Seraph Brass Seminar
The Seraph Brass Seminar was held on July 6-10, 2020. All classes and sessions were presented online through the Zoom platform.
The seminar included three sessions each day that dealt with a morning warm-up separated into four classes (trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuba), followed by a master class dealing with pedagogy and different topics (by instrument), and an afternoon interactive session that included all brass instrument participants featuring select topics and guest artists, Don Greene and Toby Oft. 40+ participants from all over the world took part in the 5-day brass seminar.
The seminar was moderated and hosted by Seraph Brass members: Mary Elizabeth Bowden, Jean Laurenz, Raquel Samayoa, Rachel Velvikis, Elisabeth Shafer, and Gretchen Renshaw James.
The first day, Monday, included a morning warm-up session. The trumpet warm-ups conducted all week included air exercises and a guided Centering routine. Trumpet participants also had a trumpet warm-up packet that included exercises that focused on Vibration, Flow, Efficiency, Expansion and Extension concepts on the trumpet. The warm-up was followed by a trumpet session dealing with Etude performance. Select participants had the opportunity to play an etude and receive feedback. The afternoon interactive session included all participants and the topic, Entrepreneurship, was led by Mary Elizabeth Bowden.
Bowden piccolo trumpet class
The second day began with another warm-up followed by a session on the piccolo trumpet in the trumpet class. Mary Elizabeth Bowden began the session with a warm-up and offered practice strategies focused on achieving a greater level of mastery on the piccolo trumpet. Select participants had the opportunity to play a selection of a piece on piccolo and received helpful feedback from Mary. The afternoon interactive session was led by Don Greene and focused on valuable information on achieving Peak Performance.
The third day began with a warm-up followed by a session on developing trumpet technique led by Raquel Samayoa in the trumpet class. Raquel presented pedagogy and led the class through exercises dealing with finger dexterity and multiple articulation. Select participants had the opportunity to play a cornet or trumpet piece that contained a high level of technique. The afternoon interactive session was led by Toby Oft and included valuable information on audition strategies and a masterclass on brass pedagogy. Select brass participants had the opportunity to perform orchestral excerpts and receive feedback from Toby.
The fourth day began with a warm-up and was followed by a session named, “Singing though the Trumpet” led by Jean Laurenz. “Singing through the Trumpet” explored vocal techniques through concepts of phrasing, text painting, support, stage presence, and the physiology of sound resonance. Select participants had the opportunity to perform and receive helpful feedback on a lyrical piece. The afternoon interactive session was led by Raquel Samayoa and Elisabeth Shafer and dealt with Chamber Music. The session focused on the value of chamber music in the curriculum, chamber rehearsal techniques, an interactive score study session and the evaluation of 2 chamber video performances. Additionally, a participant submitted a score and midi of a new piece written for brass quintet that was evaluated with helpful critiques.
The fifth and final day began with a warm-up session and was followed by a session dealing with solo and orchestral performance in the trumpet class. Select participants had the opportunity to perform a solo or orchestral excerpt and receive feedback. The afternoon interactive session featured a career panel that was led by Gretchen Renshaw James and Jean Laurenz. The panel explored the different paths each of the Seraph Brass members had taken in their careers with interesting stories and insights geared toward giving participants a glimpse of a life in music. Participants asked many questions and the meaningful discussions helped participants reflect on their own path and gain a more informed idea on how to pursue a life and career in music.
Participants also had the opportunity to take part in a virtual recording that will be released in late July. The piece, Fugue in C-sharp minor by J.S. Bach, was arranged by Rachel Velvikis for the seminar brass ensemble. Before the seminar ended, participants recorded and submitted video files for the project. Elisabeth Shafer is the video editor for the project. The seminar was a rewarding experience for all and Seraph Brass hopes to offer another brass seminar in 2021.
Source: Seraph Brass