When tuning with the piano, be sure that you are warmed-up. Tune your B-flat with a B-flat minor triad on the piano. Don’t adjust the tuning slide a great distance when you are nervous prior to a performance. When in doubt, seek advice from your teacher. Remember, your primary tuning slide is in front of you. Also remember that you must change the tuning slide when you change from one ensemble to another.
In selecting a solo, a rule of thumb is: Be able to sight read fairly well through the part in order to be able to perform it well at the concert of recital. Many players choose music that is much too difficult for them. Choose something challenging, yet something that is playable and enjoyable. Concentrate as much on the musical and stylistic elements as you do the technical. Above all ask for assistance when you have a problem. Play your solo for any who will listen.
When practicing a solo, mark phrases and sections, Isolate difficult parts and work each motive over and over. Do not think you can learn a piece by playing through and stopping where there is an error. When playing through a piece, go back to the problem spots and practice them. Next, connect the problem spots to the phrases around it. You now are sure that you have solved the problem.
The same process can be applied to memorizing a piece. Memorizing phrase by phrase using your ear, the “feel” of the part, and your intellect—internal vision of the page. Be sure that you have a mental vision of the beginning of each major section. Above all, practice with the music even when the piece is memorized. Memorize your music even if you plan to play from the part.
Choose music in different styles. Trombonists have to be able to play well in band, orchestra, jazz band, choral accompaniments, brass ensembles, trombone ensembles, etc. Don’t play the same style in every ensemble. Each one requires a different approach. When you are unsure about the sound and style the conductor desires, ask her/him. Try to adjust to the desired style and don’t be stubborn when you receive a suggestion. The conductor is trying to make you sound better.