Focal Point — A Centered Approach To Embouchure Development for Trombone by Rich Willey (PDF)


A long-time student of Dr. Donald S. Reinhardt, Rich has embedded Reinhardt principles into a logical series of beginning-of-your-playing-day warm ups and routines designed to build range and endurance while improving overall technique minus the boredom.

“Before Focal Point, I had never come across a book where the fundamental concept is so simple but the applications and impact on one’s playing is so multi-layered, deep and meaningful.” — Chris Gekker, trumpet professor, University of Maryland


Rich Willey has embedded Reinhardt principles into these beginning-of-your-playing-day warm ups and routines designed to build range and endurance while improving technique.

Customize your own daily routine out of this book’s six sections covering the essentials of modern brass playing. Set up your chops for success in as little as 30 minutes a day, or spend more time in this book daily if you wish.

This book:
[1] raises the “hub” or center of your range, and
[2] hones your essential brass playing skills.

Time-tested principles are laid out for you—just follow the plan and you steadily improve. For intermediate, advanced and professional players (not for beginners).

This book is fifty-eight pages that will revolutionize your playing.

When you order the PDF version of Focal Point — A Centered Approach To Embouchure Development for Trombone, you will be able to download it immediately after your order is processed.

“After years of studying and practicing Dr. Donald S. Reinhardt’s materials (since June 1978), and after teaching many trumpet and trombone students, I have devised routines to start out your practice day at one of four focal points—you choose the one that will comfortably raise the ‘hub’ (or center) of your range. These routines assure steady embouchure development and consistent improvement in your ability to handle modern brass playing demands.” — Rich Willey

Customer Comments

“This book is a must for all brass players.”
— Bill Gibson, Edwards/Getzen Artist/Clinician, Queen Mary II Queens Room Orchestra trombonist/bandleader

“Rich,I have been using Focal Point  for just 9 days, and my usable range is already higher by a third. Thanks!”
— George Winton, Johnson City, TN

“I’ve always been open to different schools of thought regarding methods with which to develop as a trumpet player and brass instrumentalist. With this philosophy as a basis, I’ve always encouraged my students to explore as many methods and ideologies as possible, but not “put all their eggs into one basket.” I have developed my own approach to playing by assimilating pieces of many methodologies: keeping the parts that work for me, and discarding those that do not.
Because of the many established brass playing methodologies already ingrained in the multitude of students that come to me for private lessons, I have made a point of exploring and understanding as many approaches to playing the trumpet as possible. I do this in an effort to expand upon the student’s current playing skills and to introduce them to my philosophies through a personalized avenue. In doing this, I of course do a certain amount of experimentation with these different methods. This gives me an educated reference point for my approach to teaching each individual student.
I have been aware of the teachings of Dr Donald S Reinhardt for years. I even own a copy of Reinhardt’s tome, The Encyclopedia of the Pivot System, which I have read in its entirety. I even had David Sheetz “type” me a number of years ago. I am a IIIA. 😉
A year ago, one of my students gave me a copy of Rich Willey’s book, Focal Point, A Centered Approach to Embouchure Development, and I started working out of it, coupled with the guidelines Reinhardt suggested for a typical IIIA player.
I was very impressed with my results from working out of Rich Willey’s book. I do a couple of his suggested exercises from the book two or three times a week when I start my playing sessions. It has made me an even more efficient player than I was. As I said in my book, Clinical Notes on Trumpet Playing, a student must understand there are other viewpoints to consider. With regard to gathering information, “it’s all good.”
I highly recommend Rich Willey’s book, Focal Point. If a student reads and understands all the text in Rich’s book, then the application of the exercises should prove to be very beneficial.”
— Roger Ingram, Jupiter Music Performing Artist

“Rich, I’m really having great results with your Focal Point  workouts! Although it took me a few days just to get enough chops to get through the entire routine, my endurance quickly returned and has substantially improved in only a week. A consistent, focused practice session is just what I need to maximize my limited practice time. Your thorough understanding of Doc’s principles is evident throughout. I can’t wait to get my copy of The Melody Lingers On  and also adding more of your Reinhardt publications to my library. Killer job, Rich!”
— Mark Curry,

