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, July 25, 2011

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

Approach placement with the instrument in the exact playing position.

All too many performers bring the instrument to the face with 1) the bell lower than the playing position and raising the head during the initial inhalation, 2) with the bell higher than the playing position, lowering the head simultaneously during the initial inhalation, and even 3) changing the playing position (angle) with each and every interphrase inhalation. When the attack or "blow" is initiated from any of these inhalation faults, the instrument (mouthpiece) literally "crashes into the lips, not only causing injury over time but causing missed placements and many missed initial attacks - all frustrating and destructive! One of our great trumpet players caused just such destruction over time by one or several of these mannerisms.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Reinhardt on Facebook!

Just created: A Donald S. Reinhardt page! All Facebook users, make this a "friend" and contribute any information, photos, etc. that will make it accessable to many. thanks,
Dave Sheetz

Friday, July 22, 2011

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

Keep the Seal

Within "the perfect circle" (the rim of the mouthpiece itself), a hermetic "seal" is formed, much like the head of the tympani. When the mouthpiece pressure is neutralized by the puckered resistance of the lips, this "seal" is kept in place as the mouthpiece remains "the perfect circle", not slipping or sliding from its original placement position while ascending or descending, chromatically or making intervallic leaps. If this "seal" is broken, even during inhalations, the embouchure itself will not develop due to this disruption of "setting". That is why, during embouchure development, one is instructed to "use more mouthpiece pressure against the lips during the inhalation than during the actual playing".

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Skype Lesson Procedure

Please be advised that in this Blog is my new policy on time/price structure regarding Skype lessons. Thanks, Dave

Sunday, July 17, 2011

#8 of "Things You Can Do..."


After a series of low register playing phrases, remember to

Retrieve The Lower Lip .

When the lower lip starts to "creep forward" and away from being in the original setting of just slightly "in and over the lower teeth" (derived from initial placement), attempting to ascend into the high register from any low register or middle register playing becomes difficult. Unless the lower lip is "retrieved" (slightly sucked in during an inhalation),too much lower and middle register playing will gradually limit ascending into the high register. This is why so many players in the section below the lead part get "locked into" the low and middle registers. The lead player doesn't have this problem, because he stays mainly in the upper register, where the lower lip remains in a stronger position and is not usually "blown" forward by careless LOUD low and middle register playing that the lower parts trap you into overblowing, opening the lip aperture too wide. A good rule to follow is: NEVER PLAY THE LOW AND MIDDLE REGISTERS WITH MAXIMUM LIP APERTURE, and by all means: Retrieve The Lower Lip whenever possible during inhalations.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

#7 of "Things You Can Do..."

Keep more weight on the Lower Lip

It is apparent that the lower lip can take more punishment from mouthpiece weight than the top lip. All physical types (III downstreams and IV upstreams) of performers will experience upper lip swelling from applying too much weight on the top lip. From the moment of placement until the mouthpiece leaves the lips, being conscious of this weight factor not only increases endurance but keeps upper lip swelling (the bane of the trumpet player) from occurring. The weight factor favors the lower lip at approximately 40% top lip to 60% lower lip. Delaying as long as possible and even eliminating adding upper lip weight while ascending the instrument will increase one's endurance not only through the gig but well through one's entire playing career.

One may think that this predominant lower lip weight would cause the lower jaw to recede, but just the opposite occurs. This balance of 40-60 encourages the more forward position of the jaw, however slight, and gives added "stability" to the lower jaw support.

Friday, July 8, 2011

#6 of "Things You Can Do..."

During practice, eliminate 2 senses (sight and sound); rely on only the 3rd (feeling).

Spend part of each practice session with the eyes closed (it is advised to memorize what one wishes to work on) and completely eliminate any input from the ears by wearing earplugs and/or any sound blockage available, such as a padded headset. Enhancing "feel" over sight (the tendency to look into a mirror for any reason) and especially over sound (hearing) will connect the kinesthetic and rapid progress will surprise you.

The great Tomatis (the French discoverer of the connection between the ear frequencies and depression) says that "listening" and "hearing" are not synonymous.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

#5 of the "10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Playing".

Use a consistent Left Hand Grip

Brass players will use many combinations of left hand grips, especially where they place the gripping fingers. Please note that THE LEFT HAND IS THE ONLY HAND THAT SUPPORTS THE INSTRUMENT [ASSUMING THE PLAYER IS RIGHT-HANDED, THAT IS] AND THE RIGHT HAND IS USED ONLY TO MANIPULATE THE VALVES OR SLIDE AS THE CASE MAY BE.

This is an important point and not to be taken lightly. Even the technique of manipulating the trumpet's 1st and 3rd valve slides can be developed into an art without losing the left hand grip.

The point here is that no matter what method one uses for the left hand and fingers, IT MUST BE CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT ALL PLAYING.

The left hand grip is the guardian of the embouchure formation.