Master Class with Tim Higgins
On April 1, 2019, Tim Higgins, Principal Trombone with the San Francisco Symphony, led a master class at Northwestern University exclusively for the Northshore Concert Band trombone section. This is the third year in a row the NCB trombones have had exclusive master classes led by premier trombone artists.
Tim Higgins was a graduate student in performance at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music from 2000-2004. Randy Hawes, Tim Higgins and Michael Mulcahy are all members of the brass faculty at the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern Universtiy. In an interesting aside, and in response to a question from NCB trombone DJ Taylor, Mr. Higgins stated that his principal influences as a trombone were Randy Hawes and Michael Mulcahy.
In arranging the master class, the NCB trombones asked Tim Higgins to advise the trombones in particular on ways that, as a section, the NCB trombones can improve. To help him get a grasp of the members’ work as a group, the NCB trombones prepared and played a nine-part trombone choir arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s “Make Our Garden Grow” from the 1956 operetta Candide. Soloists on this piece were section leader Paul Bauer (bass trombone) and principal Bryan Tipps (tenor trombone). After an initial performance of this piece by the NCB trombones, Mr. Higgins spent a half hour conducting the NCB trombones and deconstructing their work on different segments in this piece.
At this point, four members of the trombone section – Joe Moore, Joe Schorer, Bryan Tipps and Mitchell Clark – each spent about 20 minutes in an individual lesson in front of the rest of the section, centered on a solo that each member had prepared. Mr. Higgins’s comments focused on such matters as sound production, tempo maintenance and articulation styles.
Throughout the master class, and concluding the final minutes of the two-hour session, Mr. Higgins answered a barrage of questions from the section members.
The Northshore Concert Band trombone section members were uniformly grateful for the chance to play for and learn from a master performer and pedagogue.
Learn more about Tim Higgins here.