October 9 2012

178: Gospel Song Fantasy, by Bruce Stark

Hello, friends! It has surely been a while. I hope you're all doing well. I was trying, in vain, to clean up my iTunes and I came upon this recording made sometime(?) in the past few years. It's myself and Paula Peace performing "Gospel Song Fantasy" by Bruce Stark. I thought I'd throw it up here because some of you may not be familiar with the piece. I like it a lot! I've had the pleasure of performing it with Paula a few times NoW, and it's always a joyful experience. We hope you like it.

Mr. Stark has written a lot of really good Music. You can read more about him here:


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April 9 2012

Episode 177: MORE KSU Brass Band:)

Wow! Has it really been this long since my last post? I blame that all on FaceBook. Please, if you're a fan of these Podcasts and NOT a friend of mine on FaceBook, send a request! It so happens that FB allows for many things I originally intended for these podcasts. Video and timely content can be so quickly and easily posted there. I do not intend to stop doing the podcasts, though. This format has it's advantages, too, of course.

Anyhoo...........the KSU Alumni and Friends Brass Band (also on FB!), has had a wonderful inaugural season. On March 2, 2012, in the FABULOUS Bailey Center on campus at Kennesaw State University, we held out third, and penultimate, concert of the season. This Podcast episode is the mp3 version of the entire show.  We were very thankful that The Boston Brass agreed to sit in with us (because THEY ARE COOL LIKE THAT!), and on ONE rehearsal (really, half a rehearsal).....this is what we all did. I've never been so honored as to stand before this entourage of excellence, ladies and gentlemen. I am thankful to everyone involved and really looking forward to our next show:


In the Band Shell,outdoor amphitheater (!),  at KSU.

PLEASE "like" us on FaceBook and help us to spread the word, grow the hang, share the Love:)

Here is the Program from the Concert on March 2, 2012:


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August 31 2011

Episode 176: The KSU Alumni and Friends Brass Band!

FROM PROGRAM NOTES, August 14, 2011

The Bailey Center

Kennesaw State University


Thank you for coming to our Inaugural Concert, ladies and gentlemen. We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Harry Price, Director of KSU School of Music, and the KSU Alumni Association. Without their support, this venture may have never taken flight. But, take flight it has! On stage, performing for you tonight, are some of the very finest brass players and percussionists in the Southeastern United States. We have come together as a group to celebrate our passion for brass music, to explore some challenging repertoire, to revel in the SOUND….and, frankly, just to hang out. We don’t often get to assemble in such numbers; and some of us rarely see each other during the course of our professional lives. It is our pleasure to perform for you, and to show you what we like to do best. We have 3 more concerts scheduled throughout the academic year, and we hope you’ll come to all of them!

Nov.6            March 2            April 29

We have a FaceBook Page at “KSU Alumni and Friends Brass Band”. We invite you to “like” our page and stay informed of upcoming events. It also helps us spread the word, and we certainly appreciate it. Here's a link:


We hope you have had a chance to look around campus if you’re a first time visitor.  We’re very proud of the development and growth that has taken place here at KSU, this lovely acoustic space being but one terrific example. Some of the players on stage tonight are alum, some are faculty, (and some are students!). Some have absolutely no affiliation with the University whatsoever. All are friends! I would like to thank them all personally for being so generous, so tolerant, so wonderful. Please enjoy our Show!


Dr. Tom Gibson

Musical Director

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June 22 2011

Episode 175: Purtle.com Brass Camp and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ED!

As the title might imply:

July 7-9 is the "Purtle.com Brass Camp", ladies and gentlemen! It's not too late to get yourself there. Visit Purtle.com for all the information. My apologies to Jeff for not being able to post the Skype interview we did about this really cool camp. Carl Lenthe and Harry Kim are guest artists this year. Plus, I think our good friend Rich Ita is going to have some of his wares on display. Should be a terrific time for those that can attend. I wish I could, but....

I'll be back at PeckerWoodstock Festival....on a mountain top in Tennessee. Making music. Filming it. And posting it for y'all. Happy Summer Everybody!!!!!

Happy Birthday, Ed:)

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May 28 2011

Episode 174: “Metaphor Your Music”, Chapter 2

***The Introduction and first 2 Chapters of this book, entitled “Metaphor Your Music”, are available for free download at the trombonelessons.com podcast. The Introduction is Episode #172, Chapter 1 is Episode #173. I am very thankful to those that have shared these with friends, teachers, and students. The book will contain many more chapters and it is presently seeking a willing publisher. I will alert you when it becomes available. I am always willing to answer questions, and I’m easily reached at this address (or on Facebook!)


Peace and Trombone Love.


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May 27 2011

Episode 173: “Metaphor Your Music”, Chapter 1

Episode #172 is the Introduction that precedes this Chapter, FYI.

