FW: FW: [Dixielandjazz] Playing/owning...

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Mon Jun 5 10:58:55 PDT 2006

I would also guess that your grandson has speech problems too.  Even if he 
doesn't you might consult a speech therapist to see if anything can be done. 
Over the years I have noticed playing differences in music by people with 
slower enunciation patterns vs. those who have more staccato speech 

I have noticed and I am sure you have too the differences in Jazz - 
typically more legato as contrasted with Mexican and Spanish music which 
tends to very staccato.  In the deep south the speech patterns involve the 
tongue less and Spanish much more.  Rapid tonguing isn't my forte either nor 
is my speech pattern.

I have worked with kids for a long time and the first few lessons are 
crucial to good articulation.  It's almost impossible to get a kid to 
articulate once his pattern has become established unless that kid really 
wants to play correctly.  The problem comes when you have too large a class 
and the teacher isn't on top of it.

It's not likely that Sax would cause any problems because of the angle that 
the mouthpiece enters the mouth unless the teeth are unusually loose.  I did 
have a friend at one time that had to wear a special retainer while he 
played but that was because of loose teeth.  The trombone or any brass would 
tend to keep the teeth pushed back but the amount of time that a student 
plays is fairly minimal and I don't think that anything would have much of 
an impact.

I would have thought that Tuba would be the instrument for someone that was 
turning their lip to hamburger.  There is also a low pressure school of 
brass playing.  I remember guys doing lip slurs with the trumpet laying on a 
book shelf.  If they put any pressure on the mouthpiece the trumpet would 
slide away.

There is another interesting problem that left and right hand beginning 
players have on the sax.  If you are right handed the F - F# change is easy 
but the C-B switch is often rough and vice versa for the left hand person. 
For those who don't play sax this is what happens.  On the C to B change if 
the first finger comes up a little soon you get C#.  If the second finger 
gets down a little early you get an A in there.  It's sort of a bloop and 
sounds like the player is falling down stairs.

Lack of tongue hand coordination also results in that falling up the steps 
sound where the fingers aren't coordinating with the tongue.  This happens 
to everyone at some point the only difference is at what speed it happens.

Unless there is some physical problem that prevents it, almost anything can 
be overcome to at least a passable level with drill and the right exercises.

Back to the Sax vs. Trombone.  While I don't advocate it, the sax, in jazz, 
is played very legato a lot of the time and isn't as demanding.  I guess 
what I'm saying is that the someone could "get by" on sax.  Again I wouldn't 
necessarily recommend it but it is a factor.

Guitar or better still piano would fix everything.
St. Louis

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Don" <jdrobertson at att.net>
To: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Monday, June 05, 2006 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: FW: FW: [Dixielandjazz] Playing/owning...

> My grandson has a unique problem.  Due to heredity etc, his tongue was not 
> developed/trained properly.  One of the side effects of the tongue problem 
> what that he couldn't blow properly.  Unfortunately this resulted in his 
> giving up the trombone after a year. This was discovered when he was being 
> evaluated for orthodontia.  He was given special exercises which are 
> supposed to shorten the period of orthodontia.    At the time no one knew 
> what a difficult time he was having trying to play the trombone.  He still 
> has the trombone, perhaps there is hope.
> Don Robertson
> Napa, CA
> Jim Kashishian wrote:
>>  Ted (Cebuisle2 at aol.com) wrote to me privately about my comments on 
>> violin,
>> trombone, and oboe as being particularly difficult instruments to learn. 
>> He
>> wrote:
>>  Yes, you are correct. Intonation presents a BIG problem on violin and
>> trombone, and mastering the double reed (where you hold your breath in
>> instead of out) a problem with oboe (and bassoon) .  But I once switched 
>> a
>> kid from alto sax to trombone. The kid's orthodontist later said a full 
>> year
>> was saved on the braces by the switch. The sax mouthpiece worked against 
>> the
>> braces, the trombone mouthpiece worked with the braces. That's quite 
>> funny to hear, as the reason that I am a honker today is due to
>> my grandmother being concerned about my buck teeth.  Down to the music 
>> shop
>> we went, and she enquired about the clarinet.  The salesman said that 
>> would
>> have to opposite effect she was looking for, and that the trumpet or
>> trombone would push on my teeth.  Therefore, I play trombone.
>>  The braces came on several years after I started to play, so I had to 
>> adapt
>> to the new shape of my mouth first with the braces, then with the braces
>> off.  No products in those days to protect the insides of your lips, so I
>> had blood on my teeth when I played usually!  Anyway, thanks to my
>> grandmother (for the visit to the music store), and my mother (for 
>> spending
>> big bucks for braces), I am the handsome man I am today.  (Trombonists 
>> are
>> normally humble people, but I will overlook that matter this time!) 
>> It's funny when one brings up the "difficulty in learning which 
>> instrument"
>> subject, people refuse to believe my statement above.  Perhaps because 
>> they
>> think I'm adding a particular leaning to it as I happen to play the
>> trombone.  Nevertheless, the fact there are no stopping points on the 
>> slide
>> (intonation was mentioned by Ted), the staccatto, legato, slurring
>> distinctions required of tongue & slide coordination that I earlier
>> mentioned, require me to stick to my guns.  The trombone is a difficult
>> instrument to learn & to stay on top of.
>>  Jim _______________________________________________
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