HBM – Problems

learn to teach in the practice room as you solve your own problems and devise learning strategies

3 types:

  1. Serious problems
  2. Minor annoyances – physical and mental fatigue affect day to day playing
  3. Minor annoyances that you think are serious problems – smartest, most caring students

Problems are often as serious as you think they are; don’t tell a student they have a problem because then they do

Most players who get into trouble are those who get away from the basics; Cleveland Orchestra trumpeter who read a newspaper during his warm up

Prevention is the best – warm up and review the basics daily


Normon Bolter, principal trombone, Boston Pops Orchestra:   “Always start with what you CAN do.” – Whatever you want to accomplish, you have to start from where you are right now.

Take what they have and make it better

Find a related task a student can do well, establish it (9 out of 10 times) and build to desired goal (changed tongued to slurred, vice versa, octave higher or lower, slower, faster, louder, softer, etc)

Look for the intermediate steps – Cichowicz

95% of all problems are caused by poor air flow; the rest are rhythm-related; if not the cure, this greatly reduces problems

Example of rhythm-related:  finger/tongue sync problems – like two metronomes – connect them with a MIDI cable;      need a stronger beat!!

Solution: go back to basics:  good simple melodic material, mouthpiece practice, warm up, use simple things to solve problems, not difficult things

Get the conscious mind off of the muscle and onto the results – let the subconscious cure the problem

Strangeness permits change; you pick up a filing cabinet of memories when you pick up the horn – sometimes it is best just to put the horn away for a day or two