Archive for the 'Trombone' Category

Lightning Can Indeed Strike Twice

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

First came the Getzen Custom Series trombone line in 1992. Born of five years of success with the Edwards Instruments line of trombones, the new Custom Series trombones took the industry by storm. They quickly became some of the most sought after trombones in the world and fully cemented the Getzen Company’s place in the professional trombone market.

For nearly two decades, the full line of Custom Series trombones set the standard for what a professional grade trombone should be. Minor improvements over the years like all metal linkages, improved valve designs, and the addition of Griego mouthpieces kept the Custom Series fresh and at the top of the list, but it wasn’t until the introduction of the Custom Reserve line and the 4047DS in 2011 that a brand new model was added to the line.

The 4047DS Custom Reserve was unlike anything previously offered under the Custom Series banner. More than two years in the making, it featured an all new rotor design, wrap, bell, and handslide complimented with a Getzen exclusive fiberglass case. It quickly caught the attention of trombone players everywhere. Rave reviews showed that the Getzen Custom Series trombones were once more setting the standard of what a truly upper level trombone could be. We are extremely proud and excited to say we’ve done it again!

4147IB PowerBore Rotor and Harmonic Pillar

Introducing the all new, Getzen 4147IB “Ian Bousfield” Custom Reserve tenor trombone. Designed by Christan Griego in partnership with world renowned trombone artist Ian Bousfield, this new trombone marks another leap forward for the Getzen Company. While it may look similar to the 4047DS, the 4147IB is a completely different animal. The handslide, leadpipe, neckpipe, tuning slides, and bell are all exclusive to the 4147IB. It is Getzen’s first premium, professional trombone model built around a narrow handslide configuration. Other Getzen firsts include a single version of the Edwards trombone patented Harmonic Pillar system and a revolutionary handslide cross brace. This new cross brace is not only more comfortable in the player’s hand, but its design, material, and position dramatically improve the trombone’s resonance and response. The 4147IB is a truly premium, professional trombone worthy of the name “Ian Bousfield”.

The 4147IB Custom Reserve comes standard with the same Getzen fiberglass case as the 4047DS and a Getzen Custom Griego CS5 mouthpiece. Due to the nature of the 4147IB, initial supplies are expected to be extremely limited. Because of that, we are making the 4147IB available for pre-order now with anticipated delivery beginning in June of 2013 on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. For more model information, availability, or to pre-order visit your local Getzen dealer or www.getzen.com today.

A Peek Behind the Curtain

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

by Christan Griego

Last March I traveled to Frankfurt, Germany to visit with distributors and dealers at the annual Music Messe. While there I had my night of fun with an old friend, who happens to be a trombone player (yeah, we run in packs). At some point in the evening, he mentioned that he had a friend who was not happy on his current equipment. He knew if there was anyone that could make this player happy it was…. me. Flattery sank in and I was immediately intrigued. As we talked about how to solve all of life’s problems, the conversation continued circle back around to this friend and what he needed. During this conversation the performer’s name was never mentioned, it was like classified information that would be unlocked when the time was right.

Fast-forward a month when I received a call from one Mr. Ian Bousfield. The mystery man was finally revealed. I knew Ian professionally as one of the world’s top trombone players and personally from a trip to the UK 15 years ago when I had scheduled a lesson with him. I still remember his Eb arpeggio and him helping me through the issues I was struggling with at the time. After talking a bit about everything from brewing beer, cycling, and trombones, Ian mentioned that he was not only in the States, but that he was only three hours away from Elkhorn and that he wanted to work with me. Not some distant time in the future, but in a couple of days. It was off to the races for me to get something together that could satisfy one of the most incredibly gifted and equipment sensitive individuals I had ever met. It was a monumental challenge I just couldn’t say no to.

