Lower Brass at the Academy

The Academy’s trombone professors aim to maximise the musical skills of each individual student preparing them for a fulfilling and successful career in music. Our team of teachers include leading professionals from the major London orchestras and world-renowned soloists.  As well as educating students with a solid musical and technical grounding in the core orchestral, ensemble and solo repertoire, we are keen to encourage interest in related studies such as sackbut, euphonium, bass trumpet, contra-bass trombone, together with a close relationship with the jazz department

Professors

The distinguished teachers in the Brass Faculty are active at the highest professional level and include principal players in London’s leading orchestras, internationally renowned soloists and seasoned chamber musicians. The Academy’s lower brass professors have a depth and range of expertise in every area of the music profession – from orchestral playing and chamber music to period instrument ensembles, contemporary music and the world of film sessions. 

Students can express a desire to study with specific professors after accepting their place to study in the Academy. The Head of Brass will consult with the student and professors and consider with great care how to get the best ‘fit’ for each student’s development. 

Visiting Professors come in frequently to work with students in masterclasses, give lectures, and teach one-to-one lessons.

Related instrument study with specialist teachers is designed to give relevant experience to students and equips them with the skills necessary to perform in all orchestral contexts:

  • Trombone players receive lessons on sackbut, euphonium, bass trumpet or jazz trombone. 
  • Bass trombone players receive lessons on sackbut and contrabass trombone.
  • Tuba players receive lessons on serpent and ophelcleide. 

Brass Classes and Activities

Undergraduate students take weekly academic classes in addition to their brass studies. Classes in Analysis and Aural, Conducting, Technology, Keyboard Skills and Western Music History are designed to complement and add to every student’s creative development as performers. For more information about Academic Studies, see the BMus Programme.

In addition to weekly individual lessons, both undergraduate and postgraduate lower brass students participate in:

Orchestral Studies

Each instrument group holds classes where you will study standard repertoire and orchestral excerpts which are a crucial part of all professional auditions.  These classes are taken by Academy professors who have exceptional knowledge and professional experience.

Chamber Music

Both allocated and self-generated chamber music for brass and mixed ensembles plays a major role in the Brass Faculty. All groups receive coaching from Academy professors and the Head of Brass who help guide and prepare you for assessed performances and frequent public concerts. 

The Academy promotes successful chamber ensembles and many current and former student brass ensembles have been given Fellowships, appointed Ensemble-in-Residence or given prestigious performance opportunities to support and raise the profiles of emerging brass ensembles. 

Masterclasses

All string brass students play in a masterclasses during their time at the Academy. These performance and learning opportunities are for you to receive objective feedback on your solo playing and to observe the way an artist can guide a student in enhancing their performance. Public and private masterclasses given by distinguished artists take place throughout the year. These have recently included Ian Bousfield, Dudley Bright, Reinhold Friedrich and Jörgen van Rijen. 

Performance Classes

Performance Classes are led by leading brass professionals several times each term. These give you an opportunity to experiment and explore communication skills in solo repertoire and to receive direct feedback about all aspects of your performance. 

Symphonic Brass Ensemble

Held once or twice each term and overseen by Elgar Howarth and Mark David, this ensemble regularly performs both within the Academy and in venues throughout London.  The ensemble has made several successful recordings and occasionally goes on tour.

Trombone Choir

Directed by Bob Hughes, the Academy’s Trombone Choir performs concerts in and outside of the Academy and collaborates with major figures in the professional trombone world. As well as performing major compositions and arrangements for trombone ensemble students are encouraged to write for the group and contribute to the repertoire. The Trombone Choir works closely with students from the Academy’s composition department.

Lower Brass Classes

These weekly classes focus on developing ensemble skills and working in depth on orchestral and ensemble repertoire.

LRAM

As an Academy student, you can choose to take the LRAM (Licenciate of the Royal Academy of Music) teaching diploma course, which offers a practical and engaging introduction to the principles of teaching.

The skills and connections to succeed

Regular masterclasses, collaborations with venues throughout London, partnerships with London orchestras and both internal and external competitions fill each week with a variety of exciting and career-enhancing opportunities. While the course is orchestrally focused, the diverse experiences offered by the Brass Faculty provide you with the skills and connections to succeed in any of your chosen professional ambitions.