Since we all are teachers, whether ultimately "our own teacher", teaching others privately or teaching the youth in a school setting such as Middle School, High School or College level, I will be gearing FixYourBrass to include teachers and performers. My posts will have various "topics" (Range, for example), with information for development and maintaining these categories as well as problems that may arise. The posts may be followed by my own "comments" and as to solutions to these problems watch for follow-up posts. So please add your own comments as to create a dialogue regarding said posts as well as any "personal problems" that I can help with. Looking forward to this exchange.


Friday, September 24, 2010

A Success Story

I would like show this to our viewers. It is from one of my students.

I wanted to share an encouraging story with you. As
you know, I teach band from grades 7-12 in a rural community.

Over the past two years, I have been continually refining my pedadogy,

and I am starting to figure out what works and what doesn't with young students.

Today, I started a group of 18 seventh grade trumpet players. Aside
from set-up, maintenance of the horn, etc., the first thing I taught

them was how to wet their lips and how to buzz. We spent about 15-20 minutes
working on this until every student could buzz. I told them to
wet their teeth, mouthcorners, and both lips, and to keep them
saturated at all times. I also told

them to form their lips with the red part of their lower lip hugging
the edges of their teeth, and the upper lip reaching down like saying
the letter "m". We practiced this procedure, and then I had them buzz
long, high notes. I also had them place their thumb and forefinger
on their mouthcorners, and instructed them to make sure that their
mouthcorners were firm when buzzing. After the 15-20 minutes, all
of the students were able to buzz SOMETHING. I would say that about
half of them had superb looking and sounding buzzing embouchures (for

beginners), while the other half could buzz but were still

trying to get the knack of it. Now the surprising part:

When I had them play their first notes on the trumpet, I instructed them to form

their embouchures "as if they were going to buzz" (but not buzz). I
told them that their jaw might be in a different position when they

play than when they buzz and to not worry about this. The next part really
blew me away: about 75% of the eighteen players played middle C (third) as

their first note! Some kids were playing as high as fourth space E

or top of the staff G for their first note!

This completely caught me off guard as I have become accustomed to

hearing the usual low C groan.
Deciding to experiment, I asked the players to try and match a fourth space E

that I played for them. Five or six players could play this note with
little strain.

Going yet higher, 3-4 were able to play the top of staff G

(including two players that were very obviously upstream players). I
had two beginners that were able to match high C. One student was able
to play a high E with higher squeakers (three ledger lines). This
student looked like
an upstream player. I have done many beginner trumpet clinics, and

this has never been the result yet.

However, in the past, I have never been so adamant about getting the
buzzing right before playing.

Thinking that "this particular group of students might be just good with
high range and they will probably have problems with lower notes," I

asked them all to match a low C. All of them could play the low C

without problems. There was nothing special about this group of
students--they represented a typical cross-section of students in an average
grade 7 middle school class.

Not once did I mention the words "tense your lips" or "blow harder." In fact,
I didn't talk about air at all.
These students didn't need to "blow harder" or "blow faster" to get

the middle C...they
just needed to be taught how to form their embouchure in a firm manner
and retain that while playing. In terms of tone quality, I could not
believe what I was hearing from beginners!

I used this same approach with 9 trombone players last week, and all

of them could play F without strain. Most of them could play middle Bb,

and a few could get up to the D and F above that.

I had a tuba player that had incredible high range using this approach

(high Bb and above), but had real trouble getting the low Bb. I will

have to work with him on relaxing the embouchure for the low tones.

I hope that you find these results encouraging. Please know that Reinhardt's
teachings are being used in the school system by at least one band teacher,
and that the results have been remarkable.

By the way: I never mention the pivot except to an advanced student.

This speaks for itself. Thank you, B.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Pivot

Here is the definition as described by Dr. Reinhardt:

The lips and mouthpiece "as one unit" must move vertically on "the track of the inner embouchure (the teeth for trumpet - the teeth and gums for trombone) and whether or not this movement is to be in an upward or downward direction to ascend or descend is strictly based upon the performer's particular physical type.

