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Required Materials, 4
Posture, Breathing, Airflow, 6
Singing, Buzzing, 7
Tone Production, 9
Lip Slurs, 11
Lip Bends, 14
Audition Information, 23
To potential Pioneer brass members:
Welcome to The Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps. This method book is designed to summarize the philoso-
phy and approach to pedagogy as taught by the brass staff of Pioneer. Please familiarize yourself as soon as
possible with the information provided in the book. This information will be vital to a successful audition for
Pioneer, as well as giving a fundamental basis for our approach over the entire year.
Winter camp dates to be announced soon!
Attendance at all winter camps are required in order to be considered a contracted member of the 2016
Pioneer hornline. If conflicts or concerns arise, we can work that out on a case-by-case basis. Video auditions
are also an option, but will not guarantee you a spot until you come to a camp, or at the discretion of the brass
caption head. If you have any questions about auditions or the hornline in general, please don’t hesitate to call,
text or email me.
We as a brass staff strive to make sure that each and everyone of you get the most out of your experience
at Pioneer. Whether you are with us for one camp, or the entire season, we want you to get the most out of
your time. I am very excited to get the 2016 season underway, and can’t wait to meet all the new prospective
See you at a camp!
Brass Caption Head;
Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps
Better Every Day Love, Loyalty, Friendship
–Music and exercises printed out and in a binder with plastic sheets
- Hammond Design Trumpet 5ML (leads will be determined on a case-by-case basis)
- not needed at audition, however it is required by the March Camp
-required by the February Camp
–Breathing tube (provided)
–Water jug (provided at move-ins, must have own water bottle for winter)
–Rehearsal gloves; white uniform gloves, or can be baseball gloves.
-required at first and all camps
–Al Case valve oil; you will need multiple bottles of this in the summer, plan ahead.
–A black towel large enough to fit your instrument laying on the ground
-required at first and all camps
-nothing fancy, $1 Walmart towels are perfect
**Please make sure you understand what is provided by the corps and what you need to pro-
vide. The more expensive items are staggered out to make sure you don’t have to spend a lot
of money at one time. Please make every effort to have these required items by the camp they
are required at. The Berps can be found on most musical instrument supply websites and is re-
quired by the February camp. The mouthpiece can be found at karlhammonddesign.com, or on
most musical instrument supply websites. This is required by the March camp. Please plan
ahead for shipping, the mouthpieces tend to get backordered and take extra time.
It is very important that we focus on this first part of the book. Your posture makes you able to take a
good breath, which makes you able to have a good airflow, which makes you able to produce a good
buzz, which makes you able to produce a good tone on your instrument (in essence - air makes buzz
makes sound). At Pioneer we will spend a lot of time on breathing and airflow methods.
General posture notes from visual caption head, Josh Pier:
The hips should be flat and positioned directly over the ankle bones. A member can do
this by rotating the pelvis forward, imagining holding a phone book between their thighs.
The rib cage should be lifted off the hips and they should be using their core muscles to
hold up their rib cage. To get the shoulders in place, the member should imagine pulling
the heart out of the chest up at a 45 degree angle. This will press the chest up and out as
well as relax the shoulders down and back. Elbows should be even and the angle they
create should be at about 120 degrees. Palms are off the horn. The same goes for either
horns up or down. On the horns down, the mouthpiece should be eye level.
Air is the foundation of everything that we do on a brass instrument. We must learn how
to not only take it in, but how to release it. Breathing to play a brass instrument is not
the same as breathing to live.
It is very important that we use a consistent airflow over the period of a phrase. We will
work on a lot of elongated exhales, while shortening the inhales to get the most out of your
breath. The goal is to move air without resistance or tension, sometimes quickly or over long
periods of time to maximize the most out of each musical phrase. We must move our air with-
out tension. Tension only does one thing…it kills the sound. At all times we must think about
the sound that is coming out of the instrument. A majority of bad sounds can be fixed by
checking your breath and airflow.
1) Using your arms as a gauge throughout the exercise, breathe in for 6 counts. On count 3
your arms should be inline with your shoulders. Count 6, arms should be up straight over
your head. Strive to achieve one fluid motion throughout the exercise. Air should always
be moving in or out, nothing in between to cap the breath. Increase the counts to allow for
more expansion. (♩=72)
2) Breathe in for 4 counts and out for 4 counts. Repeat once. Then breathe in for 3 counts
and out for 4 counts. Repeat once. Breathe in for 2 counts, out for 4 counts. Repeat once.
Breathe in for 1 count and out for 4 counts. Repeat this pattern for about 20 seconds at ♩=
3) Breathe in for 4 counts and out for 4 counts. Repeat once. Then breathe in for 4 counts
and out for 3 counts. Repeat once. Breathe in for 4 counts, out for 2 counts. Repeat once.
Breathe in for 4 counts, out for 1 count. Repeat once. Repeat this pattern for about 20 sec-
onds at ♩=60-88.
4) Breathe in for 4 counts and out for 4 counts. Repeat once. Then breathe in for 3 counts
and out for 3 counts. Repeat once. Breathe in for 2 counts, out for 2 counts. Repeat once.
Breathe in for 1 count, out for 1 count. Repeat once. Repeat this pattern for about 20 sec-
onds at ♩=60-88.
Strength and Flexibility:
Begin by slowly breathing in and out, ensuring to take a full breath in and exhale all out.
Gradually increase the rate until you cannot continue to increase temp. Take 1 more breath
in and hold this. Carefully lower yourself into a squatting position, turn left and take a sip.
Turn right and take a sip. While holding your breath carefully stand up, and place your
hands above your head. Release the air for 16 slow counts (♩=70).
Once you have practiced your airflow, the next exercises in sequence are singing, then buzzing. This
provides you the opportunity to practice your airflow with specified pitches. Singing before you buzz/
play is a great way to start producing a quality sound, also. The propose here is to not only get pitches
in your head, but to also get you to start using the correct vocalization that is required of playing a
Singing Exercises (we sing everything that we play, but here are some singing warm-ups
and techniques that we start with)
–Starting on concert F, using a clear Dah syllable, move down half steps slowly to concert B♭.
Then go back up to concert F. Slur up and down to all pitches.
–Starting on concert F, using a clear Dah syllable, move up half steps slowly to concert B♭.
Then go back down to concert F. Slur up and down to all pitches.
–Starting on low concert B♭, using a clear Dah syllable, move down half steps slowly to
concert F. Then go back up to concert B♭. Slur up and down to all pitches.
–Using your left hand, place index and middle finger next to each other on the bottom of the
mouthpiece shank with the thumb underneath.
–Use the exercises listed above.
–Make sure you have a steady stream of air in forward motion.
–Make sure you have absolutely no tension in your face or upper body.
–Air makes buzz makes sound, however tension kills sound.
The following chorale is to be sung, then buzzed. We will sing either the lyric or it will be sung
on a syllable like Dah, Doh, Du, etc. This chorale will also be played on the instruments.
**When singing this chorale, sing it in the range that is the most comfortable for you**
In this next section we begin playing on our instrument. The first tones of the day define how the focus of
the rest of your practice/rehearsal will be. Stay relaxed and think about the sound that comes out of your
horn at all times.
Producing a good tone:
Think about how you start each pitch. Behind every articulation must be a well organized
column of air. You cannot have any break in your airflow. At the start of each pitch should
be 5% more air than what will be needed for the rest of the pitch. This will ensure that a
buzz is produced quickly to start a good sound. Make sure that the end of the note does
not suffer in order to produce the next note. This will work not only on the purity of each
tone, but also on solidifying proper lip vibration.
