Greetings Matthew!  Thank you for letting me sub in for Denise today.  I will be going over some things with her directly, which I hope will help bring some greater speed to your development.  As I said in the lesson, this going to be very direct, but is not a criticism of you, just very honest assessments, so you can quickly understand what needs tackling.

There are a few good-news / bad-news aspects to this.

  • The work is easy / but time consuming
  • You don’t need to put in a lot of time daily / it does need to be consistently daily
  • You understood and understand concepts quickly / You’ll have to find the patience to execute repeatedly

I think you get the idea!  Even if it means buzzing in the car on the way to/from school, squeeze some time in.  I also recommend warming up on lesson mornings so you can make the most of your lesson time – every minute counts!

So, what are the main areas we need to focus on for the foreseeable future?

  1. Mouthpiece placement.  You need to have 2/3 upper lip and 1/3 lower lip placement in the mouthpiece.  When practicing from here on out (forever), be in front of a mirror.
  2. You need to bring consistency to your articulation/tonguing.  You’ll need to pair this with
  3. Greater breathing efficiency (I’ll review this with Denise to share my methods for building it) and
  4. Taking more chances and freedom with the air.  Remember how much time you have to take a breath!

At the moment, you are making compromises – in order of above – that are painting in your playing into a bit of a corner.

Keep posture up, and preferably away from the stand.

With a basic, consistent approach to these areas between now and Christmas, you should be able to get your sound quality to be large, even at low volumes.  Once that is done, you should be able to build the range above the staff while playing with the same quality of sound.  Denise will advise you about how much to practice week-to-week.  Expect this to increase bit by bit.

Patricia – Please have the water key on the handslide repaired at your earliest convenience.  I couldn’t get a good look at it, but it is possible that it is adversely affecting the sound quality (I am suspicious!).  Also, if things go well with the above areas, I would suggest a Vincent Bach 5GS Mouthpiece with small shank for the new year, which will be a good reward and next step for sound development.  

Remember, there are no lessons next week for TFS’ fall break.  Take the time to really repeat the boring things we did.  Ask yourself if it is as good as it can be.  Make big sounds.  Record yourself and take a clinical, detached view, as though you were teaching someone, and see if you can self-advise on how to clean up the things we spoke about.



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