Alternate Positions: Generations in Jazz Audition

The use of alternate positions is one of the most critical skills a trombonist must develop to have outstanding technique on the instrument. While other instruments depend on valves, we must have great facility with the slide, but also use alternate positions in order to both speed up our playing, and to allow for cleaner and smoother transitions between notes.

For many years I avoided the use of alternate positions with excuses like “it feels weird” “it’s out of tune” “that’s just plain bad,” but in truth, they were just excuses. If you dive in--yes, it WILL be awkward, out of tune, and feel “oogey” in the beginning, but if you just go for it with full expectation it will work, plenty of air flow, you will breakthrough quickly and experience a greater ease in your playing in addition to a quicker slide.

For the upcoming Generations in Jazz audition I have examined the parts, played and recorded them both (download the recordings at to practice with) and recommend the following: