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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPedagogy(Moderators: JP, Doug Elliott) On youths and explaining the benefits of large-bore tenors
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Pre59

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« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2017, 04:35AM »

This caught my eye.

"Well, my mother, in Des Moines, Iowa asked if I wanted to go see my brother play baritone saxophone in the junior high school band. I said that would be fine. We went to Washington Irving Junior High School in Des Moines, Iowa where the band was playing and my mother asked me if I would like to play one of those instruments on stage. I told my mother that I would love to play one of those things that “goes up and down with your hands”. Mother said that we should go ask the teacher. The teacher informed my mother that I would never play trombone because my arms were not long enough. The teacher put me on clarinet. I quickly replied that I did not want to play clarinet – I wanted to play trombone! I could smell the slide oil already. Anyway, I ended up playing clarinet in the school band for two years. It was really kind of funny, the way I ended up on clarinet but I just hated it!
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« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2017, 05:17AM »

Personally, I started on a conn director with a 12C when I was 11 and sounded like crap. I "moved up" to a Bach 36 when I was a bit older and played a 6.5AL and sounded like crap. On an 88H with a 2CL I sounded better. On an Edwards with the Alessi abomination, I sounded the best I've been able to sound. In my opinion and perspective, I feel like the smaller stuff only STARTS working once the player gets really strong.

of course I am 12 ft tall and I weigh 4 metric tons so, who knows. It could just be practice.
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« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2017, 05:28AM »

Given that one of the former bass trombonists of the Pittsburgh symphony was a rather short individual (I dont' want to assume but I heard perhaps a dwarf?) the idea that someone shouldn't play tenor trombone because their facility on four notes unaided by an F attachment might take a little extra work is so unbelievably absurd.
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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2017, 05:55AM »

Appropriate mouthpieces are also a factor, yes. I would also think that ambitious youths should be introduced to bigger mouthpieces first, rather than bigger horns first.

That's an interesting idea, and one that may have a lot of merit to it. For years I thought I should be playing a smaller mpc but I never could make anything below a 6.5AL work for me. Apparently my embouchure doesn't like small stuff. Doug got me on something bigger and it works wonders. If it were possible to have some sort of diagnostic to find something closer to a student's true size in the beginning...
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« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2017, 06:13AM »

That's an interesting idea, and one that may have a lot of merit to it. For years I thought I should be playing a smaller mpc but I never could make anything below a 6.5AL work for me. Apparently my embouchure doesn't like small stuff. Doug got me on something bigger and it works wonders. If it were possible to have some sort of diagnostic to find something closer to a student's true size in the beginning...


5'7"; 165 pounds. Ding!

They started me out on a 12C on a peashooter and I sounded like crap. It hadn't trickled down yet in my neck-of-the-woods when I was a youth as to that there even WERE different tenor mouthpiece sizes! Of the three instructors I had at the time, NONE of them thought to have me try a somewhat larger mouthpiece and they ALL carped at me over my lousy tone. I probably could have greatly benefited from a 7C or the like on most any size horn. It wasn't until recently that I could handle a 12C. That's a specialty mouthpiece and contrary to popular opinion, it apparently takes a more well-developed embouchure and sound concept to handle; clearly NOT a beginner piece. Anyway, that's how I perceive it. So yeah, check the box for a correctly-sized mouthpiece trumping a horn of any size/shape.

Would we start a rank beginner clarinet player - on any size clarinet - on a pro reed? Duh!

...Geezer
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« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2017, 07:08AM »

Given that one of the former bass trombonists of the Pittsburgh symphony was a rather short individual (I dont' want to assume but I heard perhaps a dwarf?) the idea that someone shouldn't play tenor trombone because their facility on four notes unaided by an F attachment might take a little extra work is so unbelievably absurd.

That was Byron McCollough.  He admitted he didn't have a 6th position and that's why he took up bass.  There is a famous picture of him with his double trigger bass next to Lew Van Haney (who was a large person in all dimensions) holding an alto.  McCollough was short, but I don't think he suffered from dwarfism.

