Thursday, August 18, 2011

Luke Zyla, No Longer a Skeptic

The following is a composite of remarks Luke Zyla shared with members on the Memphis horn forum with in the last week. Thanks so much for sharing your testimonial with the horn community, Luke.
Dear Horn Listers,

I am not what you call a "stellar" horn player, but I do make a decent second income from performing with the West Virginia Symphony and freelancing in the area. I have been practicing the BE method this summer and have found positive results already. I definitely have not mastered the exercises yet, but working on them has improved my high register and endurance. One of the things I find most valuable is that it is not a method that tears down and rebuilds a new embouchure, but one that gradually improves ones playing.
Being a second horn player, I always dreaded having to play pops concerts where one plays music arranged by people who do not understand the custom of having horns 1 and 3 on high and 2 and 4 on low. The music of John Williams always brought concern to my mind. I have found that these exercises have enabled me to have better endurance and a more relaxed high register. I am not at the point where I am ready to attack the screaming high baroque horn literature yet, but I expect that my horn playing will continue to become more effortless.
The BE method does not involve lots of time practicing the extreme embouchures. I find that it does develop my embouchure in a positive way. The immediate result is that my endurance is much better. I think the best feature of this method is that it is not a sudden change and restructuring ones embouchure, but a gradual exploration and development that can result in positive results. Personally, I do not bunch up my chin when I play. Just can't get my chops to be that relaxed. It is more relaxed than before, which is a good thing. One thing I have noticed about the really great players in the world is that they all seem to produce tone in every register effortlessly. The method does not result in a goofy looking embouchure. Check out Steve Park's videos on YouTube. I don't think anyone would fault his embouchure.

The method is very simple. I was very skeptical about the method for a long time, but have come to appreciate the benefits of the exercises.

I would encourage anyone to buy the book and give it a try. The cost of the book is small compared to the benefits one can achieve.

Luke Zyla, second horn
West Virginia Symphony Orchestra

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