play double high C - click to see larger image)
is an embouchure clinician. For many years he was also a designer and
manufacturer of brass instruments. At age 73, he has sold the brass
instrument business and use his time teaching and giving clinics on
He started to play
trumpet at age thirteen. Although he studied with several famous
teachers, and dedicated himself laboriously to mastering the
by age thirty he still could not play a high C.
a lifetime of research analyzing the physical elements necessary to
a "Super Power Embouchure." After much trial and error, by the age of
Jerome had developed his new embouchure. He published his findings in
in a book called Trumpet Yoga. In 1987, he made a video and a
book called Superchops.
Together with Baroque trumpet player, Robert
Civiletti, he published a 3rd book in the Autumn of 2002.
In this recent book, Trumpet Secrets,
has developed what he now calls the Tongue-Controlled-Embouchure
(TCE). In the foreword, he says:
"The purpose of
this book is to provide insight
into a method that can overcome all the physical obstacles of playing
trumpet and all other brass instruments. Many of my ideas are not new
have been used by the greatest players for more than three hundred
March 13 - 2004, three trumpet players and one euphonium player from Norway, drove down to Aarhus
in Denmark to meet Jerome Callet. He was invited by the Danish
Music Union (DMU) to give clinics in Copenhagen and Aarhus. Some of us
tried to get into one of these clinics, but DMU would only accept
players. But we managed to get private lessons with him in Aarhus.
first wanted us to do what he calls
”spit-buzzing”. In his book, Trumpet Secrets it is described like
imagine spitting a hair off the top of
the tongue but the hair never leaves the tongue.
Then we were
asked to transfer this into our instruments. None of us managed to do
it with any success. Some had too little opening between the teeth,
others did not spit like we should, but only ”hoo’ed” air through the
horn. Or, it was too much buzzing sound and not a true spit-buzz,
resulting in low compression. Callet emphasize the use spit-buzz
- it is a "door opener" into TCE.
A problem with
a text description of such a technique (spit-buzz), is that you have no
sound or visual information. We all heard that none of us could do it
like Callet. Some had already bought his book and had been trying
on their own, but with little success. This show that the book alone is
not enough to really understand how TCE work.
pedal C - click to see
in the days of natural horns, players used to specialize in high or low
register playing. The low players used an embouchure called Einsetzen (setting
in) and the high note players used Ansetzen (setting on, setting
against.) In the Romantic era when valve instrument was invented,
hornplayers had to master both embouchures and this new "full range"
made those old techniques obsolete. About
Einsetzen and Ansetzen, Callet said this in an interview:
My greatest playing revelation came to
me one day, October 13th 1970, when I was able to combine the old
French Horn embouchure of Einsetzen and Ansetzen. After 45 minutes of
pedal tones, I was able to play from double pedal C to double high
This was done with very light mouthpiece pressure on my lips.
He showed us how
he start on a double pedal C and then slide up to double high C (5
octaves) - and down again. When playing the pedal tone, he uses
the same method as the "low horn players" used in the old
days, Einsetzen. He places the rim
against a very rolled out lower lip, most of the
mouthpiece cover the upper lip (see photo above).
The lips moves forward and feels thick through the whole register
C – double high C). When he get into the normal register the placement
of the mouthpiece is more 50 / 50 (see top photo). But, the lips
are not rolled in and the upper lip has a rolled out position.
If you set for
middle C, you should use Ansetzen.
The rim is placed on the upper lip and gently moved up, dragging the
upper lip up a little and keeping it rolled out. By this,
the red, softer inner tissue of the
lip take more part in the vibration
and create a better focus for the tone. When the tongue is moved
forward between the lips (in the high register), a strong compression
is created. The tongue is wide and thick against the inside of the
lips. For this to work, the opening between the teeth (molars) must
always be good. In Trumpet
is described with an opening from 12 to 16 millimeters.
Use of the air
higher in the register one play, the less air one need. What is needed
is a strong compression of the air.
This is what the active forward tongue help achieve. The tongue take
part in the vibration and function as a "wedge" between the lips. By
the stomach muscles one get good support for the compression. In his
book this is discussed under part 2 of the 5 Secrets.
among professional players there is a tendency of ”overblowing” - by
using too much air instead of compression. This destroy the lips
ability to resist the air and vibrate freely - the result is more
mouthpiece pressure and then loss of endurance and range.
greatest challenge in TCE is perhaps to hold back. If one blow too hard
or press and squeez the lips together in the high register, the sound
cuts off. One must develop this balance (between compressed air and
lip/tongue resistance) methodically and only ascend slowly in the
register, keeping a good opening between the teeth all the time.
chin - click to see larger
Some of us who have been using the method that Farkas and others
teach, with a flat chin, got into trouble when trying to do TCE. It was
two opposing forces fighting each other. To get a more relaxed and
bunched chin, Callet put his hand on the chin and moved it upwards (see
opened up the sound and made higher pitches easier to play.
Mouthpiece, medium size, shallow
and well "balanced"
The playing technique
that Callet has discovered, does not favor big mouthpieces. On his many
travels around the world, he checks all mouthpieces he finds. First he
simply put his finger into the cup and feel how it is. If he find
anything of interest, he then checks it more thorough. A while ago, he
discovered such a mouthpiece. According to Callet this is a
Rediscovering an old technique
Callet got an email just before leaving for Denmark. In this mail
was a quote from a letter Herbert
L. Clarke wrote to Fred Elias in
1940. Here, Clarke says that he used his tongue as it is described in Trumpet Secrets. It happened while
Clarke was soloist with the Sousa Band, and he used it when he was
tired but still had to play a solo. Clarke call it a ”stunt”, and this
is perhaps the reason why he never mentioned it in his books? Clarke
says in the letter:
have often reached two octaves above "G" in the top space of the
scale...Sometimes higher. This takes no strength, power nor
strain. It is so simple that one is astounded at the results.
Callet was very
excited to get this knowledge. He had found other evidence that this
use of the tongue had been practiced in earlier times. Jules Levy used
it, and described it in his book from 1895. Callet look at his own
contribution mainly as a rediscovery of
an old technique.
2004 - Great thanks to Erik
and Torben Bonde for helping to get a room in Aarhus for our lessons with