***I intend to share the Introduction and first 2 Chapters of this book with my Podcast viewers. The book, when published, will have quite a few more chapters. I have nearly completed it, and it will be sent for publication in the near future, I sincerely hope. Obviously, I would love for you to share these excerpts as freely as you wish. Thank you all. Trombone Love***

It's a PDF episode, so please just click the icon below and let me know if you have any trouble downloading, OK? Shanks. I'm sorry it's been so long since our last Episode. You know how it goes.......

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May 26 2011

Episode 172: “Metaphor Your Music”, Introduction

***I intend to share the Introduction and first 2 Chapters of this book with my Podcast viewers. The book, when published, will have quite a few more chapters. I have nearly completed it, and it will be sent for publication in the near future, I sincerely hope. Obviously, I would love for you to share these excerpts as freely as you wish. Thank you all. Trombone Love***

It's a PDF episode, so please just click the icon below and let me know if you have any trouble downloading, OK? Shanks. I'm sorry it's been so long since our last Episode. You know how it goes.......

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April 6 2011

Episode 171: Happy International Trombone Week!

Happy International Trombone Week, everybody! Get out there and show the world what's up:) Here's more info:


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February 3 2011

Episode 170: BRASS BLAST at KSU, Feb.19

Download a PDF poster below if you so desire.

FEB. 19, 2011 is BrassBlast/Double Reed Day at Kennesaw State University. An entire day of music-making and a chance for you to meet and work with some of the finest brass musicians I know. More details are at the link below. I hope to see many of you there!


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January 28 2011

Episode 169: Fandango! (by Joseph Turrin)

From a performance on November 18, 2010, at The Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Mercer University Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Doug Hill

"Fandango", by Joseph Turrin

Jonathan Swygert, trumpet Tom Gibson, trombone

More info about Mercer University is at: www.mercer.edu

And more about the wonderful music of Jospeh Turrin at: www.josephturrin.com

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January 14 2011

Episode 168: Lesson 4 (fiction)

***PARENTAL WARNING: profanity, my apologies***

Hmmmmm, wanna play a duet:-)

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January 12 2011

Episode 167: “Triad: the 3rd Lesson That Wasn’t”

***PARENTAL WARNING: profanity***

More fiction. We are iced in here in Atlanta. Have been for 3 days straight. No school for the kids, no driving anywhere....so I write. It's fun, this fiction business. It feels good to stretch the head. I hope you enjoy the 3rd installment.......just click the PDF icon below. I don't know if it matters, but the 2 Episodes before this one are basically Chapters 1 and 2.

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January 7 2011

Episode 166: The Second Lesson

***PARENTAL WARNING: I use profanity again in this work of fiction. I'm sorry.***

So.........I went back for another lesson.........not sure how I feel about that, but you can read about it by clicking the PDF icon below.

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January 6 2011

Episode 165: The Lesson That Never Was

***PARENTAL WARNING: I use a few tasty words in this fictional essay***

Happy New Year, everybody! Here's a work of fiction for y'all, attached below as a PDF file. Just click the "PDF" icon. Fiction. It never happened.

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September 19 2010

Episode 164: Mercer University Faculty Brass Quintet, in recital Sep.2010

Our 3rd performance as an ensemble, and our 2nd Podcast! Our earlier performance can be found in Episode 139 (click here). Members of the quintet are:

Jonathan Swygert and Doug Hill, trumpets

Jay Hanselman, horn

Tom Gibson, trombone

Eric Bubacz, tuba

Find out more about beautiful Mercer University and The Townsend School of Music here:

http://www2.mercer.edu/Music/default.htm On this outing, we featured American music exclusively. In the video, I have included two classics from the quintet repertoire, and two very new pieces by our good friend H. Ross Wixon. His pieces heard herein, and many more, are available for purchase directly by contacting him. In the Brass Ensemble Podcast from Sewanee Music Festival (Episode 138), we featured his "Revolutions Per Minute", you may remember. We love Ross' music and highly recommend it! His email:



On the program, then:

"Scherzo" by John Cheetham

"Suite from West Side Story", by L.Bernstein, arr. Jack Gale

"A Gentle Pause", by H.Ross Wixon

"Energize!", by H. Ross Wixon


We hope you enjoy our performance!

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September 10 2010

Episode 163: Ed Romine, Pt.2

As promised............Ed has some excellent pedagogical tips and advice for practicing.

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September 6 2010

Episode 162: Meet Ed Romine (Pt.1)

I met Ed Romine this past Summer at the International Euphonium Institute. He's awesome.

Thanks for all your time, Ed. Good luck this semester at Henderson State!

