Monday, June 8, 2015

How to Hold a Euphonium

The euphonium is a wonderful instrument to play for those with the aptitude. However, it can be challenging to hold it. Most players find that they need to develop enough upper-body strength to hold the instrument properly. Depending on the player's height, the euphonium may rest on the lap or be held in midair.

Step 1

Sit with good posture. Breathing must be unrestricted. Slumping and not sitting up straight will create a restriction in your lungs and affect the tone quality of the euphonium. Sit erect, but not too rigidly. Maintain relaxed shoulders and upper torso.

Step 2

Keep the fingers of the right hand on the valves at all times. Try to keep the pinky down to help develop increased finger independence. Many euphonium players let the pinky move all over the place while playing. This hampers the ability of the third finger to play comfortably and naturally, and creates added tension in the instrument. Concentrate on keeping your pinky in a relaxed and comfortable position against the crook.

Step 3

Place the thumb of your right hand underneath the crook of the instrument behind the valves. This crook will help you balance the euphonium, but the entire weight of the instrument should be distributed to your left hand. Your right hand must be free to play without restriction. The euphonium is a virtuoso instrument and capable of playing extremely quickly with proper technique.

Step 4

Place your left hand around the front of the euphonium. On most euphoniums there is a fourth valve on the right side. Your left arm and hand should reach around to play with your left index finger. Some coordination is required to get this right, so daily practice is essential.

Tips

Align your teeth by keeping your lower jaw slightly forward. This will help you to form a correct embouchure.

Some performers may wish to use an instrument stand or pillow to help support the instrument while performing. Some of the best players in the world do this.

Philips, Harvey: The Art of Tuba and Euphonium [http://www.amazon.com/Art-Tuba-Euphonium-Harvey-Phillips/dp/0874876826]