How to achieve perfect trills on trombone?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by hicks, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. hicks

    hicks Member

    Can you play a good trill? I've tried the gradual speed build up excercise, but it gets to a point where I can't get any faster, and the trill doesn't sound convincing.
    Probably a question for my fellow trombonists, but any comments appreciated. BTW it's the trill in the 3rd movement of the Rimsky-Korsakov trombone concerto.
  2. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    get a valved instrument (Sorry sorry sorry sorry). ;-)
  3. Bones

    Bones Member

    Try alternate positions, sometimes I find a trill speaks better when you use a position in a different harmonic for the note.
  4. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    First find position/harmonic that has a tone between the 2 notes you are slurring - these tend to be in the upper register. (ie F/G in 4th position).

    Second make sure any mouvement only occurs inside the mouthpiece. Most of the problems I've seen relate to movement in the embouchure or jaw - players trying to move these elements to facilitate the trill. This will get you to a point but eventually you will hit a wall where you can't move your chin up and down any faster.

    Third have patience, little and often, put it in your practice plan, measure yourself against a metronome then measure again a month later.
  5. skweeky

    skweeky Member

    You could always screw the instrument on your face really hard, get the note and shake the instrument VIOLENTLY....
  6. waynefiler

    waynefiler Member


    Stop giving away my secrets!
  7. shaunbasstrom

    shaunbasstrom Member

    use 6th position to lip trill from f to g
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  8. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    With me, I found it was one of those things that you try and try and try for ages and then one day it just clicks.

    I found that starting too high was a problem for me. So I started on middle Bb (concert) and slurred to D and worked that up until it was sufficiently quick.
    then I started on C to Eb.

    I'm not saying this is the way to do it but it worked for me.

    Whatever works for you really.
  9. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member


    Thank you, whichever mod that was.
  10. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    Yes, very well done!

    Now, just how do you get a good trombone trill?
  11. themusicalrentboy

    themusicalrentboy Active Member

    buy a valve trombone :)
  12. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Won't work. The trill in question is from high F to G (G to A in Brass Band language). On a valve trombone, you'll just a get a tremolo.

    There is no easy answer or 'quick fix' to this (trust me, I've looked). All you need to do is practice it, not just for a week or two, but as part of your daily routine for life. In six months time, you'll wonder what the fuss was about;)
  13. hicks

    hicks Member

    I always think a good trombone trill sounds very virtuosic, and shows great lip flexibility, but one of those things I've never really concentrated on because I don't see it required that often.
  14. The Wherryman

    The Wherryman Active Member

    You might try reading the thread before you post -particularly post #2 ;)
  15. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    Agreed, one virtue I find missing from many, many musicians is patience. You need to put the work in to get the results.
  16. hicks

    hicks Member

    Obviously. It takes time to master these advanced techniques, most of us are not pros, have day jobs, families etc and can't spend 5 hours a day practicing. I was looking for any advice from players who had found particular approaches which worked for them.
    Isn't this what discussion forums are about?
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I don't think Mike was specifically having a dig at you.

    I'd like to offer a magic solution, but what worked for me was the old warhorse of slurring back and forth between two notes, faster and faster - crotchets, then triplet crotchets, then quavers, triplet quavers, semis, as far as possible. For a long time, I'd get stuck at a speed too slow to call a trill, and then suddenly, one day, like one of those old car engines that needed hand-cranking, it 'caught'. I still don't quite know what the difference that day and since has been... A reduction in jaw movement is what I think most likely.
  18. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    Hi Hicks,

    My comments were in no way meant to be an opinion on you (I know from the BTS forum that you take your playing seriously and sensibly:) ). They were aimed more at the general readership of this forum. I still think the comments apply in most cases.

    As to your specific case, I would offer those remarks on the basis that I haven't seen/heard you. It could well be that if I did see you play these trills I might spot something else that would help.

    If I have an area of technique that concerns me I try to talk about it in person with as many poeple as I can - there seem to be as many approaches as there are people.

    I've had lessons with many, many great players (Lindberg, Bousfield, Wick, Bright, etc, etc) but I've never assumed that what they were telling was THE right way to do something. Take the comments from other people, try them. If it works for you great, if not move on and try something else - bearing in mind you need to give changes a chance (sometimes many months) to settle in.
  19. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Funnily enough, this is exactly what Katy Jones (Katy Price, LSO) said to me in my lesson with her last week.

    Take Heed!

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