Watch Now:

September 1 2010

Episode 161a: “Un’ alba Ancora” (Another Sunrise), by Andrea Ferrante

In this episode, my friend Brent Runnels and I read through a lovely new piece for trombone and piano, entitled: "Un'alba ancora" (Another Sunrise). It was a work dedicated to me, and Episode 161b has a PDF download of the solo part and the piano score for you.

The composer Andrea Ferrante wrote this beautiful piece of music. Much more of his music can be heard and downloaded here:


Thanks for reading it down with me, Brent! We hope you enjoy it, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you, Andrea, for writing this.....I really love it.

Watch Now:

Episode 161b: (pdf) “Un’ alba ancora”

Click the "PDF" icon below to download Andrea Ferrante's "Un'alba ancora", a lovely piece for Trombone and Piano. Episode 161a is a video of myself and Brent Runnels giving it a read. Much more of Andrea's work can be heard (and downloaded) here:


Thank you, Andrea, your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated............beautiful notes, sir! Bravo!

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August 23 2010

Episode 160: FaceBook Distraction

All of what follows is also attached as a PDF file (and formatted more pleasingly:-)

FaceBook Distraction Tom Gibson Trombonelessons.com

I really should be doing a thousand other things today, but I suffered another FaceBook distraction and I’m writing this episode to appease my conscience. Thank you for understanding, and may I invite you to be my FB friend? Welcome back to school, everybody!!!!!! Hope this semester goes extremely well for all of us. Yes, I was all set to type up some syllabi, and some fliers, and pay some bills…….then Sean posed the question on FB: “Can there be a song that grooves TOO hard?” HaHa! Great question, right? He was referring to this track, take a few minutes and check it out:


WOW! If you have never heard Gordon Goodwin’s band, you just got an earful. Now that YouTube has turned you onto their brilliance for FREE, you run straight away and BUY something of theirs, eh? That’s how this “new economy” works. Amen? I was blown away by that clip, and I have indeed heard a lot of that band. My first thought, since I’m in back-to-school mode, was: “you could do an entire semester about ‘ensemble style’ on that one cut”. I believe you really could. It’s masterful stuff, isn’t it? Here’s what I heard that I think might benefit some of you student-types…….

