I play cornet for fun in brass bands here in the UK. Last year I accidently stumbled accross Superchops / TCE and had a couple of great lessons with Jerry Callet whilst holidaying in New York. I had read favourable reviews of lessons with Bahb, and was attracted to the idea of video lessons via skype. I had my fifth lesson with Bahb last week – here’s a progress report so far.
Firstly let me say that not much of this would be possible without skype. Having the video link facility is just like having Bahb in the room with you. Also he can see what I am doing and make instant corrections and suggestions. There are a few technical glitches now and again and sometimes the connection can be dropped at busy times but hey, its free and quite new technology – non of this was even possible a couple of years ago. The other irritating thing about skype is that you can actually see the ease with which Bahb slouches at his desk and casually plays from double pedal c to super c !!!
Lesson 1 was mainly an introduction to the five articulations. Bahb took me through each in turn and explained the importance of each for strengthening the tongue. He emphasised the importance of the “gu” articulation to enable the tongue to be kept in the forward position. The “huff” articulation is useful to develop good legato playing. Bahb suggested lessons from the manual for me to try and I was reassured that I had understood the concept of TCE and had been progressing along the right lines. Just as the lesson was ending I asked “what about pedals, then? “. Another hour later I had a thorough understanding of the importance of playing double pedals in TCE. Yes I had known about the relaxing effects on the lips, but I didn’t appreciate their importance in building up the musculature.
Lesson 2 progressed from the first with more work on the articulations and more exercises from the manual.
Lesson 3 was quite a revelation. Bahb suggested that I was overblowing and had me exhaling much more before playing with the result that the sound improved almost straight away –with more focus and clarity of tone.
Lesson 4 had me working on range with Bahb introducing a simple scale exercise playing single notes from “g” above the staff to “c” but played pp. When these were sounding ok he had me playing two attacks on each note then four all still pp. Next I added the “d” then the “e”.
Lesson 5 was mainly taken up by further discussion of pedals. Bahb had me spitting multiple double pedals – these should be staccato and lound. We next worked on the transition from einsetzen to ansetzen – this I found very difficult at first, but Bahb explained it takes time to do this well and advised to keep doing the exercise.
So far I am very pleased with my progress over the last few months. I am slowly experiencing improvement with endurance, range and sound. Bahb is an excellent teacher and is always able to suggest just the right exercise to get over a particular problem. The lessons are informative but they are also great fun as well – which after all is what music is all about!