PIVOT SYSTEM is a
scientific, practical, proven method of producing the utmost
in range, power, endurance and flexibility on the trumpet,
trombone and all other cupped-mouthpiece brass instruments.
This system, working on tried and tested principles,
first of all analyzes and diagnoses the physical equipment
of the player and then presents a specific, concrete set of
rules and procedures which enable the individual to utilize,
with the greatest possible efficiency, the lips, teeth,
gums, jaws, and general anatomy with which he is naturally
endowed. The study of the PIVOT SYSTEM
is absolutely essential
for all brass instrument performers because strict adherence
to a musical approach deprives the student of basic
mechanical necessities which are vital to his uninterrupted
improvement on the instrument.
Encyclopedia of the Pivot System, 1973 page XI.
following is an excerpt from an article by Dr. David Wilken
and will be linked for its entirety when available.)
It is important to reiterate
that the goal of the Pivot System is to allow the brass
student to work with his or her physical anatomy in the most
efficient manner possible. Where other popular brass methods
take a more rigid approach to brass playing, the Pivot
System utilizes an approach that is catered to each unique
It is this personalized
approach that may be responsible for more confusion and
misunderstanding about the Pivot System. Advice given to one
student may directly contradict with advice given to
another. Often times Reinhardt's instructions to a single
student would conflict with previous instructions according
to this student's level of development. This apparently
contradictory advice has caused many to unfairly dismiss the
The Three Primary
Although the Pivot System is
named after the embouchure motion Reinhardt referred to as a
"pivot" (to be discussed later in this article), the system
as a whole takes into account what Reinhardt called the
three primary playing factors. These are the entire
embouchure formation (including the lips, mouth corners,
cheeks, and entire facial area), the tongue and its
manipulation, and the breathing. The goal of the Pivot
System is to coordinate all three factors so that they
function properly as a synchronized unit. These three
playing factors will vary in importance according to the
stage of development of the student.
Where many methods place
primary importance on breathing, Reinhardt felt that
focusing on correcting playing faults by breathing alone was
to be likened to a woodwind player playing on a bad reed.
"If a very fine oboist selects an excellent instrument but
uses a defective reed, the results will suffer regardless of
whether his breathing is correct or incorrect. The same
holds true in brass playing!" (Reinhardt, Encyclopedia of
the Pivot System, page 6).
Here again is an example of
how Reinhardt's instructions often seemed contrary from
student to student. Where Reinhardt might suggest to one
student to focus on a particular aspect of breathing to the
other he would advise working on embouchure or tonguing.
This wasn't because his instruction was untested and in
flux, but because he recognized the stage of development for
each particular student and precisely understood the focus
necessary to achieve the most benefit for each student.