a few quick questions

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Young Trumpeter, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. Young Trumpeter

    Young Trumpeter Pianissimo User

    Jun 10, 2006
    I'm in high school and while practicing i noticed a few things.

    1. when i do long tones sometimes what i do is hold a note as long as i can (usually from C below the staff to G above) and look at a tuner and just try to keep the note in tune. what i noticed is that i can do this from C to C and then when i get above that, especially on D and E, i'm extremely flat. i don't think it's that i'm tired because i dont take a break and once i get to F and G i'm fairly around the mark again. does anyone else experience this? how do i fix it?

    2. when i'm doing long tones and i tongue the tuner shows that i go out of tune (usually flat) for the split second i tongue and then i go back in tune. is this normal? and if it's not how do i fix it?

    3. how does it affect my practicing and development if i play soft as opposed to loud and vice versa? sometimes i notice that when i play soft for a while my lips start to strain, like i'm lifting weights (although i get that quite often when i practice). should i practice both soft and loud (although i'm expecting the general response to be about mf), or just one way?

    I know i had more questions but i forgot them....although i know i'll remember them five minutes after i post this.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. dwindham

    dwindham Pianissimo User

    Aug 6, 2006
    I can tell you D and E are typically flat notes on the trumpet. To fix you have to compensate and know to lip them up in tune. You can also try alternate fingerings but mostly it will probably be just lip :)
  3. trumpethack

    trumpethack Pianissimo User

    Jun 1, 2006
    I think that it's great that you are using a tuner. Might I suggest a better way of using it, that will get "better" results...

    don't play and watch the tuner the whole time, you are just learning to play with your eyes. The key to being a good musician is to use your ears. So set the tuner to play a note, usually refered to as a "drone". So when you are doing your C long tone set the tuner to sound a C and play with it trying to match the pitch exactly using your ear to tell you if you are on.

    ...And what you should really do, if you're a very diligent high school student... ;), is put the drone on the note you're on...sing the note, then play the note on your mouthpiece (preferably with a B.E.R.P.) , and then play it on your horn.

    Once you can do this comfortably start doing simple scale exercises the exact same way... drone on the root of the scale, sing, buzz, play...

    Hope this gives you some things to think about.

  4. averagejoe

    averagejoe Pianissimo User

    Oct 13, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Some suggestions:

    1. Give each longtone a defined length, and use a metronome. By giving each note a defined beginning, middle and end, you have established an inherent goal for your airstream, and you will be more apt to keep the air energized all the way through to the end. In general, we should never play in an arbitrary way -- each note should have an intent/purpose.

    2. Explore dynamics in your longtones. Use graded crescendo/decrescendos, test your extremes back to back (pp followed by subito ff), etc, etc...Experiment creatively to identify and work on your weaknesses.

    3. As already mentioned, don't keep your eyes peeled on the tuner. When you play in an ensemble, you don't want each note to peg the middle of a tuner all the time. For instance, if you play a D as part of a D-major chord, then yes, you want to be spot-on. However, if you are playing the D as part of a Bb-major chord, you want it to be on the low side (the third of a major chord rings true when it is 10-14 cents flat!). Use the metronome to spot-check yourself in practice. You want to develop your EARS as well.

    4. Rest as much as you play. Like any set of muscles, the embouchure needs to recover when you exercise it. Longtones are pretty strenuous isometric exercises. You should let them recover while you practice, and if they become fatigued, quit playing and come back later. If you consitently practice past the point of fatigue, you will do more harm than good in the long run.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2006
  5. Billy B

    Billy B Pianissimo User

    Nov 5, 2004
    Des Moines, IA
    Sometimes you can cure the flat d-e by adjusting the gap betwen the end of your mouthpiece and the lead pipe. Enlarge the gap by wrapping a piece of paper or tape around the shank of the mouthpiece so that the mouthpiece doesn't go in as far by about 1/8". Try it.
  6. trumpet blower88

    trumpet blower88 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 15, 2005
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Wouldn't that make all the other notes flat?

    All you'd be doing is making the leadpipe longer by 1/8'' wich would be the same as pulling your tuning slide out 1/16''
  7. PH

    PH Mezzo Piano User

    Dec 2, 2003
    Bloomington, Indiana
    Last edited: May 21, 2007
  8. Alex Yates

    Alex Yates Forte User

    Aug 11, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Whoa! Check out the big brain on PH! Exactamundo!

    If you're curious enough, you can measure the gap using a wood match and a felt tip pen. Put the match in the lead pipe and mark the stopping point. Do the same with the match and line it up with the insertion mark on your mouthpiece. The difference between the two is your gap.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2006

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