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Issue 6088

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IFOR JAMES - The horn player who tried to change the horns 

BB Brass Masterclass: Brett Baker on breaking down new music

Thursday 1 April, 2021

Have you encountered a new solo or band piece and struggled with where to begin? Sometimes, tackling a demanding work can feel overwhelming – but that needn’t be the case.

Brett Baker, principal trombone of Black Dyke, a Michael Rath artist, general manager of the Geneva Group and a vastly experienced educator, offers hints and tips on getting started with that tricky piece.


The topic of working at a difficult excerpt or solo will be valuable to any player that has a cadenza, challenging moments in a test-piece or a tricky solo to play at a concert. Players of any level can feel under pressure, whether for one bar or tackling a whole solo.

Test-piece and concert items are becoming increasingly demanding, not just for end-chair players but other members of the band too. Some players will find certain aspects of playing very difficult but the same musical statement might be relatively easy for another set of players. It depends on the context, the level and also to an extent, the instrument. For instance, some players may struggle with octave jumps but others may find high notes a challenge. Yet more may suggest fast passages as being the most challenging thing for them to play.


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