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, 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!


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