The name "pivot" was used in connection with brass playing and the sport of golf. Dr. Reinhardt was an avid amateur golfer and took lessons from Ben Hogan at a very early age. Much to his regret, this term made him both famous and infamous. Notwithstanding his bold nature and ability to infuriate the brass community with his criticsm of "tradition" when it tread on the toes of Mother Nature, the term "pivot" was much maligned, mis-interpreted and definitely used improperly from "flag waving" by some and downright "denial" that it even existed at all in one's playing.

How a word can cause so much consternation and uproar is not so uncommon. I remember that when Sister Kenney used the word "spasm" in dealing with Polio that the medical profession refused to accept her work and ridiculed her for such a "non-scientific word" and all too often one becomes "an enemy for a word". I have used a term in my own writings that is more French, in keeping with the use of French in brass terms such as "embouchure". I played with "finesse demarche" for a time, where the movement (demarche) is one of "finessing" the embouchure to achieve what Doc was talking about. Recently, I have been liking the word "inflection", where the ever so slight movement (eventually)is nothing more than a "rising or falling(lowering)" to one degree or another. Perhaps a "finessing inflection" might eventually fit the bill.

Well, "A rose by any other name will still smell as sweet", so call it what you like, I suppose, but know that it does work, is necessary to ascend and descend, and EVERYONE does it.

If one reading this doesn't have The Encyclopedia of The Pivot System, let me quote from it now:
"...a PIVOT is the physical means by which a performer may constantly maintain the all-essential line-up of his lips with his teeth, so that the required lip vibraions for the production of sound are not hampered or impeded in any particular part of his range".

and again "...the PIVOT pulls or pushes the performer's lips into the path of the air column, so that the air column will cause the lips to vibrate over the entire range of the instrument". [Remember that it is the air COLUMN that flows from the lungs, over the tongue and to the lips, and it is the air STREAM that is propelled into the mouthpiece cup]

Sunday, September 12, 2010


To further our development of the upper register and overall range in general, this is what Dr. Reinhardt would call a "sound" drill.

"This is definitely NOT a Warm-up. This group of studies is intended strictly for the performer who has succeeded in developing consistent high register responses, even though the sound in this register has been too thin and nasal to be of any significant performance value. This serves, also, to eradicate unwanted 'transitional spots' while ascending and descending the range of the instrument."

DRILL ONE (Trombonists: play all pitches presented a major second lower.)
Play a good solid high E on trumpet and with the "open horn" descend by slurring "partial-wise" to the middle E (fourth space) and return in identical fashion to the high E (High E - D - C - Bb - G - Middle E descending and return). This must be accomplished on a single playing inhalation. Even though this drill is slurred, each note must have the same difinite core in the sound as the initial high E.Some performers achieve this by utilizing the "college cheer principle" ( a synchronized breath emphasis on each slurred note). If no strain is present, practice this several times.

Conclude the drill with rapid, low, slurred chromatics ( from low C to low F# and return many times) and then rest. Assuming that you have carried this out in a satisfactory manner, play all notes in the drill in a detached, tongued, marcato manner. Wind-up on the low slurred chromatics as before and rest. For the low, slurred trumpet chromatics, the trombonists should substitute four, sustained Bb pedal tones before resting.

Note: The above may be carried out with a good solid High C in place of the E above for an undeveloped embouchure that can make a good solid high C.

Drill Two:
Identical to drill one but this time add the third space C to the study just presented as the bottom of the contrapuntal peak.

Drill Three:
Now, augment the drill by adding the second line G.

Drill Four:
Finally, add the low C to the ever-expanding partials.

