Dear followers. Hello everyone. Today's interviewee doesn't need much introduction. She is a reference in his country, United States, she is a renowned artist of the Willson, one of the most important tuba and euphonium manufacturers of the current scene and she is, of course, an excellent euphonium player and teacher to whom I am sincerely grateful for his friendship and collaboration in this interviews project.Name and surname:
· What instrument do you use?
· That make and model are the tools you use:
Willson 2950 Euphonium
· That manufacturer and model are the / s nozzle / s you use:
Gail Robertson-Warburton mouthpiece
Let's talk about your EDUCATION:
· When and where their studies or tuba euphonium started?
- Undergraduate degree: University of Central Florida – Roy Pickering (teacher)
- MM Degree: Indiana University – Harvey Philips (teacher)
- DMA Degree: Michigan State University – Phil Sinder (teacher)
· At what age?
I was 18 years old when I began college.
|"SymbiosisDuo" with the Dr. Stacy Baker|
· What reasons or circumstances led her to study this instrument?
I loved the role that the euphonium has. I began as a saxophone player in the 6th grade. I continued to play while I was at Indiana during my MM degree.
As for his PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:
Please leave us a little account of she experience as a soloist, a member of chamber ensembles, orchestra, band, etc.
· In Orchestra and / or Band:
- Brass Band of Battle Creek (1st baritone)
- Keith Brion’s New Sousa Band (Principal Euphonium/soloist)
- Athena Brass Band
- Pinnacle Brass Quintet (Faculty Brass Quintet at my university)
- I have been featured soloist with many bands across the United States.
- Symbiosis Duo (Dr. Stacy Baker – tuba and Dr. Gail Robertson – euphonium)
I have performed with The Detroit Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, BostonSymphony, and the Sarasota Orchestras as euphoniumist/bass trumpet.
|In the Battle Creek Brass Band with B. Pierce, S. Mead and D. Thurman.|
· Which uses warm-up exercises?
I have a varied routine that I do. I do not like to do the same thing every day.
Trying other topics of interest.
Here in Spain, in some centers it is considered that the Euphonium, is an instrument that should have its own specialization, and, on the other hand, some believe that, as an instrumentalist, one must know and master the tuba and euphonium.
· Could you give us your opinion on this and how would address this issue in the interests of education and training adapted to the necessary expertise required today?
I feel that the euphonium is it’s own instrument, but it is important to double on tuba and or the trombone if you want to teach at a university. Most US colleges have tuba AND euphonium teachers. There are very few where the professor only teaches Euphonium.
Let's talk about your TEACHING EXPERIENCE:
· Tell us what learning centers has taught (full-time professor, visiting professor, courses, lectures, etc.)
I am an Associate Professor of Tuba and Euphonium at the University of Central Arkansas.
|With my student of the University of Central Arkansas a few years ago|
· How do you organize your classes and the subject in general?
I build my schedule to be 4 days a week. I teach longer days to have Fridays’ off to practice and travel as needed. I teach 18-20 lessons a week, coach chamber ensembles, teach 3 graduate repertoire and pedagogy courses, have weekly masterclasses, and lead the UCA Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble each week.
· How long are your classes?
My lessons are 50 minutes for majors and 25 minutes for non-majors.
· Do you think it is important that students make public appearances during his years of training? If so, recommend how many times it deems appropriate and what age or course. Elementary, vocational, higher?
It is important for students to perform on public performances once or more per semester. The younger they start, the better.
|With my student in the University of Central Arkansas actually|
· Is there another teacher with your same specialty in the center where you teach?
I am the only Tuba and Euphonium professor at my university.
An important part of the course curriculum is standardized and is based on the idea that students master the repertoire alone, sometimes to the detriment of the repertoire of large groups (Orchestra and Band), when in fact, most students Tuba and euphonium will be teachers and / or members of a band and, to a lesser extent, of an orchestra in the case of Tubas.
· In your opinion, how should this problem be addressed? How important do you think is include learning and mastery of the orchestral repertoire as part of the curriculum of the course?
I teach Band and Orchestral repertoire as part of lessons. Many of my students compete for military positions each year. They also auditions for orchestras too.
