Trombone embouchure trade secret

This is the trombone embouchure article I wish I had read many years ago (a bit hard though, since I had not written it then…). It would literally have saved me for years of struggles. I hope that you will benefit from it now instead, potentially saving you from a lot of trombone agony and brass pains.

Don´t blow at your trombone

Have you ever thought about the best way of getting air out of your lungs (or wherever you keep it) and through your trombone? This is the single most important thing to get right for brass players. Once you master the task of effortlessly getting the air out of your body and through your horn, you will be able to focus on playing music. Getting this 90% right is not all that hard, and then you will spend the rest of your life perfecting those last 10%.

In order to turn that precious air into beautiful trombone music, there are three obstacles you have to clear: Continue reading

    Trombone lesson: Tongueing – Tuh or Tut?

    How to improve your trombone playing with 5 minutes of theory (and a lot more practice…)
    The only way to get to the next level of brass playing
    Get that music-school-trombone-sound out of my life!!!
    The truth about one of the worst and most common bad habits among brass players

    Are you convinced that you continue reading this? Good, then let us get down to business! This post is about attack and tonguing for trombone players and ALL other brass players. This post is about how to discover one of the most common bad habits among brass players – and more important – how to get rid of it. Continue reading

      Trombone lesson: Kick starting lips and air flow

      Monday morning in the practice room? This is a great little exercise to get the chops going when you first pick up your horn that day. The key to all brass playing is in the air flow, and the key to a good air flow can often be found by working on a full, overtone rich sound in the medium to medium low range.

      In this exercisee, I focus on F (below key hole-C) an augmented fourth down to B.* Many players have a hard time getting this register to sound as good as the rest of the middle range. One of the reasons is that the sound waves of the fifth in any given slide position doesn´t fit the instrument as goods as the fundamental on the same position (for example F versus Bb on 1st position). Continue reading

        Trombone lesson: Crescendo with full control

        Can you play a perfect crescendo in the middle/low range going from ppp to fff in one breath? This exercise is great to improve those skills!

        But before you start playing the exercise in the sheet music gallery, please read the following:
        The goal is not to play as strong as possible all the time! The goal is to get the feeling of opening up your throat and let the notes in ff pour out effortlessly.

        The analogy of a water pouring out of a tap is a great way to visualize the air flow. Take a look at these three pictures: Continue reading

          Trombone lesson: 5 minutes breathing exercise

          I know what you think: Yet another five minutes exercise that is supposed to change my life…
          But no, this time you can actually settle with two or three minutes! And it really did make a big difference for me the first time I tried it, so I strongly recommend that you tried it out.

          I got into some really bad problems with air flow a few years ago. After playing for years without thinking much about breathing with a natural talent for relaxed air flow I slowly got into trouble. It took me a very long time to get rid of the bad habits, both physically and mentally. This following exercise is one that really helped me. It is actually adapted from an excellent article about breathing problems (the Valsalva Maneuver) by Brad Howland.

          I recommend that you stand up and make sure that you are relaxed and in good balance without your instrument. 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: Pedal tones

              Do you have the feeling sometimes that the instrument doesn´t taste as good as it use to, and that the lips just wont buzz the way you want them to? In 92,8% of the time, there is nothing wrong with the lips, and the problem is air flow, or the lack of it. Continue reading