A really simple exercise that I can't seem to figure out: lip slurs

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Freaks, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Freaks

    Freaks New Friend

    May 24, 2009
    I'm really hoping to find some help here on this forum, because I can't seem to figure out how to play clean lip slurs. Especially a slur going up. Sure, I can PLAY them, but I always get the "Sliding" sound. You know: "Dah-fwee" as opposed to a nice clean "Dah-ee." I'm doing a lot of work to focus on my air stream, and one of my brass instructors a few weeks ago says whistling can help. Still to no avail can I do a simple C to E lip slur without sliding. Let alone anything higher than that.

    I have been playing trumpet for 6 years but I'm really trying to bring my playing to the next level,a nd now more than ever it seems for some reason I need to be able to lip slur cleanly. Any advice on how to work into seeing some results?
  2. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    How much time do you spend on lip slurs every day? Do a 15-minute chunk of lip slurs in the morning, and 15 minute chunk of them at night, and I would be surprised if you still had this problem after a few months.

    A random slurring tip - often, for big gaps, it helps to (very) lightly articulate the note you're slurring to. I mean say you're slurring from low C to 4th space E, it's nigh impossible to do without hitting any of the partials. But if you just very gently legato tongue the note you're slurring to it will sound great and clean and nobody will be the wiser if you do it properly.
  3. bagmangood

    bagmangood Forte User

    Try using more air, and also consciously moving up your tongue when slurring can help. Don't think about it too much - just hearing the notes is the most helpful thing I've seen
  4. bigtiny

    bigtiny Mezzo Forte User

    Aug 14, 2005
    Lip slurs are about air -- and it sounds like you understand that concept.

    Here are some suggestions for practicing lip slurs:

    -start simple - 1 interval up and down
    -practice the slurs SLOWLY!
    -at the beginning, tongue the two notes of the interval a couple of times, then start slurring. So, you're practicing first finger low Bb to F, tongue
    Bb - F, Bb -F, then slur Bb - F, etc etc. You don't want to practice them this way forever, but for the first week or so it helps to get the pitch and feel in your body before then adding the slurring component.
    -make sure and rest - these can be very tiring, especially when you first start

  5. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi Freaks,
    I'm guessing that you probably use a bit too much mouthpiece pressure when you do this. You might want to read Mouthpiece Pressure Assessment. and then watch Urban Agnas videos on "Flow"
    Find someone or a clip on the computer where you can "hear" what it suppose to sound like. Get the sound in your ears.
    Next, play bugle calls(Taps, Revelle, etc.) using the 7 valve positions.
    They are:
    Play bugle calls for each valve position.
    As you play low, the tongue should be at the bottom of the mouth. If you were to vocalize with your tongue in that position, you should be saying the sound of the letter A, "aaaaaaaa" as if saying "aaaaaah, that was a good meal"
    As you move a little higher, your tongue should lift a little to the sound of the letter E, "EEEEEEEE". "EEEEEEEE! a mouse!
    Good Luck
  6. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    When you use syllables such as taaa eee for slurring you're changing your tongue level which is a good thing. The trouble is in your air usage,if you push too much air when slurring from low to high you will get dah--fwee sound , so try practicing your slurs very soft.
  7. jim trpt1

    jim trpt1 Pianissimo User

    Aug 7, 2010
    greensboro nc
    Grab a Charles Colin Lip Flexilities book, play just the first few exercises, make them as clean as possible. do it twice a day for 15 minutes, it will have slurring clean in no time.
  8. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    Time once again for one of the more esoteric Vulgano Brother observations. When we play a note, the air column inside the instrument has defined and mathematically predictable areas of high pressure and no pressure. In physics these are known as nodes and anti-nodes. The higher the tone, the more of these nodes inside the instrument. With a horn of sufficient light weight, we can play a long tone we can gently run a finger around the leadpipe and/or bell and feel some of the vibrations. Change to a different harmonic and that place will move.

    Now for the esoteric part. Playing a long tone, we can shift our awareness to inside the trumpet, and imagine/feel a point of resistance somewhere inside the horn. I call these "magic bubbles." To slur up, we can "blow" this magic bubble further away, backing off will allow the magic bubble to return to its place closer to the mouthpiece.

    Our body will memorize the feel of these notes and nodes much more quiclky than the cognitive control of several variables can. Remember that the embouchure is (or should be, in the Zen Vulgano philosophy)formed in part by the note that it is playing.

    Experiment a bit, and have fun!
  9. Josh

    Josh New Friend

    Sep 28, 2009
    Sonora, CA
    Try doing lip-slurring exercises with alternate fingerings first- it helps you lock on to the feel of the moving notes and the correct partials. Then, when you can do that well, start to finger all of the partials the same. I think the best flexibility book I've seen is called "Flexus: Trumpet Calisthenics for the Modern Improviser" by Laurie Frink and John MacNeil. Consider getting it- it's great.
  10. The Kraken

    The Kraken Piano User

    Mar 28, 2007
    Gold Coast - 805
    Buccinator exercises by Leon Merrian are excellant for getting those muslces in good working order. Same concept as what has been discussed.

    He has book out called "Trumpet Isometrtics"

    He explains in great detail all the concepts of trumpet playing and how they should be done.

    Just another resource.

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