbert delivers that par excellence (it was him last time I watched the LNOTP)

and his credentials speak for themselves - currently at Wells Cathedral School teaching both Euphonium and Trombone (and a super bloke too!).

GJG
31.05.2012, 16:48
"The guy that plays the euphonium solo on the Last Night Of The Proms" is playing orchestral-style euphonium.

... it's not even a euphonium! it's a Tenor Tuba ;). Now, is that a transposing instrument ... ?

:evil: [Runs away ... ]

Bayerd
31.05.2012, 23:30
... it's not even a euphonium! it's a Tenor Tuba ;). Now, is that a transposing instrument ... ?

:evil: [Runs away ... ]

If the part's written in concert pitch tenor or bass clef, no. Anything else, probably.

I'd say to the op, go for it. I started on trombone, then doubled on euph/baritone at college. As others have said, it's useful knowing the valve combinations. It's also good for giving you an appreciation of how different shaped tubing responds.

At least you're going from trom to euph, I've heard a few try the other way around. Portamenti aplenty...

Kiz7
01.06.2012, 01:32
Simon, you're a man of strong opinions, that's for sure... I don't agree with some of those expressed here, and I think it's worth going into one in a little detail.

"The guy that plays the euphonium solo on the Last Night Of The Proms" is playing orchestral-style euphonium. It's not the same desired sound as brass-band-style euphonium - what the conductor wants is straighter, more direct, no wibbly-wobbliness for sure, indeed more like a trombone sound. Andy Fawbert delivers that par excellence (it was him last time I watched the LNOTP, but that must be 10 years ago - maybe someone else does it now? Duncan Wilson, it's not you, is it?). Equally, I'm sure he must be able to switch on the brass band style - after all, he was solo euph with the excellent Jones & Crossland / Birmingham School of Music band in the 70s.



Recently played Solo Euph for Sherborne at the West of England area in the championship section too - and teaches trombone and euphonium at Wells Cathedral School as stated in one of the earlier posts. A pretty decent advert for being a multi-instrumentalist for sure!

fsteers
02.06.2012, 03:47
Some good insight and advice here: Trombone-Euphonium Doubling: Techniques for Making It Work (http://bands.army.mil/masterclass/tusab/nov2000/trom_euph.htm) by Master Sergeant John Mueller, Euphonium section leader, The United States Army Band.

eupho1
02.11.2012, 20:59
I have a really nice imperial euph im thinking of selling if you want to give me a call - Steve