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Bruce Lee
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to comment on "adult learning", because that seems to be the real issue, at least the way that I perceive it. Let's just "step away from the book" for a moment.

First of all, WE (adult learners) have a preconceived idea of how to "practice our trade" in our head. As Fast Freddy points out... " An open mind is a wonderful thing indeed." Adult learners do not tend to dive into things with an open mind. WE often have too much "baggage", and that "baggage" needs to be put away, in order for us to make the necessary CHANGES to experience success!

"step away from the book"... LOVE that concept! As a teacher, I learned more about teaching from becoming a Ski instructor. It was totally out of my realm of expertise as a trumpet teacher. However, I could use my skills as a teacher, and communicator, to help effect learning, using a progression of exercises that were "a means to an end".

Standing in front of a group of adults for 45 minutes, who were "never evers" on skis was, at times, VERY challenging. One "adult learner" that stands out in my mind was a 28 year old "athletic-type" guy... played soccer, jogged, etc., physically fit "jock"... "shakin' in his boots"... literally! Why? FEAR... the same kind of fear that Jeff Smiley talks about in his opening statement of this thread. With fear comes tension. Until I could get that individual to relax, the progress of my class of 8 adult learners was stymied. (This was on the "bunny slope"... which for any "non-skiers" is a nearly flat surface.) By quickly finding out what other skills he had, I was able to take some of his known athletic concepts, and use them as a building-block for learning to ski.

How does all of this relate to the trumpet, and to BE? The material is a "means to an end". It is meant to "guide" the individual. And, YES... some people will require "one on one" teaching, in order to have success with ANY method. Simply reading the book will not help those individuals. However, the application of very simple concepts will enhance learning.

Michael Camilleri... "Hello"! Nice to see you here, and great post! EXPERIMENT... YES, I've heard those "exact" words come out of Allen Vizzutti's mouth, at a clinic. You spoke of Jeff's Roll-in/Roll-out concept... and that it REQUIRES movement. It's simply another way to describe increased "lip compression"... and perhaps offers a far better explanation, in that it dismisses tension, and encourages a more relaxed, fluid movement.

ljazztrm..."I really like the old phrase, "A drop of medicine can cure, a bottle can kill."..it just took me awhile to learn to believe it!"... Absolutely! "So be it"! AMEN! Don Herman used to use this phrase in his signature... "practice makes permanent... not perfect".

Fast Freddy also wrote this... "It's just something that very few have taken the time to explain in great detail and my applause go out to Mr. Smiley for doing so!

If he helps one person play more efficiently then he has been successful. If a person takes up his teachings and learns to help others then he again, has been successful. If you dedicate your time to his method and find that you benefited nothing from the experience then so be it. I personally have never found a person, book, paper, lesson, that I couldn't learn something from."

I'd really like to address the issue of "Micah", raised by "West-Coast-Horns". Jeff can expound on this... IF necessary, but, I would be lead to believe that Micah had more than one lesson with Jeff. Now, he can deny his use of the BE concepts, but, I happen to believe very strongly that "the whole is equal to the sum of its parts". To make a bold statement denying that Jeff Smiley had no effect on him, as a teacher? ... I'm NOT buyin' it! Sounds to me more like Bill Adams' grass roots statement applies here... and, I'll try to get it right, to the best of my knowledge, it goes something like this: "Blowing out someone else's candle to make yours shine brighter doesn't put anyone in a better light." I DO totally agree with the statement about praciticing! Rumor has it that practicing works for some.

Jeff's choice to be a teacher makes all of the sense in the world, to me. I know for a fact that his plate is "very full", with the number of students that he sees every week. Perhaps the allure of the bright lights, smelly smoke-filled bars, and life in hotel rooms and restaurants, just has no appeal to Jeff... me either. Teaching is a noble profession, and Jeff has a "gig" every day. His students.... and all who make the conscious decision to implement his teachings, will simply have to suffer the effects of developing as trumpet players... sad, but true.

