Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind
Arnold Jacobs is recognized as both the master performer and the foremost teacher of wind instrument. Finally in 1996 a book written by Jacobs' assistant, Brian Frederiksen, entitled "Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind", arrived. We had a short "cyber-conversation" with Brian: 
Greetings from Las Vegas, Nevada! In the middle of the desert, Las Vegas has become an internationally known playground. Once a year, COMDEX, a major international computer show, attracts about 225,000 people. I am here on the convention floor writing to you.

Brian, the book has the title, "Song and Wind" - why is that?
Song and Wind is a term that Mr. Jacobs have used for years and a logical choice for the title of the book. Here is an excerpt of Mr. Jacobs' comments on Song and Wind:
"My approach to music is expressed as Song and Wind. This is very important to communicate a musical message to the audience.
"This approach is one of simplicity as the structure and function of the human being is very complex, but we function in a simple manner. When we bring it to the art form it becomes very simple.
"Song, to me, involves about 85 percent of the intellectual concentration of playing an instrument, based on what you want the audience to hear.
"You cannot get anywhere without wind. If you think of a car, the wheels will not turn without an energy source—the engine. Brass players must have a source of energy, as there must be a vibrating column of air for the instrument to amplify and resonate. The musical engine is the vibration of the lips. However, the lips cannot vibrate without wind.
"When we combine Song and Wind, the musical message, song, is the principal element comprising 85 percent of the consciousness. The remaining 15 percent is the application of the breath, wind, to fuel the vibration of the lips."
Could you briefly tell us the background for this book project?
With such an influential teacher as Mr. Jacobs, there was no question that a comprehensive book was needed. Dee Stewart compiled Arnold Jacobs the Legacy of a Master in 1987 but, for the most part, its contents were tributes from students. A more comprehensive book was needed but the question was who would write it?
Mr. Jacobs once started on a book but the manuscript was lost - a great tragedy! After his retirement from the Chicago Symphony, he had the time but his health was failing with arthritis and glaucoma to name a few problems. He was not physically capable of a project of this magnitude.
I began research by scanning every source about Mr. Jacobs. Next it was organized and an outline appeared. A team of Jacobs' students went through this and Mr. Jacobs was cooperative answering questions. The final draft was created and edited by John Taylor. Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind has been shipped across the world, from Australia to Scandinavia, Israel to Japan.
So what next - yet another book. Mr. Jacobs has agreed to more interviews, which will be included in Conversations with Arnold Jacobs.
Questions are now being sought - please contact me.
In the preface of the book you say: "In 1974, I had my first lesson with Mr. Jacobs. It was the most remarkable lesson I have ever had!"
I grew up in the Chicago area and my mother would take me to Chicago Symphony concerts. I heard the great sounds of Mr. Jacobs and the Chicago Symphony before I had ever played a note. Mr. Jacobs' teaching has always been legendary and in 1974 it was time for me to start what would be a lifetime relationship.
What is remarkable about Mr. Jacobs is his ability to determine a student's strengths and weaknesses. A naturally positive person, he will emphasize strengths wile setting a course of study to improve weaknesses. To some, how he achieves results may be unorthodox but he is looking for results. This may mean buzzing on a mouthpiece, running around the studio, blowing up a ball, a few of many methods used by Mr. Jacobs.
During this first lesson, I was exposed first hand to what I would eventually see him do hundreds of times - work with a player and after 15 minutes make them sound better. While some of us can do this some of the time, Mr. Jacobs does this all the time - which, among other reasons, makes him the master! .
In his teaching, Jacobs uses equipment's like Air Bags, Breath Builder….
Around 1960, Mr. Jacobs, along with three other members of the Chicago Symphony, traveled to a University of Chicago hospital. Many of the tests conducted on this laboratory equipment became the basis of many of his theories. The most important information he gained was the use of outside tools that could help speed up the learning process. He then assembled equipment of his own borrowed from medical, air conditioning and other fields including his wife's kitchen! While this equipment achieved most of the results of the laboratory, the cost was still prohibitive. In 1982, Mr. Jacobs introduced to the music world inexpensive devices that, for the first time, allowed a student to own their own equipment.
Here is a brief description of this equipment. For more detailed instructions, the WindSong Press home page on the Internet is available at

