Thursday, August 18, 2011

Colin's BE Testimony: A Zero to Hero Experience

To the Memphis horn list, Colin wrote:
Dear Fellows,

I have been following the BE thread with great interest. I hope you do not mind me sharing my recent BE experiences so far.

I am a band instructor and a specialist horn tutor in secondary schools (junior high?). I ordered my BE book months ago (February?) and decided then I was too busy for BE; and I admit that it also seem radical then. I thought I was managing 'well' despite my struggles on my instrument, but recently I am going through both a career change and hence having more time for playing the horn; and I am also being put through a much needed embouchure correction under guidance from a friend who is teaching French horn in Germany. I was struggling with the embouchure change to what that should be proper (flat/pointed chin and einsetzen), and was incapacitated for past couple of weeks.

Having the luxury of time now, and watching with interest the recent BE controversy in the forum, I thought I might as well use the BE method that was collecting dust on my shelf. I have nothing to lose really, so I read carefully and struggled with the roll-out exercise #1 to #3 for one whole day and managed also to effect the lip clamp squeak.

I then went for a rehearsal the next evening not knowing what to expect and tried playing the concert repertoire of about 12 crazy pop pieces with my 'normal and proper' setup. Nothing BE about it, but the facility of the 'normal' embouchure increased many fold. I hop around between 4th horn and 1st horn parts with growing confidence. I enjoyed surprisingly good tone with no distortion, greater flexibility and accuracy; and I can now take my mind off to focus on articulation and more musical expression. It's a very real zero to hero experience for me.

The next evening (which was yesterday), I only did 5 minutes of the roll-out exercises, a clumsy warm up, and used a mouthpiece totally different from what I used the day before. Surprisingly I had the same success with this mouthpiece (which I felt wasn't a good mouthpiece before). The change in the sound, efficiency and facility is equally dramatic but my colleagues observed little or no visible change in my einsetzen setup.

Tomorrow is the 3rd repertoire session -  "Mozart Serenade in C minor," I did nothing today save a couple hours of BE RO exercise #1 to #4 and lip clamp squeaking. I look forward to tomorrow and I am going use the most un-preferred mouthpiece in my inventory.

I have to say I still sound terrible when I struggled with the BE exercises for the 3rd day so far, but when it comes to 'normal' playing, the positive changes is both so dramatic and sudden, I can only attribute it to the effective of the BE program.

It give me back the same sparkle like how I fell in love with horn as a child 25 over years ago.

Hope this testimony is useful

Yours sincerely
Colin Ng
Soon after, I received the following in private email:
Dear Valerie,

I want to say a big thank you to you and Jeff Smiley, but words cannot express the extent of gratitude I am feeling now. All I can say is that the new playing experience is too sudden and too dramatic. It can only be BE.

If I was not brought to standstill and totally zero-ed because of the 'professional' embouchure change, I could not have experienced such dramatic improvement thru BE. The BE brought about what I previously thought would take months to experience through professional help.

Now I feel stupid to have put the book aside months ago then. It was so difficult to accept and understand because of our existing concepts and conventions. But BE is actually a very simple concept, so simple that we get to keep what we have and yet able to excel exceedingly. It's just that we have to approach with the attitude of the dry sponge, or the empty cup to receive and soak up what that was offered compassionately and sincerely.

Do give me a little more time and I hope to bring you more favorable progress report and perhaps seek validation on my BE progress.

Yours sincerely

Colin Ng
Thanks, Colin for your inspiring words.  To see more of Colin's writings see this or visit his blog:

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the most dramatic examples of someone being able to grasp the principles of BE and apply them to their playing, IMMEDIATELY. Which further proves to me that this system CAN work.

    This is exactly what happened with me. The BE system does work very well for many people, all across the amateur-professional board.

    The rest of you skeptics, it's fine that it doesn't resonate with you. You need more "documentation" and "proof of research”. That is perfectly OK. Chances are, you are all already excellent, successful players.

    But BE has helped me, and apparently many others.

    Blessings to ALL that play the horn, BE approach or not. We embrace what works for us, and we discard what doesn’t. Anything that helps us improve our horn playing is GOOD. It’s all a matter of personal “resonance”!