One hour of sound


Battling the constant noise of our neighbours’ renovations/excavations (I can only guess at what they’re trying to achieve – building a swimming pool? a new coal mine? drilling to the centre of the earth?), I spent one hour this morning solely on tone. My schedule, in 10min increments, was as follows:

  • “sound searching” – finding the jaw/lip position that works best, then working with air flow and control to get a ringing sound.
  • Reichert Tägliche Übungen #2 – air flowing through arpeggios and consistent sound quality through registers.
  • further “searching” and colour experimentation – dynamic degrees from pp to ff, vowel shapes, yellow/purple.
  • octave work and Wye Vocalise #8 (from Royer’s La Sensible) – cresc/decresc through register changes, ‘following’ the notes with the embouchure.
  • Moyse De la Sonorite second exercise (suppleness in the low register) #4 – cresc down to low C and back.
  • melodies from Brahms’ first and second symphonies – expression and control.

It went alright. I still felt stiff and unnatural by the end, and it’s still hard to get a responsive tone without a few false starts, but hopefully it’s set me up okay for further practise sessions. I focussed a lot of keeping the jaw in the most natural position possible – back and dropped a little – and working with the lips from there, tubing and softening.

The rest of the day will consist of work on my recital repertoire (especially the Hurel, Takemitsu, and Liam’s Sketches), resting a bit, teaching one student at 4pm and playing in Graeme Jenning’s Cage 100 festival this evening!


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