Fine Tuning Your Fingers


Photo Credit: striking_photography on Flickr

When the topic of tuning comes up, it usually pertains to an intonation situation but in this case, I’m talking about the coordination of your valve fingers.

Lately I have been noticing that my low D, Eb and Ab in the staff have been so sounding unclean and today I finally found the problem. For some strange reason I had relocated my right hand in a different position than normal. This is usually caused by playing and not listening to the product.

Once I found the cause, the solution was very easy. For some of you this might be a problem and you might not know what causes it so here is a test to see if a slightly different hand position will help.

Here are the steps to check out your hand position;

1. Place your valve hand in your normal playing.
2. Play the attached exercise slowly and slur all of the notes.
3. If you hear roughness when playing low D’s the attached sheet may help.

Valve Exercise

Bruce was a member of the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, School of Music in Cedar Falls from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He has performed with many well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson.