Posted by: eaubeauhorn | February 27, 2013

Scholar Brain and other stuff

I’ve been messing with my Pbone for a few months. Not learning it like I would normally learn an instrument when I had a goal to learn to play it, because no goal is currently possible what with not being able to attend rehearsals. So….I go days without playing it, and then mess with it for a few minutes here and there. Nothing you could possibly call practicing, at least not in the definition I would put to it. When it doesn’t seem to be working, I don’t try to fix it but just put it down again and turn on the TV or something. That is, zero negative reinforcement, a true devil-may-care approach to it. Pure fun.


There seems to be a trend; the last two or three times, I seem to be falling into something that works for a clear and easy high range (yesterday was the C above middle C.) Unfortunately the cup placement that works, makes it much harder to get a good sound in the low range, but the shift necessary to get to the placement for the existing good low range is too much to expect while actually playing. (It’s an actual sideways movement of the cup, not a pushing of the lips around on the teeth. One does not want to scoot the mouthpiece when changing ranges!) However, given that the side-placement gets that fleshy protrusion in the center of my upper lip out of the way, it is probably worth the effort to learn to have a nice sound in the low range with this cup placement. Pedal tones will be a challenge though.

So anyhow I get to messing around looking at some videos by Wilktone on Youtube, and saw one where a trombonist had the same lip tremor as I do when playing horn. His tremor went away when he changed his cup placement to use more lower lip, an up-blowing embouchure. Well, I had noted in the past that dystonia symptoms can be relieved by a change in sensation, and frankly I wondered if this guy will re-develop his tremor after spending some time with the new cup placement. I doubt it would be advertised if he did, though.

So I am off and running again with my scholarly, study-is-fun attitude towards embouchure, and I’m getting to where I don’t sound half bad on the Pbone, either. I may badger partner H into some duets this weekend, when the temperature will be in the 70s and we can be outside bothering the neighbors. We will pretend it is still Christmas and play some carols!

It’s nice to have my brain back again.


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