Excerpts – William Tell

One of the more challenging standard excerpts is this one from the William Tell Overture by Rossini. It jumps between the sustained notes to 8th notes without much time to breathe - and the 8th notes are in a somewhat awkward tessitura. General difficulties include articulation, intonation, tone consistency, tempo, rhythm, musicality, breath control...

I find that in trying to surmount the technical difficulties we often paint our way into a corner that we can't easily escape! We obsess on holding the long notes to the bitter end, taking a quick breath, not getting enough breath and losing time in the meantime - then trying to catch up while holding the tempo steady, getting burned in every direction!

A great way out of this proverbial corner is to put things into a context that helps us play the music rather than makes it more difficult to succeed. Some tried and true methods of doing that are:

  • Slowing the music down so that we can sort it out at a reasonable tempo

  • Study the music so that we understand it. Sort out the notes, the slide positions, the scales, the keys, the rhythms, etc

I particularly like to use a program called Band in a Box to generate rhythm section to practice the music with. Complete with harmony and sometimes even the melody.

Here are a series of tracks to play with at different tempos. Check it out. I'll guarantee that you'll find it fun to play with and I expect, much easier to play.

After the clicks count-off, there is a 4 measure rhythm section introduction before you start playing the excerpt.

William Tell

Easy Funk 88

William Tell

Easy Funk 92

William Tell

Easy Funk 96

William Tell

Easy Funk 100

William Tell

70's Funk 88

William Tell

70's Funk 92

William Tell

70's Funk 96

William Tell

70's Funk 100

Did you notice that you played differently with the different grooves? As it's easier to play with the 'band' rather than fight it, you probably played more aggressively with the 70's Funk groove than with with the Smooth Funk groove. And it's easy to fall into the groove, isn't it?? Having a clear path to take is usually easier than trying to cut your way through the jungle. Finding the groove, and having the harmonic context as well, make success much more accessible!

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