A few adult beginner questions on how to...

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by DiaxII, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

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    Thanks for the sound advice, however there is some contradiction in what you say if I understand you correctly. When you say "if you only practice for 30 minutes a day than all you'll be able to play is 30 minutes" isn't that an indication of how much one can play before he/she gets tired in a certain way?
    Also I don't know of any people playing woodwinds who can play professionally even with breaks for 8 hours (typical time for a professional musician in our country) and not to get tired. Aren't mouth muscles a form of human muscles after all?
    That's what my clarinet teacher told me and added that only good breath support could allow him to last 8 hours when his chops were already tired and he had to go through a 4 hour rehearsal after 4 hours of practice at home or vice versa. That was when he played professionally in a classical symphonic orchestra.

    If I've practiced woodwinds for no more than 1 to 1.5 hours a day I assume my limit is 1.5 hours until I start getting tired. That's what I could afford myself after work hours.
     
  2. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    There's no contradiction -- that's why I said that I gradually expect my students to practice more than 30 minutes a day. Like anything involving human muscles, they need to be developed slowly. Practicing 2 hours a day when one has been playing only a month will most likely not be a good thing.

    I didn't mean to imply that you wouldn't get tired -- anybody gets tired doing the same thing for 8 hours. But your clarinet teacher may be tired before the end of the 8 hours of playing, but he was able to do it because he learned how to do it, how to control his embouchure and breath support so that he could make it to the end of the gig or rehearsal or practice session still sounding good.

    You're correct that whatever amount of time you practice is usually your playing limit, however as time passes and we put ourselves into situations where we play more than we have practiced, all that extra playing time develops our muscles further, so that if you practice for 1.5 hours a day and then do 1.5 hour rehearsals regularly (even if not every day) you'll soon be able to play for 3 hours and still sound decent at the end.

    Muscles are, as you say, muscles. It makes no difference if we're lifting heavy bags of flour in a warehouse or typing for 8 hours at a computer or playing our instruments for 8 hours -- whatever set of muscles we are using will grow tired by the end of that time.

    That's why many professionals when preparing for an important solo will practice the solo such that they can play it three times through consecutively with no mistakes. That makes playing it once in the concert easy.
     
  3. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

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    Agreed!
     
  4. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

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    Can anyone please answer one more complex question (I'm sure I'll have more if you keep supporting me :) )?

    - What is the correlation between MP buzz range and the range one can produce on trumpet? If one wants to have 2.5 octaves range on trumpet does he need to produce 2.5 octaves buzz on the MP?

    - Is there such a thing as desirable MP buzz pitch for an open C? When one buzzes a fifth higher above open C on the MP and connects a trumpet will open G come out?
     
  5. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    You should ideally be able to buzz on your mouthpiece all the pitches which you want to play on the trumpet. The Stamp Warmups take the player through a range from pedal C up to high C on just the mouthpiece, and you're expected to match the pitch on the accompaniment CD.

    Part of the reason is to strengthen the working relationship between your breathing muscles and embouchure, and part of the reason is to work on your ear as the controlling aspect for intonation.

    So, yes, if you want to play a 2.5 octave range on the trumpet, you need to be able to buzz a 2.5 octave range on the mouthpiece. If you can't do it on just the mouthpiece, that means that when you to it on the trumpet, you'll be using excessive pressure on your lips to try to get those highest notes in your range, which isn't a good thing.
     
  6. kwgbright

    kwgbright New Friend

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  7. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

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    I just compared again the two mouthpieces I have and get different buzz results. Can you please comment?

    - Conn #4 trumpet mouthpiece (from early 60-s), looks like "round" cup to me: I can produce nice full tone on this one, vibration starts fairly easily regardless of my preparation. I can do "siren" buzz quite easily within my limited range. Feels very friendly.

    - Martin #1 cornet mouthpiece (from early 50-s), looks like "conical" cup to me: The vibration starts reluctantly, I have to 'prepare', to concentrate to start the buzz. The buzz is thin and these's lack of response, the "siren" range is more limited and the buzz quite easily collapses to air sound.
     
