Monday, November 26, 2007

Building Sky Scrapers

O.K., your piccolo has been basically a dust collector in that huge bag o' horns which you've been lugging about campus for a long time. Now it's time to take it out and get it ready for daily use. A thorough cleaning is always good starting therapy. There is something about a clean horn that is positive, sort of like the new beginning on January 1st.

Next, with valves and slides working you're ready for the laying of some good sound foundations. Nice and easy notes below and in the staff must become your automatic, secure, home territory. You will depend upon those great basic low and mid range notes as you launch slowly upwards.

Noodle around in that safe range, and don't stray! Make good friends with all of the notes in that range. Rest often, and return again to your safe haven. Stay low and don't try to get high! Blow straight into the mouthpiece, no over-biting. Keep it natural. While you're at it, play in tune. The audience doesn't care that it's a piccolo. You will have to match the organ, strings, and others who will support you. Clear tone, good intonation, and no squeezing, at least not yet.

Gradually extend the range to C or D only. Up and down with scales, Clarke patterns, little harmless melodies, NO BACH. Rest often. Your goal: easy release of air, total control of attacks, sound, entrances and intonation. Insist on all of these. A weak foundation will create problems for the upper floors.

Try to look like it's not a big deal. A deadpan approach is the plan. Great sound, very little work. The work will come later. We want to postpone the work for way up there, not down here. Support well, but don't over-support. Just flow the air through as easily as possible. Blow without the trumpet, then copy that.

Your foundation shouldn't take much time to lay. You already know how to play. Just secure the bottom of the structure. Soon your building will be noticed from afar. For now, you plug away at ground level. Add a brick at a time, a note every few days, no spikes. Put on your hard hat and get to work. Actually, think of it as your easy hat. Soon it will be your high hat.

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