I watched a master class given by Jens Lindemann on YouTube and he mentioned the Walter White drones. I keep meaning to try those but never think about it / keep forgetting.
Lately, I have been thinking about doing long tones as I have found myself getting a bit stiff and I’ve been kind of pushing myself a bit on my range, doing lots of flexibility exercises, technical studies, etc.
I’ve felt a desire / need to spend some quality time on long tones. Thank you for the reinforcement / reminder.
I have heard that too much of one or the other (long tones, flexibility exercises / harmonic slurs, etc.), just like anything, can be a bad thing.
I tried the Claude Gordon Systematic Approach Lesson One–you basically start with long tones descending from middle C on the staff down to pedal C (or as far as you can go, even below that) holding each out for as long as you can with one breath. Then you rest at least 15 minutes, then do the same thing but ascending from where you left off (pedal C or below) up as high as you can possibly go…
It was not a good experience…as you could imagine, it was incredibly boring and painful–you are supposed to crescendo until the pitch cuts off and your lungs are empty and you start to shake…on every note…
But I gave it a try as many great players have said it works. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me and it seemed to set me back a bit, actually.
In my opinion, part of the problem with Gordon’s Lesson One is that the instructions are to crescendo and “blow stronger” as you ascend. While good air is crucial, this led to my overblowing above the staff. I have been thinking about giving it another go, although not exactly following all the instructions verbatim, but instead using good air / air support, but playing a comfortable dynamic, not trying to crescendo–at least not at first.
I too have found / felt long tones help me zero in on a good tone, a good “Shape” and finding the optimum spot of the note where maximum resonance lies.
I’m going to give the Walter White long tones a try this week and I’ll let you know how it goes–I think it will be good for me.