4147IB Bracing

With an understanding of Ian’s playing preferences, I first started with the basic body of the 4047DS trombone and added a narrow slide to it. This setup played okay, but it had some issues. Taking a narrow slide and just throwing it on a wide slide bell section caused the intonation to go sky high. Once we identified this issue, I immediately knew we had to add length not only to the slide, but to the bell section as well. Messing with tapers scares me to no end because it’s the balance within the tapers that makes or breaks a concept. It can turn a wonderful trombone into an out of tune mess if you’re not careful. The slide became longer first and from there I focused not only on the tapers of the neckpipe and tuning slide, but also on the treatments and construction of the bell. Ian tried some higher copper content bells and decided that was the direction of “color” within the sound that was needed for his demanding work. Once the bell choice was made, we needed a bit more “width” in the sound. Through what seemed like divine intervention, I realized that the outer handslide cross brace was the place to go. By changing the material, location, and removing excess weight we had exactly what we needed to move forward.

After working with Ian and watching many of his performances on Youtube, I knew that this trombone needed to be as nimble as a ballet dancer, yet as powerful as a bulldozer, and all while remaining sensitive to the player. Giving him the feedback needed to know that what is going into the instrument while on stage, is what’s coming out equally in the hall. This is very hard to explain to listeners and the focus on near feel versus hall feedback is one area that I do concentrate on. When this subject is talked about it always ends up with people shaking their heads at me like I’m the crazy one, but to a player it is known immediately from the moment the instrument resonates against their lips, through their bodies, and out into the hall.

The comfort a trombonist feels by playing this style of instrument is also understood as “relaxed”, “more musical” with “less tension” in the sound compared to other styles of trombones made for the masses. Every day of my job I focus on the individual performer and this attention to personal details has helped me better understand what players want and need. This is what first lead me to develop the patented Edwards Harmonic Pillar system which allows a trombone to be acoustically tuned. I quickly realized that a singular version of that system was exactly what was needed to take this new trombone from great to a world class. It was the perfect design aspect to create a more intimate relationship between the instrument and the musician. Setting the trombone apart from any other on the market and at the same time broadening it’s appeal to all trombonists. It was the final piece of the puzzle.

When I designed the 4047DS trombone, time was not an issue. I had years to trial and error every design concept that came to mind. It became as much an education into what does not work in trombone design as what does. The process with this new trombone was the exact opposite. Instead, it was a relatively short time frame filled with very intense and focused work. Ian knew exactly what he wanted and, thanks to my experience with the 4047DS, I knew how to get there. Miraculously, there were very few bumps in the road and somehow everything seemed to fall into place.

It is my sincerest hope that this new trombone, the 4147IB Custom Reserve, will not only bring Ian Bousfield and his demanding playing schedule closer to his musical ideas, but that it will do the same for you and your career goals, performances, and beyond.

Introducing Ian Bousfield

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Ian Bousfield has been at the top of his profession for more than a quarter of a century, excelling in more facets of the music business than perhaps any other trombonist of his generation. His stellar career has included playing in two of the top-four orchestras in the world, one of which is recognized as perhaps the greatest opera orchestra anywhere. In addition, Ian has performed as a soloist with orchestras, brass bands, and on period instruments. His extensive resume also includes recording on top labels, playing the theme tracks for blockbuster Hollywood films, and teaching at the Royal Academy in London, England. It is easy to see why the name Ian Bousfield has become synonymous with the trombone.

Ian Bousfield and the 4147IB

Born in York, in 1964, Ian is a product of the famous brass band tradition in the north of England. His trombone career began at the ripe old age of seven with his earliest teaching coming from his father and later from Dudley Bright. In a strange twist, Mr. Bright would later replace Ian when he left the London Symphony Orchestra in 2000. The longest spell that Ian enjoyed in the brass band movement was with the Yorkshire Imperial Band between the ages of 14 and 18. During that short four year time with the band, he was fortunate to win the National Championships in 1978, the British Open in 1981, and the Yorkshire Championships on two separate occasions in 1980 and 1981.

