Getting a Better Tone
Achieving your best tone quality requires a number of steps to be in place before you begin to play. Here are my top 5 thoughts on allowing yourself to get the best tone out of your instrument consistently.
- Warm up properly. I think that this is the most important thing of all in achieving a good quality tone, and includes warming up the breathing muscles as well as the embouchure. This will allow the air to flow under more controlled conditions and the flow of air is what will ultimately give you the sound you want. Going for some simple long notes, lip slurs, tongued scales and a couple of breathing exercises will always put things in a better place.
- Hear the sound you want, produce the sound you want and then compare to see what the difference is between your imagined sound and the actual sound you produce. Aim for the smallest gap between the imagined and actual sound for every note.
- Breathe and focus on the flow of air. As Jacobs has said air = song. The flow and speed of air has a direct correlation with tone quality, volume and intonation. Fast air will provide a loud sound and slow air will give a soft sound. Lots of air (moving at the required speed for the volume required) will give a warm, full sound and consistent air flow will allow for greater control of intonation.
- Play every note like you mean it and take real care over every part of the note from the beginning right to the end of the sound you produce. Really listen to yourself, adapt and be as flexible as you can so that you can respond as quickly as possible to your surroundings.
- Listen, believe and enjoy! Fall in love with the sound that you make and aim for your best sound all of the time.
Of course there is no secret formula that you can follow in order to make things work for you every time you play. The best thing is to work out what is most appropriate for you depending on the requirements of what you are going to play. Make a note of what works for you and how it feels. Working with the idea of consistently moving forward with your playing will enable the best results for you.
What things have you found that have helped to improve your tone quality? Share your thoughts, exercises or techniques below by adding a comment.