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1069849 Posts in 71003 Topics- by 18772 Members - Latest Member: adireccional
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61  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Developing centred notes on: Apr 25, 2017, 10:23AM
What I mean is you have to use your own brain... not rely on other people's brains.
A good teacher teaches people to think for themselves.

62  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Developing centred notes on: Apr 25, 2017, 08:41AM
Okay.... I'll tell you the secret....


Look, listen, learn, practise.

Stop looking for short cuts.

Take lessons when you think you need them.

That's aimed at anybody who wants to get better.

Chris Stearn
63  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Developing centred notes on: Apr 25, 2017, 12:58AM
Thanks Svenne, one thing is sure, I have a very strong concept inside of how I want my sound to be. But the truth is I for many years in fact had equipment that made my sound too big. Maybe unfocused.  I practiced a lot but had trouble getting it the way I wanted. My teacher told it was nearly too big and told I should go smaller. I didn't listen before many years later. Some years ago I read some of Chris posts and I tried some smaller equipment and recorded it. Couldn't believe my ears, sound was suddenly where I wanted it to be!

So I believe right equipment for the player is important. Maybe not big or small, but right for that given player. I didn't have the insight or knowledge and I also refused to listen advices.

So I think right equipment is one factor, but more important is practice and a concept to practice towards. If we don't have a concept, we will not get anywhere with our practice. I have in fact practiced a lot, and I like my sound today. I only wish my technique could be better, but it seems to go very slow. But in fact when I listen any trombone I endorse sound before technique.

In the end I have to admit I dont know exactly how to practice to get a good sound. Nor technique. But the more experienced people here have seen and listen more and can give better answers. Im not exactly sure how to practice.


Well Leif, look at it this way.... you are getting a great sound... by general agreement on this forum, so the way you have done that must be a path that can be used. That sound in your head that you want to produce has led you to ways to practise and equipment choices that have worked.
The biggest thing by far is that you (and a lot of the rest of us) love the sound that George Roberts used to make.
Keeping that sound idea and working toward it is central.
It is so simple as an idea that most people dismiss it and layer complexity into their practise.
We had a student, side by side session in the orchestra yesterday. My first year student came in and whilst he enjoyed the session, it was obvious (at least I hope it was) that his idea of sound have yet to develop. In the afternoon the professional player returned .... my ex-student... and his wonderful sound was even more apparent. That sound is the result of years of hard work and a clear sound concept.... it takes time.
Keep it simple.... keep chasing...

Chris Stearn
64  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Developing centred notes on: Apr 24, 2017, 08:27AM
I should clarify.... we are looking for the most vibrant and interesting sound. Playing in tune is part of that. A sound in your head... pitch and quality. Core. There's another word. Talking about sound is like dancing about painting...  
That means we just end up confused. Ah well...

Chris Stearn
65  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Developing centred notes on: Apr 24, 2017, 08:16AM
Do you think they actually play high or low of center?  Or is it a mental image that they use that works for them, but maybe they're really playing in the center? 

Center is not the best word here.

Chris Stearn
66  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Accessories / Re: How long does it take to get a brassark leadpipe? on: Apr 24, 2017, 07:46AM
You order something you get an eta from the person directly. Plain and simple. And FWIW Noah has always retuned my emails and I'm a nobody.
No... you're a somebody  :)
67  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Repairs, Modifications and Maintenance / Re: How many dents do you tolerate in your horns? on: Apr 24, 2017, 12:34AM
I am careful with the tools of my trade. If I have owned it since new, it will look very good with usually only the unavoidable mute dents in the bell. Used instruments are as they are... lacquer in all states of preservation, some with few dents , others with many.... how they play is everything and they bear the scars of their previous lives, which is fine with me.

Chris Stearn
68  Teaching & Learning / Practice Room / Re: Developing centred notes on: Apr 24, 2017, 12:24AM
Yes, since they are two different players, there must be a difference in how to achieve goals. I don't know how to get a centered sound, but I believe it helps to have a kind of sound goal. Either another player or a style of sound. Anyway it helps me. Understand how to get it is not easy without help. Try everyday and have a goal inside our head?

One question that might help is what can cause an uncentred sound?

Yes, Leif... concept is king... that way the brain controls the face. You should not think about what your face is doing whist you perform and very rarely during practise. The brain is the control system and you have to use it. Concept.

Chris Stearn
69  Teaching & Learning / Beginners and Returning Trombonists / Re: Help with 2nd Trombone Purchase on: Apr 24, 2017, 12:16AM
You guys are great, but you have to understand that my son's preference is not to have a shiny instrument.  He'd actually want to get the lacquer removed.  He has it in his head that a lacquer free horn has a more mellow sound - which is true, isn't it.   Have a Brass Band in our home town, and they are pretty good.  When Wycliffe Gordon is soloing, my kid goes nuts.  Even listens to Gordon on Apple Radio. 

No need for any additional comments on mouthpieces.....he's gonna get a new one.  When we decide on the horn, we can continue the mouthpiece conversation.

You don't strip the lacquer on vintage Conns... that is part of how they play. You can strip a Bach if you want. Lacquer saves a lot of cleaning.

Chris Stearn
70  Teaching & Learning / Beginners and Returning Trombonists / Re: Help with 2nd Trombone Purchase on: Apr 23, 2017, 02:11PM
Bruce, I cannot understand why you call the Elkhart Conn 88H light.... I could sit you next to quite a few players using 88H's who could monster anybody out of the way.
Out of fashion in the US perhaps... but not light.

Chris Stearn
71  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Minick's Work on: Apr 18, 2017, 11:47PM


Chris Stearn
72  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Small bore Martins on: Apr 18, 2017, 11:45PM
I have an Imperial from '62.... wonderful instrument.