First of all, I have really good news: big bands are coming back! That’s evident in this town, and many of my friends are seeing evidence of it elsewhere around the country. AWESOME. It’s great on so many levels. Obviously, the music speaks for itself. It’s a big (phat!) wall of color coming at the audience with a vibrancy and intensity that occurs almost nowhere else in Nature. It’s a life-affirming energy, for sure, right!? In the hands of masterful craftsman and boundless imaginations, it is every bit as subtle, powerful, serene, calming, enraging, engaging, dynamic, legitimate…….as a symphony orchestra. Plus, and this is a big plus, every big band employs 4 trombonists. That’s one more than the typical orchestra. Jobs, people! WooHoo!!!!! That’s why you’re in school, I am assuming- to get some employment happening in the near future? Big band might just be one tasty piece in your puzzle-of-a-career lifestyle. But not if you don’t adapt to the style and learn to read, read, read. The best bands in your town are going to pay real money, relatively speaking. You want to be in the best bands in town. How much money do you think they have? It’s expensive to put on a show with an 18-piece band, as you might expect. It’s gets prohibitively expensive when that band needs hours of rehearsal to get things tight. They don’t have that kind of money, and they will not rehearse like your college ensemble, OK? READ like a monster. Don’t leave school without your sight-reading chops in perfect form. That entails more than right notes and right rhythms, but that’s a good place to start. This semester, don’t miss a single rhythm in rehearsal. Don’t suffer a single chipped note. Striving to do so will elevate your level of concentration to where it needs to be. Will power is sometimes our greatest weapon. Very quickly, though, start to get very fast at adapting tone color, articulation, releases, dynamic shading, etc. to the world around you. Everywhere you go, and no matter who’s in the section, blend and match. It’s a noble mission, and one that will prepare you for a career. Nobody likes to spend time rehearsing your part and nobody likes to play alongside somebody who seems to be on another wavelength. There’s a time and a place for that…..use your head and use your ears, right? Think of it this way: what are all the things that tick you off in other musicians? Don’t do any of those things, and you’ll probably be cool. So…..onto the recording: You’ll notice a couple things right away. The groove hits immediately and hits hard. That has much to do with their note-shaping. The way they start each note, the length and weight they put into it, the manner in which they finesse the release…..they each have the same shape in mind! Beauty. The second thing I sensed immediately was the balance and blend of timbres. You orchestral cats can certainly appreciate that. In fact, many of the timbres I hear in this band are quite appropriate in many orchestral settings. If you have in your mind an expansive gulf between these styles (orchestra v. big band), just listen a bit more closely. So much of the SAME stuff is happening- namely, attentive listening by everybody in the ensemble and a willingness (nay, compulsion!) to blend. It is absolutely a thing of beauty, as much here as in Bruckner. When overtones align in such delicious symmetry, it makes you wonder how big bands ever really left the scene, doesn’t it? Do you hear articulations that might be appropriate in orchestral settings? Do you hear that lightness and delicacy in some of the background figures? How often are you playing background figures in the orchestra? Same stuff! Don’t you think they shade dynamics as well as the NY Philharmonic? Don’t they balance and mix tone colors like Berlin Phil? That trumpet section sounds like a trumpet section. Do you see what I’m saying? When you come out of school, you should make it your goal to feel at home one night in the big band, the next night in the orchestra, the following morning a brass quintet, a weekend rock and roll section…..be a versatile musician, thus creating more opportunity for yourself.  The greatest compliment you can get would be something like: “wow, I thought you were a jazzer?”, or “well, I knew you were solid on excerpts, but you can swing!” Listening to this clip can enlighten you as to many of the ways that could start happening for you. It would be a great idea, if possible, to get yourself into the big band at school this semester. If you are primarily an orchestral player, like I was going into Grad. School, I think it’s a good idea to shut up and listen to the players that have been doing it for a while. Hopefully, your school has such players! Swallow your pride and assume the role of little fish in a big pond. Admit your ignorance, it’s quite alright. I know it’s hard. I mean I really know. Ask them questions, try to get with them and play duets. Do some listening hangs with them. I’ll bet you notice something about how they move their air and use their tongues effectively…..lightly. That was the biggest revelation to me, I think. Blowing steadily and tonguing lightly is the answer! It’ll groove harder, you can shape with more finesse, you won’t tire as quickly, the tone will be appealing, intonation will be lush….and on and on. Your ears will be ablaze with ideas. The next time you play Rossini, you might notice a marked improvement, too. Same stuff. Speaking of intonation, a common struggle with versatility of styles is versatility of equipment. Going from large-bore to small-bore or vice versa can present challenges….if you make them challenges. If you’re struggling with that, maybe this will help: Remember on the small horn that you’re not going to open your sound by opening your mouth. I was guilty of that for so long, and I see it in many students. It’s just a misconception. Your sound will open when the vibrations get pure, so keep the mouth, teeth, cheeks, and tongue in a more closed-up, compact formation. That solves many issues quickly. Because you’ll now have more dense meat firmly gathered at the center of the mouthpiece, your sound will beef up and your endurance will improve…..sometimes drastically. Occasionally, if you’re like me, you might sense the jaw wanting to drop and the tongue wanting to move into “hot potato” position again……gently close your mouth, please:-) While you don’t want the jaw to drop too much, you also never want to “lock” it in position. Bad idea. Let it float and let the ribbon of air direct it. Have you ever experimented with the horizontal motion of the jaw? Really gentle motions forward and back can reveal a lot to us about tone color and “sweet spots”. Never rigid motion, though, because I think that causes tension. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. That embouchure stuff is so subjective. I think Mr. Farkas did a fabulous job of explaining it in “The Art of Brass”, and that’s worth a read. I am a big believer in the power of metaphor in your music-making, too. If you spend some quality time listening and focusing your mind on the specific quality of sound you’re going for, or what exactly you’re trying to convey with your sound at this moment…..sometimes very quickly you can hear results. You want to get very quick at that! Imitating great players is a wonderful habit. Can you put JJ’s sound in your head, really deep in your head, then make it happen? On this recording, I can hear real clarity in the minds of these players. They have no doubt what’s about to come out the bell, because it is so solidly formulated in their mind. To practice that, often you won’t even need your horn! Sing in your head and be sure to nail every aspect of the style. Then try it on the horn if one’s nearby. Once again, I think when you switch back to the excerpts, you’re going to be pleased. Same stuff. One poignant aspect of this recording, to my ears, is in the bass bone hits. How many bass bone players would splat that all to Hades? I mean, how tempting would it be to lay BOMBS on the whole place right there, right!!!? Bass bone and lead trumpet…..those 2 chairs in the band require immense doses of maturity and refined taste, I really believe. Accordingly, I have immense amounts of respect for those that do it so well. How classy, tight, and grooving is this rendition!? Real control, mental and physical, from a really thoughtful musician. Up and down this band, truly. Have another listen and consider this: When you leave school, gigs are not going to pile up for you because you are the loudest, highest, fastest player in Jazz Ensemble I.

What else………..? As I say, I could go on and on about this recording and the revelations it inspired in me. Why don’t you go back and listen again, though, and enjoy. If you have insights to share with us, we’d all probably enjoy hearing them. I’m leaving comments open on this Episode. Thanks, Sean, for the lovely FaceBook distraction this morning. My wife, however, would like a word with you.

Peace, everyone, Trombone Love. Live it, love it, listen to it. Have a great semester!

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