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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningPractice Room(Moderator: blast) Lip bending- good, bad or ugly
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AbrahamWood121
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« on: Dec 25, 2017, 06:38PM »

So I am always looking for ways to better my trombone playing and sometimes I look for exercises and ideas from not only trombone players, but any successful musicians. One exercise I have been interested in trying for quite some time is lip bending. I found a video on it posted by a quite good euphonium player so I did some more research and found multiple euphonium players and trumpet player that seem to love lip bending and do it everyday, with the promise of increased flexibility and better sound. I was a little worried because I didn't really find many trombone players advocating for this excersize, so is it good for trombone players? Is it one of those things that has varying results from player to player, sort of like buzzing? I've been practicing lip bends for about 4 days more or less and can now bend the second partial down from the Bb to the f below that, and on the third partial I can lip it down to a flat whole step. This excersize seems to make my lips very tired very quickly so I try to do it at the end of a practice session and if I want to play more I give a substantial break. I have noticed that my sound is better in the last 4 days, ever so slightly but a change for sure, and I haven't really had as much trouble warming up at the beginning of the day. Is this a result of the lip bends or simply the fact that I'm practicing more these days? Any opinions on lip bending exercises would be very greatly appreciated.
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cmillar
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 25, 2017, 06:44PM »

Why not? If it's good enough for some of the best brass players in the world (Malcomb McNab, Doc Severinson, and many other top trumpet players)and advocated by world class trombone players who've studied with members of the Chicago Symphony....well, why not give it a try?

A good thing to look at are the James Stamp routines and some of the routines he devised that include a little 'lip-bending'(note-bending).

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bigbassbone1

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« Reply #2 on: Dec 25, 2017, 07:44PM »

I really like your post. Personally I think it is so important to explore anything and (almost  :D ) everything you can do on trombone.
I am always looking for new practice techniques and ideas myself. Over the last few years I have collected quite a few weird or uncommon things from all kinds of musicians that I incorporate into my daily practice.

You should never hesitate to practice something "uncommon to trombone players" like lipbending. If you find that you get something out of it then its absolutely worth exploring extensively!

Just go in with an inquisitive and open attitude. Ask yourself constantly things like;
. What do I want out of spending my time on this excersise? 
. What do people that advocate doing it claim to get out of it?
. Why do not more players of my instrumemt do this?
. Is there something else i can be doing that achieves the same benefits with more efficiency?

I explored lip bending on trombone for a while, but after some time on it I found that any benefits I was getting from it, I could get from other areas of practice. After a few discussions with trumpet and other brass instrumentalists that do it, I found that what they got out of the exercise and why they did it, was not directly beneficial or an effective use of my time.

Moral of my long story, dont be scared, or feel you need validation to try something new in the practice room, just be actively and constantly assessing how and why you are doing it. I hope lip bending works well for you!
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AbrahamWood121
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 25, 2017, 08:36PM »

I really like your post. Personally I think it is so important to explore anything and (almost  :D ) everything you can do on trombone.
I am always looking for new practice techniques and ideas myself. Over the last few years I have collected quite a few weird or uncommon things from all kinds of musicians that I incorporate into my daily practice.

I couldn't agree more, thank you for the input!
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Greg Waits
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 25, 2017, 11:05PM »

Lip bending is very beneficial for gaining flexibility and embouchure control.
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Burgerbob

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« Reply #5 on: Dec 25, 2017, 11:45PM »

I use lip bending as a way to find the best center of the horn to play through. Every note on the instrument has a slot of varying size, and when you bend (in both directions) you can find the most resonant place in that slot to play the note.

Combined with glisses, it's a good way to find the best sound in all registers.
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 26, 2017, 09:03AM »

I practice lip bending regularly. Go further.

- There is a sticky post on pedal note benders. Virtually no limit on on how far you can go, but at least a 4th
- 2nd partial Bb, easily down to F as you have discovered
- F easily to Eb, try for a D
- 4th partial Bb, easy A, try for Ab

I use lip bending as a parlor trick at community band. I have found all benefits mentioned so far.

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Martin Hubel
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 26, 2017, 09:26AM »

I attended a Wycliffe Gordon Master Class. He was asked about lip bending. He put his slide in 7th, played an Eb4  ( b ), quickly moved to 1st, holding the pitch perfectly on Eb the whole time! Jaws dropped.
He went on to advocate lip pitch bending as a necessary skill for jazz players.
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davdud101
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 26, 2017, 10:18AM »

Does dropping from the second partial into false tones also count as lip bending? Guessing that can also fall on the list of benefits if it's not on someone's already
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AbrahamWood121
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 27, 2017, 02:43PM »

So here's an update-

I've been doing these lip bends every day for about a week actually, and with very consistent and steady practice I was sure I heard a difference in my tone but to make sure I recorded and sure enough I sound darker and more full and vibrant than I ever have before. I pulled out a tuner to check and my pitch is actually lowered so to be in tune I push in about a quarter inch more than normal, so I'm almost closed on the tuning slide. Even though I am a pretty accomplished high school player, placing second in the tmea all state band last year, I've never been super happy with my higher pitch center, and my director always commented about how my tuning slide was too far out haha. After this discovery I'm definitely going to stick with lip bends and see where they take me. :D
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sabutin

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« Reply #10 on: Dec 27, 2017, 11:36PM »

Just a quick word about slide trombonists and lip bends:

When we gliss inside of any given partial we are doing "lip bends."
When we...or any other brass player...practices m'pce buzzing, rim buzzing or freebuzzing? Ditto.