In closing, give me the young, inexperienced student, any day! Their success will always tend to be much more rapid, by comparison, than that of a person with pre-conceived ideas. "Fear" of change, OR, over-application of the concepts will prevent success. Until the concepts are firmly in our grasp, and we have taken the time to learn "new" muscle movement patterns, and to develop these "new" muscles, we may lose a step in the process, but, in the long run our development will be furthered. There is nothing more gratifying, to me, than seeing "the smile of accomplishment" on someone's face, or in knowing that I have helped them to continue to grow, both as a person, and as a trumpet player.

The TH exists for discussion of trumpet and music-related topics. Jeff Smiley has decided to give of himself, through the BE forum, to further his endeavor to be a positive contributor to our beloved instrument. Thanks, Jeff!

Best always,
Bruce

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[ This Message was edited by: Bruce Lee on 2003-11-23 11:27 ]
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West-Coast-Horns
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look guys, I don't want to piss all of you all off, just friendly debate! I have the book and the CD. I've read it, and there are some points that are interesting. I have trouble understanding why I am the only person who just feels like the whole system is a bit shady that's all. As to practicing, I think most people would rather practice than read about embouchures. Ok, enough questioning Jeff's playing ability and what not, but are there any university teachers that would reccomend this book to their students? OR any professional players in Dallas that woudl do the same, such as Jay Saunders, Rodney Booth, Bill Collins, Keith Jordaun, Don Thomas, Richard Giangiulio, or players of that caliber? Any help is appreciated thanks.
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mcamilleri
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In reply to HJ, about the rolled-in buzz.

I do the lip clamp, and can buzz in that position (with air pockets) over about a 3 octave range with almost no change in the externally visible degree of roll in. The change in pitch comes primarily from how tightly the lips are squeezed together. Just wish I could do that with the trumpet attached!

My inability to lip-buzz a year ago was an indicator that something was wrong, just as Jeff states that the inability to tongue-on-lips is an indicator of problems. As I have developed using BE, my ability to lip-buzz has also developed.

Michael
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ljazztrm
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve edited this post because I have come across embouchure information that I have found to be much more efficient than my previous views. Please see my latest posts in the Jerome Callet Forum on TCE or some more recent posts in Jeff Smiley’s BE Forum. Thanks and all the best, Lex.

[ This Message was edited by: ljazztrm on 2004-07-22 11:15 ]
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trumpetteacher1
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

West Coast,

"I have trouble understanding why I am the only person who just feels like the whole system is a bit shady that's all."

You are not the only person. But like the majority of doubters, you haven't used it yourself, or you haven't taught using the techniques.

"are there any university teachers that would reccomend this book to their students?"

1. The book has only been out about 2 years (I already said that).
2. University teachers are extremely resistant to anything outside of mainstream pedagogy, so any inroads there will likely take several more years, especially considering that the BE book addresses the issues of the players for whom the mainstream educational community has failed.
3. In my experience, the educational model for trumpet development is out-of-balance, as it is largely based on the fear of manipulating the embouchure in any way, especially lip position. BE brings those elements back to the forefront. At some point, I will share some stories about how Ghitalla was scorned by his peers for advancing similar ideas.
4. There are a handful of open-minded university teachers starting to experiment with the method. Stay tuned.

"OR any professional players in Dallas that woudl do the same, such as Jay Saunders, Rodney Booth, Bill Collins, Keith Jordaun, Don Thomas, Richard Giangiulio, or players of that caliber?"

Flip it around. Why would any of these guys even KNOW about the BE method? Are any of these great players looking for an embouchure development method? Are any of them struggling with their chops? Aren't these guys the LEAST likely to be looking?

There are always practical logistical problems involved in the disbursement of any new or somewhat different method. I chose the internet as the best way to spread knowledge about BE. But, all of those players that you mentioned were great players long before the internet was even a twinkle in Al Gore's fertile mind. LOL!

