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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningBeginners and Returning Trombonists(Moderator: bhcordova) New to Trombone - I have some questions!
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*musicislove*
« on: Oct 13, 2008, 09:39AM »

Hello fellow musicians!

I'll introduce myself: I'm a high school student and I have been playing saxophone for five years. I love music and when I go to college I'm planning on finding a path to a music career. Anyways, I have always really liked the trombone and love listening to players like Fred Wesley and JJ Johnson. So I decided to begin learning how to play.
So that leads me to my questions:
Which brand(s) of trombone are your favorite or would you recommend for beginners?
What do the numbers for the mouthpieces mean, and what should I start with?
Are there any music pieces or lesson books that you have found useful?
Can you tell me any other tips or random info?

I recently joined The Trombone Forum and this is my first post, so if I should change anything next time feel free to critique my writing skills   :D
Thanks in advance,
Stephanie
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BGuttman
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 13, 2008, 10:05AM »

Hi Stephanie, and welcome Hi

Seems like a simple question, but it gets pretty deep.

For beginners, I like to recommend a typical Student trombone, or a professional trombone that is about .500" bore (12.7 mm).  A trombone should have a freely moving slide and no major "crush" areas in the tubing.  Older student horns tend to collect a bunch of dents on the bow at the end of the slide and also at the tuning slide (which goes over your shoulder).

There are lots of brands out there that are good beginner instruments.  I just recommend staying away from those nice shiny ones from China (but you probably know about them from your saxophone days).  Many of the brands will be familiar.  Conn, King, Selmer, Jupiter, Yamaha, Weril.  Some may be a little strange because they don't (or didn't) make saxophones.  Martin, Holton, Kanstul, Bach, Benge.

Numbers on the mouthpiece.  That's a really tough question.  There are multiple systems for putting the numbers on, so it's not like a #4 reed is a #4 reed is a #4 reed.  There are two common systems: the Bach system and the Schilke system.

Bach mouthpieces are numbered with a high number indicating a small mouthpiece and a low number indicating a large mouthpiece.  There are letters to define cup depth, A being deepest and E being shallowest.  Most Bach mouthpieces for small bore trombones use the C cup.  For a beginner I usually recommend something like a 12C or 7C.  Other makers use similar rim diameters.  Curry, Denis Wick, etc.  They may not use letters for cup depth.  For example, Wick uses letter to indicate the hole diameter leading into the trombone.  An A is larger than a B.

Schilke (and Yamaha) use a numbering where a small number is a smaller mouthpiece and a large number is a bigger mouthpiece.  Cup sizes have letters: A is the shallowest and E is the deepest.  Generally a beginner will use something like a 45 to 50 (48 is a very popular size to put in with new instruments).

Useful methods?  For private study I recommend you use an old book called Rubank.  There are Elementary, Intermediate, and two Advanced books.  When you have completed the first Advanced book you would be ready to go on to Arban's Famous Method to learn technique and some books of etudes to develop musicianship.

A good source for overall information on the Trombone is Reginald Fink's "Trombonist's Handbook" which contains lists of method books and solos as well as information on things like how to put the trombone together, how to produce a tone, etc.  I wouldn't recommend buying this book immediately, but see if your school or local library has a copy you can read.

Good luck.  Search around here and you will find more information than you can handle.
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 13, 2008, 10:59AM »

Find a good pro teacher Clever
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« Reply #3 on: Oct 13, 2008, 04:56PM »

BGuttman cover every thing pretty well I just have one thing to add...

Makes sure that the water key on your trombone has a cork in it otherwise it's going to be had to play in tune. I only say this because half of the trombone section at school does not have them so playing together sounds bad. And remember HAVE FUN because that's just a trombone thing, it's a fun instrument.
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« Reply #4 on: Oct 22, 2008, 06:52AM »


Some may be a little strange because they don't (or didn't) make saxophones.  Martin, Holton, Kanstul, Bach, Benge.


