2/15/2006

Follow-through

I have gotten an amazing amount of feedback about this post in which I discuss not caring about what you sound like. As that concept seemed to resonate with quite a few of you I am going to expand on it in the next few posts.

One of the most problematic symptoms of overthinking is hesitancy. This tends to show up most frequently in attacks, with a tense pause just before the attack and a pulling back of air immediately after the attack. I have a great exercise to combat this, which can hopefully be applied to the rest of your playing as well. This requires a metronome, so if you don't have one yet you should get one (you should have one anyway and use it often). Figure out the absolute fastest speed that you can single tongue sixteenth notes and have it set there (if you have no idea how fast you can tongue start with the metronome at about 70 and gradually increase the speed until you can't go any faster). To do the exercise start on a low C and play 4 beats of sixteenth notes followed by a long tone. Work your way up the C major scale resting between each note. The important thing to think about is tonguing no matter what happens. Even if nothing but air is coming out, tongue the whole pattern with perfect rhythm. This means not waiting for the first note to speak to tongue the second note. It's all about the follow-through. Work your way up past the point that you can comfortably play, but be sure that you are still articulating in time. I find that it is also helpful to do this exercise on the mouthpiece. When you play any attack imagine how your air moves while doing this exercise.

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