The Advocate

Newsletter for The Music Education Community of Western PA

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JMC's Trip to The International Trombone Festival

From July 13 through July 16, Johnstonbaugh’s Music Centers, represented by Bob Johnstonbaugh and Joe Weinzierl, traveled to the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas, for the International Trombone Festival (ITF). JMC was invited to attend as an exhibitor by Greg Black Mouthpieces, a Gold-level event sponsor. JMC was joined by Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra utility trombone player Jim Nova as an authorized dealer of his signature line of Greg Black Mouthpieces.

The International Trombone Festival is an annual, multi-day gathering where teachers, students, artists, professionals, industry leaders, and hobbyists explore the many facets and styles of trombone playing, teaching, and making.

Each day at the ITF includes performances, lectures, and classes that are available to all attendees. Along with classes and concerts, the ITF hosts the International Trombone Association (ITA) annual competition finals, where trombonists from all over the world, who have undergone a rigorous application and selection process, play and are judged to determine a winner in various categories of playing. Also, an exhibitor hall is open where trombone and trombone accessory makers showcase their products for participants to try.

Throughout the week, JMC met trombone players from all over the world and at all different skill levels, from grade-school beginners to seasoned professionals. It was highly informative to learn the wants and needs of so many different levels of players with interests in various styles of music. It was also a great experience to meet the trombone makers and talk face-to-face about what makes their products compelling to players.

By attending the ITF, JMC experienced camaraderie amongst trombone players, all trying to become better musicians. It was an invaluable experience to be a part of a gathering based on the passion for a single instrument. It is something that JMC will apply to all instruments, in addition to the trombone.

Mouthpiece Importance

Generally speaking, entry-level woodwind and brasswind instruments are outfitted with entry-level mouthpieces suited for creating beginning tones.

While diligent practice and sound technique are most important, because the mouthpiece, after the embouchure, is literally where the sound begins, a better mouthpiece will improve the player's sound and response immediately.

Each instrument type has it own set of mouthpiece specifications and like instruments themselves, there are performance and pro-level options to choose from and a wide range of prices. If you or your young musician would like to learn more, contact your school band director, or speak with your private instructor or a JMC representative.

Auditioning Tips from Amanda Sage

Amanda Sage is an accomplished flutist, having served as principal flute with the Pittsburgh Philharmonic, principal flute, and second flute/piccolo with Undercroft Opera, and has performed with the Edgewood, Westmoreland, and Johnstown Symphonies. Amanda also has 12 years of experience in private instruction and many years of experience teaching both instrumental and general music (K-12). Amanda is also an adjunct flute instructor at Mercyhurst University, as well as adjunct faculty lecturer in music at West Virginia Northern Community College. Amanda's students have experienced success in passing auditions for various middle and high school honor level ensembles, as well as colleges and universities. JMC asked Amanda what her advice is for auditioning; here is what she had to say:

It is important to remember that audition preparation is more than just practicing the technical aspects of your music. Make a playlist containing only your audition piece(s) and listen to it as often as you can. Get your hands on the score of the piece you are working on, and study what the other parts are doing, so you can be aware of how your part fits into the larger whole. Get to know the composer of your piece, and see if there are any interesting facts or history behind the music.

When you are practicing with your instrument, turn off your phone, and limit all distractions. It is also important to PLAN your practice (when you will practice, for how long, your goal for that session, etc.). Also, make the sessions interesting. Don't do the same thing, the same way, each time. Start in the middle of the piece some days. Change up some of the rhythms to help you learn challenging sections. Can you play some/all of your piece memorized?! Find ways to challenge both your fingers and your brain during each practice session.

Lastly, on audition day, aim to have fun, and play your heart out. I assume you've put in a lot of work up until this point, so there's nothing left to do but to get up there and do your very best.

Joshua Mauer Accepted into the All-National Band

The NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles (ANHE) represent the top-performing high school musicians in the United States. Students audition from all over the country for an opportunity to play in the All-National Ensembles. Joshua Mauer of Trinity Christian School was accepted into the All National Concert Band for French Horn. Mauer is a student of JMC Educational Sales Representative, Dennis Emert, who has been Joshua's private instructor since grade school.

Joshua will rehearse with Rodney Dorsey, the Chair of the Department of Bands and Professor of Music (Bands) at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. He will also rehearse with the top high school musicians in the country. JMC is very proud of Joshua for his accomplishment and is honored to have Dennis working for JMC to provide support for music educators in western PA.

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Issued July 2022

Newsletter by Joe Weinzierl and Dennis Emert