Brass players have
been around for a long time. Many hundreds of years ago players would
have learnt in groups or from each other. Improved communications in
travel – to hear others play – and recordings available have meant
that theories are developed. These theories, due to the physical or
mental attributes of the player may work for some and not for others.
the very beginning, brass players, teachers and educators have been
divided into two groups. They have either struggled with their
embouchure or found it very easy to play their instrument. The latter
group have found it very natural to play, while the former group have
met with obstacles to their development. Those obstacles come in many
shapes and sizes.
Many players are
termed “natural players”. The natural players picked up an
instrument when they began to play and found their instrument to be
quite easy. On the other hand, others have had to think about and look
into the way in which they play and try to find different ways to
develop range, stamina, articulation and sound. Some professional
players, it seems from my research learnt a particular way and advocate
that everyone should learn that way. Some “professional” players and
teachers are very protective of the methods with which they learned and
are quite forthright in their statements.
Also I would like
to prove that “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it”. This old
saying holds true for many brass players who may play in unorthodox
fashions but make a wonderful sound and are technically brilliant.
Others may “look good” with “text book” embouchures but have
other problems, which are involved in the mechanics of their set up.
Many players play
well but are musically stretched whilst others do everything right but
do not have the correct attitude to be any better. Others have rushes of
adrenalin and have a physical “high” whilst playing.
This study does not
delve into the instrument’s manufacture, mouthpiece size, backbores
(size of mouthpipe diameter) or any other outside influence. Instead it
tries to show that with a correct, “buzz-able” embouchure,
“proper” breathing and use of air a fine working model of a brass
player will be evident. Training the body to break habits is extremely
difficult but with perseverance great things are possible.