The original reason that Emory Remington used to start his students on large bore horns was because bass trombone was not recognized as a specialty or a separate instrument.  His students played "trombone" and could be asked to play any chair in the orchestra.  You can do that on a large bore like a Conn 88H.  Once you get the chair you could then gear up with the appropriate size instruments.

I don't think kids should be excluded from large bore horns nor should they be forced into them.  A youngster who can't fill a large bore tenor does a disservice to one (and the horn does a disservice to the student).  But some do great on large bore trombones.  Have the kids play instruments they find comfortable and work on their technique.
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« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2017, 07:34AM »

Quote
A youngster who can't fill a large bore tenor does a disservice to one (and the horn does a disservice to the student).  But some do great on large bore trombones.  Have the kids play instruments they find comfortable and work on their technique.

Wise indeed, although I am tempted to assert that the under-fillers are much more common.

The clarinet reed case reminds me.
For the most part, youths are started on softer reeds, and then moved up into stiffer ones. However, there is "that" kid. "That" kid sounds bad on a softer reed because her/his cheeks are clamping down like a pit-bull and s/he is blowing apart the reed into oblivion. Getting them something stiffer right away immediately mitigates the problem, and they develop a truly magnificent sound.

Speaking of mouthpieces, I would think that your dental structure could play a role. Certain mouthpieces just do not sit right against my teeth.

On the note of jacking up mouthpiece sizes as a youth, I have a tale to share on that front.


When I hit grade 12, I was playing large bore tenor with 5G. I was being taught by a local symphony player, who thoroughly trained me on breathing and support. However, 5G began to feel "cramped". I got curious about "the beyond".

Rebelling against common wisdom (i.e. "tenor trombone teens should not play 4G or bigger- that's for music school and professional level players with huge chops"), I secretly tried a 4G, and then a 3G. I had enough training on forming a healthy embouchure, so I successfully avoided pitfalls like excessive pressure against the teeth. My sound did not "deteriorate"; however, it did acquire a certain width that was almost reminiscent of a bass trombone.

The transition was definitely not a walk in the park, though. My face was burning in ways that I did not even anticipate on the 5G. More room with the mouthpiece meant I had to be more conscious about my embouchure- how much of my lips was contributing to actual buzzing, how much of my lips was sealed for embouchure-level support, really trying not to stretch my lips excessively across my teeth, really being aware about the pressure that the mouthpiece is exerting (IMO, with smaller pieces, even if you don't know what you are doing, the mouthpiece can help support your embouchure quite a bit; not a chance on bigger ones) etc.  

It certainly opened up a new dimension in the way of thinking about embouchure, and was a great learning experience. In retrospect, the adults were right though- big pieces surely take a lot out of you. Because so much is under your control with a bigger mouthpiece, if you do not know what you are doing, a big mouthpiece can be nothing but detrimental. However, for frustrated or ambitious students, it just may well be what the doctor ordered.
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« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2017, 07:51AM »

Ah...the joys of a Brass teacher. The instrument should not be a hindrance or an obstacle. After all, what counts is how it sounds and how much fun the kid have with it.
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« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2017, 08:08AM »

If I were king of the world, I'd have kids on .508 horns with sensibly built F triggers (that rules out King 3B/Fs). Yamaha has a dual bore about that size, as does Kanstul I think. .547s by special permission to NYO types only.
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« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2017, 08:19AM »

If I were king of the world, I'd have kids on .508 horns with sensibly built F triggers (that rules out King 3B/Fs). Yamaha has a dual bore about that size, as does Kanstul I think. .547s by special permission to NYO types only.

No it doesn't, King Ellrod. lol It just means you have to raise a callous on your left thumb!  :D

...Geezer
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« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2017, 08:48AM »

Why King persists in this design baffles me, especially when the valves on, for example, the 88H are excellent.
So, no 3B/Fs until King smarten up.  A shame really. A decent valve and they'd be great horns. IMHO YMMV.
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« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2017, 09:03AM »

Wise indeed, although I am tempted to assert that the under-fillers are much more common.

