From the composer:
Follow the Leader was commissioned by tubist Matthew Hightower, who was also a former composition student of mine at Murray State University. It begins with a challenging melody, characterized by minor-seventh leaps, presented initially by the tuba and piano together. That melody gets repeated and varied throughout the work, with each new version taking the piece in a new direction. The final variation is set in the left hand of the piano in a fast 9/8 meter, bringing the work to its exciting conclusion.
The piece is so titled for two reasons. Matthew was a model student in the music department at Murray State, studying music education, tuba, and composition at a high level. His work ethic and dedication set a great example for his peers (and those who have come along afterward)–an example to be followed. Matt ended up getting a doctorate in Tuba Performance at the University of Texas and has become a professional performer and educator. In addition, this piece makes heavy use of the canon, a composition device where one musical line is placed on top of itself but a little behind. In all cases, canons have a leader and a follower. There are over ten canons that occur throughout the piece and are marked in the score.
Lastly, in order to accurately execute the tempo change at m.28, the player should be aware that the quarter-note triplets in the piano the measure before (cued in the part) become the new quarter note and clearly set the tempo.
Score and parts included: Tuba