Trombone lesson: Kickstarting lips and airflow

Trombone lesson: Kickstarting lips and airflow

Trombone lesson: Kickstarting lips and airflow

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 airflow, and the key to a good airflow can often be found by working on a full, overtone-rich sound in the medium to medium-low range.

In this exercise, I focus on the range from your lowest F on the first slide position down to the B on 7th.* Many trombone 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 don’t fit the instrument as goods as the fundamental on the same position (for example F versus Bb in 1st position).

Giving the range from F down to B some extra attention will not just improve those tones, but will actually help you open up your sound in general. As a nice side effect, free of charge, you also get your lips up and working, and build up strength.

As always when you play technical exercises, make sure that you are relaxed, and try to get rid of all unnecessary ticks and bad habits.

Does this work for you? Please leave a comment and share your experiences with the exercise!

Yours trombonly,

This works great on the mouthpiece alone as well!

* This exercise goes for trumpet as well, just one octave higher, that is from G down to C# in Bb trumpetish.

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  1. Peter 13 years ago

    Thanks for a great tip, I tried it out as written and 8va, it really opens up the sound and lets you play more easily. Surely a new addition to my workout!

  2. Joe Walter 12 years ago

    I’m reading your article on “kick starting”. What exactly does (below key hole-C) mean?

  3. Anders 12 years ago

    Keyhole-C is the middle C on the piano! So the F I refer to is the lowest F playable on 1st position.

  4. Daniel 10 years ago

    Hi,I’ve read your article on kickstarting lips and airflow and it really helped me get back on track after a month of not playing.Thanks a lot!

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