Lower The Slide

I find that a common issue in trombone playing is short arming slide positions. It is pretty rare that I see someone playing fourth through seventh position too low. Of course it happens from time to time, but much more often people play 5th position somewhere between 4th and 5th and 6th position somewhere between 6th and 5th. Be extra careful when reaching for the long positions that you are diligent about playing full length positions. A good example of this is the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony excerpt. Make sure to reach far enough for Db, Gb, C and F in sixth position. Another thing to think about is that the majority of pitch problems seem to occur on the high side. People are often unaware of playing sharp. Chances are if you're playing flat, you will hear it. When you're sharp, you may not be as sure. That's where we get that famous quote, "It's better to be sharp than out of tune!". If I'm unsure, I err on the side of playing just a little too low and count on the fact that if I go too far I will immediately notice. 

Another example of this issue is playing half positions in faster excerpts. La Gazza Ladra and Hungarian March are prime examples of places where players are often caught playing half positions. It is very important to careful about exactness of the slide in passages like these. If I had a dollar for every time I've told someone that they glossed over a C major passage in Hungarian March by playing D followed by something between Eb and E, then F instead of exactly D-E-F (4-2-1)... I could probably fund a nice trip to the Caribbean. The same thing applies in La Gazza Ladra going from A-G#-F#. People often get sloppy and play the G# somewhere between 3rd and 4th, but not solidly in 3rd. So, in reality, it's not really a G#! To people who don't know these excerpts extremely well, these details may go by unnoticed. However, if you want to be successful at an audition, it would behoove you to make sure that these things get fixed. Attention to detail is often times the difference between failure and success.