  8. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

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    There really isn't much to comment on, other than to point out that such differences are why there are so many mouthpiece makers and why each makes so many different variations in diameter, rim shape, rim thickness, cup depth, backbore shape, throat opening.

    For years I used a Bach 1C Megatone mouthpiece, which had been an improvement for me over the standard Bach 1C which I had used for years before that. Then I tried some mouthpieces at ITG back in May with my trumpet-playing son listening, along with the trumpet-playing staff at the places where I tried the mouthpieces, and I found that the Laskey 84B was a big improvement over the Bach 1C Megatone. So I bought the Laskey and have been playing it ever since, and through a fairly rigorous practice routine, spending as many hours each day as my self-employed instrument repairman and music teacher duties allow practicing, I have gotten my trumpet playing to a far better place than it has ever been in my life. Better/easier range, nicer tone, better dexterity. Then a couple of weeks ago my son left a couple of mouthpieces with me which he isn't using at all, the Sonare 3C which came with the C trumpet we recently bought him and a Yamaha 14B4 which came with the 8335LA he just recently bought (college is expensive -- college for trumpet players is even more exensive!). I tried them both out the other day, and while my tone remained nice and strong, my high range soared to where I actually got out my first-ever (I'm 57 and have been playing trumpet since I was 11) double-G.

    I discussed it with my son, who said, "Yeah, Dad, keep the Laskey 84 as your everyday workhorse mouthpiece and keep on building your range on that, and then use whichever of those other two mouthpieces does what you want/need best on any gigs you get." I was frankly astounded by the difference that switch made in my playing and it went against all I had been taught in college (and had assumed was true) about sticking with one single mouthpiece for all my playing. I know for a fact that my son has a better trumpet teacher than I did, and he has learned so very much more at his age than I knew at his age!

    So to bring this back to your pair of mouthpieces, the differences you notice are very real and may be quite the opposite for someone else using the same two mouthpieces. So stick with the one which gives you the best results and work with that, but don't rule out exploring new mouthpieces. If you go to a real brass store (Dillon's in New Jersey, ProWinds in Indiana, Rayburn's in Boston) they will let you play the mouthpieces before buying them so you can spend a day searching for a mouthpiece which suits you better. And don't feel that's the only mouthpiece you will ever play.

    Also don't fall into the trap of thinking that a mouthpiece will save you or vastly improve your playing. When I got the double-G last week, it was because I've already worked up to a fairly steady E, with nice forays up to F and F# occasionally on my C trumpet, which transpose to F#, G and G# on a Bb trumpet except that my Bb trumpet isn't as responsive as my C trumpet and so it's a bit more difficult to get them out on the Bb. It wasn't as if I could barely reach high C and suddenly popped out a double G. Mouthpieces are only a small part of a trumpet player's equipment and can only facilitate what your body can do.
     
  9. walldaja

    walldaja Pianissimo User

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    Congratulations on coming over from the dark side! Unlike woodwinds there is no automatic notes based on fingerings alone. When you buzz your mpc practice tightening your lip with clamping pressure (between the upper and lower lip) and try to make your buzz sound like a siren--raising and lowering the pitch. If you have access to a keyboard or tone generator practice matching the pitch of certain notes with your buzz. Once you can buzz on pitch just add the horn with the correct fingering and you may even be able to play the right note (even the best sometimes miss them because you have to have the lip tension, air speed, air volume, fingering, pitch in your head, and probably about 100 other things just right to get that perfect pitch (there may be some exaggeration here).
     
  10. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

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    "Dark side"... sounds funny :) but actually is true.

    Do you mean that there's direct correspondence between a note being buzzed on the MP and the note that I should expect to hear on the horn?

    For example, I buzz 'C' on the MP, connect the horn and I get the 'C' spot on?
    Ideally, should I buzz the note on the MP alone, then connect the horn, finger that note and play it?

    Edit: I just realized that since the trumpet is a tranposing instrument I have to account for that: when I buzz Bb below first ledger line and connect the trumpet I should finger C and hear Bb on the trumpet of course.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009

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