Trombone lesson: Mike Stern lick in all keys

I stole this phrase from a Mike Stern recording a few years ago because I liked the sound of it. And bored on a rainy day, I decided to write it down in all keys and work on it on the trombone. It turned out to be a quite hard but rewarding technical trombone exercise. Try to play it as written, and you´ll get a good high range work out!

Enjoy…
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    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

          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: 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