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Firm Grip

How softball, golf, and other swing based sports help with brass playing

A firm grip: Not too tight, not too loose. This is the beginning of consistency for many activities. When using a bat, club, violin bow, etc. one must hold the tool firmly throughout the entire range of motion. It is this idea that is connected to the corner muscles for brass players. While sending a steady flow of air, brass players must maintain firm corners while playing through the entire range of the horn. In fact, this enables the vision that we have musically to happen more easily, when we maintain a consistent grip while sending a strong musical message.

Gabe Dimartino has given me multiple lessons on forward sound, and using his tool/concept of "reflection" to help achieve that forward sound. Tim Hudson would talk about maintaining a grip, and used the baseball bat analogy above, many times. Dr. Rob Murray helped me see that everything works together. We must have forward corners, with steady air, AND a strong musical message. All of these work in sync, we cannot do one entirely isolated from the other. All of these concepts are beginning to make sense to me. I am able to have a more consistent sound throughout the register of my horn. When the sound is too light, I have usually loosed my corners instead of maintaining grip and sending a lighter musical message. When the sound is thin or physical, I have usually gripped too hard with the corners or with the rest of my body instead of my corners. Rather lets maintain grip, send a steady flow of air, and send a strong musical message. Wiff Rudd and Gabe Dimartino also talk about having a steady sound on the mouthpiece and leadpipe, this can only be achieved by firm corners, steady flow of air, and a strong musical message from the brain.

Time to Keep it simple,

Adam C White