Monday, January 25, 2021

Time to work on your chops.

 

Ensembles will be reopening soon!  Be prepared!  

Brass players around the globe are taking advantage of this down time to improve their chops.  So....don't be afraid to contact me for a book order.  

Just email me:  ValerieW78 "at" Gmail "dot" com

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Covid or not, I'm still selling BE books!

 YES!  I'm still selling BE books.....and lots of them!  Brass players around the globe are taking advantage of this down time to improve their chops.  So....don't be afraid to contact me for a book order.  

Just email me:  ValerieW78 "at" Gmail "dot" com

Monday, July 8, 2019

Renewed Interest at Ripe Old Age of 77!

The following is an email exchange between Robert Hilton and me.  

Robert:  

I am enjoying reading your book. As a lifelong music educator, and a 58 year horn player, I wish I had learned some of the concepts many years ago. Unfortunately, I never had a true horn teacher so all that I have learned has been on my own and a lot of trial and error. 
I am using my own modification of the roll in/roll out method. I have always had a good low register down to the pedal c on the B flat horn, but have had to work hard to play extreme the upper register and have endurance. I have extended my upper register with my version of the roll in technique to a consistent High B flat so that I can get those places in the Strauss that I have always feared.  I started my instrumental career as a trumpet player and had to make a traumatic change  to horn in college because of embouchure issues. I still enjoy playing out of the Arban book as I teach my twelve year old grandson to play trumpet. Transposing to play out of his books has also made me hustle. 

Again, thanks for my renewed interest in horn playing at the ripe old age of 77.

Valerie:
Robert, Thanks for contact me again.  Sound like you're making solid progress.  You are doing EXACTLY what you are supposed to do.... you are adapting the BE instructions to what works for you!  You're fiddling around with it.  I'm tickled to hear this. That's how we develop.  this means you aren't getting hung up on details that could hold you back.  Bravo!!!  You may find later, even a year or more later, that you have developed more flexibility and technique and may be able to do the exercises exactly as Jeff describes them, but please don't fret about that now.  I didn't "get it" all at first, so I did my own thing as best I could like you.  With time was was able to more closely emulate Jeff Smiley's instructions and the improvements were solid.

Robert: Although I don't follow the technique technique exactly, my high range and endurance have improved.  Maybe if I followed the book better and practice more I would see even more improvement.  But, at the ripe of age of 77, my inspiration to practice is a bit inconsistent to say the least.  I can now get through the Strauss without getting panicky over the high B flats and that is something I have sought for many years.  Many thanks.
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To Order The Balanced Embouchure book:
Step 1. Email me: ValerieW78 “at” Gmail “dot” com. Please tell me what instrument you play and the country you live in.
Step 2. I send you an invoice with payment options (credit card, PayPal, check or money order).
Step 3. You pay the invoice.
Step 4. I ship your BE book.
Happy horn playing!
Valerie Wells  


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Almost 13 Years & Still Going Strong!

      It's been forever since I've posted.  Why?  Well, there's really nothing new to report about my horn playing.  I still practice The Balanced Embouchure exercises to stay in shape. I'm still very happy with my range and endurance.  BE has been great for me and lots of others.  Thank you, Jeff Smiley!  This is how I came to BE.





The Balanced Embouchure Book with CD is $45.00.
The BE for French Horn booklet and/or PDF of horn adaptations is $3.00 (with book purchase).
Shipping & handling is $5.50 to $25.00 depending on location. (The quoted prices are in US dollars.)
Those who purchase The Balanced Embouchure with a Comfy Horn Strap, receive a $5.00 discount (as well as break on shipping).

To Order:
Step 1. Email me: ValerieW78 “at” Gmail “dot” com. Please tell me what instrument you play and the country you live in.
Step 2. I send you an invoice with payment options (credit card, PayPal, check or money order).
Step 3. You pay the invoice.
Step 4. I ship your BE book.
Happy horn playing!
Valerie Wells

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A little BE goes a long way!

Sometimes I get feedback from horn players who bought the book several years before, read it, but for whatever reasons, didn't work the program.  It's fun to get feedback from them when they finally take time work at the exercises. 

The first example is from Andy in the UK:

Hi Valerie,   
I wrote to you a couple of year ago about how much my stamina had improved since reading BE. Now to be honest, I’m not a serious horn player these days - occasional amateur playing but mainly just play a bit of jazz at home for fun.  However, it always played on my mind that despite studying at a London Conservatoire I couldn’t really play the horn other than being a vaguely good low player in orchestral music (Doesn’t matter these days - I’m a school teacher/composer/conductor). My stamina let me down for solo repertoire and getting out of the stave was a great struggle. Anyway, I haven’t practiced any of the exercises religiously and I sometimes go a few weeks without playing at all but I can now get out of the stave and I’ve attached a top Bb video just to prove that even just reading the book and doing the exercises a bit can transform your technique! The Bb was a very insecure high note for me before I read BE. Thanks for promoting BE.   Andy Meyers (London -UK)  
The second example is from a local horn player in the Tacoma, WA area.  Steph has played low horn for years but was recently given the fourth horn with challenging high register requirements. Here's what she wrote me in a text message recently:

Steph: Been working on RO and RI. Is much easier to play the upper range.  Doesn't sound pretty yet, but will keep at it. 
 Val:  you go, girl!!! It's amazing what a little BE can do for the chops. BE still dazzles me after 11+ years using it.  If it weren't for Jeff Smiley, I would have given up long ago. 
Steph: Well right about the time I resigned myself to not playing the highest couple of notes in the 3rd movement of Star Wars between 71 and 79, I was able to play it today without cracking or pinching the notes. Go figure... I guess I'll have a couple weeks to keep working at it. 

