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.


Monday, June 27, 2011

#4 of "10 Things You Can Do...."

APPROACH PLACEMENT WITH THE INSTRUMENT IN THE EXACT PLAYING POSITION.All too many performers approach the instrument angle to the face with either 1) the bell lower than the playing position, then raising the head during the initial and inter-phrase inhalations, or 2) with the bell higher than the playing position angle and lowering the head simultaneously during the aforementioned inhalations.
When the attack or "blow" is initiated from EITHER inhalation angle/placement fault, the instrument (mouthpiece) literally "crashes" into the lips, not only causing injury over time or causing missed placements but many missed initial attacks - all mannerisms of these types destructive. A well know jazz artists literally destroyed a beautiful upstream embouchure by doing one of these. He is no longer with us, sad to say.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#3 of "10 THINGS YOU CAN DO...."

Wet the Teeth and Gums

Whether one plays with a totally "wet" outer embouchure, a totally "dry" outer embouchure or any combination (i.e. dry top lip, wet bottom lip or wet top, dry bottom), the vibrating area of the lips (within the cup) will require certain moisture to function properly. The vibrating lips may receive moisture from the air column itself as it passes between the lips or from a deliberate action of wetting the area at times throughout one's playing with the tongue tip. Some performers even wet the mouth corners. "Wetting the teeth and gums" is a worthwhile habit to acquire that will eliminate the "sticking" of intervals, keeping the inner embouchure on track!

Monday, June 13, 2011

#2 of "10 Things..."

#2...Balance Both Brain Hemispheres After drinking 2 glasses of water ( see #1) , sit comfortably in a chair and cross your ankles, with your preference as to which leg is on top. Now interlock your fingers IN REVERSE (once again with your preference as to the top hand) thumbs down and then TURN THE HANDS DOWN AND INWARD TOWARDS THE BODY. Rest the elbows against the chest and bring the reversed, folded hands against the body. Sit in this position, breathe slowly and deeply for 5-10 minutes, or until a feeling of "calmness" is experienced throughout the entire body. Most people are Right or Left Hemisphere dominant. This process makes practice and performance balanced between the "analytical" thinking and the "intuitive", resulting in a more harmonious and productive playing session.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Playing

After spending 5 days at the ITG (International Trumpet Guild) Conference in Minneapolis, I would like to share a booklet that we had on The Reinhardt Foundation table. It is "10 things you can do to improve your playing". This will be presented in 10 weeks to follow with each point covered at a time.
(Before any playing period)
When one is dehydrated, several things occur in the body, and especially in the brain. We are all electrical beings, relying on the flow of this electrical energy throughout the body and head to send the necessary signals making the systems function properly. Since we also are comprised of some 80% plus of water, and water is a perfect conductor of electricity, being in a state of dehydration hampers body and brain functions severly. Starting off any given day and thinking - "Oh, I'm having a bad day" in many cases is a clue that we need to be hydrated. Most importantly, hydration ensures that the right and left hemispheres are balanced.

As each point is posted, your comments are welcome and appreciated.