Welcome to the Con Brio page of the Lawrence Conservatory Brass and Percussion Department!

Below are some suggested activities for incoming Lawrence brass and percussion students to complete during the summer in preparation for your arrival on campus in September. Doing any or all of these activities will help you understand and develop the habits of thought and practice that are essential for success in the Lawrence Conservatory.

The biggest adjustment for many new students is to learn to treat your instrument, practice, and private lessons like any other academic class. As a music major you will be taking weekly private lessons, attending a weekly studio class with other players of your instrument, playing in the various large ensembles appropriate to your instrument, and perhaps participating in a small chamber ensemble. The practice you will do each day will become a part of your regular schedule. Organizing and maintaining your own schedule is a very important activity you will address at the start of the academic year. While there are many resources at Lawrence to help you learn to do this effectively, Activities 1 and 2 below will give you a good head start.

Suggested Summer Brass and Percussion Activities

Activity 1: Read one of these books on practice and performing

There are several fine books on practice and performing to guide you in learning and improving these skills. Select any one of these books listed below to read then learn to apply the suggested techniques. All are available from www.amazon.com.
The Musician’s Way by Gerald Klickstein.
Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner
The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green with Timothy Galway

Activity 2: Establish a regular weekly practice schedule this summer

Making effective practice a regular part of the day is an essential skill for all successful musicians. Your studio teachers will be working with you in the Fall to plan your practice so get a head start by establishing your own workable practice schedule for the summer. The Musician’s Way has an excellent explanation of effective practice.

Activity 3: Actively listen to master players of your instrument

Active listening to music is different from recreational listening. All musicians can and should do both kinds of listening. We are all familiar with recreational listening----listening to our favorite music just for the fun of it. We should do this frequently. Active listening can be done in many ways, however in its simplest terms it means one listens carefully to a small section of music to discern in detail why it is good and what makes it that way. Make the good points you learn a part of your playing. Make Active listening a regular part of your practice.

Activity 4: Carefully prepare your audition material for next fall (this is not optional)

Auditions for ensemble placement is one of the first important activities in which you’ll participate once you arrive on the Lawrence campus. The audition information and required material that all brass students play for placement in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and classical chamber groups is available at the following link:


For those who want to play in a jazz ensemble (Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble-LUJE, Jazz Band) or a jazz combo, a description of that audition and the required audition material is available at the following link:


You’ll want to go to these links soon to get the material. Part of your practice this summer will be to carefully prepare this audition material. Find good recordings of this material and do some active listening to get a good idea how it is to be played. Be sure to contact your studio teacher if you have questions about the material or the audition process.

Activity 5: Establish email contact with your studio teacher

For several years you will be working closely with your major instrument studio teacher at Lawrence. If you haven’t already, email your studio teacher now to establish contact. The information each of us can provide will give you a head start on your preparing for the start of the academic year.

• Trumpet: John Daniel john.daniel@lawrence.edu
• Horn: James DeCorsey james.h.decorsey@lawrence.edu
• Trombone: Tim Albright timvalbright@gmail.com
• Euphonium / Tuba: Marty Erickson marty.erickson@lawrence.edu
• Percussion: Dane Richeson dane.m.richeson@lawrence.edu

Activity 6: Complete your online Music Theory Con Brio program

The Music Theory Department has prepared an excellent Con Brio program to help you prepare for the sequence of music theory courses all music majors take. Be sure to take advantage of this online program and do the Music Theory Placement Exam once you have completed the exercises. You can find this link in the Con Brio portion of the Lawrence website or click on this link http://www.lawrence.edu/conservatory/areas_of_study/music_theory/music-theory---con-brio.

Welcome Week meeting for all new brass students

During Freshman Welcome Week, the Brass Department Faculty will meet with all new brass students to discuss important information regarding Brass Department activities, ensemble auditions, and brass studio requirements and activities. This will be an excellent time to meet all of your new brass colleagues with whom you will be working during your years at Lawrence. The meeting will be Wednesday, September 7 at 4:30pm. When you get your Welcome Week schedule be sure to check it to confirm the time and location of this meeting.

Have a great summer. All of the brass faculty look forward to meeting you in September!