In 1979, at the age of fifteen, Ian won the Shell London Symphony Orchestra scholarship. At that point, his carrier began to move undeniably in the direction of orchestras. He joined the European Youth Orchestra at age sixteen under Claudio Abbado and made a brief stop at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before becoming Principal Trombone of the Halle Orchestra in 1983. During his time in Manchester, Ian was lucky enough to perform the United Kingdom premiere of Eine Kleine Posaunenmusik by Gunter Schuller, under the conduction of the composer himself. In 1988, after five years with the Halle, Ian replaced one of his life-long mentors, Denis Wick, as the Principal Trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra at only 24 years of age. There he enjoyed a twelve year career. While with the LSO, Ian was featured as a soloist with the orchestra on several occasions, and recorded the soundtracks to many films, including Star Wars: Episode 1 and Braveheart. In 2000, following a successful audition in Vienna, Ian achieved the honor of becoming the Principal Trombone of the Vienna Philharmonic/Vienna State Opera. Ian was the first, and to date only, British member in the orchestra’s storied, 150 plus year history. This appointment was followed by his membership in the Vienna Hofkapelle Orchestra.

As a soloist, Ian has performed with the Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra, Sapporo Symphony, and Austin Symphony to name a few. He has worked with countless conductors including Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Neville Marriner, Kent Nagano, Ion Marin, and Matthias Bamert. Over the years, Ian has also made several solo recordings for labels such as EMI, Camerata, Chandos, and Doyen. Perhaps the greatest highlights of Ian’s solo career to date have been performing the Nina Rota Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic and Riccardo Muti three times in Vienna, as well as at The Lucerne Festival and in Tokyo, Japan. Another highlight for Ian was performing the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Stargazer, written for and dedicated to Ian, with the London Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas in 2007. He has performed with all of the world’s major brass bands, recording with many of them. Ian has appeared as a soloist and as a clinician pretty much everywhere in the world. In fact, it’s probably easier to mention the conservatories and festivals at which he has not appeared than to list all of those he has!Ian is currently Professor of Trombone at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern, Switzerland, a position he has held since September 2011. Having had a relationship with the Royal Academy of Music in London since 1992, where he has been awarded an Honorary Membership, he will be returning as a member of staff as of September 2012.

Ian is also currently an International Fellow of Brass at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His list of former students includes some of the most successful players in orchestras around the world and that list continues to grow.

Introducing the 4047DS Custom Reserve

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Christan Griego recently designed an new trombone for Getzen. He shares his thoughts about it below.

A while back, I had this idea. As always, it started as the most innocent of thoughts. It was “There’s this mythical ‘Bach’ style of trombone that, while some are great, most are inconsistent. Let’s try to build on this ‘Bach’ style while maintaining what we’ve always done best”. As you are probably aware, we’re known for making the most consistent resonating instruments in the world. So we should be able to make this work.

I knew where to start and I knew where I wanted to end up. That was the easy part. I also knew I didn’t want to re-invent the wheel, but I didn’t want to just rehash the same old things either. And so, by combining time tested ideas with a few new design approaches, I started the journey of creating this dream instrument that ultimately turned into the 4047DS Custom Reserve. Here’s a little insight into the how and why the 4047DS came to be.

The Handslide

This was the easiest part for me, since I knew what I wanted. A large, .547” bore hand slide with yellow brass outer tubes, nickel silver over sleeves, and a yellow brass end crook. The end crook gives us the width of sound needed to offset what is happening a bit later in the bell section. Prior research into end crook bore selection had given me the knowledge needed and the choice was made. The entire design is balanced and offset to each component so that it all works together to achieve the final outcome we are after.

The Bell

The design of the bell took us to the machine shop. The bell shape had to be correct in order for the 4047DS to give us the enveloping quality we were after. This is always the scary part of design as you hope your initial shape concepts are right due to the high cost of bell mandrels. I study history and what has been done in the past to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of others. As luck would have it, we hit a winner with our bell mandrel. With the bell shape nailed we moved on to the material choice, yellow brass and that’s all I can say. We have to keep some secrets, but I can tell you it’s not a light bell nor is it a hernia maker. My whole goal was to make an instrument that will fit most professional players without them making the journey to Elkhorn, Wisconsin to work with me on fitting a trombone. It’s okay, no offense taken.

