NOTE-BENDING EXERCISE edited
I first got wind of this from Renold Schilke and a little later, in greater detail, from David Hickman (Summit Brass). Since then I've heard variations of this routine recommended by many people. I was reminded of it again again and given some perspective by Fred Sautter (Portland Symphony) at the recent NY Brass Conference.
The idea is to bend notes down from low C (Phase I), from G in staff (Phase II), from 3rd space C (Phase III), etc. In small doses this kind of thing may be a big help with your warming up. In larger doses, this exercise builds strength, brings corners forward and relaxes center pad, changes aperture shape from elliptical toward round, fattens the tone, and enhances ability to adjust pitch.
Get comfortable and accurate with Phase I and II (see below) before adding Phase III--anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the lower Phases.If/when you can play Phase VII (from high C), you have enough strength to play a controlled double C. Most people don't have the ambition, time, or perhaps ability to go past Phase V; but bending notes well that far up is marvelous practice.
It is relatively easy to bend a note just short of half way down to the next harmonic. Apparently few people can bend notes in the remaining range down to the next harmonic or up toward the next harmonic. However, I have heard a strong legit trpt player play an in-tune, open, chromatic scale from low C on up--incredibly strong and stable chops.
You may be able to play Phase I and most of Phase II well almost immediately, but practice them anyhow. You may prefer to start on Phase II and run it straight down into Phase I, thereby bending intervals for an 8va rather than half an 8va. No matter how many Phases you master, start from the beginning each day. So, over time, the exercises add up, thus encouraging you to abbreviate the lower Phases somewhat.
To shorten Phase I, bend fewer portions; play 3 through 7 bending fewer interval sizes.
Phase II (may precede Phase I):
To shorten Phase II, bend fewer portions.
Add Phase III in addition to the others:
As before, but from C in staff with half- and whole step bends only. SING! REST.
To shorten Phase III, bend only one portion.
Phase IV (in addition to in addition to the others):
As before, but from E at top of staff with half- and whole step bends. SING! REST. Whole steps are more difficult here.
To shorten Phase IV, bend only one portion.
Add Phase V in addition to the others:
As before but from G above staff with half-step bends only. SING! REST.
Add Phase VI in addition to the others:
As before but from open Bb above staff. SING! REST.
Add Phase VII (hey, heh, heh) in addition to the others:
As before, but from high C. SING! REST.
I don't teach anymore and don't play much, but, nevertheless, I will appreciate your suggestions for improving this routine. Feel free to reproduce, alter it, and make it your own.
Roger McDuffie, <RMcDuffie@home.com>