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For all ages and levels

Concetti: Lezioni

Fundamental Concepts:

In my career I have had 3 changes of setting, following the indications of my past teachers, and also an operation on the upper lip in 2003 to remove a cyst. The changes of setting brought me, in the youth phase of study, some big problems to play the trumpet. I started playing in 1976 in the band of my country, with a so-called “upstream” setting, and everything was going very well. Soon many big bands and professional orchestras in my area, in Versilia, began to call me and I started playing very early as lead, first trumpet, around the age of 14. Then at 17 I entered the conservatory and had the first change of setting towards a more classic and “canonical” position, with a lower inclination and with the canonical setting of the lips 2/3 above and 1/3 below. For 3 years I could hardly play anymore, then I had the second change of setting trying to get back to my original position. The result was an intermediate setting, a middle ground that allowed me to play and return to my profession, but which unfortunately kept problems with sound quality, extension and resistance. The third and last change, the decisive and definitive one, took place in 1987 under the guidance of Maestro Armando Ghitalla, solo trumpet of the Boston Symphony. Ghitalla solved my problems of sound and resistance by explaining the trumpet concepts he had applied to himself and to all his students, many of whom became internationally famous. His concepts of closed-lipped approach, on white instead of red on the lips, definitively solved my problems. Later, while documenting myself, I realized that some of his concepts coincide 70% with the Stevens-Costello school. Before arriving in Ghitalla, trying to solve my problems, I had the opportunity to experiment with various schools of trumpet setting, specializing as a teacher in the understanding and solution of problems related to the setting and use of the lip muscles, which is very important for develop acute extension. I also experimented with the various schools that talk about breathing and the use of air, and I developed my own air compression control technique, to allow you to take advantage of the air and breathing at 100%. All this by constantly referring to the knowledge of the physics of the instrument, that is how the trumpet works scientifically speaking, and of how to obtain certain results from the instrument based on the knowledge of these mechanisms.

The ones I list are therefore my personal points of view, acquired through decades of experience as a performer and as a teacher, always compared and developed through scientific references and comparisons with other great trumpet players and teachers. These concepts of mine absolutely do not want to enter into conflict with trumpet schools and opinions different from mine. The important thing is always and only the result we get, whatever school or technique you decide to follow and deepen.

In any case, let us never forget that the trumpet has existed for more than 2000 years, and since the first trumpet was built and started to be taught as an art, centuries and centuries ago, the lip setting phase is always was the most important and has had a notable evolution. Let's never forget it, because it's the story of the trumpet.

Trying to summarize in a few words the concepts I apply and teach:

Very important is the setting of the lips inside the mouthpiece and the attachment of the lips to the edge, to better center the vibration, sound and emission. For the changes of setting I refer to the concepts that come from the Ghitalla / Stevens-Costello school, setting on the white of the lips instead of on the red. Sometimes, however, depending on the labial conformation of the student, if necessary I also refer to other types of setting.

It is very important for the control of the vibration and to enhance the work of the air. Working on the muscles does not mean doing lip body-building, or hardening it, or making a surplus of use of it. Using the muscles well means developing them in a powerful and elastic way, without ever creating unnecessary tension, exploiting them to 100% of their possibilities. The control starts from the corners of the mouth and allows you to remain very closed, but soft and above all elastic, in the central part of the lips. An elastic wall.

The inhalation and storage of air in the body are very important and are connected to the attack of the note. The use of air occurs in terms of compressing the air itself, both to play soft in all registers, and to obtain power and open the upper register.
In this context, the air must first be stored towards the lower part of the abdomen, then filling the rest of the torso, and the air column must then necessarily be blown as freely as possible with the throat open, so I recommend to keep the tongue down. This allows you to exploit the air column to its maximum power when playing on loud sounds, even on the upper register.
In my view, holding the tongue high for the high and high register squeezes the sound too much. Playing on piano and pianissimo sounds instead, then the tongue rises a little because it favors the control of the air column, but on robust sounds the tongue always remains positioned downwards. In any case, there are trumpet players who get fantastic results by holding their tongue out, so I recommend everyone to try different ways of using the tongue and then choose the one that suits us best.

In conclusion, air compression and proper use of the musculature are the key to achieving total control of the instrument.

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