Welcome to the website of Brian Thacker, Professional Assistant Professor of Music/Audio Technology at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Before my appointment at TAMUCC I worked at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee where I taught the low brass studio, brass methods, music theory, and music industry courses dealing with technology. Prior to that I was am Instructional Technology Consultant in the School of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where I collaborated with faculty on integrating technology in the classroom, performance studies courses, and distance education.
Learning to play the trombone requires the mastery of a number of skills not common to other wind instruments. In fact, the concepts necessary for performing on trombone in a characteristic manner can rarely be achieved without having heard and watched trombone performers in a live situation. Sitting next to and playing along with a good trombonist is absolutely essential to playing the instrument really well. For these and other reasons, try to study privately with a trombone teacher. Try to find someone who can demonstrate trombone concepts in your lesson. For many who live a great distance from a trombone teacher, an arrangement for once-a-month or every-six-weeks lesson may be possible. If this arrangement still is not possible, study with a teacher who emphasizes fundamentals and take private lessons at one or more music camps during the summer.
One of my favorite programs for use in the studio and for my own practice is MakeMusic’s SmartMusic. During the fall semester I use it in my brass methods course to motivate my student’s to practice their “non-major” instrument. I will have to write another post on that integration process in the future. As for the private studio, it’s Bordogni time, providing students an aural structure for those etudes to realize they are not just “another exercise” but actual musical works.
But for this month it has been Grøndahl time for me. It has really aided in memorizing the work and for practicing at various tempos in preparation for my upcoming concert with the American Chamber Orchestra. SmartMusic is also a patient rehearsal assistant, allowing my to run sections eight, ten, or even twenty times in a row!
I’ll have the pleasure of showing this software at the Mid-South Low Brass Festival later this month. I’m looking forward to hopefully introducing it to band director in the Memphis area.