After the release of Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind demand for these items have increased to the point that WindSong Press now sells them. We are also developing new devices and finding software that can achieve the same results as some of Mr. Jacobs' original equipment.
What in the book would be of specific interest for a trumpet player?
Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind has three sections telling who Mr. Jacobs is, what he teaches and reference for gathering more information. The teaching section contains the most material that is of use for all wind instrumentalists. Here is some physiological and psychological information on playing a wind instrument. All instruments have a brief section about instrument-specific subjects.
Many trumpet players have recommended parts pertaining to the relationship between air flow and air pressure. I am not surprised as a number of trumpet players use too much air pressure! Mr. Jacobs will commonly have a person blow into a gauge and measure the amount of pressure. The highest pressure the human body can produce is around 3 pounds of pressure and to achieve this, but their body's musculature contracts to a point where it can withstand more than 100 pounds on their abdomen. Mr. Jacobs demonstrates this by having his wife stand on this person. The point of this demonstration is that the body can contract to hold 100 pounds but is only capable of producing three pounds of pressure. Trumpet playing demands far less - a maximum of less than 2 pounds of pressure, even in the high range. There seem to be a lot of trumpet players out there who are too tense and by-products of this are problems taking a full breath - that is another subject!
Since we are doing this interview for a trumpet periodical, could you tell us about Jacobs relation to CSO's principal trumpet for the last 50 years, "Bud" Herseth?
During the research phase of Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind, I talked with many past or present members of the Chicago Symphony Brass Section. Most said that their job was to "fit between Bud (Herseth) and Jake (Jacobs). They became the "bookends" of perhaps the greatest orchestral brass section.
It is remarkable that both came from small towns. Jacobs commented "I am the only person who grew up in a smaller town than Herseth." Herseth was raised in Bertha, Minnesota (population 700) and Jacobs was from Willow Brook, California (population 400). Jacobs graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music, spent two years with the Indianapolis Symphony and five years with the Pittsburgh Symphony before joining the Chicago Symphony in 1944.
Adolph Herseth was in the Army and graduated from the New England Conservatory. Arthur Rodzinsky, then Music Director of the Chicago Symphony, auditioned Herseth in his hotel room and after a few hours told Herseth, "Congratulations, you are the Principal Trumpet of the Chicago Symphony." Herseth was stunned. Rodzinsky then asked, "What experience do you have." When Herseth told him "None," Rodzinsky was stunned. Herseth joined the Chicago Symphony in 1948, just as Rodzinsky was fired. A few years later, Fritz Reiner was guest conducting in Chicago and asked Jacobs "Where did you find that jewel?"
A great personal friendship exists between Herseth and Jacobs even to this day. Herseth writes about Jacobs, "I cannot think of anyone in our exotic world of music, and particularly, of course in the world of brass players, who has made such a contribution to so many facets of our art. Having Jake as a personal friend and colleague for all these years has been a marvelous experience, not just for me, but for everyone who had the good fortune to be associated with him both on stage and off stage."
Jacobs has the highest respect for Herseth as he states, "I've said it before and I'll say it again, Bud Herseth is the finest brass player I have ever worked with."
How can our readers get this book?
At the present time, there is no distributor in Norway. In Sweden, Michael Lind (the tubist in the Stockholm Philharmonic) has a supply of books (Michael Lind, Torkils VAG 27, S-19273 Sollentuna, Sweden). In Denmark, it is available at: Brass Center ABRS, 1517 Solvgade, Dk 1307, Copenhagen K, Denmark.
The publisher is WindSong Press (P.O. Box 146, Gurnee, Illinois 60030 USA) with a cost of $29.95 USD plus $6.95 USD shipping. The post office generally delivers to all of Scandinavia in under a week. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Orders can be mailed, called to 847 223-4586, faxed to 847 223-4580, or emailed to
A web site on the Internet is available at:
Here is information on the book, directions and ordering information about breathing devices used by Mr. Jacobs, a bibliography of all information available about Mr. Jacobs and links to sites on the web pertaining to Mr. Jacobs.
Finally, Brian, your last name, Frederiksen, "suggest" that you have relatives here in Scandinavia?
On my father's side of my family, my grandmother (the Olsson family) came to the States from Sweden, my grandfather from Denmark. My stepfather's family (the Grundset's) was from Norway. Apparently there are relatives in Scandinavia but I do not know. Any brass players from the Olsson, Frederiksen or Grundset families there? Maybe you have a lost tuba-playing relative in the United States!

O.J. 1997