Scaling the Slur

Mike Lawson • Playing Tips • October 1, 2018

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Descending lip slurs are a piece of cake, and almost no young brass student struggles with that skill.

However, ascending the lip slur is another story. In order for the student to ascend on the instrument using only the lips from a low pitch to a higher pitch with the same fingering or slide position, I tell the student to imagine saying the word “whee” at the moment he/she wishes to raise the pitch. Without fail, the student is able to make the leap. This thought process causes the student to “flex” the center of the lips at the moment of ascent (it is NOT a smile movement). Once the first ascending lip slurs are achieved, the student is able to employ descending and ascending lip slur patterns into daily practice.

Larry Klabunde

Worthingway Middle School

Worthington, Ohio

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