Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pressed for Time?

There's no need to find a huge block of time free of extra responsibilities, gigs and rehearsals to start BE. Of course, working the whole program is the most ideal situation, but as little as 3 to 5 minutes a day on one or two BE exercises can make a difference.

One horn player I know who had been playing horn for 7 years had very limited range & endurance when she started BE. She had a job, young children at home and was very limited in practice time. She could only dedicate 3 to 5 minutes of her daily practice to BE studies. After three years, she developed a formidable range and played first horn in a community band like the Energizer bunny beats his drum!

I recently introduced the first BE Roll-Out exercise to a high school horn student. He came to the next lesson apologizing for not practicing much during the week due to unexpected & disruptive events including an automobile accident. But, he was still pleased because he said his high notes were definitely becoming easier and more secure. All he had been able to do that week was take a minute or two before or after each daily band rehearsal to run through one Roll-Out exercise!

In my first two years of BE, I was a come back maniac. I played in 6 ensembles and numerous ad hoc groups. I stripped down BE to 7 minutes a day including what I considered at the time, the BE basics. I progressed very nicely with this schedule. Of course, when I cut back on some of the ensembles, leaving myself more time to concentrate on the finer details of BE, I made significant advancements in all aspects of my playing. But, my point is this: a little BE can go a long way.

How can just few minutes of an exercise or two make such a big difference in embouchure function? Every little bit of BE helps because each BE exercise is targeted to efficiently teach and develop a specific, universally beneficial embouchure skill. When one skill is developed in an exercise, part of it can then be incorporated into every day playing with or without the player's knowledge of how it's done.

So, if you're pressed for time, start with something small, BE patient, BE persistent and watch big things happen!

Valerie Wells

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