My name is Andrew and I’m a 16-year-old, Australian, Tuba enthusiast (and a bit fan of yours!). I’ve been playing my BBb Tuba for about 2 years now and my tone in the middle and lower registers is alright, however I’m having trouble developing a nice tone in the upper register (things start to go wrong at about G top space in the staff). I was wondering if you had any tips for achieving this notes in the higher register. I’ve also been told that there’s a certain amount of “natural ability” involved with these notes, which as you can imagine, could be quite disillusioning. What is your opinion on this? Is hard work just as good? Hi Andrew,
In a way it has to do with natural ability. But the kind of ability we are talking about is more the ability to find solutions, or having luck stumbling over them.In other words, you can do it.
Hard work is good, but needs to be combined with being lazy. By this I mean trying to find energy efficient solutions. The first person ever to play on a guitar probably used the tuning screws to alter the pitch. Tensioning the string. Hard work, and slow. Then someone figured out that you could just leave the tuning screw and simply shorten the string by pressing your finger on it, over the fret board. Far quicker, easier and much less stress on the string. This is what most people do wrong when playing in the high register on a tuba. Pulling the lips out, stretching them rather than simply making the vibration area shorter. A common mistake is to use too much air in the high register. Think small.