Drill Five:
Play a good high E (C?) once more but this time on the same breath" slide down" to the starting note on any contabile phrase (Concone or ballads from The Reinhardt Routines book)and at the conclusion of the phrase SLUR UP TO THE STARTING E (or C as the case may be). Work several phrases in this manner and conclude the entire drill.

Questions are ALWAYS welcome.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


This is the 1st part of this Routine as an introduction to a GREAT way to reduce or totally eliminate the jaw drop to DESCEND.

#1. Play a good, solid trumpet high "C" (MF to F) and slur while descending "partial-wise" to the low "C" - WITHOUT DROPPING OR LOWERING THE POSITION OF THE JAW, EVEN FOR THE LOW "C"...Use your prescribed PIVOT (if you have been given one be a certified Reinhardt Instructor) AND MUSCULAR RELAXATION ONLY, to accomplishs this vital point! This means that the "drop of the jaw" must be extremely minimal or, better still, non-existant to arrive at the low "C"...Initially, the low "C" performed in this manner will sound thin, sharp, fuzzy and stuffy, but with a litte daily work on your part, you positively can achieve this with your PIVOT AND MUSCULAR RELAXATION ONLY! In short, the closer you can arrive at no jaw drop the better. Now, on the same breath (no additional inhalation) ascend partial-wise to the starting high "C" ...REST!

This is only the 1st part of this incredible exercise and a much more advance player only will benefit from the next 4 parts, where Doc says: THIS SERIES OF DRILLS CAN BE CARRIED TO THE DOUBLE "C" AND HIGHER, DEPENDING UPON YOUR STAGE OF PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT.


Any one wishing the complete Routine, please let me know and I will see that you get a copy. This will definitely be in my new book BRASSolutions.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Don't Drop The Jaw, Man!"

In the showcase outside of Reinhardt's studio was a mock cover of Time Magazine. It was a characature of Doc and captioned "Don't drop the jaw, man!" From second line G on the trumpet (4th line F for trombone)descending, the tendency to drop the jaw (widen the space between the teeth/open the mouth/open the lips)is most prevalent in beginners and thus carried on into the player's ensuing years. In many cases, the lack of a high register can be traced to just such a practice.

In the book The Pivot System Manual, Group II, exercise III Doc states "Descend by relaxation plus the pivot, rather than opening the lip formation". The exercises takes a middle Bb and descends to a low Bb and likewise all 7 finger or slide combinations down to the low E (concert pitches). Without going into the "pivot" which would take an all new post to explain, let's just come up with an exercise that will reduce or eliminate the jaw drop to descend. This is a "tried and true" way to REDUCE OR ELIMINATE the jaw drop without knowing or using the pivot.

Play a middle Bb Concert, normal attack, and sustain for 4 beats. On the same breath, slur down to a low Bb Concert and SIMULTANEOUSLY puff the cheeks out to their fullest on the low Bb and sustain with fermata. [Be careful NOT to reduce the mouthpiece weight on the lips when executing this!] Repeat and rest.

Repeat above starting on the A down to the low A.

Repeat all using all 7 valve (slide) combiniations.

The low register will then respond fully without the need to open the lips, drop the jaw, or separate the teeth.

It really works!

Friday, August 27, 2010


There is a distinction that must be made between developing a good high register, maintaining it and then bringing it into the world of "reality". It is so true that playing demands for a professional brass player entail many requirements. One of them surely is loud middle and low register playing.

At the level of beginners up and through high school, where range begins to develop, the speed of this development would be so much quicker if these early times did not consist of loud middle and low register playing, resulting in such a wide aperture. As in my previous post, playing the middle and low registers "with maximum lip aperture" will ensure that the high register is either non-existent or achieved by "smashing the lips" with too much mouthpiece pressure to increase "compression" (the aperture control category)OR using the antiquated approach of "smiling" to ascend.