As more and more players find BE useful, the tide will turn, I believe. If it happens within my lifetime, all the better!

Jeff Smiley
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Charlie Cheeseburger
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

West-Coast-Horns,

You asked the following question:

"...are there any university teachers that would reccomend this book to their students? OR any professional players in Dallas that would do the same, such as Jay Saunders, Rodney Booth, Bill Collins, Keith Jordaun, Don Thomas, Richard Giangiulio, or players of that caliber?"

And if the answer is 'no', as you seem to be implying, what would it tell us? Not very much, except possibly that these players and teachers are ignorant of or indifferent to cutting-edge research in their own field of expertise. In his book, Jeff Smiley outlines the scenario of those naturally gifted players who reach positions of power and influence, and for want of any knowledge of the mechanics of brass playing, are for the most part unable to transmit their 'secrets' to their students. All they can do is attempt in some haphazard way to 'reverse-engineer' their embouchures, all the while relying on the same tired old method books which have contributed to the widespread failure in the first place. Thus we have a continuous cycle of under-achievement.

Andrew Lynn
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Buzz
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just buying the BE book does not ensure success. You must consistently make correct application of the concepts. When I first bought the book, I made unbelievable progress on my trumpet. Now... I'm not having such a great time of it, but that's because I'm working on a set of band director's chops and dang... I just need to get my book out and follow the lesson plans in the back... but wow... band directing is a gig that keeps you BUSY!!!!!

I do use BE concepts in instructing my students. My 6th grade students are REMARKABLE. The ones who are practicing... use BE concepts because that's what I tell them to use. They have no problem with volume no problem with characteristic sound, and NO PROBLEM WITH RANGE. I have one child, we'll call him Joe, whose range currently tops out at a G above the staff. His hitting range is higher. He has only been playing trumpet for 7 weeks. It is amazing to me that he is able to do this. I will introduce him to you if you come to Holiday Trumpets... Anyway... the kids were questioning him about his range the other day, and he said...(and had he been mine I woulda kissed him...) I just do what Ms. DiVito tells me to do. I put my lips really close together. I would like to say that Joe has a healthy set of lips... large lips, and they are in no way hindering his progress. I will continue teaching the concepts of BE, BEcause they work. Oh yeah... these concepts work in the trombone section as well. I believe the concepts have a sort of universal application in the brass section, but I can't prove it right now.

More on this later,
Meg
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X3L
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I seriously doubt that Jeff needs my support, but here goes just the same...

Listed below are some of the more popular study methods from which many of us have practiced:

Clarke's "Technical Studies" and "Characteristic Studies"
Smith's "Top Tones"
Charlier's "30 Etudes for Trumpet"
Arban's -Complete Method
Bousquet-36 Celebrated Studies
Brandt-34 Studies and Last Studies
Charlier-36 Etudes Transcendantes
Colin-Advanced Lip Flexibility
Concone-(Shoemaker) Legato Etudes
Concone-(Sawyer) Lyrical
Hering-40 Progressive Etudes
St. Jacome
Schlossberg

Can someone out there...anyone at all...please point out to me in which study method (and on which page) it says that we, as trumpet players, are not fully musically developed until we have publicly belittled or antagonized another musician and/or teacher in order to make ourselves, or our agendas, appear in a better light.

I'm all for voicing philosophical disagreements in a public forum such as this, so long as it is done in a respectful manner. Firing off inquiries which are solely designed to embarrass someone else while hiding behind a pseudoname somehow seems rather disingenous.

The only question I have is this: Why would anyone in their right mind want to moderate a method forum on this, or any other, website???

Some food for thought...


John MacGregor
Waukesha, WI

[ This Message was edited by: X3L on 2003-11-23 19:59 ]
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_PhilPicc
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I certainly agree with John MacGregor.

Also I practice BE as part of my routine and have had very positive results. As far as I can determine there is nothing in the literature that can be a detriment to playing.