The Rotor

This is possibly the most “oversold” part of any instrument manufacturer’s claims. While I’m not refuting anybody’s self proclaimed valve supremacy, my goal was to make a professional trombone that used a conventional rotor not of a higher deity or bloodline. Listening to vinyl recordings late in the evening, I have heard players from the 1950’s through today that sound incredible on good old, conventional rotor trombones. There are many musicians that I’ve studied with that still play on standard conventional rotors that aren’t at all hampered by the rotor’s design. I did play around with port diameters and rotor passageways to come up with our final design, but with design simplicity I think we have found a great combination.

4047DS rotor

The Wrap

It’s possible to make an instrument play great with a conventional rotor by making sure the overall wrap design is correct. I used my knowledge of wraps and bracing concepts in this area. The “DS” double edge brace design is born of the Edwards B454-D-E bass and it works just as well here on the 4047DS. In addition to the “DS” bracing, the 4047DS utilizes the concept of Asymmetrical Bracing with both yellow brass and nickel silver bracing. This innovative bracing design frees both the F attachment and the bell from diminished resonance and response caused by invasive bracing systems.

4047DS wrap

4047DS bracing

And Finally… The Leadpipe

I’m fortunate to be friends with lots of trombone players with a wide variety of equipment both new and old. One such friend knew about the 4047DS project and offered me a decades old leadpipe to test on the horn. Man did that pipe play well. The second the brass leadpipe slid into the slide, it was an “Aha!” moment. This was the final piece of the puzzle that made the 4047DS something special.

When developing a new instrument, we test things on a daily basis and get to see the improvements made slowly over time. Moving toward a goal only to have the destination cut short is a real drag and I think that many companies do just that. Rushing to launch model after model just hoping to get one to “hit”. That is exactly the approach I wanted to avoid. We have worked on this trombone for a few years and not once was I pressured to get the horn to market. I wanted, and was encouraged, to take my time. Only when it felt right every time I came back to the horn and after hearing the 4047DS played by countless players in house did I feel right taking this new trombone public. Crafting new trombones is fun. Crafting one that plays this well is something else all together. I am extremely proud to finally provide other players with the ability to play and perform on the all new, Getzen 4047DS Custom Reserve. Enjoy!

– Christan Griego

Instrument Specs

  • Bell: 8 ½” Yellow brass unsoldered rim; B Mandrel *
  • Tuning Slide: Yellow brass; Single radius taper *
  • Bell & Tuning Slide Braces: Nickel silver construction *
  • “DS” Edge Bracing: Yellow brass construction *
  • Neckpipe: Taper evens intonation tendencies within the harmonic series. *
  • Inner Handslide: Solid nickel silver construction cork barrel assembly *
  • Leadpipe: Retro brass leadpipe born of historically proven bloodlines *
  • Over Sleeves: Nickel silver providing longer wear points *
  • End Crook: Yellow brass with large inner diameter providing a width of sound & consistent feel *

All in an optional fiberglass shell case with adjustable padding and backpack straps. It is the smallest large bore, tenor case on the market today. Providing more protection than a traditional gig bag while remaining lightweight without the use of expensive carbon fiber. *

* = Designed exclusively for the 4047DS Custom Reserve

Blackburn Leadpipes and Griego Mouthpieces

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Only instruments newly ordered and shipped from the Getzen Company will include the new Blackburn leadpipes or Griego Custom mouthpieces. Those instruments already in dealer inventory may not include these items. It is recommended that retail customers confirm that any 940 Eterna Piccolo (Blackburn) or Custom Series trombone (Griego) in question is indeed a new instrument with these items and not old stock. Getzen is not responsible for furnishing Blackburn leadpipes or Griego mouthpieces to players purchasing instruments sold to dealers prior to the introduction of these items.

