Tag Archives: Pedagogy

“Jazz” Articulation

Trombone Articulation in a Jazz Style
Why Calling it “Jazz Articulation” is Bad

The trombone is by far the most difficult instrument of the wind family for developing proper articulation technique. Not only must every note be articulated with the tongue, unless the same pitch is repeated this must be match in perfect time with the motion of the right hand when reaching for the position of the next note. Before a player is introduced to jazz performance or improvisation a solid technical foundation must first exist. As Buddy Baker stated “This involves, first of all, a command of the instrument – good basic fundamentals (air, embouchure, finger position, tongue, etc.)” 1 This can not be overstated, and there are a number of tools available to help the non-trombonist teacher with learning about proper articulation technique. A very good source for describing the mechanics and process of proper articulation is Edward Kleinhammer’s book Art of Trombone Playing (Summy-Birchard Company). Chapters 8, 9 and 10 of that book offer an excellent description of proper slide, detached, and Legato tonguing technique. This book should be a part of every band director’s library and anyone else who has to teach young trombonists. Chapters 6, 7, and 12 of Reginal Fink’s book The Trombonists Handbook (Accura Music), are also excellent tools with accurate pictorial depictions of a proper attack and release of a note from the trombonists aspect. For actual jazz style articulation, the Fink book is the less useful since it approaches articulation from a very classical point of view. Review of these books is necessary before beginning teaching of articulation in a jazz style .
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  1. Buddy Baker, “Jazz Improvisation: The Beginning Student and the Inexperienced Teacher,” International Trombone Association Journal, vol. 10, no. 1, 1982, 11.