The clarinet reed case reminds me.
For the most part, youths are started on softer reeds, and then moved up into stiffer ones. However, there is "that" kid. "That" kid sounds bad on a softer reed because her/his cheeks are clamping down like a pit-bull and s/he is blowing apart the reed into oblivion. Getting them something stiffer right away immediately mitigates the problem, and they develop a truly magnificent sound.

Speaking of mouthpieces, I would think that your dental structure could play a role. Certain mouthpieces just do not sit right against my teeth.

On the note of jacking up mouthpiece sizes as a youth, I have a tale to share on that front.


When I hit grade 12, I was playing large bore tenor with 5G. I was being taught by a local symphony player, who thoroughly trained me on breathing and support. However, 5G began to feel "cramped". I got curious about "the beyond".

Rebelling against common wisdom (i.e. "tenor trombone teens should not play 4G or bigger- that's for music school and professional level players with huge chops"), I secretly tried a 4G, and then a 3G. I had enough training on forming a healthy embouchure, so I successfully avoided pitfalls like excessive pressure against the teeth. My sound did not "deteriorate"; however, it did acquire a certain width that was almost reminiscent of a bass trombone.

The transition was definitely not a walk in the park, though. My face was burning in ways that I did not even anticipate on the 5G. More room with the mouthpiece meant I had to be more conscious about my embouchure- how much of my lips was contributing to actual buzzing, how much of my lips was sealed for embouchure-level support, really trying not to stretch my lips excessively across my teeth, really being aware about the pressure that the mouthpiece is exerting (IMO, with smaller pieces, even if you don't know what you are doing, the mouthpiece can help support your embouchure quite a bit; not a chance on bigger ones) etc.  

It certainly opened up a new dimension in the way of thinking about embouchure, and was a great learning experience. In retrospect, the adults were right though- big pieces surely take a lot out of you. Because so much is under your control with a bigger mouthpiece, if you do not know what you are doing, a big mouthpiece can be nothing but detrimental. However, for frustrated or ambitious students, it just may well be what the doctor ordered.

Back on topic, it's true; some guys have DNA for Herculean chops. I hate them. lol But until an instructor can identify a young student as one of "those", it makes sense to start them out on a medium-size mouthpiece for the specific size of horn they will try to play.

Note that this has changed over the years! Some 60+ years ago, when I got my first trombone, a 12C was probably considered a medium-sized mouthpiece for the ultra-small bore 1940's horn I was handed. You should see the original mouthpiece! A French horn player today would think it was about right. But today is today and everything is sized differently - including a lot of the players!

A small-bore horn is probably a dinosaur. And the requests for them in ensemble or band work is probably very diminished and/or very specialized. I can't blame band directors and students for gravitating to larger-bore horns that could work in a variety of settings. To err on the size of larger is probably better these days than to err on the size of smaller.

...Geezer
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« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2017, 09:21AM »

My first instructor, Houston Symphony principal trombonist, advised me to get a King 3B and a Back 6.5AL. He said it would last a lifetime. I had to work through the summer as a dishwasher in a bowing alley to be able to come up with half the money, and Christmas my parents kicked in the other half. LOL!

I've gone through a lot of horns since those days, but I have settled in with the Kanstul 1550, which is basically very close to the 3B - .500 bore instead of the .508, but both have the 8" bell.

So, theoretically, he was right.

Work on your software is my advice.   
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« Reply #33 on: May 19, 2017, 10:09AM »

I'm always surprised at how big a deal the bore size seems to be since the difference in the geometric volume of the air column of a .547 over a .525 is only 8.5%.  It would seem trivial compared to the difference between a trombone and a euphonium.
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« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2017, 04:38AM »

My first instructor, Houston Symphony principal trombonist, advised me to get a King 3B and a Back 6.5AL. He said it would last a lifetime. I had to work through the summer as a dishwasher in a bowing alley to be able to come up with half the money, and Christmas my parents kicked in the other half. LOL!

I've gone through a lot of horns since those days, but I have settled in with the Kanstul 1550, which is basically very close to the 3B - .500 bore instead of the .508, but both have the 8" bell.

So, theoretically, he was right.

Work on your software is my advice.   