Excellent advice from BGuttman, Stephanie, but it should be pointed out that Martin and Holton did indeed manufacture some of the best saxophones available from the 'teens to the '50s!
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 22, 2008, 09:20AM »

the most common  mouthpiece that comes w  trombones is  12c    [trumpets  7c]
the  most  common  student horns[rentals]l now are  yamaha    jupiter   conn   king  blessing
 they  are all  pretty similar    almost like clones  of  each other
===========
   as bruce mentions     the function of  the slide  is  most  adventureous
  the majority of the  student horns   in  use   i try    HAVE   TERRIBLE  SLIDE  ACTION
 beginners  usually  use   SLIDE  OIL      and rarely ever   clean   or rinse out   their horns
------
  look  up  THE SLIDE DOCTOR   --google
------
   you  can  read  any of your  sax  lit    and  try it on bone
but the  trombonist bible    is the  120  MELODIOUS ETUDES  OR  BORDOGNI   TRANSCRIBED  BY JOHANES ROCHUT
  commonly  known    as    BOOK ONE  [first  60]
   i like the scale studies  in O BLUME   36  STUDIES
but  if you have    some scale  studies you like   FLIP  THEM OVER TO BONE
-----
 while   youre  at it  TRY  EUPHONIUM  [commonly  known in us  as  baritone]
-----
have  fun
==========
 LISTEN TO  GETZ  AND JJ   AT THE OPERA  HOUSE  !!!!!!!!!




Hello fellow musicians!

I'll introduce myself: I'm a high school student and I have been playing saxophone for five years. I love music and when I go to college I'm planning on finding a path to a music career. Anyways, I have always really liked the trombone and love listening to players like Fred Wesley and JJ Johnson. So I decided to begin learning how to play.
So that leads me to my questions:
Which brand(s) of trombone are your favorite or would you recommend for beginners?
What do the numbers for the mouthpieces mean, and what should I start with?
Are there any music pieces or lesson books that you have found useful?
Can you tell me any other tips or random info?

I recently joined The Trombone Forum and this is my first post, so if I should change anything next time feel free to critique my writing skills   :D
Thanks in advance,
Stephanie
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BGuttman
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 22, 2008, 09:34AM »

Only one correction for DJ:

The "bible" for any brass player should be Arban's Celebrated Method.  The trumpet version is in transposed treble clef just like a tenor sax, and the trombone version is in bass clef.

Bordogni is wonderful for developing a lyrical tone, but for the "nuts and bolts" (scales, arpeggios, ornaments, etc.) Arban's is the ne plus ultra.  There are other books that can offer the same degree of training, but it seems most of us wind up with Arban.

There are a couple of things I look for in a trombone:

1.  Slide should move freely and not have any dents.  You will probably put a few in yourself; it's part of using the instrument; but you should start out with a "clean" slide and try to keep it clean.

2.  Look for deep dents in the neckpipe (the straight piece of tubing that goes by your neck) and the tuning slide bow (the large bent piece of tubing that goes behind you).  Deep dents in these can make intonation sloppy and make the horn hard to play.

3.  Examine the slide bow.  Especially that funny valve right on the curve.  It's called a waterkey (or spitvalve if you want to be less genteel).  It should fit on the nipple just like a sax pad on a hole rim.  There should be a piece of cork in the key that works just like the sax pads.  Also, look for deep dents in the bow.  Problems with either of these can also make the instrument very difficult to play.
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« Reply #7 on: Oct 22, 2008, 09:54AM »

ok  old testament=arbans
 nt -rochut



Only one correction for DJ:

The "bible" for any brass player should be Arban's Celebrated Method.  The trumpet version is in transposed treble clef just like a tenor sax, and the trombone version is in bass clef.

Bordogni is wonderful for developing a lyrical tone, but for the "nuts and bolts" (scales, arpeggios, ornaments, etc.) Arban's is the ne plus ultra.  There are other books that can offer the same degree of training, but it seems most of us wind up with Arban.

There are a couple of things I look for in a trombone:

1.  Slide should move freely and not have any dents.  You will probably put a few in yourself; it's part of using the instrument; but you should start out with a "clean" slide and try to keep it clean.

2.  Look for deep dents in the neckpipe (the straight piece of tubing that goes by your neck) and the tuning slide bow (the large bent piece of tubing that goes behind you).  Deep dents in these can make intonation sloppy and make the horn hard to play.

