Wednesday, January 18, 2006


OK everyone knows about playing on the extension of the chords. i/e C7 becomes Bb etc;
Try looking for tunes that are vertical rather than horizontal. 'Autumn Leaves' is perhaps the easiest. Better still 'Stormy Weather' or while were on the subject 'Stormy Monday' Think up the chords and don't try to play everything at once. Leave the audience hanging, rather like an after dinner speaker who drops the volume so that people will have to lean in forward to hear. This is after you have grabbed their attention mind. I should point out that I am writing this for myself also. Go to it

Saturday, November 19, 2005


One of the most frustrating things about performance is not only trying to get better, but being able to measure advancement. A couple of weeks ago I had a long talk with my soul brother Bruce Cassidy and another with Ian McDougall. Bruce said looking me straight in the eye."You have developed an annoying vibrato which you use all the time. Stop doing that and take your own advice!" Ian said the same thing several days later. They both think I play alright but when you work on your own it is easy to develop stupid habits. Another thing I was doing was practicing to loudly. There is a story of Cat Anderson the scream lead player with Duke. On the day before the gig at night he used to warm up by playing as softly as possible. This really works wonders. I now have no vibrato unless I want one, and then I use the slide only. I am explaining this because.
(1) Never give up on yourself and always try to get better.
(2) Always take lessons. and never be satisfied.
(3) Never stop listening to everything, especially how you sound to others, not just you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Oh By the way! I have found it very helpful just before I put the horn onto my face to say 'IMP' with the intake of breath. This sets up your chops so that you get the right amount of embochure inside the mouthpiece.
That's all
Cheers Grahame

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How to play 'Modern' jazz trombone

(1) I started off playing in a traditional jazz group. This was easy since all the tunes followed a similar format. ei 'Blues or AABA sort of thing. Also they were all in keys that everyone was comfortable with. Bb Eb F etc; This is fine but in order to play jazz trombone you need other stuff. Try playing all the tunes you know in B or F# or A This can be done if you get to play with a rock group since most guitar players play in E, A, or F# anyway. However in order to learn on your own since we can't get to play with other people all the time, try this. Practice 'Sweet Georgia Brown' in every key. This is a short cut to learning without reading jazz patterns. It's a lot more productive to learn this stuff without reading it. Certainly faster.
(2) When you practice, if you play for ten minutes then rest for ten minutes. If you practice for an hour, take an hour off. This way you can do four hours a day in an eight hour period without just blowing into the horn. Oh! another thing. If you have the Abersold albums then play along with one track then stop and read something classical. That way you won't get bored but you will be more productive. Time is the only commodity you have don't forget.
That's all for now.

Monday, September 26, 2005

trombone basics

(1) Put air through the horn and consider the sound starting about three feet in front of the bell. This will give you great projection of your sound.
(2) Always fill your lungs full of air. Do this from the bottom up rather like a rain barrel filling full of water. Even if you have 32 bars test to a mp note followed by another 32 bars rest or whatever. After the note exhale.
(3) Always breath and blow. Don't hold the air in this creates tension. Tension in playing is very bad because it stops the body from doing what is natural. IE Breathing.
(3) Don't try to impress anybody. Just ignore the audience/jury/friends whatever. That way you will play better because the pressure to perform will br off. Think of how Miles used to perform, even with his back to the audienc