TBJ85: Tom McCaslin

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TBJ85: Tom McCaslin, Tubist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra on audition prep, recording yourself and all things Canada

Tom McCaslin, tubist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, soloist, teacher, and clinician has been described by Fanfare Magazine as “one of the contemporary tuba virtuosos”. Originally from Regina, Saskatchewan Tom’s playing and teaching have taken him around the globe. He has performed and taught in Canada, the United States, Switzerland, Portugal, Finland, New Zealand and Australia.

As an orchestral musician he has performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, the Regina Symphony, the Winnipeg Symphony, the New Mexico Symphony, the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música (Portugal), the Lahti Symphony (Finland) and was acting Principal Tuba in the Auckland Philharmonia (New Zealand).  In the summers he teaches at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC, where he serves Principal Tuba with the EMF Festival Orchestra under the direction of Gerard Schwarz.

  • The Boston Brass “I Left My Pants in Sarnia, Canada” story

  • New gig in Calgary

  • Canada jokes!

  • Audition preparation

  • How he developed his ears with the help of Sam (Pilafian) and then on his own

  • Put a premium on recording himself (84 hours worth!)

  • Trust in your own abilities

  • Use physicality to override thought, play your way out of it

  • Audition prep with Sam at Tanglewood

  • Systematic

  • Used a randomizer app, put excerpts in and created rounds for himself

  • Daily round of most likely candidates

  • Day of audition, puts himself in a cocoon, noise-cancelling headphones

  • Listened to Bill Simmons podcast and pop music to keep his head clear

  • Studying with Sam Pilafian at Arizona State University

  • Travelin’ Light

  • Studying jazz

  • Boston Symphony audition

  • The support within Sam’s teaching studio

  • Recording solos with Sam as producer

  • Christmas his first year at ASU story, audition prep, followed by turkey prep

  • Teaching at East Carolina University

  • Looking for the quality of person more than quality of player

  • Teaching studio curation

  • The importance of the Studio Class hour, setting the expectations

  • Studying with Roger Bobo in Switzerland

  • The Dog Whisperer

  • “Sack of nicknick” story at Banff

  • Lance’s spot-on Jens impression

  • Andrew’s Banff story with Joe Alessi in Jens’ Porsche

  • Sweat out the bad


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