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Frequently Asked Questions

The following are questions that low brass players considering Ole Miss (and perhaps others interested in the goings on here) might ask. If you have a question not covered here, feel free to ask!

How many students are in the low brass studio at Ole Miss?
We typically have anywhere from 20-30 students involved in studio activities, most of whom are enrolled in applied lessons but some participate only in one or both of our low brass ensembles. Most applied students are music majors and minors, though others are welcome to take lessons as my schedule allows. The low brass sections in the marching band and the band program more broadly are, of course, much larger.

What materials do your students study?
The syllabus found on the low brass studio page on this site provides a fairly comprehensive listing of materials that students might expect to encounter during their time here. These lists might be adjusted to meet individual students' needs, and particularly those of transfer students that have encountered other materials during their first two years of study elsewhere. Generally speaking, students will be assigned a Daily Routine, a set of scale studies, three or four method books, one or two solo pieces, and perhaps some band and orchestral excerpts to study each semester.

What materials should incoming freshmen have when they arrive?
Incoming freshmen will do well to familiarize themselves with the "Level 2" routines here and here, and to purchase the following method books:

Tenor Trombone:
Complete Method (Arban/Alessi, Bowman)
Introductory Studies in Tenor and Alto Clefs “Before Blazhevich” (Edwards)
Complete Vocalises (Bordogni/Mulcahy)
School of Sight Reading and Style, Book A (Lafosse)

Bass Trombone:
Complete Method (Arban/Alessi, Bowman)
Introductory Studies in Tenor and Alto Clefs “Before Blazhevich” (Edwards)
Melodious Etudes for Bass Trombone (Bordogni/Ostrander)
New Method for the Modern Bass Trombone (Aharoni)

Euphonium (BC):
Complete Method (Arban/Alessi, Bowman)
Introductory Studies in Tenor and Alto Clefs “Before Blazhevich” (Edwards)
Complete Vocalises (Bordogni/Mulcahy)
New Concert Studies, Vol. 1 (Mead)

Euphonium (TC):
Complete Method (Arban/Vizzutti)
From Treble Clef to Bass Clef Baritone (Fink)
Melodious Etudes for Trumpet (Bordogni/Clark, O’Loughlin)
New Concert Studies, Vol. 1 (Mead)

Complete Method (Arban/Jacobs)
Complete Vocalises for Tuba (Bordogni/Jacobs)
70 Studies, Vol. 1 (Blazhevich/King)
Low Register Studies (Jacobs)

What are your practice expectations?
Performance majors should seek to practice at least 15-20 hours per week (or more), music education and another non-performance majors 7-12 hours, and non-majors and secondary instrument students 3-7 hours. Some students "get by" with less than this, but their grades suffer. Performance majors in particular should be mindful that less practice will make them less competitive for a limited number of jobs. Even for non-performance majors, though, it has been my experience that better musicians make better band directors, and so I encourage everyone to practice diligently.

Do I have to be a music major or minor to take private lessons?
Music majors and minors get "first dibs" for available slots, but I make a concerted effort to make lessons available to all interested students.

What are your solo performance expectations?
All music majors should expect to perform a solo during student recital or instrumental area meeting at lest once per semester. Non-majors are encouraged to do this as well, subject to available performing time and accompanying staff availability. Undergraduate performance majors should expect to perform both half and full recitals during their time here, and graduate performance majors will perform two full recitals. Non-performance majors have no such requirements, but I encourage them to perform at least a half-recital during their studies.

Do you have low brass ensembles?
We have trombone and tuba-euphonium ensembles that rehearse once weekly and perform at least once per semester. Music majors are expected to participate in these each semester; non-majors are more than welcome, as well. Ensembles serve to supplement and extend the pedagogical and performance aspects of what we do and are viewed as an essential part of low brass studies. Students are welcome and encouraged to form quartets, quintets, and other types of small ensembles at their own initiative.

Do I need to own my own instrument?
Trombone players are generally expected to own their own instruments, though we have a limited supply of university instruments available for use if necessary. Tuba and euphonium players normally use university instruments, though music majors are *strongly* encouraged to purchase their own instruments, as this provides a "sense of ownership," encourages more diligent practice, provides for performing opportunities after graduation, and frees up university instruments for use by others. Dr. Everett can provide advice regarding purchasing (and, if necessary, financing) tubas and euphoniums, as well as trombones.

Do you (Dr. Everett) play all of the instruments that you teach?
For several years, while I taught all of the trombones, tubas, and euphonium, I only performed professionally on alto trombone, tenor trombone, bass trombone, and euphonium. I had studied tuba pedagogy and literature but feared that adding tuba to the "mix" would require more practice time (not to mention money!) than I have available. However, I recently purchased a Besson E-flat tuba and have been practicing regularly, performing a bit, and playing with students. Happily, the similarities between tuba and euphonium are such (since they are members of the same family) that many aspects of tuba performance are directly transferable from the euphonium, so teaching it has never been a huge problem for me, and my progress in playing has been swift. Also, since the tuba and bass trombone share a great deal of solo repertoire, I have long been familiar with much of that music through performing it on the bass trombone. A key element of my approach to low brass playing is that all of our instruments are similar in many ways and different in some. Mastery of playing and teaching multiple instruments involves knowing what these similarities and differences are, and allowing the similarities to transfer from one instrument to the next while giving extra emphasis in practice and in concept to the differences. This approach is emphasized in my teaching as well, particularly with music education students who will soon be teaching lots of instruments.

What performance opportunities exist at Ole Miss beyond the low brass studio?
The band program is the primary medium of large ensemble performance here, with the Pride of the South marching band, basketball pep band, and several concert bands. The Lafayette-Oxford-University Orchestra provides opportunities for performing orchestral and operatic repertoire, while the Mississippians and Collegians jazz ensembles give students experience in jazz performance and improvisation. Chamber music opportunities are more fluid, but, as mentioned above, students are allowed and encouraged to organize ensembles and perform chamber music.

Are there music scholarships?
Band scholarships are tied primarily to participating in the marching band, with the amount determined by audition. Unsurprisingly, better players receive more money, and music majors somewhat more than non-majors. Additional scholarships and financial aid are available through the Department of Music and the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. Interested students should contact these offices for more information.

What about "gigs" in and around Oxford?
A number of local churches hire musicians regularly and for special occasions. Students frequently participate in bands appearing in various establishments around the Square in Oxford, as well. Additional performance opportunities can be found in the Tupelo and Memphis areas, both of which are well within driving distance of Oxford.

What kinds of careers do music graduates from Ole Miss pursue?
Most of our graduates teach in the public schools; many of the top band directors in this part of the state received undergraduate and/or graduate degrees here. Other graduates work as performers, composers, college and university teachers, and in a number of professions outside of music.

I'm thinking about majoring in music, but I'm not sure. Do you have any advice for me?
Unlike most college degree programs, which involve mostly "core" classes for the first two years before beginning the bulk of "major" courses during the junior year, music courses are arranged in a progressive sequence which begins the very first semester. While it is possible to start as a music major, change to at least some other majors, and still graduate on time, it is nearly impossible to start in another degree program, change to music, and still graduate in a timely manner. Thus, my advice to those "on the fence" is to go ahead and start as music majors. If you find that music is not "for you," you can change majors with a reasonable expectation of not spending much or any extra time (and money) at the university. If you start in another major and decide you want to "do music," that is fine, but some extra time will likely be required in order to complete the degree.

I have another question that you haven't addressed here.
Take a look at the information (several hundred pages worth) found elsewhere on this site. Your question might be answered there. In any case, you are welcome to contact Dr. Everett with questions or comments at any time.