Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ralph Lalama tone exercises

Here are two superb tone exercises I picked up from Ralph Lalama in my year of lessons with him at NYU. Ralph is monster player with a huge sound. And here's a couple of items that will build your sound. If you do these properly, you will have a bigger sound, and vastly increase your endurance.

1. This one he calls the "HA-TA-TA" because this is the articulation used when playing the exercise. And I believe it comes from a Carmine Caruso trumpet exercise. The MOST important aspect of this one is that you must do all your breathing through the nose. Never release your embouchure. If you do, it ruins the effectiveness. The exercise only consists of middle G up to middle C. Start the first half note with a breath attack (HA). Then tongue the second half note, and whole note (TA). On the whole rest, breath out 2 beats and then in 2 beats, only through the nose... Play all of the exercise TWICE. Remember, don't release your embouchure at all until you've played the whole exercise. You should start to fatigue if you are doing it right... air may start escape the corners of your mouth, spit will get into your sound. But don't correct any of that. Just try to continue. It's a great tone builder, but it's not about how good it sounds while you're doing it.

Set your metronome to 60 bpm, and play it all in time.

2. This is great for evenness of sound throughout the registers. Play this one at a slow tempo, and slurred. No articulation. You want the most even air you can produce throughout. It is ok to breath through the mouth, but try not to stop. This is just the first page of the exercise. Notice there are 4 keys here, each a minor 3rd apart. After you finish this entire page, rest about 30 seconds. Then start the whole pattern over again, but starting in the key of B. Do four more keys, rest, and then start on Bb. Then you've covered all 12.

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