FAO: lower brass players.

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Mujician, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. Mujician

    Mujician Member

    I just had a thought on the way back from my band. Its to do with the 'size' of the players of the lower instruments euphs, troms, and basses. Those bigger guys have support of their bellies to push the air through and make a phat and full sound. I've always been on the thin end of the scale and am noticing more and more that I am not making as full a sound as I want to be. My thought was this: - if i make my muscles stronger by excercising (sit-ups etc) would those muscles help support a fuller sound?
    Any thoughts welcome, Ben
  2. katieeuph

    katieeuph Member

    Not being funny here but I've played solo euph for a good many years and I think I can make a pretty big sound. the last pair of trousers I bought were a size 10 and my stomach muscles haven't benefitted from sit ups for about 15 years - so I'm thinking that pours cold water on your theory !( though to be honest I DO have a bit of a belly at the moment, but that would be more to do with the fact that i'm 20 weeks pregnant!!!)
  3. Mujician

    Mujician Member

    Probably not a good idea to push if you're pregnant. Yeah, i guess I forgot about lungs when i was writing that!!!
  4. Di B

    Di B Member

    Belly size does not make for a good sound! I don't have a big sound naturally but have the belly(!) and I know of some stick thin euph players that have a great sound.

    I believe that, to an extent, your sound/tone is something you just have. You can improve on it but never get it to sound different.

    An example of what I mean... Look at the tonal quality of top euph players - they all sound slightly different. I am sure this is not from lack of practice/wrong technique!
    I also believe that Steven Mead, Morgan Griffiths and David Childs don't have massive bellies! :)
  5. Mujician

    Mujician Member

    I think this was a case of typing before actually thinking about what i thought! Yes i know how things work! Just ignore me!!
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Before any conflicting comments get posted, I have put this search of google books together here that gives some invaluable published opinions from some of the World's great brass players/teachers. Most of them advocate good posture and natural, deep breathing using an open throat for starters. Resultant tone or timbre is usually covered with the study of air flow and phonetics [the correct use of vowel (or combination of vowel sounds) against pitch and dynamic. Those who have read Howard Snell's book will know what I'm on about].
  7. Mujician

    Mujician Member

    As a teacher myself i am well aware of good posture and proper breathing and strive to do so myself. I just happened to think about a lot of the guys i know who play lower instruments and the size of them. I am fairly unfit, and not 'thin' and i thought about other people - they either seem very fit, or very the opposite!
    Unfortunatley I havent been doing that much playing/practice since i finished college (in 2003) as demonstrating twinkle twinkle little star isnt very taxing. Ive made a concious effort to do more practice recently and having started playing in a brass band two weeks ago I have noticed an improvement in my playing. Thanks for humouring me everyone, but i think we can now bring this thread to a close!!!!! Ben
  8. Di B

    Di B Member

    Always nice to see a long eaton bod trying to use their brain *grins*

    As its my home town I'm allowed to say it! :)

    Btw, welcome to tmp!
  9. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    I am of the more rotund physique and produce a pretty big (ok loud) sound imho, I have for years put this down to my extensive diaphragm support and would not risk losing my sound if I lost any of this support. Please don't tell me (or anyone else) that this is not true, I would have one less excuse for drinking the required amount of beer to maintain my figure.
  10. floppymute

    floppymute Member

    Perhaps with our larger lower brass bretheren it's a case of 'chicken & egg'. e.g. "He's a big lad, let's put him on bass". Sorry to say but in a 25 year career teaching in schools I came across that from a few colleagues from time to time and may have been guilty myself if I'm truthful. Stereotypes eh?!
  11. Mujician

    Mujician Member

    Another point i thought about was a good friend of mine (a pro bass trombonist) had an orchestral job abroad. He started losing weight before he went out and continued to do so while out there. I think he lost a good few stone and lots of inches from his neck. He suddenly found himself unable to play properly. With a little bit of practice and alot of excercise he got back playing again and is now in london soon to jet off to the canary islands for another orchestral job.
  12. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Playing for the Philadelphia (I think) is a young lady called Carol Jantsch.

    She plays a CC forward facing Tuba.

    Also, all you have to do is look at Bones Apart. They are an all female Trombone Quartet that are absolutely fantastic.

    Sudden weight loss does affect your playing. But not because you are losing power from the belly area. It actually affects your embouchure area because you lose some of the flab from the cheeks.

    Fat in the belly area doesn't make you blow harder or have a more full sound.
  13. tromdemon

    tromdemon New Member

    Hi Mujician.
    Just checking which band from your recent postings. Which particular heavyweight Irish bass trombone player did you have in mind when you started this thread?
  14. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    For euphonium, just look at Steven Mead. A small man with a big, big sound.
  15. Mujician

    Mujician Member

    LOL, not him at all. I was thinking of my friend whos now in Gran Canaria for a few months in the orchestra there! He was a big boy, but now he's thinner than me! It screwed hi playing up good and proper but now its back with a vengance! Just thought it was strange.
  16. Tubamutha

    Tubamutha Member

    I am just your average size 10 and play Eb Bass. My lungs are a little weedy and need a bit more stamina (but I have only been playing since April/May so no surprise there then). They only problem I really have is on marches but I would really reccommend those new double shoulder slings - they are fantastic (apart from the fact that the ring on the back of the instrument batters your ribs when you are marching).

    On the plus side I am currently attempting to eat my way into the bass - cue chips, pies, pasties and BEER!
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Or Emma Farrow. What a sound! And on a plastic 5AL mouthpiece too.

    I sometimes wonder if regular brass players develop stronger muscles related to breathing and general support than normal people - you do find a lot of large people in brass bands, and they do in general seem to be physically more functional than people of the same size who don't play brass.
  18. Jethro

    Jethro Member

    Hi Ben,
    Is this a reflection of the size of Me and Toby by any chance, cos as you know we are only a shadow of SOME players:oops: lol

  19. floppymute

    floppymute Member

    I sometimes wonder if regular brass players develop stronger muscles related to breathing and general support than normal people who don't play brass.[/quote]

    We most certainly do.
    I once managed to burst a breathalyser bag!! Mind you, it was a cheap French one. Gave the Gendarme a bit of a shock though:)
  20. Super Ph

    Super Ph Member

    everyone knows that morbid obesity is a significant advantage on bass. that doesn't mean that thinner people can't keep trying though.

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