Just sayin'...maybe the benefits of "lip bends" have to do with finding out how to play in the real center of the relatively fixed pitch of a valved instrument. rombonists can do "lip bends" by playing a note that sounds good and then moving the slide in any direction w/in that partial...or even into other, contiguous partials...while trying to keep a good sound.

Not that you shouldn't try them...try everything and use what works. But be sure to understand what you are trying. I actually have what I call an "establishing exercise" that is essentially "lip bending/glissing/going over partials in both directions from a given note. When the tone changes...the feel, the blow...that is where your original setting is beginning to stop working well. Then yu practice hrough that range from range where you started.

Again...just sayin'...
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bigbassbone1

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« Reply #11 on: Dec 27, 2017, 11:47PM »

Just a quick word about slide trombonists and lip bends:

When we gliss inside of any given partial we are doing "lip bends."
When we...or any other brass player...practices m'pce buzzing, rim buzzing or freebuzzing? Ditto.

Just sayin'...maybe the benefits of "lip bends" have to do with finding out how to play in the real center of the relatively fixed pitch of a valved instrument. rombonists can do "lip bends" by playing a note that sounds good and then moving the slide in any direction w/in that partial...or even into other, contiguous partials...while trying to keep a good sound.

Not that you shouldn't try them...try everything and use what works. But be sure to understand what you are trying. I actually have what I call an "establishing exercise" that is essentially "lip bending/glissing/going over partials in both directions from a given note. When the tone changes...the feel, the blow...that is where your original setting is beginning to stop working well. Then yu practice hrough that range from range where you started.

Again...just sayin'...


This is exactly why I found lip bending not the best use of my practice time. I was getting my perceived benefits from many other areas of my technique practice already. But definitely worth trying and thinking about.
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afugate

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« Reply #12 on: Dec 28, 2017, 05:04AM »

[snip]
When we gliss inside of any given partial we are doing "lip bends."
When we...or any other brass player...practices m'pce buzzing, rim buzzing or freebuzzing? Ditto.

Just sayin'...maybe the benefits of "lip bends" have to do with finding out how to play in the real center of the relatively fixed pitch of a valved instrument. rombonists can do "lip bends" by playing a note that sounds good and then moving the slide in any direction w/in that partial...or even into other, contiguous partials...while trying to keep a good sound.
[snip]

Perhaps there is some benefit to be gained (maybe embouchure building?) by bending and forcing the horn to play a different note than it wants to slot. Don't know At least I gather that from my trumpet player friends. 

--Andy in OKC
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« Reply #13 on: Dec 28, 2017, 06:25AM »

Or, perhaps there is more benefit from playing a note with the least amount of effort, because that's the center of the slot. 

Remember geezer's type 1 and type 2 playing thread some time ago?  Or, sam's discussion of where resistance should be felt?

There might be two approaches involved here. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #14 on: Dec 28, 2017, 08:32AM »

I didn't do any note bending exercices when I played modern trombone. Only used bending  to correct the intonation on D in 1st position, and that's about it.

Then when you start playing sackbut, you realize you need to play low Ds quite regularly, which can only be faked (and which we know they did back then). And you also want to make your trills as close as possible to a second instead of a third. So I started practicing note bending a little bit, and especially in the low range, trying to play whole scales between partials 1 and 2 in the same slide position. That helped the falset range.

And when you start playing ophicleide (in my case) or serpent (which would be even worse), you realize that playing almost any note requires bending, sometimes massively. And sometimes in opposite directions back to back (on ophicleide at a=430, low G and Ab are at the top of the 1st partial and need to be bent up by almost a quarter tone, but low A is at the bottom of the 2nd partial and needs to be bent down a lot. Playing passages accross that bridge feels like doing calisthenics...)

You do not need to bend to correct pitch on trombone, you have a huge tuning slide in your hand. You arguably shouldn't have to do it on modern valved brass instruments either when you have the option of using your tuning slides. I think moving the slides so that you are still playing in the center of the note will give a better sound than bending. But that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't practice the ability to bend. You don't know if or when you're going to need it, plus it helps you build up your control (or feeling of control) over the instrument. Plus having the ability to bend notes doesn't mean you'll loose the notion of where the center is and you'll start bending all the time. You can have the skill and not use it. It's like saying playing in the high range a lot will weaken your low range or vice versa. Having the control to bend notes and having the good habit of looking for the center of the note are not mutually exclusive. If anything, they probably help each other.

I certainly wish I had started exercising bending a lot earlier.
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Maximilien Brisson
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« Reply #15 on: Dec 31, 2017, 04:09PM »

I attended a Wycliffe Gordon Master Class. He was asked about lip bending. He put his slide in 7th, played an Eb4  ( b ), quickly moved to 1st, holding the pitch perfectly on Eb the whole time! Jaws dropped.
He went on to advocate lip pitch bending as a necessary skill for jazz players.

Do you mean an octave lower?  In the bass staff seems possible but the next octave up seems impossibly slotted without leaking the embouchure. 

The bend available seems to shrink as pitch rises. 
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« Reply #16 on: Jan 02, 2018, 10:00AM »

I caught up with Doug Elliott a few months ago and took a lesson. He reminded me to practice "elasticity" drills. The idea is to gliss between partials without moving the slide, letting up on the mouthpiece pressure, or changing your embouchure form. I put together a short video to demonstrate one I came up with.

https://youtu.be/m_Oepytf3pY

I'm better at it now that I was, but Doug is quite good at this. You can hear a change in timbre when he's between partials, but the gliss is smooth enough you might think he was using his slide. Maybe he'll post a video...

Dave
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