Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Unconscious Control

Here's a new comment to an older post. Thanks, Kenny.

A lot of playing the trumpet is controlled by the subconscious. Think about it for a moment - if we had to have an aperture setting of .015 of an inch high by .015 of an inch in width with 4.7 psi of air pressure and lip compression of .0025 pounds to achieve note X - how could we possibly do this? We could not. It would be physically impossible. We do not posses the conscious control over our bodies in this extreme. Only the subconscious mind can control things on this level. It's like picking up a glass of water. You don't think about how much grip the fingers must exert or how much lift your arm must provide - it just happens because we let it happen. It is learned through feel as there was a time when you were a toddler that picking up a glass of water (or tying your shoes) was quite a challenge; yet we now perform these task on a subconscious level. Thus the reasoning behind Jeff's method - the exaggerated extremes of RO and RI kind of sets where the stops are. Once your mind conceives these stops it then tries to refine the whole range of motion to find ones particular balance point. Some people may have a natural balance that falls in the motion exerted in the RO, some will have it to fall within the RI, some it will be somewhere between. The old saying - get out of the way of the horn and let it play - has merit. Our body wants to achieve the sound concept that we have in our mind if only we will let it.

Kenny Clawson
By clawsonk on I don't get it. on 11/29/10

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Music Therapist's Perspective

From Lyle Sans, Music Therapist

Hi, Valerie - Since leaving that comment over on Horn Matters, it's dawned on me why Jeff's method is so appealing to me as a music therapist. All the neuroscience that's coming out points to how there's all kinds of things going on simultaneously when we make music, and Jeff's book does a way better job of addressing all the different things going on than any other method I've ever encountered. Plus, he respects the student enough to lay out the tools and approaches and let the student find their particular way. Here's a post I did when I first realized all this. http://registeredmusictherapist.blogspot.com/2010/10/jeff-smiley-neuroscience.html

Also, was delighted to see the note down below talking about the F horn. I spent most of the summer (when community band was on hiatus) just on the F horn, just trying to get the best tone I could on the octaves on either side of middle C. It's made all the difference in my playing. Sort of going back and making sure I was walking really well and naturally before returning to the leaping and running involved in 1st horn parts. And I discovered I prefer the tone of the F horn to that of the Bb, maybe because
somehow I think it resonates more in my upper body. So that note down below
was validating.

By Lyle Sanford, RMT on "Horn Matters" Linked My Blog - Wow!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One Year on BE, a Cheery Update

I love getting emails like this:


Just wanted to give you a one year update on my progress. BE has truly changed my playing for the better and while I was also one of those "freaks" that saw immediate improvement, my playing continued to improve throughout the past year of doing the BE exercises. Even though I was able to perform at a relatively high level prior to BE, I always struggled with endurance issues and good and bad days and had to use separate embouchures for regular playing vs extreme upper register work. Now my playing is much more consistent and my balanced embouchure allows me to play low to high to extreme without changing my embouchure. My endurance is so much better that it almost feels like I'm cheating sometimes! haha.

I can just imagine if I had started BE earlier and think it's almost a crime that BE isn't taught to more beginners and students to maximize their potential faster. There would certainly be alot less brass players quitting out of frustration if they had only tried BE from the start!


In a few years, Ron will be even more pleased with his progress. The improvements will continue. BE is dynamic system that keeps on giving for years to come.