Daily Warm Up for Elementary Brass Players

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

By Bobby Herriot
(edited and reprinted from September 1972 Getzen Gazette)

1. With the Lips Only

Try to make a buzzing sound by forcing the air through the lips. To do this, put your mouth in the same position needed when you put the trumpet up to your lips. Grip the muscles in the corner of the mouth FIRMLY, but not tight. Now put your tongue behind the TOP teeth and release the air and sound between the lips. Don’t worry about producing any particular note. Just be happy if a sound comes out. Do this approximately 6 times to get the lips loose and vibrating properly.

2. With the Mouthpiece

Take the mouthpiece in your left hand and place it on your lips in the NORMAL playing position. Take a deep breath and play the following exercises. If you need help finding the notes, you may use your trumpet to play the first note to get it into your ear. A piano would be better though. Just be sure to play through all three exercises with just your mouthpiece.

Exercise A
Please note that frequent rests are needed during the initial stages of playing. It is extremely important that these rests are observed during the warm up period and during all practice sessions.
Exercises B and C

3. With the Trumpet

Hold the trumpet in your left hand and place your right hand in playing position. With your three playing fingers perfectly on TOP of the finger buttons and your pinky OUT of the pinky ring repeat exercises A, B, and C.

This warm up should be done every day before attempting to play any other exercises or tunes. If it becomes a habit, which it should, then the rest of your playing will be made much easier resulting in better control over the trumpet.

Basic Concepts In Brass Playing

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

By Dr. Leonard A. Candelaria
(Professor of Trumpet & Artist in Residence, University of Alabama at Birmingham)

Many players seem unaware of the fundamental concept that must remain foremost in the minds of all wind musicians. The concept is that, no matter the style, tempo, volume, or range of music being played, the sounds we produce on our instruments must always possess a vibrant and rich quality of tone that is the product of blowing air in a smooth, flexible, and continuous manner. The following ideas may be of benefit to most brass players.

Air Control

  1. Always inhale air deeply, calmly and silently.
  2. Be sure to inhale in time with the tempo of the music.
  3. Think to yourself as you do the following; 1, 2, 3…Breathe…Play
  4. Make playing feel as though you were sighing through the horn.
  5. Always blow firmly or gently as needed with positive energy!

Practicing Tips

  1. Always begin each practice session by playing soft, slow, and sustained middle-register tones. Never begin by playing loud and high. Without being comfortable in your ability to play your very best tone on each and every note in the mid-range, you should refrain from playing high, fast, or loud.
  2. It is better to practice for several short sessions (20 -30 minutes at a time) rather than practicing only once daily for an excessively long period. Rest frequently during each session.
  3. While you play each exercise or study, keep one goal in mind the whole time. Do not be satisfied with your playing of the exercise until you achieve your goal on a consistent basis, then pick another goal. Primary goals should always be the relaxed and efficient use of the breath, the production of a rich and resonant tone quality, clear and consistent articulation, and precise fingering.
  4. Other basic musical goals are accuracy of pitch and intonation, precise rhythm, following dynamic indications, consistent phrasing, and control of width and speed of vibrato.
  5. Always strive to make everything you play sound like beautiful music. This even applies to scales, scale drills, arpeggios, lip slurs, and articulation studies.
  6. Repetition is the key to fine playing and effective practice. In order to do the correct things in the correct manner every time we perform, we must do them correctly many times in our practice before they become correct and automatic habits.
  7. Remember, both good and bad playing are a matter of habit!
  8. We play like we practice and we practice like we play. So practice often and practice well!