But the Kanstul 1550 has a fixed lead pipe. What if someone buys a 1550 and doesn't like the lead pipe? To my knowledge, Kanstul uses three different styles of lead pipe. Unless a buyer calls the factory, how would he know which one the 1500 has? It would be a little pricey to have it pulled and a threaded one inserted after-market. Perhaps a special order, called in to the factory could yield a 1550 with the type of lead pipe the buyer wants, instead of whatever comes stock? Did you test-blow yours before you bought it?

When someone buys a used vintage horn, they presumably are doing so b/c they know it and want it. Kanstuls aren't vintage and aren't yet considered classic - like Shires, Edwards, Bachs, etc - so unless you are familiar specifically with their line - having played them in the past - as a new buyer, might you be buying a pig-in-a-poke?

I'm always surprised at how big a deal the bore size seems to be since the difference in the geometric volume of the air column of a .547 over a .525 is only 8.5%.  It would seem trivial compared to the difference between a trombone and a euphonium.

So? What does this have to do with educators pushing large-bore vs small-bore trombones for youths?

...Geezer
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« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2017, 05:03AM »

Geezer, from what I understand about the 1550, is that the fixed lead pipe is the middle one. I don't remember now the name that they have for it. It plays well for me, and when I was at the factory, I tried all three lead pipes on the model that was similar, 1555, and I was very satisfied with the lead pipe that they use for the 1550.

Besides, I spend all my time improving the software.
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« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2017, 05:27AM »

Guys,

Once in the so called Eeastern block (Europe) students would just get whatever was available for them at the beginning and make it work. I read in few places that Timofei Dokschitzer started on 7E mp (trumpet, if not obvious) because that was the only thing available to him. I am pretty sure that similar experiences can be found in the early days of early jazz/blues street bands.

Now we are pampered, so much choice. I started on a ****** amati trumpet.

Because of lack of knowledge and experience in trombone stuff, I got a large bore chinese tenor. Still sound pretty decent (yes of course, my high school days are gone long time ago)

Physical limits can and should make you put a student on lighter, smaller instrument possibly with a shorter handslide.
How we sound is more a function of our "software" Even if I get the biggest tenor available, I will still sound like me.

The right equipment in my philosophy is the one that makes me sound like the best of me with the least effort possible.
Conventions are another story - you don't go in an orchestral audition with a King 2B...
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« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2017, 06:23AM »

I think you guys make a good point. Whatever is handed to you, play it like it was 1999!

We oftentimes get hung up on so-and-so playing a whaty-what. Good for him. He's at the point where he can milk every drop out of specialized equipment to a point where probably only he or someone of his caliber could even detect a difference. And if thrown a piece-of-crap horn, would probably still sound like a million bucks on it to the rest of us. Also, he's probably gigging his butt off and prefers equipment that does what he wants it to do with minimal effort on his part.

Therefore, what I look for in equipment also is ease in getting the sound and technique out that I want for a specific purpose, so that I don't have to blow my brains out as hard to get it either. I'm not sure that middle school and junior high school students are anywhere near that point, so it probably doesn't matter if they play a medium-bore or a large-bore horn; as long as they can fill it and/or reach with it. And as was previously mentioned, a correctly-sized mouthpiece is probably THE most important part of it anyway. If a  given senior high school student is at that point, then they are probably serious about it and a specialized horn or two could be a could long-term investment for them. I know a fellow who, in high school, decided he was serious about bass trombone and got the best he could get. He still plays it, some 20 years later.

...Geezer
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« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2017, 02:46PM »

The two Kanstul 1550  models I have played had very large tones for the bore size(.500).Both had the copper bells. Both had interchangeable lead-pipes. For my money one of the most under rated pro horns available.Very easy horn to play and get a good sound on.
  I also believe that every teacher should think of development over a period of time as the student grows,not just physically ,but also efficiency-wise so they may be better able to handle the larger bore instruments/mouthpieces.
  I don't know if this is the best way.I have seen it work for the benefit of students more often than not.

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« Reply #39 on: May 23, 2017, 04:22AM »

In Soviet Union, large-bore chooses you!
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