Disagree-Yes, Bash-No. If the system is not for you so be it and move on.
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LFRoberts5
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too have practiced all the methods mentioned below. NONE of them as helped me as much as BE and none of them will UNLESS you accidently stumble upon the correct way of playing while practicing one of these methods. The truth is: unless you have great range, endurance, and flexibility you have to change the way you play. Eg. change your lip setting. By changing your lip setting to a more correct way of playing, the methods below will add to your playing skills. If you continue to play with a bad lip setting, all the "methods" in the world will do you no good. Get the physical aspects of the horn taken care of first and all the rest is down hill.



Clarke's "Technical Studies" and "Characteristic Studies"
Smith's "Top Tones"
Charlier's "30 Etudes for Trumpet"
Arban's -Complete Method
Bousquet-36 Celebrated Studies
Brandt-34 Studies and Last Studies
Charlier-36 Etudes Transcendantes
Colin-Advanced Lip Flexibility
Concone-(Shoemaker) Legato Etudes
Concone-(Sawyer) Lyrical
Hering-40 Progressive Etudes
St. Jacome
Schlossberg
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trumpetteacher1
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Meg - Didn't expect to see you here, as newbie band directors don't usually come up for air until around June. LOL!

You mentioned other brass. My standard answer to inquiries from players of other brass, is that I optimized the BE method for trumpet, and that I didn't have time to tweak it for trombone, etc. Well, that didn't stop a few brave souls from ordering the book, and some of the results those pioneers got have been just amazing.

Although this is a trumpet website, a thread about using BE with other brass instruments might be interesting. Ole, you have time to start one? I will see if I can contact some of those players.

John - you asked, "Why would anyone in their right mind want to moderate a method forum on this, or any other, website???" That was a great, great "straight line," but I'm going to resist the urge to create a joke, and instead say that I appreciate your perspective. Actually, with the support of the BE group, I don't have to do much. As is always the case, you never know when an argument will muddle an issue or clear one up. Or, when a thread will deviate into something totally unexpected and remarkably worthwhile, or descend into hell. It's all part of the deal. So, it's better to avoid getting too upset, or avoid trying to control too much, and instead trust the intelligence of the posters, and assume that they will see what is really going on.

For sure, we've got super intelligent and articulate players chipping in here. Seriously, I hope that I can keep up!

Jeff Smiley
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Lex Grantham
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I am not NOR have ever been a professional trumpet player...merely a VERY interested amateur who is the trumpet section leader of a symphonic band in the Dallas, Texas area...but that does not mean that I necessarily enjoy playing any less than some professional musicians might. The thing is, I believe I recognize my limitations and as a result have strived to learn more about pedagogy over the years due to sheer interest on my part...both for myself and any other folks that I might help. Having been a high school band instructor for many years in the past, too, has made me continue to assist others with problems.

Just tonight, I have returned from a concert in the Dallas area where hundreds of shoppers strolled through a large shopping mall and were able to hear us play Christmas music to enhance the pre-Thanksgiving shopping business. I felt very good about my performance with the symphonic band this evening. I was using a mouthpiece that is relatively new to me...but...talk about improvements in my overall tone quality and intonation...really boosting confidence in my playing. Nothing to brag about, but still an accomplished feeling to have.

What was the basis for my improvement????

It was the roll-out concepts of "Balanced Embouchure"...YES...the roll-outs. I have found that those exercercies have helped my embouchure to be set up for allowing a freer sound and more-consistent quality from pitch to pitch.

It is very good when something can "click" because of one person's guidance to help another.

Thank you, Jeff, for your suggestions.

Sincerely,

Lex Grantham
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Buzz
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2003 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok... now I have a moment to finish the post that I started above...