In the world of "reality" for the beginners in Middle School and on into High School, the music itself is mostly in the low mid-range of the instrument, especially trumpet, and one is caught in between this development stage and performance where there seems be a contradiction.i.e. "How do I develop a range when the low and middle registers require so much energy and air at such a loud volume?" Remember, the upper register requires far less air then the low and middle registers, but more air "force", so where will the energy go if you had the choice?

First of all, a compromise must me made in these early days of embouchure development that the teacher must realize. Dynamics must be stressed! Using the "rule" of CRESCENDO TO ASCEND, DECRESCENDO TO DESCEND, make sure that the brass players don't "blow it all" on the low register. Do not insist that this register be the student's biggest sound or his/her biggest volume of playing. The music may calls for this, but make all registers and volumes(dynamics)RELATIVE.

It has been said that "Anyone can play loud!" and I concur. If we keep the volume of the Middle and Low registers "relative" to any crescendo to ascend, the student's range will increase rapidly and logically, allowing the lip aperture to open and close with purpose and not "struggle" randomly and unconsciously by illogical and foolish use of the middle and low register.

Professonal players take heed: if you are struggling to DEVELOP a good high register or simply trying to MAINTAIN what you have without certain playing demands "cutting into" your present high register, everything said here also applies to you. The category of LIP COMPRESSION is so closely related to LIP APERTURE that further Posts concerning RANGE will have a plethora of information regarding these two "brothers/sisters"...possibly "twins". Stay tuned!


Thursday, August 26, 2010


Thomas said:

1. What doesn't make sense is what one must do if the music demands fortissimo in the middle/lower register and then slurs up to the upper register.

2. How is it possible to maintain a small aperture in the lower register if the music asks for fortissimo?

3. Lastly, if a middle C at mezzo-piano is the same aperture size as a forté top C, what size aperture does a fortissimo high C+ require? I have no problems whatsoever playing softly and performing "squeakers" in the high register. I can do this endlessly. But when the music demands loud, fortissimo playing in that register I am forced to mash, presumably because the louder dynamic demands more air, which in turn demands a wider aperture.

My comment:


Thanks for your questions. In developing a high register what I posted on "How to play the low register correctly" is in the area of DEVELOPING a high register. And of course, a performance or etude requirement will invariably require a loud middle and even a loud low register. So musical demands must be met...however, consistently playing with this wide open aperture to accomplish this is detrimental to going high again out of this. So many loud rock trumpet players have a hard time with the upper register as a result. Their daily practice MUST consist of soft middle register playing "bring the lips closer".

So PRACTICE with this aperture principle in mind, but by all means "let the punishment fit the crime" when the loud middle and registers are called for.

An accomplished player CAN play loud with a "controlled" aperture and that is quite an art. I will certainly have more to say in my next post regarding this and also about the detrismental "dropping the jaw to descend"s habit.

One more answer to Thomas as to the aperture control above high C (C+)...this is controlled by using "lip compsression" which will be addressed fully in later posts.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summary so far to develop RANGE

While preparing the next post, this "summary" of the previous post will emphasize and re-iterate specific points that will assist range development.

Never play the middle and low registers with maximum lip aperture.
Never "tongue" between the lips and teeth at any time in any range (what range?)
Start the beginner on a middle Bb if possible from the HOW TO BUZZ guide (see earlier posting) and for the more advanced player, make this note his/her "pivotal point" in range to ascend and descend from there.

Monday, August 16, 2010

How to play the low register correctly to ensure a good high register

Continuing this thread of RANGE, addressing the low register, where unfortunately just about all beginners are instructed to start with, will bring the "truism" that A good high register can certainly be achieved by a good low register IF THE LOW REGISTER IS PLAYED CORRECTLY into play.

The first note asked of a beginning brass student to be played , in most cases by uninformed teachers, is "whatever open tone can come out", usually the low Bb concert. Many of these teachers were NOT brass players and were given academia's idea of how to teach a brass player with outdated methods and ideas they themselves espoused and in many cases detrimental to embouchure development. Traditional method books start on second line "G" for trumpet and proceed from there.

