The goals of the woodwinds, brass, and percussion department are to impart to each student the fundamentals of musicianship; to instill fluency in the art of musicianship through the study of posture, breathing, tone production, intonation/ear acuity, rhythm, phrasing, musical styles, sight-reading, and literature; to develop a sense of artistic integrity and ease in performance through various ensembles, recitals, and master classes; and to prepare each student for his/her future as a professional musician.
In 1941, Emory Remington, professor of trombone, founded the Eastman Trombone Choir as a pedagogical extension of the private trombone lesson. The concept of the studio ensemble soon expanded to include the Eastman Horn Choir, Tuba Mirum, Saxology, Eastman Percussion Ensemble, and the Eastman Marimba Ensemble, and has been imitated throughout the world. Performing in a studio ensemble is one of the unique features of an Eastman education. Besides providing additional performance opportunities, studio ensembles give students cherished extra time to work with their mentors. Both studio ensembles and self-arranged performances encourage a common vision and sense of camaraderie among students.
Recent performances and master classes have been given by such guest artists as Joe Alessi, William Bennett, The Canadian Brass, Larry Combs, Mike Davis, Michael Faust, John Fedchock, Bill Reichenbach, Doc Severinson, Don Sinta, Phil Smith, Marvin Stamm, Barry Tuckwell, Jeff Tyzik, and Gail Williams.