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Fourzi

Saxophone to Baritone! [Personal Log]

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Learning Baritone to march DCI!

Hello everyone! This post will serve as my personal log in my adventure to learn baritone in an effort to one day march drum corps. If this disrespects any guidelines of the forums, feel free to let me know and I'll remove accordingly.

A little about me:

  • First musical instrument I learned was the saxophone
  • I have been playing the saxophone for 7 years (3 years alto, 4 years tenor, with some soprano and bari thrown in)
  • I'm 18 years old and about to graduate high school (today actually!)
  • First learned of DCI my freshman year and I've been hooked since
  • Began learning euphonium in March of 2016 and I've performed in one concert on the instrument. (Bass clef)

Goals:

  • I'm going to college for Music Education
  • During my college career, I hope to march drum corps (age-out Bluecoats?)
  • I will be marching baritone next year for my college, so I hope that goes well
  • Be proficient enough at the baritone to attend a DCI camp in the fall of 2016

Goal Corps:

  • March World Class in 2018
  • Age-Out Bluecoats in 2019

Gear:

  • Yamaha YBH301M Marching Baritone (Large Bore)
  • Vincent Bach 5G Mouthpiece

That's about it! All proceeding posts will be updates of some sort. I know these are some pretty ambitious goals. Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated, especially if you've gone through a similar process. Wish me luck!

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Thank you very much for posting this. As an alto saxophonist, the prospect of transitioning to a brass instrument seems a little... daunting. Fortunately, my elementary school-aged brother is learning the trumpet so I have the chance to "borrow" his instrument and learn how to play.

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Week 1 Update:

I've practiced 3 or 4 times in the past week, and things are going well. In my warm-up, I practice long tones and changing partials and I'm really getting the hang of it.

I have a piece I'm working on, it's the 2012 Troopers Lyrical Audition Etude (http://troopersdrumcorps.org/home/pagefiles/2012brassauditions.pdf). That is going... Okay at best. I can hit all the notes, just not necessarily on the first try. Once I think the piece is ready, I'll post a video of me playing it.

Lastly, I've been working on horn carriage. I was in marching band for four years in high school, two of which were as a section leader. Even though I played saxophone, I think I have enough know-how to practice with more or less the correct posture. Every practice session I've done horn-holding for a minute. I think I might bump that up to two minutes this next week. One minute was very achievable, so I feel good about it.

Edit: If any of you have a practice regimen, warm-up, or stats I should post, please let me know. I know you guys are the experts here, not me!

Edited by Fourzi
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Week 2 Update:

Oops! I'm a couple of days late. Again, I've practiced 3 or 4 times and things are still going well. Lip slurs are getting better (going up is hard!).

The Troopers etude sounds a lot better. I had a buddy who's fairly amazing at euphonium come and give me some tips concerning the piece and I think he really helped out. I'll try to get a video up here soon!

Horn carriage HURTS. But, it is going well. 2 minutes is killer. Aiming for a minimum for 2:30 next week, maximum 3:00. I have to remind myself to not tense up, that seems to make it easier.

I found a warmup regimen from olemiss.edu (http://www.olemiss.edu/lowbrass/routines.html). I've been using the beginner breathing, buzzing, and warmup pages this week. I think I will continue to use them unless a better set falls in my lap.

Update next Thursday!

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Week 3 Update:

I'm very pleased and very displeased. I have made a lot of progress but I have also taken steps back in a few areas.

The routine has changed completely. On Monday I had a lesson with my former high school band director who plays euphonium. He gave me a warm-up packet by Micah Everett of University of Louisiana (Warmp-Up and Maintenance Routine for Euphonium Bass Clef, Level 2). This is what I've been playing out of. I've pretty much ditched the Troopers etude for now because I'm not ready.

  • Buzzing - Good! Matching pitches very well and slurring okay.
  • Long Tones - Okay. Resonance is unequal between notes. Working on that.
  • Note Entrance and Release - Pretty good! Transfers pretty directly from sax
  • Tonguing - Cake
  • Lip Slurs on the horn - Oh boy. This one is a doozie. It has been steadily getting better, though. I'm undershooting on the high notes.
  • Dexterity - Ring finger could be better.
  • Double Tonguing - Surprisingly not bad

Lastly, pedal tones. Here's where I call shenanigans. Pedal Bb and lower have never been an issue until now. On Monday at my lesson I started at Bb and worked all the way down to an E, no sweat. Tuesday I did the same. Wednesday I tried again and no dice. My pedal Bb just won't come out. It almost seems as if it wants to jump up a partial. I just waived it off as a bad day and came back Thursday, but the problem persists. I can manage to belch out some really low note but when I try to bring it up to a Bb, it still fuzzes out. I wanna call horn problem because I've never had this issue before BUT I will continue to work on making it happen.

Update next Thursday!

Side Post:

I've decided that I want to attend DCI camps starting this fall! My aim for these camps is to improve, not necessarily make a corps. HOWEVER, making a corps would be super awesome! Due to costs, I think I'm gonna try to keep it to two camps. I live in Texas so availability is cut from location.

The one camp I definitely want to attend is the Bluecoat's. Their my dream corps so I wanna see how they work. I'd also love to attend an Open Class camp of a corps that I'll have considerable odds of making it. Who would you guys recommend? I know Guardians are on the table, being in my state. Just let me know!

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Week 4 Update:



Lots of work done. I halfway sorted out my pedal tone issue. It seems to just depend on what day I'm playing. Also, I just learned that I have THREE spit valves. Who knew?



Still working on that warm-up packet. Things are going good, but there are a lot of technique exercises that I just can't handle yet. Also my range is no good (1st Ledger Line C is the highest consistent note). PLEASE send some really good range exercises my way.



Two days ago, my college marching band director sent us the pregame music. Things like the fight song, school song, star spangled banner. The only problem is that they're astronomically high up (for me). Next big thing will be range.



  • Buzzing - Good! Matching pitches very well and slurring good.
  • Free Buzzing - I can do it!
  • Long Tones - Resonance becoming more equal between tones and ranges.
  • Pedal Tones - Solid, when they come out. Need to make more consistent.
  • Note Entrance and Release - Still good
  • Tonguing - Very intuitive. It's like tonguing the reed without it being there. I'm tonguing at very surprising tempos.
  • Lip Slurs on the horn - Gotten much better. Had another lesson and we've determined that my throat shape changes when changing notes. Waiting for that one to click in my brain.
  • Dexterity - Ring finger could be better.
  • Double Tonguing - Not bad. I'm taking it quite slow to build up the muscles. Gets harder down low, naturally.

Update next Thursday!



I think I have made a decision on Audition Camps this year.


  • Guardians (In hopes of making it)
  • Bluecoats (For the experience)
  • Troopers (If money permits)
  • Mandarins (If money REALLY permits)


Also, interestingly enough, I think I might do WGI next year. My college basically makes up half of a certain Open Class group, so I could easily play in the pit.


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Week 5 Update:

A lot of work done. My college tunes are going great.

Using simple siren exercises to increase range. I can hit an F on a good day.

  • Buzzing - Great
  • Free Buzzing - Great
  • Long Tones - Able to push more air between registers, more resonant sound
  • Pedal Tones - These have gotten worse? I'm not sure the issue here.
  • Note Entrance and Release - Great
  • Tonguing - Going very well
  • Lip Slurs on the horn - I've got it!!! I think I've finally conquered the muscles in control here.
  • Dexterity - Ring finger could be better.
  • Double Tonguing - Not bad. I'm taking it quite slow to build up the muscles. Gets harder down low, naturally.

Yesterday I discovered that the 2015 Bluecoats Audition Camp materials are still up for sale. Once I get some money I'll buy that so that I'll be even more prepared for the camp this year.

Update next Thursday!

Yesterday I discovered that the 2015 Bluecoats Audition Camp materials are still up for sale. Once I get some money I'll buy that so that I'll be even more prepared for the camp this year.

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Week 6 Update:

Baritone is quickly becoming a favorite hobby of mine. Learning a new instrument with a solid foundation in music already is so fun.

Today I learned that I've had my tuning slide in backwards for about 2 weeks. Flipper her around and things are sounding a lot better.

  • Buzzing - Excellent. Finally grasping the concept of buzzing "in" the mouthpiece
  • Free Buzzing - Really good! I was impressed by myself in this today.
  • Long Tones - Much better now that I fixed my tuning slide. Low notes don' get very loud.
  • Pedal Tones - Gotten much better. Took pressure off, buzzed "in" the mouthpiece, and I'm figuring out air direction
  • Note Entrance and Release - Pretty good
  • Tonguing - Good! My tongue gets in the way of the air sometimes, especially down low
  • Lip Slurs on the horn - Great. I started doing slurs above a Bb (on top of the staff) today and they really went well. The knowledge transfered
  • Dexterity - Ring finger could be better.
  • Double Tonguing - Not bad. I'm taking it quite slow to build up the muscles. Gets harder down low, naturally.

My college band pre-game tunes are going smoothly. I've got the fight song and The Yellow Rose of Texas memorized, the others are coming along. I'd like to say I'm sounding pretty good. I think I'll manage to blend in with the college level baritones at the least. My main goal right now is just not to be the weakest link, which is very possible. Excited

Bought the 2015 Blue Way packet, just haven't looked at it. I've also had to throw saxophone back into the mix because my college posted the wind ensemble audition music. Luckily I just bought myself a new Custom Z (humble brag) so practicing is actually nice.

Update next Thursday!

Edited by Fourzi
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It's really cool to see a woodwind player learn an entirely new instrument in pure determination to march in a drum corps. I have a few tips for you! I'm a baritone player myself, been playing for 6 years now. Go to the camp of your dream corps! The instruction and the experience will surely help you in your audition for Guardians, Mandarins, or wherever you want to march. Or who knows, if you practice enough, you could make it! I'll be a rookie in 2017 as well, I'm going for Bloo in hopes of marching, but I have Music City as a backup. You seem to have that all worked out. C: good luck to you, and I hope to see you at the bluecoats auditions!

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It's really cool to see a woodwind player learn an entirely new instrument in pure determination to march in a drum corps. I have a few tips for you! I'm a baritone player myself, been playing for 6 years now. Go to the camp of your dream corps! The instruction and the experience will surely help you in your audition for Guardians, Mandarins, or wherever you want to march. Or who knows, if you practice enough, you could make it! I'll be a rookie in 2017 as well, I'm going for Bloo in hopes of marching, but I have Music City as a backup. You seem to have that all worked out. C: good luck to you, and I hope to see you at the bluecoats auditions!

Thank you so much for your kind words! I'll be taking your tips into account. See you at BLOO :cool:

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