Monday, November 9, 2009

Valerie Wells

Valerie Wells helps Jeff Smiley with the horn aspect of his Balanced Embouchure method. When I got in touch with him just a little less than a year ago, he gave me her contact info so I could buy his book from her and so that she would be there to answer questions about how BE works with the horn. 

Just like Jeff, she responds quickly to emails and is happy to answer questions. Periodically she has sent out group emails to the BE horn group with tips and updated exercises made appropriate for horn (Jeff plays trumpet).

Here in the past few weeks she's been getting a blog going as a way to stay in touch with BE horn players and to be a place where those interested in BE can get an idea of what it's about. She has a couple of good posts up now, one about her experience with BE and another about how it has helped others.

As I said in the post last week about Jeff's updated site, I find his approach to helping people learn music making to be very impressive. He understands we all come to music making with different bodies and minds, so there's information in the book covering a very wide range of issues. Very few folks are going to need every bit of the info, but whatever you do need for your particular situation is probably there.

A lot of music educators seem to operate on the principle that the student is an empty vessel needing only to be told the "correct" way of doing things. Jeff's approach begins with respect for the student as an individual, and an expectation that the student will be an active participant in figuring out what works best for him or her. 

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