TBJ111: Tim Buzbee


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TBJ111: Tim Buzbee on learning The Furies overnight, winning gigs in 8 countries and being put in a piece of metal

Tim Buzbee, Principal Tubist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, knows he would probably be flipping burgers if not for the help of teachers Ed Jones, Gene Pokorny, and Matt Good.

Tim Buzbee has been the Principal Tubist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra since 2010. Tim grew up in Queen City, Texas and knows he would probably be flipping burgers if not for the help of teachers Ed Jones, Gene Pokorny, and Matt Good. He has performed as guest tubist with many orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Danish Radio Orchestra, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Dallas Wind Symphony, Malaysia Philharmonic, and the Helsingborg Symphony.

As a soloist, he has performed with the Iceland Symphony, Singapore Symphony, Acapulco Symphony, Marshall Symphony and the “Pershing Own” Army Band in Washington D.C and currently has two solo CDs on the Albany Record label. Before taking his position at the MSO he held the Principal Tuba position at the Iceland Symphony, Chicago Civic Orchestra, Acapulco Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, Gavle Symphony, and the Malmo Symphony.

In this fun and lively discussion, we cover:

  • Has won gigs in 8 different countries

  • Calling us from Australia in the middle of the night

  • Originally from Queen City TX (pop. 1,600)

  • Started on country fiddle, taking after his grandfather, later moved on to the bass guitar

  • Switched to euphonium and later was drawn to the tuba

  • Didn't take it seriously until mid-way through his undergrad

  • Being put in a piece of metal

  • Was going to work on a fishing boat in Alaska

  • Pantless Mahler 6 leading to a breaking and entering incident (and the launch of his career path)

  • Studying with Ed Jones

  • Learning the Three Furies 3rd movement in one night

  • The influence of Gene Pokorny

  • Making the simple beautiful

  • Having to play catch up 

  • Studying with Matt Good and Dave Kirk

  • Winning a few gigs before moving on to study with Gene Pokorny

  • Ed provided the foundation of fundamentals, Matt helped him understand what to do with the sound and Gene helped him build a musical product he could sell

  • Leaving a busy career in Chicago to go to Singapore

  • Following his own path

  • Singapore was too crowded for him so he moved on to Sweden

  • The differences in playing in those orchestras

  • Adding Iceland Symphony to the mix for a year

  • Tim's wife, Jessica (who he met while she was Principal Trombone in the same Swedish orchestra) also won a gig in Iceland and they eventually moved there

  • Having five kids

  • Flying with a tuba (hilarity and bent metal)

  • Audition strategy, switching from being physically prepared to be mentally prepared

  • Tim's forthcoming (hypothetical) book"The Death of American Brass Playing Due to the 3 T's (Tone, Time, Tuning)"

  • How do I make an emotional connection with a listener?

  • The 3 T's are too procedural and disconnect the player from the listener

  • Running mental audition processes ahead of auditions, changing the variables each time, always simulation culminating with him being announced as a winner

  • Every audition system is flawed in some way so you have to find a process to allow you to succeed in any situation

  • The influence of the book, "Unleash the Warrior Within" by Richard Machowicz

  • Mental toughness


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Expertly produced by Will Houchin with love, care, and enthusiasm.