“I had the pleasure of working with Rich on the editing (not the content) of his new book, Focal Point. Rich has once again delivered an insightful, benefits-oriented book that will help you raise your “hub.” The presentation is First Class and what we’ve all come to expect from Boptism Music.” — Nick Mondello, trumpeter

“So Rich, I gotta tell you, I’ve been practicing out of both the Focal Point  & The Reinhardt Routines  books for the past, month maybe, and I have to tell you I’m noticing some really GREAT results! I’ve always had a collapsing jaw; anytime I go above high D my bottom jaw just recedes back and it seems like my whole embouchure caves in. I’ve managed a decent range, but I’ve never been able to get any volume on those notes above E-flat. Tonight, I began playing and for some strange reason my bottom jaw was rock solid and didn’t move. Going to to high E’s, F’s & G’s it didn’t collapse and was just solid. My volume wasn’t astoundingly loud, but I’ve never felt this secure going into the upper register. I’m quickly becoming a believer.”
— Steve Beckner, trumpeter, Half Moon Bay, CA

“Thank you for shipping your books so fast. I have been using your books everyday since I got them and the results from using them (mostly working out of the Focal Point  book) are blowing my mind. After only a couple of days of working through the book everything in my playing has become more solid. My sound is now more focused and resonant, my articulation is more accurate, I have reached a level of control I thought would take me a couple more years to achieve, and my range is now so much more accessible. The first week a double C popped out I thought it was a fluke but it’s been three weeks and it just keeps getting more solid. For three weeks my trumpet teacher was out of town but when he got back he was very surprised by how much better I sounded in such a short amount of time. I apologize if I seem a little silly but I am just so blown away by what your book has done for my playing. I can’t wait to see how much my playing continues to improve in the next couple of months.”
— Leonard Matthew Gates, trumpeter

Focal Point  rocks! I can’t tell you how great it is working for me.”
— Pat Harbison, trumpeter

“This book is awesome! Real info from a real player. Rich, you have no idea how proud I am of you and the hard work that you’re putting into presenting THE TRUTH to the next generation of brass players. Again, four stars all the way!!!!!”
— Ray Vega, trumpeter

“A couple of days ago I received my copy of Rich Willey’s new book Focal Point.
“First let me say that the text in the book is worth double the sales price alone. Naturally as a Reinhardt student I’m familiar with most of it, but for anybody wanting to improve their playing mechanics, Rich has excellent information that will benefit even the most educated and experienced players.
“Things like correct buzzing, response, breathing, and the pitfalls of pedal tones as well as how to take a correct mouth corner inhalation without disturbing the aperture are covered.
“The whole premise of the book is that by gradually raising your starting notes of the day and essentially gearing most of your daily practice in that direction you can increase your playable range, response and endurance. He has this all written out with the different focal points or starting notes on each routine. Each drill can be started on either middle G, middle C, third space E or G on top of the staff without having to transpose. Rich has already done that for the player so that the player can focus on proper playing mechanics without being distracted with transposition.
“The book includes cantabile routines, single, double and triple tonguing drills as well as embouchure compression drills. There are also some excellent technical studies toward the back of the book that I plan to “shed” myself.
“This is a book that could only have been written by someone who personally spent many hours in the presence of the most successful brass teacher in history, Dr. Donald S Reinhardt.”
— Chris LaBarbera, trumpeter

“I’m lovin’ this “Focal Point”  work out, with summer here I’ve got some serious practice time and I’m hearing some very nice things happening to my chops. A good two hour routine from the book each day, followed by some extra from my favorite exercises (multiple tongue work in the high register is a big help!), just have to be careful of the SuperMan Syndrome!” — Dave Bacon, Trumpet, Jazz Studies Faculty, Grand Canyon University


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