3.  Examine the slide bow.  Especially that funny valve right on the curve.  It's called a waterkey (or spitvalve if you want to be less genteel).  It should fit on the nipple just like a sax pad on a hole rim.  There should be a piece of cork in the key that works just like the sax pads.  Also, look for deep dents in the bow.  Problems with either of these can also make the instrument very difficult to play.

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« Reply #8 on: Oct 22, 2008, 10:52AM »

PRACTICE,PRACTICE,PRACTICE!!!! :) :) :) :) :) :)

Always glad to see another girl/woman(whatever we call ourselves these days...LOL)here! :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Keep us posted!  Good!
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« Reply #9 on: Oct 22, 2008, 02:52PM »

Hi Stephanie,

Welcome to the Forum and to the trombone! Hi

The best known beginner's book is Tune a Day (you may already have come across this for the sax):

http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/0159983/details.html

When I was learning the bone, I found it extremely useful to have some tunes to play which I already knew by ear. This helped to make the connections between the melody + the notes on the stave + the slide positions. It's also much more fun than thrashing through scales! There are a number of books which have well-known melodies written out for the trombone.

For example, 75 popular tunes for trombone (music graded as easy), Easy Winners:

http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/0332508/details.html

(As above, with CD)

http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/0394555/details.html

(As above, with piano accompaniment)

http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/0332505/details.html

As it's that time of year, maybe some Christmas Favourites:

http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/store/smp_detail.html?item=2979855&cart=343368591726592574&cm_re=289.1.4-_-Results+Item-_-Title

For a wider range of choices, but possibly more difficult (a huge range in a number of categories), Popular Sheet Music for Trombone:

http://www.earfloss.com/trombone/index.html

If you like jazz, it's very good to listen as much as you can:

www.redhotjazz.com

Good luck!
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« Reply #10 on: Oct 22, 2008, 07:41PM »

...
I recently joined The Trombone Forum and this is my first post, so if I should change anything next time feel free to critique my writing skills
...
Welcome to the Forum.

This has to be the most user-friendly forum on the Web. Your writing skills are fine, but even if they were not it takes some pretty awful spelling or grammar to draw a comment. I cannot recall anyone getting flamed on this forum because our excellent moderators do not permit it.

My advice is: if you have a question, just ask it and don't worry about appearances.
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« Reply #11 on: Oct 23, 2008, 04:47AM »

Hi Stephanie and welcome. Hi Always good to see another girl here. :)

Something that you may not have thought of, is that except for brass band music, nearly all trombone music is written in bass clef, so if you want to learn bass clef as you learn your trombone, just remember to check that the books are for bass. (tune-a-day for example come in both bass and treble editions.)

Pretty much everything for trombone for intermediate - advanced playing seems to be bass clef.

Anyone out there feel free to correct me if I've got that wrong - i just know since I've got more serious about practice and really learning my trombone (alternate positions and all the nitty gritty to know its quirks and beauty) that most everything is bass clef. (another reason why I am now after 26+ years of playing trying to learn to read and understand it properly - the notes themselves are getting better it's the incidentals, sharps, flats that always catch me out being different between treble/bass - sorry off track)

Anyway Stephanie, good luck, you've picked the best instrument to play. Have heaps of fun and let us know how you get on. :)
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« Reply #12 on: Oct 23, 2008, 04:52AM »

Good point, Miki! Good! It's best to learn bass clef at the same time (if you don't already know it).

Certainly, my books of "easy" trombone solos comprising well-known melodies were all in bass clef. I could have given details of those books, but I lent them to my niece when she was learning 'bone and they have long since disappeared.... Yeah, RIGHT.
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« Reply #13 on: Oct 23, 2008, 05:09PM »

Music written in treble clef for Eb alto sax places the notes in the same position as bass clef after you mentally add 3 flats to the key signature. I don't know if that is helpful to you.

I play a lot of orchestral music so I see a lot of trombone parts in tenor and alto clefs. That comes later - for now learn bass clef.
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« Reply #14 on: Oct 24, 2008, 07:44PM »

Hello fellow musicians!

Which brand(s) of trombone are your favorite or would you recommend for beginners?

Yamaha.

Simple reason: Superior quality control.

There are absolutely woderful Bachs, Kings, Conns etc out there, but finding them is a challenge. You (or at your stage, maybe your teacher) need to test-play a dozen or two.

