A farewell to woodwind playing

Well, it has been a great ride studying, teaching, and performing on the instruments of the woodwind family. Thanks everyone for your support here at bretpimentel.com.

I’ll leave this website up for now, but I hope you will all check out my new project:

Bret Pimentel, brass

David Summer: Flute/trumpet doubling

I enjoyed reading some interesting thoughts from multi-instrumentalist and music educator David Summer, who doubles quite effectively on flute and trumpet (and a few other instruments). I’m quoting a few highlights below, but definitely read the whole thing here.

I have seen no ill effects on either the trumpet embouchure or flute embouchure from playing both the flute and trumpet. I have no trouble going from one instrument to the other. In performance, I sometimes switch instruments, going from trumpet to flute or flute to trumpet, in the middle of a piece. This presents no problem at all.

As a multi-instrumentalist you will likely find more opportunities for performance… often people are glad to find that I can play both flute and trumpet and are happy to have me utilize that ability.

Certain fundamental musical concepts apply when playing any wind instrument. These include, embouchure development, breathing, pitch, articulation (tonguing), ear training, range, tone, technique (digital dexterity) and flexibility.

I believe that you should play the instruments that interest you and not be concerned about how one wind instrument embouchure might affect another. If you select instruments on the basis of those that you truly enjoy playing you will be more likely to keep playing and enjoying the enormous satisfaction that comes from making music.

Well said.

More on brass doubling

Prior post: Brass doubling?

Boston Symphony Orchestra bass trombonist Douglas Yeo has a page on his website with doubling tips. In addition to bass trombone, he plays bass trumpet and serpent. Not tenor trombone.

I don’t knock anyone for finding their niche. And Mr. Yeo is clearly a very accomplished musician—listen to some of his sound clips if there is any doubt. But I have to admit a few items from his doubling tips amused me as a woodwind doubler. Continue reading “More on brass doubling”

Brass doubling?

I have now successfully completed both my written and oral comprehensive exams, and am one large step closer to finishing a doctorate in multiple woodwinds performance.

In the oral exam, one of my professors asked why woodwind doubling is a well-recognized musical specialty, but doubling on brass instruments is not.  The question was an odd one, especially since brass instruments fall precisely outside my area of expertise. I didn’t have a good answer, except that brass players seem to be particularly protective of their embouchures, and presumably don’t want to risk ruining them by switching instruments. (That seemed to be satisfactory for purposes of the exam.) Continue reading “Brass doubling?”