A third example is from Colin Ng which is linked here

A little BE goes a long way!

Please see this link for more articles & information on acquiring The Balanced Embouchure for Horn.

The Balanced Embouchure Book with CD is $45.00.
The BE for French Horn booklet and/or PDF of horn adaptations is $3.00 (with book purchase).
Shipping & handling is $5.50 to $25.00 depending on location. (The quoted prices are in US dollars.)
Those who purchase The Balanced Embouchure with a Comfy Horn Strap, receive a $5.00 discount (as well as break on shipping).

To Order:
Step 1. Email me: ValerieW78 “at” Gmail “dot” com. Please tell me what instrument you play and the country you live in.
Step 2. I send you an invoice with payment options (credit card, PayPal, check or money order).
Step 3. You pay the invoice.
Step 4. I ship your BE book.
Happy horn playing!
Valerie Wells


Friday, March 10, 2017

The Balanced Embouchure for Horn

THE BALANCED EMBOUCHURE FOR HORN

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I’m Valerie Wells, a horn player dedicating this blog to share my success using The Balanced Embouchure (BE) and to provide a place for other horn players to share their positive experiences with BE. The Balanced Embouchure is an embouchure development system originally written for trumpet by Jeff Smiley. BE is now helping an ever growing number of horn players improve their embouchures, too. To learn how I came to BE, see this. The Balanced Embouchure book and CD are available directly from me. My adapted exercises for French horn are available with the purchase of the book. There's only one BE book. The same book is used for both horn and trumpet.

The Balanced Embouchure Book with CD is $45.00.
The BE for French Horn booklet and/or PDF of horn adaptations is $3.00 (with book purchase).
Shipping & handling is $5.50 to $25.00 depending on location. (The quoted prices are in US dollars.)
Those who purchase The Balanced Embouchure with a Comfy Horn Strap, receive a $5.00 discount (as well as break on shipping).

To Order:
Step 1. Email me: ValerieW78 “at” Gmail “dot” com. Please tell me what instrument you play and the country you live in.
Step 2. I send you an invoice with payment options (credit card, PayPal, check or money order).
Step 3. You pay the invoice.
Step 4. I ship your BE book.
Happy horn playing!
Valerie Wells

For additional information about BE in general, please see the following links:

Jeff Smiley’s websitehttp://www.trumpetteacher.net/
The Balanced Embouchure Forum http://www.trumpetherald.com/
Michael Camilleri’s websitehttp://users.actrix.co.nz/mcamilleri/BE/BEFAQ.htm
Phil Mach's website
http://be.philmach.ca/index.php
Bert Loch’s website
http://bertlochs.com/
Ko de Rooj's website (Netherlands)

Skype lessons available
Bruce Lee: teatro333 "at" gmail "dot"com
Valerie Wells: ValerieW78 "at" gmail "dot" com


COMFY HORN STRAP

Comfy Horn Strap 
My horn strap is now available.

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT BE

For various reasons that seem inherent in our approach to the instrument, French horn players (self included) often develop misconceptions about The Balanced Embouchure that can potentially impede progress.

Misconception #1: BE is written for trumpet, therefore much of it will not apply to French horn.
Some exercises need transposition or adaptation for French horn, but the principles and techniques taught in this book are as applicable to French horn as they are to trumpet. (I learned this lesson the hard way.)

Misconception #2: BE is all about rolling the lips in and out.
Lip rolling is only part of BE. There are tonguing exercises, snaps, zips, breathing exercises, etc. All these elements combine to form a development system that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Misconception #3: Roll-Out exercises are for developing the low register. Therefore a horn player with a secure low register, need not practice Roll-Out exercises.
Roll-Out exercises are designed to develop tone, flexibility, endurance and balance in all the registers, not just the low. A balanced embouchure has elements of roll-out in every note of every register.

Misconception #4: Roll-In exercises are for developing the upper register.
Roll-In exercises are designed to develop tone, flexibility, endurance and balance in all the registers, not just the high. A balanced embouchure has elements of roll-in in every note of every register.

Misconception #5: “Doing BE” means rolling out for low notes and rolling in for high notes.“Doing BE” means practicing the BE exercises and following the program as designed. Directly applying lip rolling to your regular embouchure is not BE and will be of limited value.Misconception #6: The correct BE embouchure has a bunched chin and puffed cheeks.There is no, one correct “BE embouchure.” The balanced embouchure you develop following the BE system will be unique to you. There is no way to predict what your final embouchure will look like. Horn players need to avoid preconceived ideas of what their balanced embouchures will look like.

Bert Lochs
 has taken the above #6 misconceptions and elaborated upon them for trumpet players.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Just Thinking....



I was thinking this morning that if it weren't for BE, 
there's no way I would have the confidence to calmly approach the high register.  What other method teaches you exactly, precisely how to set your chops to play the highest notes on the horn straight on, cold turkey, without slurring or "glissing" up to it? I could be wrong, but there are none that I'm aware of.    Jeff Smiley is very clever.

The Balanced Embouchure Book with CD is $45.00.
The BE for French Horn booklet and/or PDF of horn adaptations is $3.00 (with book purchase).
Shipping & handling is $5.50 to $25.00 depending on location. (The quoted prices are in US dollars.)

Those who purchase The Balanced Embouchure with a Comfy Horn Strap, receive a $5.00 discount (as well as break on shipping).


To Order:
Step 1. Email me: ValerieW78 “at” Gmail “dot” com. Please tell me what instrument you play and the country you live in.
Step 2. I send you an invoice with payment options (credit card, PayPal, check or money order).
Step 3. You pay the invoice.
Step 4. I ship your BE book.
Happy horn playing!
Valerie Wells