Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kleinhammer in my Palm

At one of the International Trombone Festivals, I went to a master class by Ed Kleinhammer, retired bass trombonist of the Chicago Symphony. As he talked and had people demonstrate, I scribbled notes in my palm pilot (cue the geek music).

Anyway, those notes have been sitting in the palm pilot ever since. I might as well share 'em.
(they're a bit abbreviated)

Kleinhammer Notes
  • The mouthpiece is the musical part, the rest of horn is an amplifier
  • The embouchure only provides ounces of resistance
  • Record yourself on the mp (play back at half speed),
  • He demonstrated breathing tube -w- string
  • Breath attack arpeggios 4 attacks to one breath. Prevent activating the cough muscle
  • Lower lip will move more than upper lip during register changes. He would use a little vibrato on Brahms 1. Vibrato serves to center the tone. "automatic center finder"
  • He has a sign in his studio "The greatest truths are the simplest."
  • We've got to form the embouchure using the least amount of muscles in our face.
  • Using these breath attacks, you get "solfege of the embouchure"
  • We're looking for shortcuts and we're cheating ourselves. There are no shortcuts.
  • As you cresc, the lower lip flies into the mp
  • After Eric Carlson, a former student, demonstrated long tones on high A, Kleinhammer commented, "This exercise was why my dog left home." (a comment on himself, not Carlson)
  • You play sharp because it sounds better to you .(student jokes) "Better to play sharp than to play out of tune!"
  • He recommended playing La Gazza Ladra using the "no" syllable. This syllable interrupts the air less and sounds better than a more explosive attack
  • He used to start out -w- mp glisses
  • If you want to be a good trombone player, you can't work on a tight time schedule.

Perhaps there's a gem in there you might like.