Hiya! quite a few cornet players have asked me offline about pedal tones ... I thought it best to send this article here...happy easter! Pedal tones.... Understand that quite a while back I learnt to use Pedals successfully, and have not had any disasters with them personally, but now know that there are easier/other ways to gain the same 'supposed positives' without having to deal with any of the negatives that 'some' people suffer in using them. Pedal tones are a very good way for the uninitiated to go astray AND there is'nt really any great need to do them. Some people find pedal tones beneficial. I believe they are NOT essential and can in some cases be detrimental in gaining the fine aperture control for the high register. Questions people have asked me via email about pedals..... 1. Can you play pedals? Yes, down into the double pedal register on my REGULAR chop setting. 2. Do you practice them for range, or at all? NO NEVER! 3. Have you always been able to do them? No, when my range wasn't that stable as a youngster, pedals were attainable but not very controllable. 4. Do you ever play them now? Yes sometimes to check soft center [lip vibrancy/ppp playing] - very rarely though. 5. So would that mean I should practice to get my pedals to respond, so then in turn my range will respond? No it's too easy to get them wrong and confuse your progress with another variable, there are easier ways than pedals, you will have enough on your plate as it is! -If you simply must do them, only do them under the instruction of a "LIVE" teacher. 6. Should I play double pedals with a roll out chop setting as in lips out of the normal playing position? No never, it is usually done to release tension [soft center] there are much easier more beneficial ways to develop soft center by playing [pp - ppp] Here are some comments which are commonly attributed to the perceived positive aspects of pedals..... "PEDALS HELP WITH LESS PRESSURE....." .....EXCEPT THAT IN TRAINING THE EMBOUCHURE TO USE LESS PRESSURE WITH THIS AMOUNT OF JAW/LIP OPENING IS THE OPPOSITE OF THE FINE CONTROL CLOSED MECHANISM FOR ATTAINING THE HIGH REGISTER. THEY CAN BE A HELP TO STIFF PLAYERS, BUT THE HELP IS COUNTER PRODUCTIVE IN THE LONG RUN. "DON'T WORRY ABOUT HOW THE PEDALS SOUND, JUST GET THEM!".... ...IF YOU DON'T WORRY ABOUT HOW WELL THEY SOUND OR HOW THEY ARE OBTAINED THEN YOU GET "GARBAGE IN / GARBAGE OUT" AND ALSO ONE BECOMES MORE PRONE TO EXTRANEOUS LIP MOTION AND OTHER BAD HABITS LEADING TO A LACK OF LIP FOCUS. "AFTER A PEDAL EXERCISE...RE-ESTABLISH THE EMBOUCHURE"... THIS GIVES A FALSE FEELING [BECAUSE OF LACTIC ACID BUILD UP] OF HOW THE LIPS ARE IN A NORMAL PLAYING SITUATION.. OFTEN WITH "PEDALERS" THEY GET SO USED TO USING THEM IN THEIR NORMAL ROUTINE THAT THEY ''FEEL THE NEED'' AFTER EVERY HIGH PASSAGE EVEN IN PERFORMANCE, WHICH BECAUSE OF BEING ON STAGE OF COURSE THEY CAN'T. YOU CAN'T EXPECT TO USE PEDALS IN TRAINING WITHOUT FEELING THE NEED TO IN PERFORMANCE, SO IN THIS RESPECT THEY ARE UNWISE TO DEPEND ON. THEY BECOME A CRUTCH! "GIFTED PLAYERS DON'T NEED THEM BUT THE REST OF US DO..." YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE NATURALLY GIFTED TO HAVE SUCCESS WITHOUT PEDALS, ----JUST SMART---- PRACTICE CAT'S 20 MINUTE 'G' AT PPP FOR SOFT CENTRE AND KEEP YOUR LIP FOCUS THE EASY WAY!!! [see website] ----------------------------------------------------------------- Some pedal practice can be an aid in learning to blow large quantities of air and by consequence opening up the throat, but pedals also turn off our lactic acid warning signal that tells us when we are tired and so it's possible to go too far past the point where we should have put the horn down. Besides, to play high with ease DOES NOT require a large volume of air, it can be detrimental, as super internal compression is easier to achieve with a less than full tank. If your aperture is small enough you won't need as much air as you may think, therefore making long high register passages easier. Register is controlled by speed of air // Volume is controlled by mass of air. BLOW / PROJECT ! -- and shoot the air like a laser! [a focussed, concentrated, projected beam of air!] Most trumpet players don't have a problem with producing a big quantity of air and so if this isn't a problem then the practicing of pedal tones may be unnecessary. I'M NOT SAYING THAT IT CAN'T BE DONE PLAYING