Extended long tones - Walter White
The idea of playing long tones is not new among brass players. Cat
Anderson, lead trumpeter with Duke Ellington, has an exercise in his (now out of print) Method - a 20 min. G. He claimed that this
exercise was "the secret to playing
high notes". Cat instruct the user of his method to play a
second line G "like a whisper"
for 20 minutes. Many players have used this idea and classical
trumpeter Craig Morris says in an article called One Long G
I have a number of exercises that I like
to use to develop strength, and I will address each of them in future
articles. For now, though, I will discuss an exercise I got from John
Hagstrom during my time in Chicago. This exercise originated, as he
told it, from the great jazz trombonist, Tommy Dorsey. The exercise is
very simple in content: play a G in the staff, very softly, for as long
as you can.
A problem with this exercise is obvious: It can be very boring. Trumpet
player Walter White has tried to do something with that by producing
play-along tracks. He says the following (on the CD cover):
idea of playing long-tones is certainly not new, and there are as many
ways to practice as there are musicians. This recording is offered as a
tool to help long-tone practice become more interesting and enjoyable.
The CD contains the following tracks:
centers B-flat and F (20 min.)
2. Tonal centers A and E (20 min.)
3. Tonal centers C and G (20 min.)
4. Tonal centers B-flat and F (10 min.)
On how and why he uses these exercises,
I started playing extended long-tones as a way to maintain a high level
of endurance and stamina during days off on the road. After
experiencing other benefits, I started incorporating at least one
twenty-minute set into my daily schedule on or off the road. It gives
my embouchure an extremely consistent feel and adds body to my sound.
When practiced on a soft low note, it balances out the "higher, louder,
faster" playing often encountered in the music industry and is a gentle
way to take the embouchure back to "ground zero," stay supple and
flexible, and ease back into playing after time off.
Publisher: CD Baby
Trumpet: Walter White