by: Brad Edwards
Here’s a practice trick that might be helpful. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in playing a phrase that we lose sight of maintaining a good TONE on every note throughout the phrase.Sometimes, it helps to extract a few notes from the phrase and play them independently, just focusing on tone.Here’s an example from the opening of the Hindemith Sonata…
You know you want your best tone on that third measure but how many of you slow it down to focus just on tone quality? Like this…
Work on this fermata example, get your best tone and than GRAFT that tone back into the phrase! (Like a skin graft).
What’s the danger here? Simple: unmusical playing, robotic playing etcetera. As always, we have to strike that balance.
Recently I have used this “tone grafting” idea in lessons with good effect. It’s nice to have that recent memory of good tone as you proceed through the phrase.
Dr. Edwards teaches trombone at the University of South Carolina and currently performs with the Symphony Orchestra Augusta and the South Carolina Philharmonic. Previously he taught at the University of Northern Iowa and played principal trombone Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony. Edwards has also taught at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster Pennsylvania, the Peabody Institute of Music, the Hartford Conservatory of Music and Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut as well as the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Kinhaven Music School in Vermont. Edwards holds degrees from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Hartt School of Music. His primary teachers have been Jim Olin, Tony Chipurn, Ronald Borror and Henry Schmidt. He has also studied with Arnold Jacobs, Dave Fedderly and Milt Stevens.