When playing music, the most important is how it sounds…In other words, how well can you sing it.
Singing doesn’t always mean using your voice, but any instrument can be used to sing…
Sing with a trumpet sound, sing with a Tuba sound, or sing with a percussion sound.
It all comes down to how good a singer you are.
That of course doesn’t mean you have to have a great voice… unfortunately, not everybody have a great voice… But generally speaking, everybody can sing. (reminds me of a movie “Ratatouille” where Chef Gusteau mentioned that everybody can become a great cook.
The way we play music is the way we sing using either or voice or any instrument. I rather call a instrument player a singer, then it comes easier to play that a particular instrument.
A musician is not an instrument player but a singer using that instrument as his voice.
Any kind of instrument is applicable, percussion as well.
So as a Brass player we need to remove the concept of playing brass, as an instrumentalist, but we need to develop the concept of singing with a brass sound.
With that in mind, the:
Sing, Buzz and Play – SBP –
When practicing any brass instrument, we too often thing about mechanics, the lips, the tongue, and other things. All the physical activities involved when playing is indeed important, but not in the way that we have to individually think about them… We have to Let Go (Let it Go, Let it Go)… And focus on the singing. It is simple. Right? Yes.
But, it is so hard to Let it Go and leave it simple, because many players are not singing in the first place… Many players Let it Go, in the sense that they let the instrument make the singing…That is the problem. Then all the physical mechanics go out of sync, the sound crumbles, and then many player start to fix the problem physically by feeling how good/bad the lips feel, usually at this stage, it always feels bad! Then they focus on controlling the lips and feel the lips…Bad. It then becomes a reflex, and every time the player plays the instrument, they don’t listen anymore, but become a feel the lip activity, not a musical activity.
So back to the drawing board, the first thing to do is back to basic. Sing it first. If your can sing it with your voice, sing it with buzzing using the mouthpiece, the same way, without feeling for the lips. Then when all is well, sing it using the instrument.
Do this regularly every time you play…
When in doubt, go back to the basic SBP, and look for a brighter future.
Back to basic, Back to the a better Future…
As Adolf Herseth would say:
“Think sound not mechanics.”
And Arnold Jacobs:
“You must give dominance to the music you want to produce, not your instrument.”
Remember Sing, Buzz and Play.
Happy Singing to all.