Date: Mon, 6 May 2002 11:32:30 -0400
From: sabutin <>
Subject: Re: [TPIN] Bad Buzz

>Keep your tongue forward.  That's where it belongs.  To get as close
>to the correct position of everything, set your lips as if you were
>spitting off a thread.  This is called the spit-buzz and is
>essentially the position that Caruso, Callet, and others start there


This is NOT "the position that Caruso" used in his teaching.

In fact,the only "position" that was common to Carmine was his position in his easy chair as he listened to you in his office.

Equating Carmine Caruso + Jerry Callet in ANY way is completely off the mark. They couldn't BE any more different.

I must have tried to pin Carmine 100 times on specifics of this sort, until I finally wised up and realized just what he was doing.

There IS no "common practice" position for anything on any brass instrument short of having it in some position where there is a fairly good air seal between the lips and the m'pce.

The entire thrust of Carmine's teaching was to let the body find its own OPTIMUM INDIVIDUAL POSITION(S), and the best part of it was, he figured out a way to simplify the various aspects of playing into easily managed bites.

Much of the discussion on this list seems to center around the commonly perceived dichotomy between "thinking" and "playing". (Forgive me if this is an incorrect impression...I'm new here, and this is what I've seen in the last  week or so.)

Carmine solved this problem, to a great degree, by asking the student to play exercises that isolated parts of the musical experience in good physical time (the real key to his approach),. without "thinking" about specific positions or techniques.

The "music first" people say "Just will all work out if you make the music" and the "technique first" people say "You can't make music w/bad technical approaches".

Both approaches work, of course, and both are flawed, Some people, no matter how musical they may be, get painted into a corner in terms of chops, air, tongue...whatever...and can never find their way out. Others get so involved in thinking about technical issues that they lose the music.

Once you get to a certain level of music, the music itself is too demanding for you to be able to "find your chops" simply through your involvement in the music, I don't care HOW musical you are. Unless you have them out front...either learned or naturally...forget about it.

At the same time, the musical, artistic demands of high level playing cannot be satisfied if you are constantly fussing w/your settings. "Uh oh, here comes a high passage...gotta move my tongue to the 'above A above the staff' position on the third beat of the second bar" just won't cut it too often in the New York Philharmonic, and as an improvising jazz player or sight reader, you don't know WHAT you're going to play next...not really...and CAN'T be thinking about such matters.

The physicality of playing must be rendered reflexive. Only then can the music really flow.

The players who advocate "music first" and can themselves really play are those that have done this naturally...a great gift, but not one that is common to all great players.

If you don't HAVE this physical gift (a matter of chance, really) but DO have some sort of innate the words of the great comedic guru Lord Buckley "If you get TO it, and you cahn't DO it...there you jolly well are, aren't you."

As I suggested in a previous post, if you are interested in some alternate ways to approach this dilemma, check out some of the articles I have written on the Online Trombone Journal. Go to <>;from the pull down Authors menu select Burtis, Sam, and read a few. One way or another, this is the basic theme of everything I teach.