What follows here is mainly for the Teacher and more advanced players (not beginners with two years or less of playing).

With the lips "just touching" and in a "buzzing position" (see HOW TO BUZZ on a later post)and after mouthpiece placement is enacted, with the proper mouthpiece pressure applied to the lips, the air blown at this "compressed" position of the lips (some say "closed position") an APERTURE is formed. The Aperture is the space "blown open" (not tongued open!)within the rim of the mouthpiece which will be referred to as "the perfect circle".

When the student is instructed to start playing on a low Bb Concert, this Aperture is quite large and the note will sound loud, blatty and unmusical. With all of the demands of the music instructor in our Middle and High Schools to "produce", it is important for them to get the brass players (trumpet players especially) playing the required music as quickly as possible. Here is when the trouble starts! The low register beginnings almost make it impossible to "build" from there by ascending from this huge aperture created now and expecting it to become smaller as required by physics (nature) to be able to play the middle register and upwards. There only choice, regrettable is to apply more mouthpiece pressure and "smash" the lips against the teeth to produce this smaller aperture. As a developed embouchure ascends, the aperture becomes smaller.

Now, starting on a middle Bb concert, the student will have immediately a smaller aperture. Here is a good statement to make regarding the lip aperture: a middle Bb played at a moderate volume (mp) will have the same lip aperture as a high Bb played at a forte! Read this again! When one plays a middle Bb at mp and slurs up to a high Bb at a forte, THE LIP APERTURE DOES NOT CHANGE!

High Register "rule" #1. Always crescendo to ascend, decrescendo to descend.
and it's companion, #2. The longer the ascending slurred interval, the "thinner" the lower note MUST be. As Reinhardt states: "This is particularly essential while range is in the formative stages."

I mentioned that the aperture is "blown open", not tongued open. The age-old fallacy of "spitting seeds" and tonguing between the lips and teeth is perhaps the most detrimental instruction ever given to a beginning brass player. It not only disturbs the mouthpiece setting and makes the mouthpiece "bob and bounce" as will be noticed in players who do this, but the aperture is formed unaturally and "forced" open.
Solution? #3. Teach the HOO no-tongue attack, using just the lips and air to produce the desired entrance. Those low Bb starters get that "thunk" with their entrances and while starting the vibrations and sound, the range of the player is stymied from the very start. The goal is to start beginners on a middle Bb and more experienced players make that their "mid-point" as a note to begin ascending and descending from.

In summary for this post:
Never play the middle and low registers with maximum lip aperture.
Never "tongue" between the lips and teeth at any time in any range (what range?)
Start the beginner on a middle Bb if possible from the HOW TO BUZZ guide and for the more advanced player, make this note his/her "pivotal point" in range to ascend and descend from there.

Next: The detrimental habit of "dropping the jaw to descend".

Friday, August 13, 2010

Welcome Woodwind/Brasswind

Just a short post in introduce and welcome Woodwind/Brasswind Company to my site. I highly endorse the Kelly Clear Mouthpieces for embouchure viewing and recommend that all of my student/teachers own a set of Trumpet/Cornet/Trombone/French Horn and Tuba CLEAR mouthpieces.
Dave S.

The Category of Range

Of all "topics" of brass playing categories, Range seems to be the "burning issue", especially among the young performer. As a first in a series of Categories of Brass Playing I have chosen Range for this very reason - the "burning issue".

What is range? A good question. High notes? I think not. The very word "range" means covering a certain distance, so asking someone "what is your range?" he/she may answer "Oh, I can play a high C." Ah, so what is that person's "range"? One note? A person's range is from his/her lowest note to his/her highest note. For instance, from a low F# to a high C is a range of 2 1/2 octaves.