PEDALS, JUST THAT THERE ARE EASIER WAYS ! I repeat... Pedal tones are a very good way for the uninitiated to go astray. Meaning that it is very easy for people to play pedals wrongly in an effort to attain high register control, via soft center.... If you must play pedals the only embouchure to use is the one you use for regular trumpet playing and the only use for pedals as far as I'm concerned is as a check AFTERWARDS to see if you have good airflow and soft center. Am I saying that pedals should'nt be done by anyone? - NO I'm not saying that.... One presumes mostly the people who are reading my books are in a certain amount of fluctuation in terms of chop set up and that it's not worth taking the risk on a broken or ineffectual / inefficient embouchure of bringing another variable [of adding pedals] into the learning equation, especially one which is easy to go wrong on. It's NOT what you do but the way that you do it...and that's what get's results!!!!! Learning to control a small aperture setting will help with RANGE + SOFT PLAYING. The muscles that you play high with are not the same as you play pedals with. Pedals use a great [big] degree of movement... ...high/soft playing requires control over fine movements. Pedals don't get projected outwards like high notes....they are more of a ''warm air projection'' as opposed to a ''hissing cold air projection''...[just a visualisation technique] Pulling the stomach in to attain inner compression for high register is also opposite to playing pedals. Pedals use a different lip roll than high notes. Pedals use a bigger jaw position and jaw movement. Pedals require the opposite lip set point to high register closed aperture playing. If you use, or are trying to use a more closed setting then your lip set point and being able to RETAIN lip focus is ALL important. Using pedals creates the opposite effect. If, however you are a too closed / dry lipped player and are trying to use pedals, then often times this type of player in an effort to get the pedals to speak will go way beyond their optimum jaw postion and also tend to use too much mpc pressure to close up the opening again. Try to use a higher lip set point in general..... You need to set your lips for a G on top of the stave or staff [or an E, 4th space if easier]. This may vary from individual to individual by a few tones but you get the idea. The reasoning behind this is to have a 'range start point' where it is easier to climb higher. Obviously going from that lip set start point down 8vbasso is no problem. If however you chose [as most people do in the past] a setting of the lip at say low c - second line g, it means it's an awfully long way to climb to that High C and above from there. Bud Brisbois never believed that pedal tones were any good for anyone interested in developing a good high register here is what he said: "I never do pedal tones, the only time I did they just about destroyed the rest of my playing. So they don't work for me, but you might be different." Maynard Ferguson does'nt use them... There are no pedal exercises in, or mentioned in the text of the Cat Anderson book. He did check soft center with them occassionally but not as a part of range building. Arturo Sandoval says: "Never try to adopt a faulty position when playing pedal tones. By faulty position I mean an embouchure that would never be used throughout the general range of the instrument" In Pierre Thibauds new book he says: "I consider that the position of the lips in the double pedal register provides for a complete freedom of vibration. If the work in this register is carried out diligently, with a NORMAL position, the standard playing range [Low F# - High C] becomes easy to play. Moreover it can be achieved with a minimum of fatigue. Another aspect of the work consists of mastering the transition from low pedals to the normal register with the SMALLEST POSSIBLE LIP MOVEMENT" Monsieur Thibaud, I believe is correct... If after all this you feel you really want to try the pedal thing, go to the daddy of ALL pedal books, MAGGIO for that is where most of the other pedal books came from either directly, or via a third party. Do I practice pedals?....no....never.....can I play them?...yep!.....why?...cos I've learned soft center [firm corners] the easy way. These facts have worked for me, and the 99% of my students.... ......They may for you!