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Tuba Masterclass Notes

Tuba: (Caleb DeLeske)


Actively listen to your favorite tuba players daily. The most effective listeners set time aside in their day to sit down and focus on the sound and tendencies of each player. Ask yourself questions such as:

· What do I like about their sound?

· Is their sound dark?

· Is their sound bright?

· Does their sound float?

· What kind of articulation are they using?

By asking yourself these questions you will better internalize their sound. Ultimately the goal of these listening sessions is to recreate their sound in your own playing by internalizing their sound.

Use lots of air! Do breathing exercises with and without your instrument. These will help you use more air while playing, center your tone, play in tune, and create longer phrases. When I breathe in, I like to think of the word Poh and the cold air passing down the back and roof of my mouth. This helps me open my oral cavity and keep my throat relaxed.


As I stated earlier, listen to great players. Do not limit yourself to just tuba players. By listening to great cello players, violin players, and singers you will create a better arsenal of articulations to use. Knowing your end goal and working toward it will help you reach greater heights faster.

When playing any instrument, we must start each note immediately. This is difficult because the tuba is so large. Breathing exercises will help you compress your air and play each note with a solid clear front. An exercise that has helped me is placing my tongue like I am going to articulate but letting the air build up behind the tongue and then releasing. This will help with the fronts on each note.

Unlike the trombone, the tuba has a valve section. Whether you have rotors or pistons as tuba players we must work our valve technique. Our valves should be down before we play every note. This will help you articulate each note and play much cleaner. I like to approach valve technique through scales. Play a scale and stop between each note changing your valve combination at the end of each note immediately preparing you for the next note.


Bordogni Bel Canto Studies edited by Chester Roberts

Arban Complete Method for Tuba Edited by Jerry Young

Kopprash Tuba Etudes Edited by Jerry Young

Edwards Simply Singing by Brad Edwards

The Working Zone – Tuba by Indermule Huotarinen

David Vining Daily Routines by David Vining

Low Etudes for Tuba by Phil Snedecor

Brass Gym and Breathing Gym by Patrick Sheridan and Sam Pilafian

From the UWSP Honor Band 2020 Masterclass: Seth Mahoney, Holden Midyett, Elijah Schuh, Caleb Deleske, and Dr. Lawrence.

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