Frequently Asked Questions

Jim Pugh and the University of Illinois School of Music are proud to offer a new and special Workshop designed for the 21st Century Trombonist.

What is “The Complete Trombonist Workshop”?

“The Complete Trombonist Workshop” (CTW) was created to provide you with the kinds of REAL tools and information musicians will need in the rapidly changing landscape of professional music making.

What is the goal of CTW?

Our goal is to not only expand the scope of your musical enjoyment and abilities but to also help you become as employable as possible and able to participate authentically in many areas of music.

What will I learn about at the Workshop?

This year’s Workshop will explore Fundamentals, Orchestral and Solo Playing, Big Band Playing, Improvisation, Traditional Styles, the Business of Music (how to get your career started or keep a career moving forward; how to use social media to your advantage; basic professional advice, etc.) plus as much other information as we can fit in.  Playing and talking about playing are important and there will be plenty of both.  However, as we deal in the art of sound and in the spirit of feeding our ears, listening sessions and faculty performances based on the day’s topic will be a part of the daily schedule (for more detail, please see the “SCHEDULE” page).

Who is the Workshop for?

Basically anyone with a few years of trombone playing under their belts.  For younger players, the Workshop is an excellent way to become familiar with different styles and approaches to playing and how the trombone fits in to many diverse areas of music.  For those whose playing has been mostly in the orchestral/classical arena, it is a chance to find out more about large ensemble jazz playing and to dive into some improvisation.  Those with more jazz experience will find the opportunity to look at orchestral and solo literature and discover ways to approach this music authentically. All ages and ability levels are welcome at the workshop. Young trombonists must have at least completed freshman year of high school.

How did you choose topics for the Workshop?

The topic list fell into place rather easily.  Generally, the majority of a trombonists playing will be in either a ‘classical’ (which includes orchestras, chamber ensembles, bands, performances of solo literature, etc.) or a ‘jazz/commercial’ (big bands, small groups of various sizes, rock bands, blues bands, etc.) setting and these will take up the largest portion of the Workshop’s schedule.

“Traditional Jazz” is a style of music where the trombone is integral and, because of that, you will likely be called on to perform in that style at some point, if you haven’t already.  Having spent a college summer ‘growling’ and ‘glissing’ away “at” Dixieland in a pizza parlor, I am looking forward to hearing from a true expert about how to perform this music more authentically.

The Music Business seminar will be our chance to discuss ideas and strategies for getting and creating work opportunities.  We’re covering a lot here but admittedly, not every single possible area trombonists might find themselves in.  We had to save a few topics for next year…

Is there any audition or music to prepare?

Once you have completed your registration and paid in full to reserve your place at the Workshop, we will be sending you a packet of music – orchestra excerpts, solos, big band charts, tunes – you name it.  This will be much of the material we will be working with throughout the week.  I don’t want to put this in the form of an “assignment” but…the more time you are able to spend with the material before you get here, the more you will be able to take from the week.  For all you tenor players, in the case of the section music (Orchestra and Big Band) we’ll be sending everyone a distribution of parts.  You’ll receive some 1st, some 2nd, and some 3rd parts (for the Big Band charts).  As there are no preliminary auditions, we’ll be guessing so if a part is too simply difficult we can trade either here or before you get here.  If a part’s too easy, enjoy it – the next one will be harder.