Method

 

 "The body always chooses the easiest way, as long as it knows it."

 

But what do we do if our body doesn't know what the easiest way is?

 

Most of the things that we do with our body are done subconsciously. Thankfully - because most movements are so complex that our conscious mind could hardly take a positive influence.

 

Skiers have long since discovered that training body awareness, dexterity and balance are essential additions to practicing on skis.  Even though most of these exercises don't seem to have anything to do with winter sports, their positive effects have been proved and tested and applied by all professional athletes.  In this way, they improve their abilities without having to take conscious action.

 

Can we as brass players adapt these ideas?

 

In his method, Malte Burba shows how we can help our intuition to reach our desired goals.  Basic body functions and dexterity are trained efficiently and in a logical manner.  This way, we can improve our playing in many ways that we didn't think would be possible.

 

 

 

 

"Brass instruments are no real musical instruments when we take a closer look at the physics and tone production!"

 

Normally, an instrument can only do two things: produce a tone and amplify a tone.  This means that an instrument consists of a generator (which produces the vibrations) and a resonator (which amplifies the vibrations).

On a piano, guitar or violin the strings are the generator and the corpus is the resonator.  On woodwinds, the reed produces the vibration and the tube amplifies it.  This is different on brass instruments!  The most important physical part - the generator - is missing!

Therefore, the musician not only triggers the physical function of the generator by pressing a key, pulling a string, or biting on a reed.  Moreover, the body of the musician - the lips in combination with the air - produce the vibrations.  From this perspective, a brass instrument is not a complete musical instrument.

 

We as brass players have to remember that our instrument is only an amplifier of vibrations.  We must learn to tame it with efficient body control.

 

 

 

 

"The musician has to learn how to pruduce the vibrations with his own body."

 

When parts of a piano keyboard are missing or an organ's motor isn't working, you would always ask an instrument repair technician for help before trying to play on the instrument.  When brass players have difficulties with sound production, endurance, range or control, then these problems are not the instruments' or the music's fault.  They are much more problems of the generator and need to be tackled where they originate - by dealing with your body.

In order to do so, you must know how generator works and which simple and natural possibilities our body has to master these requirements.

 

So compared to most other instruments, brass instruments have a different way of producing vibrations.  In addition, brass players also are confronted with problems that have to do with the different kinds of muscles in our bodies:

We have:

  • conscious muscles - which we are familiar with from every-day use, such as the fingers
  • subconscious muscles (such as the mimic muscles),
  • vegetative muscles that belong to our body "operating system" and normally is not controlled consciously or directly (our breathing, for example)
  • psychomotor muscles that react to how we feel and then influence our vocal cords and breathing, for example
  • muscles, that in part can work even when only certain physical principles are given, without any physiological activity. (the vocal cords can also work this way)

Of course there are many overlaps and intersections.

 

As annoying as it might be, a brass players needs all of these "abnormal" muscles in order to make the body work as a generator.  When learning this method, you will:

  1. develop a consciousness for the muscles that brass players need to play their instruments,
  2. establish a practice routine that trains the muscles that we need, and
  3. learn how to avoid superfluous and counterproductive actions.

The special advantage of this training program is that all exercices are initially executed independently from playing on the instrument!

 

This means that you will practice on your instrument as usual, and independently from that will improve your motoric abilities.  Even further down the road, you do not need to consciously influence your playing, because the exercises are meant to improve your intuitive abilities.  They will positively influence your playing without you consciously having to change anything.

 

The certified teachers listed on this website are all excellently trained and continue their training on a regular basis.  They will support and guide you to solve all brass playing problems.

 

Furthermore, Malte Burba offers master classes where he explains and illustrates his method in detail.

 

 

 

Examples

 

 

Warm-up

 

 


 

The lip trill