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.


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.



John said...

Is it advisable to do some practicing very softly as high as you can go?

I can get a loud G and A above high C. My double C is a definite tone but I can't get the volume that I would like.

What about practicing some subtones...those tones you can barely hear. You can almost feel them instead of hear them...especially as we get older.

FixYourBrass said...

It's all a matter of "compression". See the Encyclopedia of The Pivot System, page 165, 33 points pn "How can maximum (playable) embouchure be developed and maintained?

FixYourBrass said...

I hope you follow this comment: One of my students just took a lesson with Roger Ingram (IIIA) and he does a lot of soft glizzandos ascending, like 1/2/3 valve position second line F#, and 1/2 steps up on this to high???
He also told my student to practice the middle register VERY SOFTLY, and use several pages of Arban 1st exercises (whole notes, half, quarters, eithts, etc)with this soft playing.
So to answer your question, I think this is a good approach.