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Brass Chops Manual

Brass Chops Manual


Brass Chops Manual – Turvat kuntoon

The smash hit book for brass players by Esko Heikkinen

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Every brass player dreams of having a wide register and unlimited endurance. Many believe that the secret behind a good upper register must be a trick of some kind, or at least some unachievable natural talent. On some rare occasions this may be the case. However, more often acquiring a great upper register, fine quality of tone and endurance mean plenty of exercise, careful repetition after repetition and lots of hard work. If we had a mileometer like cars do to measure our practise time, we would realize how many more miles the master players have clocked through their meter during their travels. They gained the miles during the long lonely hours in their practise pits, knowing there are no shortcuts to success



This book and the musical exercises I have written do not remove the need for practise. They are a tool. The most important part in them is the correct dosage.

When developing the embouchure it is very important to devote practise to all areas equally: register, endurance, flexibility and quality of tone. If some areas are neglected, the results are bound to suffer. If you concentrate too much on the upper register, your tone and endurance will suffer. If you, on the other hand, just work on your endurance, then your flexibility and register are the ones to take the hit. All these areas are important.

The embouchure exercises are meant to develop the muscles needed in playing. There are numerous muscles in the facial area and sadly, only a few of them are willing to let themselves be consciously controlled. Therefore, avoid overt concentrating on individual muscles while playing and concentrate on the whole. Pay attention to the quality of sound and relaxed effective blowing.

When exercising the embouchure, the muscles have to receive a true work out. Many methods exercise the muscles too fast, thus reducing the effectiveness of practise. One basic element of my method is to work the muscles as slowly and effectively as possible. To develop durability, the muscles need plenty of light repetition and a lot of rest. In fact, the muscles develop and gain strength while resting, not while working out.

Before moving into high notes start by concentrating on improving your endurance in the low register. When you have gained enough endurance you can increase the amount and the arduousness of your exercises. You have to be in a good shape before you can start to work yourself out for real. When in a good shape, you can strain your muscles more and play heavier exercises. You are allowed to tire your lips, but be sure not to hurt them, remember, you just have one pair…

My method includes six exercises, each one of them being of considerable length. The exercises do not contain difficult notes, thus leaving you more resources to concentrate on quality of sound and relaxed blowing.