And this is why you work outside of your comfort zone

If Lauren went home in Lake Placid, I went to strange, scary new places. By the time Lauren and I got to the first Great American Community Band rehearsal, there were two spots open, a second trombone, and the last chair in the section. According to time honored tradition, placement was determined by rock paper scissors, which, as always, I lost: for the first time in my life, I would be playing bass trombone. Well, unless you count a couple read-throughs with trombone quartets, where we passed all the parts around and everybody had a turn. I have never considered myself to have a good low range. I've turned down a handful of gigs in the past couple of years because a bass trombone was called for, and I wasn't comfortable in that register.

But last summer, the AWCB played a few tunes where the firsts had some pedals and a little bit of work in the trigger register, and I got tired of flubbing the couple of notes in the Grondahl that get that low. So I started working harder in the trigger and pedal range, long tones, scales. I've been working on attacking, playing quarter note/quarter rest scales from Bb 2 down to the pedal, turning on pedal A, and back up. Paying attention to attacks, intonation, all the usual issues. It obviously helped a lot in the low register, but I think it also helped me center the middle and high ranges, and helped with support throughout my range.

So while I'm pretty sure I didn't make anybody forget Doug Yeo, I think I played the part that was given to me reasonably well. And while I'm not going to start searching ebay for a Holton TR 162 any time soon, if somebody's desperate for a third trombone, I might just take the gig.

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