· Tell us what is the admission process to access your learning center:
You must apply to the university as either an undergraduate or a graduate student. We do not offer a DMA degree. We do offer Graduate Certificates for players seeking intensive instrumental study without general education and music course demands.
· What is it required repertoire in the entrance exam?
Undergraduates may play solos, contrasting etudes, band/orchestra excerpts, or all-state required music from the state they live in.
· Do you suggest any particular repertoire?
I always suggest that they play what “they” are best at playing…to not pick must to try to impress others. To play what they do best!
· How many works are required and in what format (solo, with piano, studies, etc.)?
Usually two contrasting etudes or solos combined with sight-reading and a few scales.
· Is there a mandatory piece? If so, what is it?
|In the International Women´s Brass Conference. Holiday Brass St. Louis. Missouri|
· Approximately how long is the exam?
Depends on if they set up a personal audition vs. come to the university on a planned audition day. Usually 15-20 minutes. More for graduate students.
· What aspects you value most in deciding? ¿Musicality, intonation, rhythm, …?
All of the above plus having a positive attitude/being open to suggestions.
· If I had to choose (in a hypothetical situation), would preferably between student Tuba Euphonium or one?
NO – I have not preference. The students chose what they want to play and I value both instruments equally.
About their work during the course.
· What kind of repertoire you work primarily with your students? Solo, with piano accompaniment, chamber music, ....?
Solos with and without piano. During the pandemic we focused on more unaccom-panied works and works with CD play-a-long accompaniment.
We also work in method books each week such as Arban, Snedecor, Bordogni, Kopprasch, Blazevich, and more.
· What format is examining LIMIT? Solo concert, piano recital ...?
Each student must perform on ONE or more public performances each semester.
· Does the student selects the works to play? or they are chosen by the teacher?
I prefer the students to select their own solos. However, I often suggest and help many of them.
· Is there any work it deems mandatory? So what?
Nothing is required. I prefer a variety of repertoire each semester and try to not have too many players working on the same solo at the same time. Sometimes this can’t be avoided if they are competing and must all play the required Works.
SPEAKING OF TECHNICAL ISSUES:
· Could you give us your opinion about different concepts of sound and what characteristics define, articulation, types of instruments, literature, if the influence of language and musical tradition in sound and way of playing is considered important ?
It is import to develop YOUR sound. Listening to others to gain ideas and mold your sound as you grow. I prefer a Lip-jaw vibrato. All kinds of literature and I require diversity for each recital program. I teach them the importance of commissioning new music too.
|Walt Disney’s The Tubafours. With Chris Olka (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), Willie Clark (United States Air Force Ceremonial Band - Washington, D.C.) and Steven Carruthers.|
· Talk a little about making snorkels and / or euphoniums and nozzles:
My current euphonium is a Willson 2950 with Martin Wilk valve-stems and finger buttons. The finger buttons are a little larger and that helps my small hands reach the 4th valve while working the main tuning slide tuning lever. The finger buttons and stems are much lighter and they allow me to use lighter springs for more ease with technical passages. Prior to my Willson 2950, I was playing a York Eminence 4052 for about 4 years. Prior to that I was on a Willson 2900 for about 22 years. My very first euphonium was a Yamaha 321s. I played on that for 3 years while a senior in High School and for my first 2 years of my undergraduate degree.
· Tell us about your experiences and tastes of a particular manufacturer and why?
I have always loved the Willson Euphoniums. I was a York artist for a short time, but prefer the Willson 2900 and 2950 euphoniums.
Gail, you are a recognized interpreter and professor in your country.
Please tell us something about the history of development of the woman low brass players our instruments in your land.
There are very few women that teach full-time as university professors. However, there are 4 women that teach full-time in Arkansas!!
The earliest woman that I know of to teach full-time was Constance Weldon – University of Miami. There is much growth in the women in low brass! This is great news!
|Play the Bass Trumpet with the Detroit Symphony|
· In your experience, do you think the diversity of performers, instruments and the opportunity to train in various specialized schools is homogenizing in interpretive centers already established? (Example: Russian, American, German-Austrian, English, etc.).
There is much need for more diversity everywhere. Let’s hope it continues to grow and grow.
Gail, it´s a big pleasure and an honor to count on your experience, collaboration in this series of interviews and your friendship.
Thank you very much and my best wishes.
A big hug.