A good playable range, in today's playing field for trumpet is 3 octaves, say from G below low C to G above high C. A trombone's range is considerably wider, including the instrument's pedal notes [naturally produced on trombone, but unaturally produced on trumpet, due to not being available on the instrument without "lip manipulations" or, in come cases "lip and/or jaw distortions" of some sort - ed.] that may be more like 4 octaves. A trombone player's range is much easier to attain than a trumpet player's range and with a slide assist [a later topic -ed.] there is no excuse for this not to be true.

Certain principals of playing need to be addressed and certain "myths" need to be expelled to make it possible to delve into this subject in depth. Let's start with an established "truth" (myth) that has been passed down through generations of brass teachers and method books, that "A good high register is built on a good low register(foundation, so to speak)." This is what I will call a "half-truth". The correct statement should be thus: "A good high register is build on a good low register if the low register is played correctly." [emphasis mine - ed.]

How to play the low register correctly to ensure a good high register? The topic of our next Post. This "How to..." will definitely apply to the beginner as well as to any brass player struggling with range.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

BRASSolutioins - A Preview

Almost 70 years ago, Dr. Reinhardt printed DETAILED PLAYING PROBLEMS in his "Pivot System - A Complete Manual with Studies". (Now out of print) My new book "Solutions" is not only a tribute to the genius of Donald S. Reinhardt but a continuation into the present of his original "solutions" of the common playing problems of his day. This is what he said then:
I. Fuzz on the Tone
Caused by:
A. An improper mouthpiece contact on the lips due to:

1. Too little mouthpiece pressure.
2. Too much mouthpiece pressure.
3. Too much saliva(faulty diet, natural causes, etc.)
4. Fatigued or swollen lips caused by strain.
5. Improper PIVOTING
6. Tonguing between the teeth and lips
7. Improper mouthpiece placement
8. The vibrating points of the lips having been burned
by eating over-heated foods.
9. Chapped, cracked or feverish lips.
10. Cold sores, fever blisters, etc.
ll. The lips being heavily coated from nicotine, upset stomach,
12. Undeveloped lips.
13. The vibrating points of the lips being too dry.
14. Shaving too closely.
15. A mustache

B. An unsuitable mouthpiece for your type of lips, teeth, jaw,
gums, etc.Remember the back bore of the mouthpiece
must correspond to the bore of the instrument and
the mouthpiece must be designed with proper
proportions of the rim, cup, throat and back bore.

C. An instrument or mouthpiece that is dirty inside.
D. Improper breathing (neck bulging, etc.)
E. Puffing your cheeks, if you are not the type.
F. Improper tongue-level.
G. Improper Posture.
H. A leaky instrument.
I. Contracting the throat (head too far forward).

Corrected by:
Studying diligently and applying all the basic theories
of this manual and studies until they become a natural playing
habit. [Note: you will find The Reinhardt Routines + CD
as the modern version of these studies on my
website www.AirstreamDynamics.com in the Products page.

II. Rattles and Overtones

A. Almost always brought on by some form of playing strain. It is
an uncontrollable involuntary lip vibration. [Note: Very common in
a Type IV upstream performer.-ed.]

Caused by:
1. Too many high notes.
2. Playing fortissimo before warming up thoroughly.
3. Improperly balanced practice.
4. Too much playing without resting.
5. Changing mouthpieces and instruments too frequently.
6. Playing with too much mouthpiece pressure.
7. Swollen, strained, spread-lips.
8. Loss of sleep, etc.
9. Reversing the natural PIVOT.
10. Over-pivoting.
ll. A shifting, bobbing mouthpiece.
12. Tonguing between the teeth and lips.
13. Excessive chin or lip vibrato.

