How to Prevent Color Blindness
The color blindness comes when we disregard other concepts as not worthy or instantly retreat into our likes and dislikes. In the name of discovery, it is best to 'turn down' that volume knob so it doesn't block other important observations. Even in teaching, it is good to observe how certain sounds are made looking at the physical, emotional and conceptual aspects of your student that would contribute to certain sounds.
I am sure you all noticed that I came in early for the last part of the Tuba Mirum solo demonstration. I realized when listening to it that my mind got preoccupied with a new sense of that line in feeling, color and nuance. The mic that I am using is the one on the computer. Very limiting. So, because I think these videos are a way to get some of my ideas out there, I am going to get some better equipment, like a good mic! So then, you will be able to better sense the different tone colors that I am talking about and am demonstrating.
Funny isn't it? Equipment is important but sound shouldn't start there. It needs to be discovered by hearing different trombonists and other instrumentalists. A very good friend of mine, a terrific tubist, educator and musician, Gary Ofenloch, used to kid me. Right before I would play a note, he would rattle off about 10 different qualities he would want in a sound, like: round, rich, clear, vibrant, ringing, full, deep, projected, big, sweet, centered. It is a fun and interesting thing to ask yourself - what kind of qualities do you want in your basic sound make-up? Some people like just nice, clear, fresh water. Others like a full bodied brew or stew filled with a certain balance of several ingredients.
Try the syllable exercise that is suggested on the video. Do it on a note that feels comfortable for you and make each syllable very distinct and a bit exaggerated. Then do it more subtly. You can get to a point where just the slightest introduction of one syllable can change how you produce a sound. See what happens!