Saturday, November 09, 2013

Three Amigos

There they are, the three amigos of your right hand. Look at them! They are able to refine or hamstring your technique with just one stroke. They can break you or make you a lot of money. In their grasp they hold the keys to your success. Yet how often we fail to train those unruly digits of destruction.

We've heard endless sermons on air flow, embouchure efficiency, breathing concepts, sound quality, and of course proper equipment.  So how about paying some serious attention to those three undisciplined fingers which are before our eyes every day?  

Here are the problems with our fingers.  They tend to be sluggish and uncoordinated, making people think we are total klutzes.  Often they fly way too high over the valve caps, or don't even press the valves all the way down.  What's worse, under pressure their desperate grip causes the valves to stick.  Don't you hate that?  By the end of the day we are foiled by our own fickle fingers just when we needed them the most!

Are you tired of being flummoxed and discouraged by your horrible precision?  Acquaint your fingers with your tongue and urge them to be the best of friends. Imagine a connecting nerve between the four of them.  Insist on perfect sync on all scales, major, minor, chromatic, whole tone, whatever.  Just as the piano key is struck, so must be the sounding of the note. When the baton comes down, the air, the tongue, and the finger tips join in perfect accord. It's simple. Just be there. 

Note:  Don't penalize your embouchure for the laziness of your fingers! Save your chops by working the fingers and tongue apart from playing. 

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