HBM – Initial Attacks

Probably half of all missed notes are the first note

Jacobs point of pride to hear the pitch – CSO in Vermont

Major causes of misses:

  1. Insecurity – don’t know the pitch, lack of practice, lack of self-confidence
  2. Incorrect pitch in mind, no pitch in the brain, maybe just a word (high) or letter name (G) ; the lips ARE doing what they’re told; listen to the direction of the error to know what is wrong in the ear
  3. Inadequate air flow
  4. Tongue moves too slowly

Bad habits:  pop the first note (which gives security) or swelling the first note (toe in the swimming pool)


  1. Air
  2. The style of the breath in sets the style of the breath out
  3. Neisler – slight ritard at end of inhalation keeps blowing out relaxed
  4. Practice without the tongue- cultivates dependency on air; practice on mouthpiece and instrument
  5. Think of blowing sound, not placing; bigger target; longer note (makes it seem bigger)
  6. Think of attack as release of air; “front” of note vs. “attack”
  7. Danger of setting (from breathing)  – let the air go immediately following inhalation
  8. OH, TU
  9. A short note is the first part of a long note, so play it long, establish correct, and then play just the first part (short)
  10. Mr. Cichowicz – “do it again”
  11. Focus the pitch – sing, then mouthpiece; sing, then horn
  12. Test yourself