Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

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TromboneFox
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Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by TromboneFox » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:28 am

I'm a college freshman trombone performance major, a jazz player at heart, and better at jazz than orchestral. I noticed (and my private lessons teacher tells me) that, even on a large-bore with a non-pea-shooter mouthpiece, I still have a habitual jazz articulation, especially on legato passages, where the tongue seems to stop the air in between notes of the legato passage, rather than producing a legit legato articulation. I've tried everything I can think of to get an orchestral, proper legato articulation, but nothing's working. Any tips on how to fix this?
"You play pretty good for not taking in any air"
"Wow, it almost sounds like you like that piece"
"There are two kinds of music, the flowy kind and the digging-in kind. You're much better at the digging-in kind."
AndrewMeronek
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by AndrewMeronek » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:45 pm

Everyone is different, but there are a few things to try that work well for a lot of people:

Touch the tongue on the hard palette behind the front teeth, and not on the teeth. If you have trouble with this, you may need to move your entire tongue up and back a bit so the reach is correct. If you try this and get absolutely no articulation, don't despair. That's the right direction and then it's just a matter of figuring out the 'sweet spot'.

Try a 'z' consonant instead of the traditional 'l' or 'd'.

Try a 'sh' consonant, or if you prefer, the soft 'j'' as in the word 'beige'.

Make sure you air is truly constant, that you're not 'cheating' some articulations with the air.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by Burgerbob » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:52 pm

Listen to more orchestral articulations. On recordings and in person. Know what you want to sound like.
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norbie2018
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by norbie2018 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:57 pm

To make certain the air is constant, remove the tongue altogether and gliss the passages first, then add the tongue back in. I had success with a student using an "n" attack for legato, as I believe is suggested in the Yeo/Kleinhammer book. Just as important, how many classical trombone players do you listen to? You've got to get that sound in your head before you can expect o recreate it.
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by Doug Elliott » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:13 pm

The previous suggestions are all good.

I suggest you stop thinking of it as "jazz" or "classical" articulation, and just learn to play "trombone" and "music" well. Work on ALL things you can't do.
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by AndrewMeronek » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:46 pm

Doug Elliott wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:13 pm
The previous suggestions are all good.

I suggest you stop thinking of it as "jazz" or "classical" articulation, and just learn to play "trombone" and "music" well. Work on ALL things you can't do.
Great point. For example:

“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
baileyman
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by baileyman » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:47 am

Think of the air like a garden hose, the the tongue bounces off of it like a hand in the water with varying degrees of separation.
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by imsevimse » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:12 am

Very good advice so far.

A lot have to do with efficiency. It could help to fix the legato first. To be able to play long legato phrases you need a continuous airstream and an efficient use of the lips. Don't be scared of glissando as you learn. Most important is continuous air.

To practice you could take a small breath, just a normal breath as if you were in a normal conversation. Breath out half of that air. With the rest you play a middle Bb with your best sound and use all the air you have left, check how long you can do it with a clock or metronome. You might be astonished how long you can make a good sound with almost no air. Now take a big breath and repeat. You should be able to play a longer note. Repeat this and search for the most efficient use of the air that still gives a good sound.

Next step you play soft legato phrases - could be tunes built on legato phrases - with no tongue. Streach phrases and have as a goal to make the air last as long as possible, your goal is as long as your longest Bb. Make sure your sound is good.

The goal is to be more efficient with air. You check how you are doing with the clock. When legato and air works tounged articulation is easier.

/Tom
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by VJOFan » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:07 am

To amplify what Doug said above, there is no single "jazz" or "legit" articulation. Players have the great joy of creating a giant pallet of articulations to use as needed to paint the musical picture they want.

The goal is to be able to do more than one articulation.

For that there is already some good how to above: listen to examples, focus on what the air is doing... I would just add to that to focus on coordination of air, tongue and slide with your time.
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by Doug Elliott » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:33 am

All great advice.

I prefer not to give really specific advice without hearing the player - corrections always depend on what you're actually doing, and where to go from there. You can save a lot of time by focusing on the actual problem, not a bunch of symptoms. Stuff for a lesson, not a forum.
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TromboneFox
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by TromboneFox » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:24 am

Very helpful all, much appreciated.

@Doug Elliott it was my lessons teacher who told me to post here.
"You play pretty good for not taking in any air"
"Wow, it almost sounds like you like that piece"
"There are two kinds of music, the flowy kind and the digging-in kind. You're much better at the digging-in kind."
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BrassedOn
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by BrassedOn » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:07 am

TromboneFox wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:24 am
Very helpful all, much appreciated.

@Doug Elliott it was my lessons teacher who told me to post here.
As is often the case, all are correct. My guess is your teacher wanted you to hear the same message from a different source. Basically, developing your palate of articulation is doable. There is no magic. Start with listening. The human body is amazing at figuring out how to emulate. But a bit of direction from a teacher on some mechanics like tongue placement helps. Practice to develop control. The most important message I heard in all this is that you are developing one gigantic palate (of tone, articulation, etc.) that will serve you across genres.
"Do less, better."
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1994ish Getzen Eterna 1062 Dave Taylor (stacked)
Doug Elliott
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by Doug Elliott » Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:32 pm

BrassedOn wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:07 am
... a bit of direction from a teacher on some mechanics like tongue placement helps.
If the teacher knows the right things to suggest.
Many or maybe most teachers are lost when it comes to mechanical corrections when the usual musical approach doesn't produce the desired results.
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Re: Jazz Player Accustomed to Jazz Articulation

Post by baileyman » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:05 pm

Doug Elliott wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 1:32 pm
...
Many or maybe most teachers are lost when it comes to mechanical corrections when the usual musical approach doesn't produce the desired results.
What a great description of the essential difference!
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