Pedal tones

There are some teachers and books that advocate the use of pedal tones to help extend your range. Here are some problems with playing the pedals on an altered embouchure. 1. 90% of the people who play pedal tones allow their lips to roll out or protrude into the cup of the mouthpiece. Both of these are contrary to the action needed to play high. Pedals are fine if you maintain a correct embouchure however someone needs to watch you play or you must use a mirror to advoid embouchure shifts. 2. Pedals will not build muscle needed to play high. Even when played properly pedals are played with much less tension than high notes. Only playing high will build the muscles needed to play high. 3. If you play until you are tired you should rest. However many people will play pedals are then continue to work their chops. […]

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To play high

To play high you must: 1. Relax and conserve strength in the lower register. 2. Play with a lip touching embouchure. I can lip buzz over double high c. Buzzing builds chops and teaches you the right mouth position. 3. Use A Lip Set Point. If I set for a g on top of the staff I can relax and pivot to play low G and F#. I can also add air and compression to go over double high c. 4. Use A Pivot. 5. Learn how and when to add compression. NOT just tighten your belly some. Really squeeze all around your torso. NOT chest. 6. Use Timed Breathing. If you take a full breath you can NOT get but about a 30% compression compared to a half breath. 7. Use LESS mouthpiece pressure. It only shuts the aperture and keeps the notes from coming out. 8. Play SONGS […]

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High note endurance

It is not unusual for a H.S. senior to have endurance problems above high c. It is usually from a couple of sources. 1. AIR (you need compression for those high notes) 2. AIR (you need to blow faster air for those high notes) 3. AIR (you are overblowing) Most people confuse air speed with air mass. If you take in a great deal of air (big breath) it is TOO hard to compress the air and let the speed assist you in the upper register. Your breathing aparatus is overworking due to poor technique and it is a breathing endurance rather than a chop endurance problem. I say this because you describe such a STRONG high c. And a sudden loss of range from high f down to c. This overblowing is usually caused by…. 4. TOO MUCH embouchure tension. There is a mental image of high notes being […]

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Range and embouchures

1. There is NOT a perfect embouchure that fits everyone. There is 1 which fits you better than the others. However that is a person by person finding. 2. Why from scratch? If you already have good skills and tone why change embouchures? 3. I’ve seen people take YEARS to change an embouchure only to change back to the first one. You don’t change because you are bored or need an extra note of range. Starting from scratch did you get where you are today in 5 weeks? 4. You need a PLAN. Nobody would try to build a foundation for a bridge without a plan. Don’t try to build a foundation for your playing without a plan. 5. Nobody can (should) give advice without more facts. You need to be able to describe accurately your embouchure, playing abilities and problems before anyone can offer any viable solutions. What you […]

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Range & Pedals

I heard that you have to play pedal tones to get the chops to play high. Playing pedals CORRECTLY can teach you to relax the center of your mouth while the corners remain firm. It can aid in learning to control the airflow. And a couple of other things as well. In and of itself pedals do NOT increase your range. Playing pedal tones teaches you to make BIG embouchure movements. But high notes NEED small adjustments. Lets say that moving from double pedal c to pedal c is a movement of 1. Going from pedal c to low c is a movement of 1/2. Going from low c to middle c is a movement of 1/4. Going from middle c to high c is a movement of 1/8. Going from high c to double high c is a movement of 1/16. Going from double high c to triple high […]

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Range, Buzzing, Air

I can buzz high but I can’t play high. What’s wrong? That is way too much buzzing. Most people buzz to learn a close aperture lip setting and for a little lip strength. That takes weeks not years. If you can buzz a double c then you should be able to play a triple c. There are a couple of reasons why you can’t. 1. Too muscle based. Air is the # 1 tool of a brass player. 2. Compression + compression + mouthpiece pressure = NO aperture for the air to go through. Basicly the tight muscular chops create such a small lip aperture that any other help closes and seals them. The pressure needed for a seal between the lips and the mouthpiece is not a lot but it WILL have some affect on the lips. Added to that the air column needed to play high is trying […]

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