Must you read alto clef to play alto trombone?

Take a look at excerpts from the music written in the 18th Century for the first trombone and you’ll find music written in alto clef. Here’s an example from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony: The principal reason for alto clef was to make the higher parts easier to read by using fewer



What is the difference between alto trombone and tenor trombone?

I recently ran across an article posted by Yamaha on the difference between alto and tenor trombone. One sentence at the beginning of the article that caught my attention was, “alto trombones play higher notes than tenor…” Is that true? As someone who has played alto trombone exclusively for the


Alto trombone position and overtone guides

I was recently asked to create a positioning chart for the alto trombone. My inclination was to recommend creating one himself since the physical act of doing it will benefit the learning process. But I realize that doing things the hard way is an acquired taste and I’m glad to


The art of living in troubled times

I received an email today from a musician friend who is having a very hard time of things right now. He’s far from the only one, but his emotional outpouring of sorrow and hopelessness inspired me to share my belief in what I’m calling the art. The art of living


How to practice your instrument much better

I received an email from a subscriber asking an excellent question. He asks how he can optimize his time in the three hours per day he dedicates to practicing. Is it better to have fewer things to work on and spend more time on those, or to practice on more


How to learn difficult skills faster and more deeply

I am very excited to be finishing up my new book. The point of the book is, strengthening one’s musical ear to enable better musicianship and improvisation. That’s not the title, just the concept. The working title is Jazz Patterns for Ear. As I reached the end of creating and


Trombones swimming in the luscious reverb of Biosphere2

Gerry Pagano came to town this past week. It’s odd. Every time he comes here, remarkable music gets recorded. The first time Gerry came to Phoenix after a long absence was to record the CD Roads Less Traveled. Two years later he and Doug Yeo descended upon my studio to


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