I also have 7th and 8th grade students. These kids have suffered musical abuse. Their beloved band director left in the middle of the year last year. The school never got around to hiring a replacement until the beginning of this school year. Sounds crazy to me, too, but it's the truth. My 7th graders were 6th graders when she left, and they had only had their instruments for about 7 weeks at that point. None of what has resulted is their fault, but they have developed a multitude of bad habits, and it appears that the trumpet players have suffered the most. They know nothing about breathing, articulation, characteristic sound, tone production, and none of the them can play above an A in the staff comfortably. It is sad. Since they have the bad habits ingrained, their task is much more difficult than my 6th graders. There's pain in the un-learning.

The bottom line is that it is much easier to build from the bottom up rather than back track and fill in missing information. If you are experiencing chop problems, there are probably some bad habits at the root, and you have had MANY more years to practice your bad habits than my 7th graders. Jeff's book works. It fills in the missing information. Do exactly what he says to do. I have not entered the glorious gates of dubba and trippa land... (unless you count Dubba G). That's as high as I have ever hit in my life, but I'm good with it. I play in 2 community bands. Not much of anything is written over a high C. The thing is... BE allows me to hit higher and there is a positive correlation between my hitting range and my playing range. I feel the need to say that I'm about the music. Playing those notes that only the dogs enjoy... well... I'd be less than truthful if I said I wouldn't love to be able to do that. HOWEVER... it's about making music. BE helps me to keep my chops in shape so I can do just that.

Meg
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oj
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2003 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2003trpt,

You have some valid points, but I think you are a bit unfair if you think B.E. is just a mix between Roy Steven and Jerome Callet. I have all those books, so I could argue against that - but let's put that aside - it is not very important.

There is a paradox when it comes to music and trumpet. People can be very musical on other instruments, but really suck on trumpet. In a band I play (tuba btw) there is a lady who is so musical on accordion. If you hum a melody, she can play it immediately with a nice chord progression. On trumpet, I'm sorry to say, but she sucks.

Why?

Well she plays with pressure, with a very spread embouchure - you know the rest. No Arban or melodies, etc. etc., will help her. She need the type of help that people like Jeff give. He is not alone, even if he is "rare" - the late Caruso was also of that type.

As a music student I decided to take up recorder. My main instrument was trumpet. In one year, by hours of practice each day, I was able to develop from a total beginner (I never played recorder before) to a decent player. On my exam, I played a complete sonata by Telemann (from "Die Getreu Meister") with cembalo and cello accompaniment.

I could not play a concerto by Teleman on trumpet, even if I had played for years. My main problem was (as with very many fellow players) I played on an inefficient embouchure. My teachers could not help me (they were naturals) - great lessons on intepretation, ok, but no Teleman on trumpet for me

On my alto recorder (flauto dolce is a much nicer name btw) I could play for hours without endurance problems. In a few moths I had the necessary range for the sonatas.

On flauto dolce, I could have played all 36 Charlier etudes in a row. No problem, except perhaps concentration problems. On trumpet on the other hand, only one or two etudes, then I would need a longer rest. You see the "trumpet paradox" ?

Time to go to sleep...

Ole



[ This Message was edited by: oj on 2003-11-27 17:47 ]
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trumpetteacher1
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2003 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before anybody else jumps on and points out the obvious misstatements of the latest new, anonymous poster, you may want to wait a while.

There is a good possibility that our chain is being pulled here.

More details soon.

Jeff
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trumpetteacher1
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2003 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

West Coast, hnotes, 2003,

Look, I know who you are. You've had your fun. I'm not sure what I ever did to provoke you into this behavior, as I always treated you with respect, and considered you to be a good player. I admire your Dad.

I actually have a few friends at North Texas who don't find what you are doing to be so funny.

So, please go find somewhere else to play! BTW - I was requested by moderators to edit your post for language. Since you refused to allow me to do so, I was forced to delete them.

Within a few weeks, there will be new TH guidelines addressing multiple usernames.