Chris Stearn
73  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Minick's Work on: Apr 17, 2017, 11:37PM
I've owned a couple of basses that Minick worked on and played a few more as well and I have to say that the instruments varied a lot...but most Minick marked basses are instruments that he has done work on as required by the customer... the triple valve 72H comes to mind... the customer is always right. I had a 60H with indi rotors that he put on.... standard Conn rotors that were nothing special (a very good Elkhart bass though). I have just installed Minick made indi rotors on my modern 62H... Conn parts but the rotor cores have been worked on... blow as free as my Hagmanns ! Someone must have paid more for that set and got more done. You never know quite what you have with these horns that have Minick engraved on the valve linkage.... now a complete Minick built bass, that would be interesting  Evil

Chris Stearn
74  Creation and Performance / Trombonists / Re: Lesson with Jay Friedman: a summary on: Apr 17, 2017, 03:29AM
I wonder what Friedman ment when he told to play in the top third of the partial, almost as blowing a little high? I always try to get the center like Chris told. Maybe that student blow a little too low?


But the 'centre' is not in the middle of possibilities... it is towards the top. Sounds odd, I know, so centre is not the best word.... most vibrant pitch ??

Chris Stearn
75  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Mouthpieces / Re: Theory---Largest..or Smallest? on: Apr 17, 2017, 03:22AM
I went back to the beginning of this topic to see what it started out as....
WOW.... eleven years ago the quality of debate was SO high... I was gripped by the twists and turns !
All these years on I will add one thing...
This academic year two lads turned up at the RCS with very similar equipment... and it was very like that played by the bass trombonist in the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra... a stunning player who anyone would want to emulate.
The problem was that these two were playing so much better when they auditioned almost a year previously, and had swapped to very large mouthpieces, like that used by the BBC player. They simply could not cope at all. They have now swapped onto much smaller equipment that suits them well at this stage of their development. The BBC player sounds great on his big mouthpiece... but that is him... and I know it is a good fit, because he was also a pupil of mine and I put him on that mouthpiece.

Chris Stearn
76  Creation and Performance / Trombonists / Re: My tribute to George Roberts on: Apr 16, 2017, 01:35AM

As always, beautiful playing! Good!  What bass trombone were you using if I may ask?

It's the player, not the instrument. Leif could get that sound on your Getzen, and so could you... with a lot of work... which you should go for.

Chris Stearn
77  Creation and Performance / Trombonists / Re: Lesson with Jay Friedman: a summary on: Apr 16, 2017, 01:31AM
Very insightful, thanks. I doubt if you would be able to incorporate a lot into your playing from one lesson, but it is food for thought. One good idea is enough from a lesson. Also, thanks for the views on Mulcahy.

I have a few comments, for which I will take responsibility.

From my own experience, I find that increasing pressure works to a point, but as an older player, I know that pressure is not my friend. Unfortunately, when people talk about less or low pressure, this is often taken as "no pressure", meaning there are air leaks. This is absolutely not the case, and it indicates a dismissal or a misunderstanding of the concept.

Using a lot of air works, and it leads to a sub-topic on breathing. You can work through this, and there are many people and books to help you.

What people describe as a "complex" with overtones is the result of centred notes. But this, I mean note and not pitch. Listen to Joe Alessi, Stefan Schulz, Stanley Clark and others, and you'll hear a really interesting sound. This is not equipment related - it's them, and we all can learn to do it. We don't say much about centering sound on TTF; perhaps we should say more.

Centred tones.... yes, yes, yes.... and yes...
For many years I was lucky enough to sit next to Kevin Thomson who was a monster of a player, one of the best of his generation.... he made a huge and interesting sound. I once asked him how he got such a huge sound... he said it was all about focus... get in the centre of the note and it grows and grows.
He was right.

Chris Stearn
78  Teaching & Learning / History of the Trombone / Re: The Trombonist's Time Machine on: Apr 16, 2017, 01:22AM
1987-1993 was a pretty exciting time for the trombone. Plus I'd get to play Wolfenstein 3D with myself as a small child.

I was around then, in a full time job.... did I miss something ? Far more happening today... at an ever higher level...

Chris Stearn
79  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: "Herrick-Style" Lead Pipes on: Apr 16, 2017, 01:15AM
Very few people have original Herrick pipes, so it is not likely that people will post enough here to give an overall impression of characteristics. From what I can gather, Herrick made pipes to order after talking to the customer and possibly hearing them play. I doubt there is a characteristic to them. I have tried several Herrick mouthpieces and they were all very different... no real house style... and he didn't mark his mouthpieces, so you can often not be sure it is the real thing.
I have a Herrick pipe for bass.... how it compares to the norm ....
It is very free blowing.... standard length physically.... like a modern Conn or Shires B2 or Brassark 62..... it is very slotted with clear attacks... in most of my horns it makes things very bright and commercial, but it suits one of my instruments perfectly. Very different from all my other pipes.
 I have what is supposed to be a Kanstul copy of a Herrick pipe.... this one is very tight, hard down low, but quite mellow.... the opposite of the real one... but it might be a fine copy of a different pipe.

Chris Stearn
80  Horns, Gear, and Equipment / Instruments / Re: Why do some trombones resonate and others do not? on: Apr 14, 2017, 11:21PM
"everything should fit together perfectly". Of course! However it depends on your definition of "perfect". "That" varies HUGELY in this industry....


Indeed... If I want to use the valve section from R8 no 340 on R9 no 34, I have to use a washer to get the correct space for the tuning slide... not a big deal for a ten year production gap. It fits fairly easily without, but I want a perfect fit.

Chris Stearn
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