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  • Mark Dulin

Learning all the notes right away

Arnold Jacobs, the great tuba player of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and titan of brass pedagogy, often stated “make statements don’t ask questions”. When a student does not know the fingering for their instrument they are asking a question. The mind goes off of the sound and the natural process of breathing compromised. All instincts of healthy playing go away and the stress of not knowing stiffens the playing apparatus. While learning fingerings takes repetitive practice to become permanent muscle memory it is a type of practice that can be repeated over and over again without fatigue, unlike playing the trumpet. It is the author’s opinion that students should learn a Bb concert chromatic scale as soon as possible. This will allow the student to feel the easy transfer of notes by the by half step which will create a more efficient way of traveling up and down the instrument, while at the same time teaching students all notes names and fingerings as well as giving them a clear understanding of enharmonic spellings. While young students may not use all 12 notes right away in their music, this process takes away any phobia they may otherwise attain by not being familiar with certain parts of the instrument.

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