Starting a pitch:
Our normal long tone articulation will either be “Dah” or “Hah”. Hah is to be used only
when instructed. This produces a tongue free air attack. Air attacks are used at times to
promote “air makes buzz makes sound.” We only use air attacks on a long tone exercise.
Releasing a pitch:
To release a pitch you simply take a small breath in. When done correctly all the sound
stops, but is not a capped sound. A capped sound happens when you insert the tongue into the
lips to stop the air. We will never use that technique in this brass section. A tongue is only used
to define when a sound starts, not stops.
Lip bending is an isometric exercise used to strengthen and develop the lower, middle, and upper lips as well as the cor-
ners. When used properly a lip bend will help make your embouchure strong and healthy.
Here are some exercises off the horn to help get you started.
MMM - This exercise is accomplished by merely holding your lips closed, as in making the sound "mmm". When done
correctly, your lips should roll slightly inward. Hold on to this position as long as possible until your muscles begin to
burn, then rest the same amount of time it took to create the burn and repeat (twice a day should be sufficient).
Lactic acid is behind the burning sensation that is felt in the muscles during intense physical exercise.
"The Burn" - When your body produces lactic acid, it splits into a lactate ion (lactate) and a hydrogen ion. The
hydrogen ion is the acid in lactic acid. It interferes with electrical signals in your muscles and nerves, slows ener-
gy reactions and impairs muscle contraction. The burn you feel in isometric or in any intense physical exercise is
caused by the hydrogen ion.
Recuperation - It's extremely important between exercises not only to relax but also to encourage blood flow to
the lips. Engorging the muscles and tissue with blood will bring nutriments (oxygen, minerals) to the affected
area, which will in turn promote development of muscular strength and increase in tissue size. Bending over
while buzzing your lips or a good facial massage certainly will do the trick…
The Pencil - Place the unsharpened end of a wooden pencil snuggly against your closed teeth. Grasp the pencil with
both your upper and lower lips and let go holding the pencil straight out in front of your face with only the muscles of
you lips and embouchure. Continue holding the pencil until "The Burn". Rest and then repeat.
The Smooch - Roll the corners of your mouth as far forward as possible (pucker up). Slowly close the center of your lips
by focusing all your energy to the center of the lips as if you were trying to hold the pencil from exercise above in place
tightly. Continue holding until "The Burn". Rest and repeat.
The Lion - Also used extensively as a Yoga face stretching exercise this exercise can build the muscles of the cheeks
that are connected from the ear to the mouth. Open your mouth as widely as you can while trying to touch your chin with
your tongue. Open your eyes as wide as you can while looking straight up into the sky with your eyes. Continue holding
until "The Burn". Rest and then repeat.
The Coin Exercise - Much like the MMM this exercise focuses your energy more specifically on the center of a coin.
Place a coin (dime for upper brass, quarter for lower brass) between your upper and lower lips (in the center of where
your aperture is located while playing/buzzing). Assume the MMM position with the coin appropriately placed between
your lips. Being careful not to use your teeth in any way while grasping the coin with your lips roll your lips towards the
center of the coin exerting as much as pressure possible towards it's center. Continue holding until "The Burn". Rest and
The Shank - This exercise can be done either in a standing or sitting position. Begin by first cleaning and drying the
shank of your mouthpiece. Once the shank of your mouthpiece is dry, dry the inside of your lips. Slowly bend over at the
hips facing the ground. Grasp the shank of the mouthpiece with your lips. Be sure to place one hand under the mouth-
piece to catch it if you loose your grasp. Continue holding until "The Burn". Rest and repeat.
This is a daily regimen!! Choose two or three of the exercises a day to do and keep rotating them making sure you're
working each muscle group at least every other day.
1. Go to "The Burn" and stop....
2. Remember to rest the same amount of time it took you to create the burn.
3. Repeating the exercises twice a day should be sufficient.
A 1 - Note Lengths
A 1b - Note Lengths Applied
Audition Excerpt 2
Audition Excerpt 1