In contrast, while a given Yamaha might not reach up to the very best US 'bones, you can just pick one from the shelf and be sure it plays exactly as well as the next one and will just not let you down.

Also, their slides are usually great right from the factory.

If you have a good teacher with decent connections and he or she gets you a good 2nd hand US horn, it might be a different story.

Quote
What do the numbers for the mouthpieces mean, and what should I start with?

Maybe it's just me (having found out rather early that I in fact am a bass trombonist) but I find the default ones you usually get with a beginner trombone a tad small.

While a large mouthpiece does give the beginner a desperate feeling of falling into a bottomless pit, it also lets your lips work freely. My advice would be to maybe pick it one size larger than you're initially comfortable with.

Quote
Are there any music pieces or lesson books that you have found useful?

The most useful factor in my early trombone education was my fantastic teacher, God rest his soul.

Quote
Can you tell me any other tips or random info?

Put on Anton Bruckner's 8th symphony, 4th movement.

Loud.

And if you really have few ego problems (but maybe want some), put on any German Brass CD. Maybe the old 'Bach 300' for starters. 'Samuel Scheidt' is also nice.
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« Reply #15 on: Oct 27, 2008, 07:27PM »

Stephanie,

All the advice you've been given so far is excellent.  I just want to say that a Bach 6 1/2 AL mouthpiece is a very good mouthpiece for a beginning player.  Also, don't buy a beginner horn off of e-bay.  You won't save any money and you can never be sure how good it is.
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« Reply #16 on: Oct 27, 2008, 08:33PM »

Agree completely with all of the above.  But when you are ready for the 'Arbans' I strongly recommend the Joe Alessi/Brian Bowman version.  Comes in a ring bound book which makes it a lot easier to read while it is on the stand, and contains all or most of the exercises in the original Arbans, but adds a lot of etudes and other exercises devised by Alessi and/or Bowman.  Speaking of Joe Alessi, wouldn't hurt a bit to add some of his recordings to those you are already listening to.  And the best trombonist I personally know is Dr. Jeannie Lee, professor of trombone, Morehead University, Morehead, Kentucky.
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« Reply #17 on: Nov 01, 2008, 08:45PM »

 Hi Welcome to the forum.

It's nice to see someone want to learn trombone, but I agree with vegasbound, first find a good teacher and stick with him/her.  Since we don't know what level you're on as a sax player, it's hard to advise you here. So, my comments will be based on me being a traditional style teacher, and believe that the art of being a brass player is in being able to create an embouchure. It's not for everyone. Provided you can do that,  the most important thing you need to work on first is sound.  Arban and Rochut are great, but you first have to be able to play the horn.

After you've developed a good sound, you'll need to work on pitch. Placement of the slide is critical and dependent on how well your ears hear pitch. Every trombone is a little different, so when someone says put the slide even with the bell for third, that doesn't always work on every horn. I play different makes of trombones, and have to work out on each one for a few days when I switch around to make sure I get reacclimated before the gig I'll be using it on.  Your EARS tell you where to put the slide, and you have to train your hand to hit the same spot every time once your ears have chosen the right spot. It's quite different from just pushing keys on a sax. I played clarinet for awhile in college after I took my woodwinds class, and again after I joined a variety group, so I understand the difference. The corners of your mouth on clarinet and trombone are alike-firm and tight. On sax, not quite so firm and tight. So you'll have to get used to that.  So, your corners will be paramount in developing a great embouchure and for producing a good sound, accurate pitch, range, and endurance.

After you get some of these basics down, you need to develope a warmup routine to develope your embouchure and train it to produce all the notes on trombone.  Sensations in your lips are key in being a brass player. You don't need these same sensations for reed instruments. But, on brass instruments, your lips ARE the reeds.  So, you have to train them to do what they need to do. This could prove to be a challenge since you're not used to it.

You've gotten some fine advice from many folks here, but make sure you start at the beginning so your sound, embouchure, and pitch are developed before you start working on advance studies. Just don't try to take a shortcut approach. Example: I had a jazz student who wanted to start out playing bebop. It took awhile to get him to understand that learning jazz is a process and he needed to learn his major scales first before we could dement them into jazz scales so he could eventually play bebop. Everyone has a different learning curve, so make sure what you do fits it.

Good luck, and have fun with it. :)
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