Corrected by:

1. Not practicing too many high notes.
2. Warming up correctly
3. Resting more often.
4. Playing softly the notes that rattle.
5. Pianissimo sustained tones on the rattle notes daily.
6. Balancing the practice period.
7. Adjusting a faulty PIVOT.
8. Avoiding strain.
9. Using only one mouthpiece.
10. Maintaining the anchor-spot when breathing (Note: upper lip in a
Downstream player and the lower lip in an Upstream Player -ed.)
11. Using less mouthpiece pressure.
12. Not tonguing between the teeth and lips.
13. Maintaining a correct diet.
14. Adopting a hand vibrato.

So look for the book "SOLUTIONS", which will include solutions beyond 1940 solutions devised by Dr. Reinhardt to cover
the present-day brass players' mechanical problems and will even delve
into the "psychological" practice and performance stymies that one may
encounter as well.

- Dave Sheetz

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Right Hand Position for Trumpet

To leave no stone unturned, briefly let us take notice of the right hand (in the right-handed performer). The right hand must be FREE to manipulate the slide (on the trombone) or finger the valves on valve instruments. Needless to say, the right hand must be totally relaxed and NOT be used to hold or support the instrument in any way. This is particularly true of the trumpet and trombone. The only exception being: when the performer is using a wa-wa mute or plunger mute that requires the left hand manipulation. On the trumpet, as to the little-finger ring hook, with the thumb of the right hand placed between the first and second valve casings, this little-finger hook and thumb position facilitates the speed and width of the hand vibrato, widely used by most performers.Even with other types of vibrato (diaphragmatic, breath, jaw, lip, etc.) there must be no excuse to use the right hand to support the instrument and jam the instrument into the face, using the little finger quite literally as a "hook". And when lip trills or shakes occur from an exaggerated right hand vibrato, the left hand is still holding the instrument!
1. Always performed with an embouchure that has been thoroughly lubricated with saliva, regardless of the degree of lubrication used in normal playing. The proper way to lubricate is a.) wet the teeth and gums, b.) wet the mouth corners and c.) wet the entire outer embouchure area IN THAT ORDER.
2. The membrane (red) of the lower lip must be rolled in (not curled in) and slightly over the lower teeth, while the tip of the overlapping upper lip is simultaneously reaching down to make its light contact (just touching) with the lower lip at the vibrating points, as in the letter “M”.
3. Very few performers ever succeed in buzzing pitches as high as they can play them on their instruments, so do not expect too much in the immediate future from buzzing in the way of range.
4. Always practice buzzing with the air stream traveling in a DOWNWARD direction, regardless of your particular physical playing type.
5. Buzz so lightly that the air stream will be emitted only from ONE SPOT on the embouchure formation.
6. Do not become alarmed if the buzz is not emitted from the same spot on the embouchure formation where the actual playing takes place.
7. All buzzing procedures must be commenced with a HOOO no tongue attack. [This keeps the tongue out of the equation. And phrase-wise, only buzz in a cantabile “straight slurring” fashion]8. Never practice the buzzing routine while the embouchure is in a fatigued condition.
9. Do not make a habit of using any buzzing procedure for a warm-up.
10. While playing the instrument, the performer should always place, inhale, play and NEVER inhale, place, play. Do not permit the buzzing procedure to confuse the order of points in normal playing.
11. Buzzing is used as a correctional procedure, not as a method of playing.
12. Because it is quite possible to buzz incorrectly, no infractions of the rules must be tolerated.

Buzzing Instructions:
Without any assistance from the mouthpiece or the instruments, form the lips as prescribed in #2 (above) and practice sustaining notes to the fullest extent of the playing breath and slurring phrases in a cantabile fashion.[The above material is excerpted from The Encyclopedia of The Pivot System]

The Initial Lesson

The initial lesson should at least include the following mechanical points:

1. The correct right and left hand positions
2. The Position of The Arms.
3.The correct standing and sitting posture
4.The correct amount of time to practice
5. The initial buzz drill.
6. The mouth corner inhalation.
7. The introduction to slurring.
8. The duties of the lower lip.
9. A few comments on the amount of mouthpiece pressure to use.
10. Mention breathing and
11. The Spider-Web Warm-up ( also serves as a fingering or position chart).

