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To develop a 6 octave range I believe a few basic principals must be followed in order to lay a solid foundation upon which extreme tones can consistently be performed.

  • Always use the same mouthpiece.  Swapping mouthpieces confuses the nerve ending around the lips therefore the ability to pitch can be impaired. To have security on a variety of mouthpieces each mouthpiece must be practiced on in equal amounts. Clearly there are some players who have a ‘gift’ if you can call it that and swapping mouthpieces has no effect on their performances. Bones Malone and James Morrison are two players who change instruments without detrimental effect on their playing come to mind.
  • I use middle F as the centre tone on the trombone and build out from there as demonstrated I the PDF file. By working both up and down in equal amounts the range can be the range can be securely developed without pain.  When working the exercises, at the point when a tone refuses to sound that’s the time to stop trying to push the range. Move onto something else to play and come back to the range building work tomorrow.
  • Play everyday!  How many times did I hear ‘I’ve practiced everyday except Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday’ to me everyday means 7/365. Even if only the warm up has been played the benefits of a daily play will be noticed within a month.
  • Always start your playing day with a careful warm up. Don’t go straight into a technical demanding piece. The more time you spend on warming up the longer your lip will last on the gig.
  • Use the least amount of pressure on your lips from the mouthpiece as possible. In other words the pressure from the mouthpiece should only be enough to create a seal to stop air escaping from the side of the mouthpiece.
  • Use the correct equipment for the type of playing you are going to do. This is one I feel a lot of people get very wrong.  There are hoards of players out there making medium bore trombone sounds, which is the sound they want to make, on a large bore instruments. A waste of both trombones and effort.       


Clive worked as a general brass teacher for Solihull Metropolitan Borough, for 33 years.  Although principally he was the trombone teacher he had to teach all brass instruments from beginner level to Grade 8.  There were times when his keyboard and bass guitar skills were called upon to give tuition to pupils in the County.

Clive ensemble training skill were also called upon which saw Clive conducting and training a variety of groups from the Senior Wind Band and Orchestra to Swing and Rock bands. Clive trained the Stourbridge Swing Band for 12 years during which time they won the open class at the National Concert Band Festival at the RNCM and toured USA. He continues his ensemble work as Director of  Walsall Symphony Orchestra.

Clive’s interest in improvisation led him to running and teaching a weekly Jazz Workshop at Cannon Hill Arts Centre in 1978. This was the first Jazz Workshop of its kind in England which caused dismay amongst some commentators as their opinion was that you can either play Jazz or not, if you haven’t got it you can’t be taught it!  With the support of Roger Siviter as a mentor the course proved these opinions wrong and was very successful. One of the students who moved on to become a leading exponent in the field of Jazz is Mark Nightingale.