Jeff

[ This Message was edited by: trumpetteacher1 on 2003-11-27 19:46 ]
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histrumpet
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2003 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok guys,

After reading all of the success stories in the BE forum it seems that I am wrong. I quit.
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oj
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2003 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

histrumpet,

Isn't there a saying in U.S. that goes like this :

"A quitter never wins, a winner never quits!"

Note the smiley, histrumpet, I'm only joking.

But seriously, how long have you been doing B.E.?
Did you not have any progress at all?

Someone in this forum said that they gained range, but lost a bit of control. Others attested to that, but moved on and gained control. Or regained a better balance perhaps? (= more range and good control)

I don't believe anyone just progress in a "continous ascending line", even not with B.E. For me and most others I think it is more in jumps or plateaus. I have been working on B.E. for 2 years now and I still make progress, not every day, but over weeks and months - my range, endurance and sound are improving.


Ole
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Fast Freddy
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2003 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deleted my response upon request.

Take care!

[ This Message was edited by: Fast Freddy on 2003-12-04 09:46 ]
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rjeffrylowden
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2003 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gentlemen or Ladies,

Hope you don't mind a trombone player chiming in. Actually, Jeff Smiley suggested that I add my voice to the formum. I've been applying Jeff's concepts to my "comeback" bone playing for the past year and a half and am beginning to have some real success with the system.

From the beginning I was a player who was taught traditionally to point the chin, tighten the embouchure back against the teeth. I pressed harder to get the high notes. I also could not play at all beyond a high "C-sharp". It worked well enough during 5 years of college and beyond but I reached a point where I just didn't want to feel that uncomfortable while playing. It just seemed that playing a brass instrument shouldn't be that difficult. For the best, most successful players, it's as easy (?)/natural/comfortable as playing a cello, no? Cellists look at ease, at least physically, when they play. I decided to give up the trombone and essentially put the horn away for 20 years.

I attended "SuperBone Sunday" at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ in March of 2002. Mike Davis and Bill Reichenbach as well as the Philly trombone section were there. Needless to say, the event was world class. I was inspired and vowed to search out current thoughts on embouchure. Now I could search online. I found a lot of web sites but finally settled on Jeff's "Balanced Embouchure" pages. It just seemed the most radical and something about the pictures of the kids playing reminded me of Bill Watrous' embouchure (he had visited my high school in the 80's and I took close up pictures as he played). I bought the book.

So, as I mentioned, I've been at it for quite a long time. (Though Jeff Smiley tells me a year and a half is "nothing") I chalk this up to being no spring chicken and also to my somewhat limited practice time (I'm a high school teacher), though I do usually get in an hour a day. In short, my journey has taken me from tight to loose and back again several times. I've finally settled on what I've come to call a sort of "balloon" formation: my cheeks are slightly puffed and there are air pockets under where the mouthpice sits. My analogy is that my lips are stretched over the mouthpiece, sort of the like a timpani head rather than back against the teeth. It's all rather loose around the edges. Then, I tighten - roll in - the center of the embouchure to change the pitch. I'd be happy to post a picture if that's possible.

One of the hardest things for me has been not to mess with the outside; that pretty much stays in a doughnut shape around the mouthpiece, though my chin does seem to point more the lower that I go. When I miss notes it's usually because I'm falling back into old patterns - pulling in the corners and such. I studied with Don Reinhart in the 80's and he was talking about a similar embouchure formation at that time. I'll tell you one thing, it sure looks strange. My former teachers would probably think I'm nuts. But it is really working. I can play longer, with better control, with greater dynamic range, with more comfort and...higher, though I'm not producing the altissimo range consistently as yet. It's in the wings, though. I can feel it.

My opinion is that, yes the BE system does work on all brass instruments. The basic mouthpiece/lip configuration is the same...just on a larger scale. I think it just takes a long, long time to completely change the way one plays. We're talking about a lifetime here in many cases. Professionals in the middle of a playing career probably can't do it.

I hope this helps. This topic occupies my mind a great deal of the time.

Jeff Lowden
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