Clean Your Horn!

Dani Oore directs your attention to an article that makes a case for cleaning your horn.


Time Well Spent

Q: Should a brass player strive to practice the same number of hours as a saxophonist?

A: Brass players will never be able to match a saxophonist hour-for-hour. When a reed gets worn out, there are more in the box. Like the Energizer bunny, saxophone players can (and often do) keep going and going. When your lips get worn out, there is nothing to be done but let them rest. In fact, playing too much can be more detrimental than not playing enough. Read more »

Keep It Clean!

Can you imagine eating off the same cutlery day after day without ever washing it? Read more »

“Say AAAH”

This post expands on the effect of varying tongue levels in the mouth.
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Tongue Talk

The tongue helps determine the forcefulness of the initial air expulsion (the attack), the velocity of the air to follow and the duration of each burst of air (staccato vs. slurred). The primary syllables involved are aa, oo, ee; daa, doo, dee; and taa, too, tee. Read more »

Threading The Needle

As you strive for accuracy, consistency and efficiency, think of each note as a target. The target cannot be seen, but it can be heard and felt. When you hit the target square in the center, the note is resonant and secure. The careful and precise positioning of each note requires a clear command from the brain, a focused and consistent air stream, and subtle adjustments of the embouchure. Read more »

Sound Ideas

The number one goal of all brass players is to produce a beautiful sound. Read more »


Playing a brass instrument requires the coordinated use of many different muscles. A mirror can help you learn to use your muscles in the most efficient way. Read more »

Listen & Learn

One of the first questions I ask a new trumpet student is “Who do you listen to?” I’m amazed by how short the list is in some cases. I could probably quickly identify 100 different trumpet players just by hearing them play. When considering a piece of music, I can easily imagine how it might be played by Phil Smith or Clifford Brown or Maynard Ferguson or Raphael Mendez or Sergei Nakariakov or Wynton Marsalis or Lee Morgan or Wayne Bergeron or Marvin Stamm or Doc Severinsen. This is a powerful mental library of sounds and styles to draw upon in performance. Read more »

The Fun Factory

Remember the Play Doe Fun Factory? You stuff the Play Doe in the top of the ‘extruder’, then push a lever on the top. This squeezes the dough through a tube with various attachments at the end, which shape the emerging dough into various configurations. The brass player’s body functions in much the same way. Your air is the ‘Play Doe’, your breathing muscles are the ‘lever’, and your embouchure shapes and directs the air stream like the attachment at the end of the tube. Read more »

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