Many talented brass players have problems in high note playing which seem inexplicable. Often there is no obvious reason. These days the general standard of teaching and playing sophistication at a professional level is at an all-time high, but there are, of course, many amateurs who have not had access to the best teaching. These brass players who have no aspirations to earn their living at anything so potentially precarious, but who derive much satisfaction and pleasure from 'taming the tubes' can perhaps benefit from a few words of advice from a teacher who has seen most aspects of playing over many years.
What is winning, and how do I get it? The most appreciated parts of winning tend to be the beginning inspiration and the prize at the end, but what do you call all the stuff that make up the middle? In the end it tends to be all those middle parts which define winning more than the prize. The Denis Wick Artist and Ambassador groups are made up of professional musicians who have all experienced all the glory and humiliation that winning has to offer. Here is some great advice from Aaron Tindall on how to navigate your road to winning.
My long-suffering wife said, “You’re just never satisfied!”. Many a true word is spoken in exasperation. I had tentatively suggested, in about 1969, that somebody ought to design mutes that actually played in tune and worked in every register. We had been recording film music with Bernard Herrmann, who had helped to make all those Hitchcock films such a success. He was contemptuous of the old fibre mutes that I and my LSO trombone section were using. He called them "psychological mutes” and we knew what he meant. Our trumpet colleagues were using a famous US make but they always played slightly sharp with a very tinny sound and we did not blend at all. I had found a newer American trombone mute since then, thinking that it would solve our problems. Great sound! Unfortunately, they were just too big to handle easily and on one (for me) memorable occasion refused to come out of the bell of my trombone, then finally slipped from my fingers with a…
I had always believed that I had a well-gauged sense of the risks associated with leaving my instrument unguarded in a publically accessible place. Frankly it’s a bad idea and I try to avoid doing so at all costs.
For those of us learning and working from since March, endurance practice has taken on a whole new meaning! There is a whole different sense of endurance when it comes to practicing by yourself at home. There are many distractions, it's harder in someways to motivate yourself, and the unpredictability of performing with another human does not challenge your ear and muscles in the same way. Because of this, we may need to rethink our at home practice goals and routines if our main, or only, performance opportunities are at home right now. If this is resonating with you, these tips from Denis Wick Artists Andy Baker, Tim Coffman, and Christpher Bill are just for you!
The Classic 4AL has a lot going for it. It's diameter, rim contour, and backbore combine together to provide a full low register with a big, dark sound. It is probably a little big for a beginner but, if you step-up to this model, this very well may be the last mouthpiece you have to buy. It works great for both classical and jazz, and will support you through every other style of music you may encounter. Here are the details:
Try these sound improving tips now! Did you know that quiet practice was only a side benefit, but not the main purpose of the Denis Wick Practice Mute? Denis actually created it to be a practice tool that could be used for opening up a player’s throat for breathing, broadening the tone, and helps fix a host of other playing issues as well. Here are 5 ways you can use the mute to improve your playing this week.
The 10CS is renowned as one of the best jazz trombone mouthpieces around today. How did it originate? Amazingly, it started life as a mouthpiece for the alto trombone. Denis Wick recalls “I originally designed it for my old German alto trombone, which was made by Lätzsch. The alto trombone was rarely used in London, and I remember having to make a journey to Dover to collect the new instrument sent from Bremen in order to pay the duty. It had been illegal to import foreign instruments, but the Board of Trade lifted this embargo in 1958 and I bought the Lätzsch shortly afterwards. A few years later Yamaha in Japan borrowed it from me when I was on tour with the LSO and made a copy which was actually much better - they gave me the copy! I had to design a mouthpiece which would make the kind of sound that I wanted. The tone quality with the very small mouthpiece supplied with the instrument was terrible! Designing a mouthpiece for the alto is difficult – the tolerances are…
Congratulations. You just earned a degree in music. You and thousands of other qualified graduates are eager to enter the workforce when you suddenly realize that your degree isn’t your passport to employment. So, what are you going to do all summer? Then, after that, what are you going to do all year? You’ve got six months before that first student loan payment arrives…
Denis Wick Artist, Buddy Deshler, can definitely be described as a quickly rising star in the trumpet world. Find out some tips and advice on gear a career from Buddy's life experience, in this interview with Denis Wick Artist Manager, Mary Galime.
The most interesting studio visit this week came from a gentleman that was referred by one of our dealers. He is in a brass band as part of his church and had recently acquired a used euphonium for a beginner to play on, but was having trouble finding a mouthpiece that fit so we set up an appointment and got to work.
In order to find your own path, looking over the maps and roads that were created by those who went before us is a huge help. Matthew Hartnett knows what it is like to start with nothing and make something great. In addition to that he has mentored a lot of up and coming musicians to find the same success he has found. This week we want to highlight Matt's achievements by sharing this recent article about him in the Houston Voyage (you can read the full article here).
Finding the right diameter is the first step to finding the right mouthpiece. Our band directors and private teachers make this easier by suggesting a common size that is easily found at a music store. Let's observe this size as the Theme. Too many times though, this theme is mistaken as the law. The main difference between a Theme and a Law is a Theme has variations and a law does not. A theme has a variety of options that sit under its umbrella where variations on a law generally breaks it.
In this final installment of Dialing In Your Mouthpiece With Drones, Dr. Thomas Bough finishes up this tuning workshop by taking you through an etude to test your tuning. We hope you found this three part series useful for you or your tuba section. If you have any questions for Dr. Bough feel free to reach out to him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions or ideas for future Buzz Articles, feel free to reach out to us here at Denis Wick by contacting Mary Galime at email@example.com.
When looking for the right tuba mouthpiece, there are of qualities of that mouthpiece that need to align to make it perfect for you. But once you find that mouthpiece, what is the next step? Dr. Thomas Bough, director of bands at Northern Illinois University and Denis Wick Ambassador, will help you dial in tuning on your new mouthpiece with these exercises.