I submitted a jazz etude to TAJE (The Texas Association of Jazz Educators) again this year. But this time I wrote a trombone etude instead of trumpet. The reason for this was because I judged the trombones for All-State Jazz last year and I heard a lot of complaints from the other judges about the etudes. I was the only non-trombone player in the room and the guys were very apologetic to me throughout the day. They kept saying that the trombones don’t normally sound so bad, but that the etudes were not very idiomatic to the instrument.
I understand their complaints better than you might think. Several years ago I submitted a trumpet etude a few weeks too late. The trumpet etudes had already been chosen, but they still needed trombone etudes. So they transposed my jazz trumpet etude and used it for the trombones.
Later that year, I noticed a lot of complaints on facebook about the trombone etudes. My response was to explain to them how my etude ended up on their list and then I encouraged those who were complaining to write and submit their own etudes.
Well, apparently, they didn’t take my suggestions to heart. When I asked the TJEA leadership which etudes they needed most, trombone was at the top of the list.
So yeah, I’m writing trombone etudes now. No, I don’t play trombone, but for as long as real trombone players refuse to spend the time doing the writing, I think it’s far better for a non-trombone player to write the etudes than it is for them to take other etudes and transpose them.
The etude I submitted this year is the official swing etude for 2014 for the trombones. I didn’t submit a trumpet etude because I have been extremely busy lately. But I wanted to help out where I knew the help was needed.