With a career spanning seven decades with the Indianapolis, Pittsburgh and Chicago Symphonies, Arnold Jacobs has earned a reputation as a world-class performer. Equally significant are his teachings. During his career, thousands of students have passed through his studio. Finally, there is the definitive book on his career. Arnold Jacobs: Song and Wind is written by Mr. Jacobs' assistant, Brian Frederiksen, and edited by John Taylor. With a length of 296 pages, material comes from masterclasses, private interviews, previously published writings and contributions from his students and colleagues.
The Performer: Early Years, Curtis Institute, Indianapolis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Conductors, Other Performances, York Tuba
The Teacher: Physical Elements, Mental Elements, Performance, Instruments, The Jacobs Studio
Discography, Full Documentation
Song and Wind, Excerpted from Arnold Jacobs: 'Song and Wind', By Brian Frederiksen
One of Jacobs' most famous phrases is Song and Wind. During his lecture at the 1995 International Brassfest in Bloomington, Indiana, he explained:
"My approach to music is expressed as Song and Wind. This is very important to communicate a musical message to the audience. This approach is one of simplicity as the structure and function of the human being is very complex, but we function in a simple manner. When we bring it to the art form it becomes very simple. Song, to me, involves about 85 percent of the intellectual concentration of playing an instrument, based on what you want the audience to hear. You cannot get anywhere without wind. If you think of a car, the wheels will not turn without an energy source--the engine. Brass players must have a source of energy as there must be a vibrating column of air for the instrument to amplify and resonate. The musical engine is the vibration of the lips. However, the lips cannot vibrate without wind. When we combine Song and Wind, the musical message, song, is the principal element comprising 85 percent of the consciousness. The remaining 15 percent is the application of the breath, wind, to fuel the vibration of the lips."
Adolph Herseth puts it another way:
"You have to start with a very precise sense of how something should sound. Then, instinctively, you modify your lip and your breathing and the pressure of the horn to obtain that sound."