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Author Topic: Alto Trombone Questions  (Read 1790 times)
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Location: Canyon, Texas
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« on: May 01, 2006, 03:01PM »

I just got an alto trombone today from my professor. I have all summer to learn the ins-and-outs of it.  Are there any good internet, text, video,etc. resources out there that can help me with the instrument? I also thought there would be lots of great things said on here but the search for "alto" brought nothing up.  Thank you all so very much in advance.
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2006, 04:59PM »

I don't know of a method specifically for the Alto, but I can tell you what I did:

1.  Learn how to find the notes in either bass clef or alto clef.  Remember that Eb     b is your 1st partial (non-pedal) closed.  

The first position notes are:                (note that all the notes are flat except for the G).

2. Play chromatic scales and learn the different positions.  Some altos have the bell in some odd locations so 3rd is not necesarily at the bell.

3. Play familiar exercises on the alto.  Exercises in bass clef if you must.  Learn where the notes are so that whatever part is placed in front of you, you know how to play it.

4. Finally, get some alto clef music and start playing it on the alto trombone.

Good luck.  Alto can be a lot of fun.  One key point: it is quieter than a tenor.  That's why it is good to use in choral work; you can support the alto singers without drowning them out.

Bruce Guttman
Solo Trombone, Hollis Town Band
Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orch. President 2017-2018
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2006, 06:24PM »

There are some methods listed here:


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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2006, 06:35PM »

Here's a post of mine from a mouthpiece topic, but also apt here-
As a doubler, I don't always get a lot of time to maintain alto chops, but I try to start playing it at least 1-2 weeks before I need it. Gotta recalibrate the arm and lungs. I do my usual Remington/Marstellar stuff, just up a 4th. I like doing scales with a drone or accompaniment, like Dave Schwartz's Breakfast, or the ones in the Mike Davis Warmup, adjusting the octave as needed. I concentrate on the keys that I'll need to be playing in. I also use it when I teach lessons, just having that extra face time helps a lot. It also screws up the students who tend to follow my slide positions, mmwwaaahhhaaahhhaaa!  Basically, for 2 weeks, every moment that I'm playing that I'm not required to play another of my horns, I'm playing the alto. It's really a different instrument, it just LOOKS like a trombone...

Walter Barrett
Yamaha Artist/Clinician
Alto, Tenor, Bass Trombones
Bass Trumpet
Euphonium, Tuba
If the slide moves it is a good trombone

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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2006, 10:53PM »

I got familiar with the alto positions by playing scales.

This is what I do to keep the Alto in shape.

When I do not have a gig for the alto a play a few scales every day.
When I have a gig. I start practicing as soon as I have the music.

Johnny Verhoeven

Jupiter Soprano
Stagg Alto
B&H small bore tenor
Maestro medium bore
Yamaha YSL356G
Boosey G-Bass (show piece in the living)
Edwards Bass (BigBand - my main job)
Omar the Tent Maker

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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2006, 05:12AM »

I'm currently using Branimir Slokar's method for alto trombone...

It starts with the basics, like your beginner tenor books do, and gets harder.  It has helped me learn bot the alto trombone and the alto clef. (just a side note...it is written in German, with translations to French and English)

I bought it from Hickey's Music for $30

I also have the blazevich clef studies, and I use that with both my tenor and alto.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW--What a Ride!
Dennis K.
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2006, 07:14AM »

This is from another post:

Here's my alto routine - it uses both tenor and alto and involves some horn switching.

Start on tenor - slow lip slurs, like any Remington, 6th position       to      
Repeat whatever pattern you are playing in 5th, then 4,3,2,1.
When you get to 1st on tenor(      to     ), pick up your alto and repeat the exact same pattern on alto in 6th position - same notes!
Repeat, coming up the slide through 1st pos. on the alto.
Then work back down the alto slide - when you get to 6th on the alto, pick up your tenor, repeat the pattern in 1st, continue on to 6th, then down into the trigger register.

Start out with 2 note lip slurs - gradually expand to 3, 4, 5 note slurs, but when you add another note to the pattern, do it on your tenor. This method of tenor to alto will help you keep the proportions the same as you switch from horn to horn. It will also help you learn to iron out the differences between the horns when you have to double.

This is the new part:

Play tenor trombone etudes (Like Rochut, et al) on alto in the original register. In other words, don't try reading everything in alto clef.  Alto trombone does not automaticly mean high.  Let your ear be the guide - focus on all those things you normally do on trombone - good sound, good intonation, clear articulation, don't forget the music.
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