Trombone lesson: Extend your range on mouthpiece

trombone mouthpiece silverThis simple little mouthpiece exercise is actually quite effective. I recently had one of those days where both breathing and embouchure felt a bit locked in. I used these patterns to kickstart both, and was impressed with the result after just few minutes.

Before you take the ride, please read the following instructions: Continue reading

    Trombone lesson: Doodle Pentatonics

    Pentatonic April – part II

    This is the second pentatonic exercise in a series of two, read the first part here

    New to doodle tonguing? Here is a series of articles to get you started.
    Doodle tonguing part I
    Doodle tonguing part II
    Doodle tonguing part III
    Doodle tonguing part IV

    Doodle Pentatonics
    Pentatonic scales are useful for many things, including working on your doodle chops. You will expand your range, build up strength and really get those pentatonic scales into your slide arm.

    No secret formula here, just plain hard (and rewarding) work. Make sure that you play the scales in a tempo that you can master. Every attack should be clear, and make sure the difference between the doo-attacks and dl-attacks are minimal. Continue reading

      Trombone lesson: Brass embouchure with vowels

      Using vowels to improve and optimize your trombone embouchure

      I have written a lot about about air flow and keeping the throat wide open while playing trombone (and other brass instruments). Here is a really cool trick to improve your embouchure and make sure that you get the most out of your efforts. When you get it right, you will probably experience that your playing will be a lot more effortless, both in the high range and low range!

      Your lips are not to be compared with a guitar string that produces a higher pitch the more you stretch it!!!! This is a very common mistake, and a dead end for trombone and brass embouchure. When you get it right, you will be amazed how little effort is actually needed, regardless of the range you are playing in. Continue reading

        Trombone lesson: Practice with the “wrong” mouthpiece!

        Practicing low range with a small mouthpiece
        If you are working on the low range, consider doing the exercises you work on, on a smaller mouthpiece, or even on a smaller trombone if you play on a large bore tenor or bass trombone. Why? Well, playing a smaller mouthpiece makes it even more important to have the airflow centered in order to get the full sound. Big instruments and mouthpieces tend to be more forgiving if your embouchure and/or air flow isn´t dead on. You can test yourself: play a few notes in the low mid / low range in f on your large equipment. Now do the same with a smaller mouthpiece/trombone. Can you get the full sound out of it, or does it feels like it “locks up”? Of course, a big fff low E on a small bore horn with a 12C mouthpiece wont sound that great, but in general, you Continue reading

          Trombone lesson: Save chops!

          You might know the feeling, playing all those scale patterns one half tone up at the time… Seven keys to go ands the lips already feel as flexible as a train rail track!

          There are lots of exercises where you gradually expand the range, and end up playing in either the extreme high or low register. I will give you a little but effective tip how to get the most out of those exercises, without busting your chops.

          Expand from the middle
          The solution is simple, make sure that you start in the middle range, and work your way both up and down from there. Mixing high and low range both save chops, and helps you to play with the same embouchure in all registers. This mouthpiece exercise works this way. Continue reading

            Trombone lesson: High range glissando

            This exercise is intended to help you expand your range with full control of the embouchure. It is designed to let you start in a comfortable mid range, and work your way both up and down, making sure that your lips are prepared to play in any register at all times. I like the idea of expanding the range both up and down in the same exercise, as it helps you keep the embouchure in place, as well as you “warm down” a little between the high range pats of the exercises.

            Your focus should be to keep the same lip position on the mouthpiece, regardless of the register you play in. The only change should be Continue reading

              Bach Cello suites in all keys

              Bass clef bundle:

              Bundle: Cello Suite no 1 & 2 in bass clef
              Bundle: Cello Suite no 1 & 2 in bass clef
              A total of 306 pages in PDF format, bass clef. Save 9.95!
              Price: $29.95

              As far as I know, this is the first edition of Bach´s Cello Suites IN ALL KEYS! Now you can get Suite no 1 and Suite no 2 edited for brass in all keys, available in PDF format. With 120-152 pages each, there should be enough music to keep you busy for the rest of the week…and the next few years!

              There are two versions available of each suite: high brass (treble clef) and low brass (bass clef). Since all keys are represented, it doesn´t matter how your instrument is tuned, there will always be plenty of well suited etudes for your instrument – trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tenor horn, alto horn, french horn or tuba. Continue reading

                Trombone lesson: Mouthpiece warmup

                Don´t forget not to play the trombone all the time! And while not doing that, I suggest that you work on the mouthpiece alone. It´s great for improving air flow, attack, strength and sound.

                When you are buzzing, try to make the sound as big and open as possible. I try to focus on getting as many overtones in the sound as possible. Once you get it right on the mouthpiece, the tone quality on the horn will improve as well. Continue reading

                  Trombone lesson: Natural legato – take a big breath!

                  Both classical and jazz players benefit from a good at natural legato. It´s a fundamental part of trombone playing, and helps you accomplish smooth and light legato phrasing.

                  You can actually play these patterns as natural legato all the way, only tongueing the first note. Continue reading

                    Trombone lesson: Scales without tongueing

                    One of the reasons that many jazz trombone players use the higher range a lot is simply that the notes are positioned closer and you are more agile. Yes, it takes some more chops to play around up there, but the reward is that you can play melodic lines lighter and more precise, and get rid some of the clumsiness that the trombone struggles with in the lower range.

                    These scale exercises take this to the extreme. Continue reading