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Brass Tax Patrick Gundry-White Brass tax: the musically and physically painful consequences of unintelligent breathing. Ten years after beginning my studies at the Royal Academy of Music I began training with Don Burton in Cumbria to become an Alexander Teacher. I have sometimes wished I could have done it the other way around, but looking back now, I see that it couldn’t have been any other way. Many moments from both periods of study have taken on greater significance, influencing my approach to working with brass players nearer the beginning than the end of their playing life. I am still gaining insights into what my horn teacher; Derek Taylor had tried to impart to me in my earlier training. One of his phrases was ‘Minimum effort with maximum effect’. I liked the idea at the time, but I didn’t have a clue how to put it into practice. A few times it happened inadvertently. For a couple of days at a time I experienced total ease at the horn and couldn’t play a wrong note. These times...