Traditional Teaching vs. Reinhardt Teaching

The Traditional Approach for the beginner on a Brass Instrument.

1. Form the lips for mouthpiece placement by smiling them into their playing position.2. The lips are stretched across the teeth like two rubber bands and are controlled by pulling the mouth corners toward the ears to ascend and releasing the mouth corner tension to descend.3. Drop or lower the position of the jaw to descend into the lower register of the instrument.4. The mouthpiece must be placed in the center of the lips, so that the mouth corner stretch (smile) will be identical on both sides of the mouth.5. Use a minimum of mouthpiece pressure against the lips at all times.6. The instrument must always be held in a horizontal position.7. The abdominal regions should be pulled in while inhaling.8. Inhale as large a quantity of air as possible; learn to control it.9. The diaphragm and abdominal regions must protrude to ascend and recede to descend.10. Execute the attack by enunciating the syllable TOO or TU. The tip of the tongue should penetrate between the teeth and lips, much like spitting seeds, threads, or confetti from the tip of the tongue.11. The student is nearly always started on the lowest open tone on his particular instrument.

The Reinhardt Method for the beginner on a Brass Instrument.

1. Saturate the teeth, lips and mouth corners with saliva and keep them in this lubricated condition throughout the playing.2. Always PLACE – INHALE – PLAY and never inhale – place – play. 3. Learn to BUZZ correctly as early as possible. No instrument or mouthpiece.4. Form the saturated lips as if to buzz to ready the lips for mouthpiece placement.5. The HOO or no-tongue attack is utilized during the first few weeks.6. Positively never permit the tip of the tongue to penetrate between the teeth and lips.7. Positively never “smile” to ascend.8. The membrane (red) of the lower lip must move slightly in and over the lower teeth while ascending.9. The slur is demonstrated and taught during the initial lesson, being an absolute necessity for rapid embouchure development.10. Practically all students are started from the third open partial on their particular instrument.11. The diaphragm and abdominal regions must move down and out to inhale, and move “in” to blow and “in and up” ascend the instrument.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Link to follow for more Grip Information

http://www.airstreamdynamics.com/thegripspurpose.htm This will be in conjunction to the grip photos ... It is important to note that there are no "wrong" grips, only grips used wrongly. This is explained by this link, where no matter what grip one uses, and in this case for the trumpet player, it must be noted that ONE grip, the one decided upon by both student and teacher as the case may be, is essential. i.e. Do not change the grip throughout all playing.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The first one on my blog is Dave, the facilitator of such. This Blog came about after years of frustration with the state of Brass Sections in Middle Schools, High Schools and even Colleges I have visited, both as an audience member and also as a lecturer.

It all started when I was asked to speak at the Virginia Music Educators Association about 10 years ago. After my designated hour of "How to Play a Brass Instrument" and "The Importance of The First Lesson", a high school teacher came up to me and said if I could help her with her Trumpets. She said "They were having trouble playing the 'C'." I naturally assumed she meant the High C, but no, she said the third space C. That was the start of my experiences with beginning, middle, and even so-called "advanced" students about to enter college and the college players themselves!

Since then I have established my own web site www.airstreamdynamics.com and am highly involved in posting on www.pivotalk.com and www.trumpetherald.com .
I and a well-trained staff, located in all parts of the country, will soon be offering the following to all Jazz Groups throughout the country to give all the trumpet players and trombone players the range, endurance and power the majority truly lack. You can follow this program on my other blog www.polishyourbrass.blogspot.com in progress.

¨ Turn on your brass section to increased range, power, flexibility and endurance.

¨ Transform a weak trumpet section into a dynamic, exciting tornado!

¨ Make the trombone section a wall of power!

¨ Have the best Ensemble ever!

Are you ready?

My on-line posts are called "airdyn".

I welcome ALL brass players.