Smoothing out the bumps.
Practicing in extremes – going “outside of the lines” – can help to sharpen up a problem area so that it becomes easier to manage. A previous post, “Pitch Benders,” touched on this concept with pitch-bending exercises and this new PDF download takes it a bit further.
The main goal with this series of exercises:
- Make the slurs as blurry and “glissando-like” as possible.
- Bend the pitches in same manner that a trombone player can with the slide, so that one note blurs into the next.
- “Savor the flavor” and begin the glissandos as soon as you start each note. They should be extremely exaggerated, hence the nickname “slurpies.”
- A gentle mezzo-forte dynamic is all that is really needed.
Try leaving out the tongue – begin all the notes with air only. Too much reliance on the tongue to “spit out” notes can be problematic – this exercise may correct that handicap and add more ease to your playing. You may find that over time, this exercise will smooth out “bumps” in your playing
Occasionally, I do these with nose breathing – keeping the mouthpiece on a steady embouchure during nasal inhalations. In this case, the only thing that moves is air. There is something intangible about that simplicity that adds an additional benefit.
Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/listorama/2585698172/sizes/s/