Make a trifold mirror for your studio!

Most teachers have a mirror on their wall, so that their students can look at themselves when playing. But would you like to offer up a side view to your students? If so, you would need a trifold mirror. If you shop for one on the Internet, already made, you are looking at about $800-900. This is quite expensive! What about making your own? I’m not handy, but I tried. It worked! If I can make one, you can, too!

I already had a full-length mirror on my studio wall, so I didn’t need to buy that. I wanted to have two mirrors on either side of this mirror.

So, I bought two door mirrors from Target for $17 each. Then I bought two continuous hinges (1in. X 48in.) for $15 each. These come with very small (#4) screws. I also bought some #6 wood screws and some drywall anchors for these. The total cost to me was about $70. I already had the tools I needed: a drill, a 3/16in. drill bit, and a very small phillips head screw bit.

I screwed the hinges into the back of the mirrors (into a kind of tough cardboard). One hinge for each mirror. Then I propped up my mirror with some boxes, so that I could easily mark the wall for the pilot holes that I would drill. I drilled them, put in the plastic anchors, then put the mirror back on the boxes, so that they would be in the exact same place vertically. Then I screwed in the #6 screws (not the #4 screws that came with the mirror–these were too small). I took me about an hour and a half to make the whole project.

Take a look and see what the view is like with the trifold mirror!

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If we could only see what’s going on!

In the last couple of posts, I talk a lot about my concepts of articulation. These kinds of discussions usually get very subjective, opinionated and divisive. Why? Because we can’t actually see what’s going on. But what if we could?
We can with imaging techniques. Here are some X-ray video clips of a horn player and a trumpet player doing some slurs and various articulation things.

Here is recently-retired Met Orchestra principal, Peter Bond, playing for a similar type of video. To me, his tongue seems more controlled.

Nowadays, we can get better imaging from MRI videos. Here are some of those. Here is trumpeter, Matthias Bertsch, playing some similar things. The sound is not really linked in the way we need to compare what we hear to what is happening, but we can still see things. I notice a lot of extraneous movement in the tongue (all the way into the throat).

The same guy made another video with 3D motion analysis of the the movements of the tongue. First with vowels, then articulations and then slurs. I wish there could have been more sensors attached to the tongue to get a more-detailed view of the tongue movement.

To me, the best imaging video is of Berlin Philharmonic horn player, Sarah Willis. She also does a lot of “Horn Hangouts” that feature all kinds of horn players and other musicians. Here is her MRI video:

But I would recommend going to her post here, to get a full and jaw-dropping (see what I did there?) documentary on the process!


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