Trombone lesson: Crescendo with full control

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:

Now, discard the first one since it has absolutely nothing to do with brass playing (no matter how good you are…).

Which one of the two others would you say is the best picture of playing a rich ff ? Are you sure?

I´d say go for the uncompressed, large bore water tap! No matter how many litres you can squeeze out of a water hose per second, it still can´t beat the quality of the free flow from a water tap!

Converted into air then: Even if you can get more air out in shorter time with pure force, it wont be as efficient as when you let it poor out through a large opening! Many players actually force the air flow and still play really good. You can get far by doing that, but remember that by using pure Air Flow and let Pentagon work with Air Force I would say that you could become a 25% better brass player overnight, whatever that means!

Now, feel free to try the exercise! Start with a crescendo from mp to mf and expand the dynamic range gradually as you get more confident with the exercise, playing from ppp to fff. You might discover that the notes from middle F down to B can be tricky to play loud with control. It is because they are not as fundamental on the instrument as the fundamental note in each position (Bb on first etc.). So give them (F down to B) some extra attention if needed!

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You will find this exercise and many others in the book Flexibility for Trombone – 38 pages in print friendly pdf format.


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