Reviews - CDs and DVDs

David Childs - A Master Class in Brass



David Childs - A Master Class in Brass.

David Childs provides help and advice for all brass instrumentalists.

Also features 10 pieces with David as soloist.

Unless you read the cover title properly you may be forgiven if you think that this is a DVD for euphonium players only however it is most definitely as the title states a Master Class in Brass.

It is a serious presentation aimed at tutoring and developing brass players at all levels, from a learners first lesson and beyond. Even the mature player may question and review some aspects of their own technique such is the depth of thoroughness of the lessons therein.

As with many DVD’s there is a choice when it starts playing of what to listen to first. Take as long as you like in choosing just enjoy the beautiful ‘Background playing of Ave Marie’  while you mull over the options. It really does quite literally set the tone of what is to follow.

The DVD is presented in three main sections The Master Class, The Recital and Extras.

The MASTER CLASS is broken down into carefully chosen sections and although listed in a sequence, The Warm-Up, Breathing, High Register, Technique, The Tongue, Sound and Presentation, the student has the opportunity to approach the sections in whatever order they choose.

The sections are explained in detail and in great depth so that there can be no misinterpretation, but it is also frequently made clear that many of the elements of study are based upon what works for David Childs and with the same commitment and dedication should work for others at whatever level. Each section concludes with an interesting summary so as to ensure complete understanding with further examples of each element that has been featured.

The section closes with an interesting ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ that provides great variety and reveals some of the secrets of ‘Novelty effects’ and could quite easily have been entitled ‘How do you do that’

The relaxed, light hearted approach by David should not be misunderstood. There is within his demonstrations a very distinct message that whilst there has to be some natural ability as a player, these aspects of playing have to be developed just the same as all of the many others.

The RECITAL section is sheer joy and is worth the playing time alone. David demonstrates whether fast slow, high or low just how much of a Master in this Master class he is. He is accompanied throughout the recital by the staff pianist from the Royal Welsh College of Music, Christopher Williams with whom he has developed a complete understanding about how each piece should be presented. Popular favourites include Monti’s Czardas and Elgar’s Salut D’Amour while Einaudi’s Due Tramonti and Hummel’s Fantasy may not be quite so well-known but none the less cannot fail to impress.

Within the EXTRAS section David explains the reasons for his choices for the recital pieces and provides an insight into what has motivated and driven him throughout his playing career so far.

The vast majority of the DVD focus’s on David playing as an individual but what we also see and hear in this section are some of the pleasure and fun that he has experienced whilst a member of the Cory Band.

A DVD that analyses every aspect of playing a brass instrument to this extent is well overdue and David and his team are to be commended for achieving this. The challenges and demands are sure to lead to many frustrations, but through perseverance and determination players at all level will emerge the better for it.

The well presented package and sleeve notes make this a very attractive purchase and advice that should be kept handy throughout a players career.



1. Introduction
2. The Warm-Up
3. Breathing
4. High Register
5. Technique
6. The Tongue
7. Sound
8. Presentation
9. Frequently asked Questions


1. Valflickansdans, Hugo Alven
2. Piece en forme de Habanera, Maurice Ravel
3. Fantasy, Johann Nepornuk Hummel
4. Salut D'Armour, Sir Edward Elgar
5. Czardas, Vittorio Monti
6. Macushla, Dermot MacMurrough
7. Carnival of Venice, Jean Baptiste Arban
8. Due Tramonti, Ludovico Einaudi
9. A Troika? Tidy, Karl Jenkins
10. The Hot canary, Paul Nero


Roger Burke