Free top tips for Brass Players

Playing Brass Instruments is a physical art that requires training your muscles, in particular the muscles of the lips, the embouchure. Treated with respect these muscles will never let you down. Here are SIX topics that you should be concentrating on:

  • Warm up – Take time to allow the muscle to warm by playing in a relaxed range (generally below the stave). Very little pressure from the mouthpiece is required.
  • Long Notes – Start on low C’s then work your way up through the octave to middle C. As the notes get higher the bottom lip presses upwards onto the top lip, this tension helps to speed up the vibrations of the lips which cause the pitch to rise.
  • Slurring Exercises – Start by slurring small intervals and keeping the same valve combination i.e bottom C to middle G (perfect fifth). Play these slowly, crotchet length at about one per second then as the lips respond speed up to playing quavers, then semiquavers etc.
  • Mouthpiece Pressure – Avoid too much pressure. I am not a believer of non pressure, just enough to seal the mouthpiece onto the lips and as you play in the higher range keep the pressure of the mouthpiece at a minimum. By pressing on you restrict the flow of blood to the muscle thus enhancing fatigue and restricting the lips from vibrating.
  • Playing Time – The more time you can spend playing the better – However try to play in small periods of say 20 – 30 minutes with a break in between rather than playing for hours without the break.
  • Relaxation of the Embouchure – Finally it is very important that you try to relax the embouchure after your practice time, again play below the stave long notes with only a very minimal pressure on the lips. For further help or to set up a lesson please contact Trevor using the details below.