The Tongue

  1. The air always starts the tone, the tongue just cleans up the front of the note by knocking the “fluff” off the sound.
  2. Use the pointed tip of the tongue to articulate in most cases.
  3. Flick the tongue positively and quickly as you blow and think of saying “Too”. Think of saying “Too” and “Hoo” as though they were two parts of one word: “Too-Hoo” then becomes “T-hoooooo.”
  4. Now say “T-hoo” several times in succession with no spaces between the individual articulations. This is the basic manner most repeated articulations should be played.
  5. Use “Too” for rhythmic styles of articulation and “Doo” for most melodic styles.

Fingering

  1. The fingers of the right hand should be slightly curved with the fleshy pads of the fingertips directly over or touching their respective valve buttons. The thumb should rest under the lead pipe with the tip of the thumb touching the space between the first and second valve casings. Overall finger dexterity will be enhanced if the little finger is free to move without using the finger hook.
  2. The fingers manipulate the valves so that the valves move as quickly as possible from up to down, or down to up. The action of the fingers should be smooth, firm, and positive.
  3. Coordination between the air, the tongue, the fingers, the lips, and the tempo/rhythm is the primary concern.
  4. Practice all difficult technical passages slowly and carefully many, many, many times before attempting to play at a faster tempo. Use a metronome to ensure accurate rhythm.
  5. In fast passages, think of “banging” the valves down with good rhythm to clean up the execution.

The Embouchure

  1. The lips must always be together and touching before the tone starts.
  2. Firm the corners of the mouth by making “dimples” or by “krinkling” the corners of the mouth.
  3. Buzzing the lips alone without the mouthpiece is commonly termed “free buzzing.” One or two minutes of “free buzzing” is an excellent way to begin each practice session. With the center of the lips firm (not tight or rigid) and lightly touching, blow firmly and steadily as you silently say the word “POO”. With a little practice, the lips should vibrate or “buzz” freely. You should be able to sustain the vibration for a few seconds. The vibration that results could sound like “P-uzz”. Whether the resultant pitch is high or low is less important than producing and sustaining a free and vibrant “buzz”. Later, superimpose the consonant sound of the letter “T” over the “P”, changing “POO” to “TOO”. Now use “TOO” to start tones.
  4. To buzz on the mouthpiece follow the same approach as outlined above, but do these things on the mouthpiece alone. You may have to blow more firmly with the mouthpiece than you did with the lips alone. Keep the corners of your mouth firm and the center of your lips (inside the cup of the mouthpiece where the sound is made) should be relaxed but touching.
  5. Learn to sustain high and low sounds on the mouthpiece as well as slurring from low to high and back down. Sustain the mouthpiece tone by sustaining the movement of the wind (the blowing of air). Also practice articulating connected repeated tones without creating space between the notes.
  6. The sound quality of the mouthpiece tone is important. It must be free blowing and vibrant with lots of ‘buzz” in the sound. Use lots of air and play at mezzo forte or forte.
  7. Practicing problematic passages on the mouthpiece, regardless of their technical nature or musical style, is often the fastest way to improve the playing of the same passage on the horn.
  8. An effective approach is to play a passage, buzz it, and play it again.

Something Great Gets Even Better

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Griego CS5
Click image for larger view

Since their introduction, Getzen Custom Series trombones have led the industry in performance, quality, and unmatched value. With such overwhelming acceptance and outstanding designs, it is tough to find ways to improve each model. One can only take perfection so far. Rather than scratching their heads in a vain search for improvements, Getzen decided to elevate the overall package. To achieve this goal, Getzen has partnered with Christan Griego, Director of Research & Development for Edwards Instrument Company. Both are eager to announce the exciting addition of custom Griego Mouthpieces to the full line up of Getzen Custom Series trombones.

Griego Mouthpieces is a family owned company founded in 2001 by Christan Griego. A lifetime of playing trombone and a decade with Edwards has allowed Christan to study under and work with some of the world’s finest players. In that time, he realized that many players were facing the same problems he was. Problems that weren’t being solved by practice alone. After some research, Christan found that the true cause for many trombone players’ headaches were shortcomings in the design and manufacturing techniques of many mouthpiece makers. His experience allowed Christan to gain a unique insight into the wants and needs of players from all corners of the world. He took that knowledge and translated it into a superior mouthpiece design that is conceived and manufactured by/for trombone players. Seeing this success led Getzen to enlist Christan to utilize his skill and experience in designing a mouthpiece tailor made for the Getzen Custom Series trombones. After months of research and testing, that mouthpiece is here.

