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An Introduction to Donald S. Reinhardt's Pivot System

By David Wilken • October 29, 2003
There is perhaps no other brass pedagogue whose teachings are so misunderstood and maligned than as that of Dr. Donald S. Reinhardt and his Pivot System for all brass instruments. Although Reinhardt's term "pivot" has been commonly used by many brass players and teachers, the Pivot System has been unfairly dismissed by brass teachers and players for decades. Today, with the addition of new research into brass playing that replicates Reinhardt's, as well as increased availability of information from former student's of Reinhardt's, there is a renewed interest in the Pivot System and the pedagogical genius of Reinhardt.

Letters From New York, Part One

By Sam Burtis • June 01, 1998
A series of answers to specific questions about equipment...mouthpieces, horns, etc...including an informal survey of what instruments are being played on the NYC freelance jazz/latin/studio/Broadway scene.

Letters From New York: Buzz Off! (Or buzz on - they both work)

By Sam Burtis • October 17, 1999
An attempt to demystify mouthpiece and free buzzing, and directions on how to use them as constructive tools toward a better embouchure and a more efficient approach to the making sound on the horn.

Letters from New York: Carmine Caruso and the Six Notes

By Sam Burtis • June 17, 2001
In the previous Letters From New York article, an anecdotal and very personal overview of how Caruso taught, I discussed Caruso's concepts and techniques, and described some of the basic ideas from which those techniques grew. In this article I would like to present one of his basic exercises both in the form he originally presented it and also in variations that I have discovered over the years.

Master Class with Robin Eubanks: Getting a Clean Attack

By Robin Eubanks • October 24, 2001
Articulation and sound are two important factors in making the trombone more attractive to people's ears. Besides sound, articulation is the thing that really separates trombone players. Articulation is not just tonguing; it covers a lot of ground - slide technique, the air support stream that you have, control of your embouchure, as well as tonguing.

Masterclass with Art Baron: An Introduction to the Plunger

By Bob Bernotas • July 01, 1999
The important thing is to do a lot of listening and get a sense of what plunger work is about. It's a whole emotional thing. You really have to want to speak through the horn. The plunger will kick your butt, but it's also a lot of fun. If you're into really communicating when you play, there's a lot there for you.

Masterclass with Benny Powell: Presentation And Programming Tips For Trombonists

By Bob Bernotas • April 08, 2000
When you get ready to program either a trombone performance or a trombone recording you have to take into consideration how long the trombone can hold people's interest. You have to be a little more creative and give the listeners constant surprises.

Masterclass with Conrad Herwig: An Introduction to Doodle Tonguing

By Bob Bernotas • January 01, 1999
Doodle tonguing, like any technique, will give you freedom, and that's all we want, control. You can stick to one system, like tunnel vision, but if we're looking ahead to the future--to what I call "twenty-first century trombone playing"--what we really need is an all-inclusive system, and doodle tonguing is a key element of that.

Masterclass with Dick Griffin: Multiphonics on the Trombone

By Bob Bernotas • November 15, 1999
The principle behind multi-phonics--producing more than one note at a time on a wind instrument--is the overtone series. You play any note for the tonic and sing any interval above. The combination of the two notes produces overtones. You're not actually playing those notes, they're just coming out of the combination of the other two.

Masterclass with Grover Mitchell: Advice for Lead Trombonists

By Bob Bernotas • October 11, 2000
The best lead players are usually very good basic players. Tone, concept and intonation are a must. You also need good technique and good range, and must know how to lead. Finally, a lead trombone player has to work with the lead trumpet and lead alto.

Masterclass with Steve Turre: Making Music with Shells

By Bob Bernotas • November 01, 1998
Playing the shells can help you as a brass player. They take a lot of endurance and strength. In terms of building a solo, once you can tell a story in just the interval of a fourth, you see that it's not about how many notes you play. It's about what you're saying. So playing the shells also helps you conceptually.

Orchestral Excerpts for the Tenor Trombonist: Saint-Saëns - Symphony No. 3

By Chris Waage • June 11, 2000
This deceptive excerpt gives the trombonists a chance to show off the many, many hours spent in the Rochut book!

Out of the Case: A Little Less about the Trombone, A Little More About Music.

By Sam Burtis • November 01, 1997
A series of anecdotes (or teaching stories) both from my own personal experiences and the folklore of jazz, regarding the inner aspects of playing music.

Out of the Case: A New Approach to Alternate Positions

By Sam Burtis • May 01, 1997
An examination of ways to use "alternate" positions to greater attempt to make some "alternate" positions more "primary" than "alternate", thereby smoothing out general slide technique.

Out of the Case: An Alternate Approach to Embouchure Development, Part 1

By Sam Burtis • June 01, 1997
An examination of the natural "breaks" that occur in a brass embouchure...ways to find them, ways to deal with them. A "bel canto" approach to the brass embouchure, including mouthpiece buzzing as a diagnostic aid.

Out of the Case: An Alternate Approach to Embouchure Development, Part 2

By Sam Burtis • September 01, 1997
Further information about dealing with "breaks", including more mouthpiece buzzing techniques.

Out of the Case: An Approach to Improved Chordal and Scalar Flexibilities

By Sam Burtis • March 01, 1997
An approach to combining flexibility exercise with specific keys and scalar patterns that is specific to the demands of the trombone.

Out of the Case: Slide Technique - A Curiosly Neglected Topic

By Sam Burtis • February 01, 1997
An overview of ways to hold and move the slide that will improve technique and accuracy.

Out of the Case: Slide Technique and Flexibility

By Sam Burtis • April 01, 1997
An approach to combining tonguing, slide technique and flexibility into a seamless, reflexive whole.

The Audition is Only the Beginning

By Sherri Damon • December 01, 1996
Even after winning the audition, the period of transition which follows - the process of completing the degree - is one for which few students are prepared or have the motivation to complete.