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Thread: Wobbly Sound

  1. Wobbly Sound

    I don't know how best to describe this, so here goes. I just started playing the euphonium (I've been playing clarinet for a long time).

    There is nothing so wonderful or so beautiful as the euphonium. Best of all, it doesn't squeak. Love it.

    I've searched the web for an answer to this question. When I play some notes, I get this sloppy, un-centered, wobbly tone. I'm improving every day.

    Normally, I would ask a euphonium teacher (not many in Kentucky) to show me how to fix this. Unfortunately, COVID prevents that.

    Assuming the problem centers on my embouchure, are there any embochure warm-ups I should play every day?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum, mmatisoff!! In case no one has said that yet.

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case, a video (with sound) might be very useful. Are there any particular notes that are giving your trouble (i.e, low notes, high notes, any notes)?

    If you have notes that sound good to you, then try playing those notes (long tones) and then move either up or down to the next higher/lower note and try to get the same good sound. If you are just beginning with euphonium, you will have many starts and stops so to speak. But try to get a good regimen going. Start each practice session with some long tones. Then perhaps some slurs. Then work on scales. Learn a couple of the major scales (learn them all eventually and minors) and play these up and down with different articulations (slurring, tonguing, different rhythms, different tempos). Try to play two octaves on each scale. Get a book with nice melodies in it and play one of those every time you practice. Get a sound that you would like to hear.

    Are there any low brass teachers around? Most any competent low brass (trombone, tuba, euphonium) teacher could probably take a look at you and provide some solid advice and guidance. If you are just starting with euphonium, it might be useful to have someone check out your embouchure and other things so that you don't develop any bad habits as you gain more experience with the euphonium. And a lot of music teachers have gone to Zoom or other things like it to keep their students and lessons going, even if not in person. They can see you and tell you things about your playing. And also if your house needs vacuuming. That is the part I don't like.

    Without being able to look and hear you, it is not easy to say with precision what things you might do to un-wobble yourself. But you have clearly picked the most beautiful instrument to play, so that part is solved!
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  3. #3
    I'm going to move this conversation to the appropriate category...
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. #4
    You could have problems from using a mouthpiece that is too large for a just-developing embouchure. What mouthpiece and horn are you using?

    John's advice is good!

    In addition, a common brass exercise that might help you is long tones with cresc. & decresc. on each. So start a note a mp, gradually increase to f, the decrease back to mp. Make that process last as long as your breath can last. If you can run a tuner as you do this, try to keep your pitch consistent as you change dynamics and as you get near the end of your air supply.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #5
    I too was a (bass) clarinet player who began playing euphonium in Spring 2019. I lucked into a fine teacher, but with the pandemic intruding, I’ve had about 6-7 months actual instruction, an hour of practice every day.

    I do long tones and lip slurs every single day, and also Arbans interval drills. While doing those, I continually focus on low deep full body breathing, and getting a constant stream of air through the horn.if you were fairly proficient on clarinet, as I was, going back to pushing air through an instrument with a very different embouchure and mouthpiece may be a tricky transition, as it was for me.

    Most of my “wobbly sounds” (which are VERY FRUSTRATING to me too)
    result from ignoring my breathing. Playing in a ensemble also gives me an extra chance to really focus on breathing too.

    If you’re as serious about playing as I am, you’ll make faster progress by emphasizing the basics and connecting with a teacher as soon as you can. Playing has meant a lot to me during the lock ins and cancellations, and every time I practice, I’m thinking about achieving another goal. This coming Fall, I will hopefully be playing in a second wind ensemble a step up from my current band. If I could play in 3 ensembles, I would.

    Good luck and stick with it.

  6. I using a Yamaha 48 MP

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatisoff View Post
    I using a Yamaha 48 MP
    That should be suitable, so the advice above should be good.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

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