Beginning in 2007, all newly ordered Custom Series 3508 Jazz, 3047 Tenor, and 3062 Bass trombones will come standard with a Griego mouthpiece. Years of experience with the Custom Series line have enabled Christan to create a mouthpiece specifically designed for each of the three trombone models. Each of the mouthpieces are precisely machined and expertly finished creating the perfect compliment to the unparalleled Custom Series trombone line.

Best of all, the mouthpieces are included with the new trombones at no cost. Mouthpieces can also be added to existing orders for a nominal charge. Additionally, each can be purchased separately from local Getzen dealers. Not only will it improve the performance of the trombones, but also add an outstanding value to the overall package. While others in the industry are offering only “throw away” mouthpieces, Getzen is including a premium mouthpiece with a $130 retail value. Increased performance and overall value; the great does indeed get better!

For more information on Getzen trombones visit www.Getzen.com/trombone. To learn more about Griego Mouthpieces visit www.griegomouthpieces.com.

Featured Custom Series Dealer

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

R.E.W. Music
R.E.W. Music

R.E.W. Music is family owned and has been serving the greater Kansas City area for more than 20 years. Servicing all musicians from student to professional with the same level of service is their number one priority.

R.E.W. carries the full line of Custom Series instruments including an inventory of 3001 Artist Model trumpets. For store locations and contact information visit www.rewbandorch.com.

Hints for Building Range

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

By Mike Vax

The proper way to build range is to increase it gradually over a number of years, always using as natural an embouchure as possible. Students need to learn to let the air do the work instead of the chops. And always, always, always avoid false or trick embouchures like the plague!

Always remember that range comes from endurance, not the other way around! After you gain the support and muscle control to play for longer periods of time, you begin to have the basic foundation to start increasing your range. Working to extend range by half step increments, over a long period of time, insures control, confidence, and consistency in the upper register that will last for years. There is no deep dark secret that will increase your range overnight. It takes hours of hard practice and concentration. There is no shortcut!

Young players trying to stretch into the upper register too quickly can face quite a few problems. Gaining the ability to reach up high should be thought of as a marathon rather than a sprint. A student can injure muscles in the embouchure as well as other parts of the body by trying too hard to hit the upper registers without first having the knowledge and physical stamina to play up there correctly. Rushing it can also be a detriment to other aspects of playing.

There was never a time in my life that I spent hours a day just trying to “honk out” high notes. The upper register was just one of the many facets that I worked on with regard to my overall playing. Instead of focusing only on high notes, I try to point out to students the importance of working on technique, articulation, flexibility, reading, and endurance. If all of those are mastered, the ability to hit high notes will follow. I also stress to students that the measure of a player is not how high he/she can play for one, forced note. The real measure is how high he/she can play both consistently and musically. I urge them to remember, that the main consideration of trumpet playing is to achieve pure musical sound in all registers of the horn.

Things To Focus On To Extend Range

  • Flexibility studies
  • Long tones
  • Pedal tones (with natural embouchure)
  • Endurance builders (such as the characteristic studies in the back of the Arban’s Book and the Daily Set-Up drills of Herbert L. Clarke)
  • Chords and scales that gradually go higher
  • Breathing exercises. (AIR is your real “octave key”. When you SUPPORT your sound properly, playing high becomes much easier)
  • Walking, running, biking, swimming, etc… (the better shape your body is in, the better chance you have with both endurance and high notes)

Warning Signs Young Players Are Rushing The Upper Register

  • Loss of flexibility
  • Airy tone
  • Trouble with lower register
  • Loss of control and consistency
  • Loss of endurance
  • Inability to center pitches