Accuracy Question?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Friggin' Nomad, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. Friggin' Nomad

    Friggin' Nomad New Friend

    May 1, 2011
    So, I have this problem with hitting notes sometimes. For instance, I'll be playing along in a song and everything is going great, and all of a sudden I just miss/chip/biff a note. My instructor says it's usually because I lose focus and I'm just not thinking. But sometimes even when I am completely focused this happens. And I've heard/seen it happen to other people too. So does anyone else have this problem where they are going along and just miss a note or two out of the blue. And how do you fix that; just play a whole bunch of articulation and tonguing exercises perfectly all day? Any input is appreciated.
  2. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    They're called clams, they happen to the best of us.

    With that said, working on endurance and 1 to 2 octive between notes range excercises may help minimize the time you spend at clam bakes.
  3. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
    Too much learning to play the songs you are doing in band.... not enough learning to play the trumpet.

    You learned the part you have to play, but maybe need more practice on a certain interval, slur, or scale/finger combination.
  4. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    I am not sure if this is your problem, but it might be a combination of tuning and buzzing accuracy. If my tuning is far out I find I don't hit the notes as automatically, but in tune it's fine. I did a lot of pitching practice just using the mouthpiece.

  5. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I usually hit clams when I am using too much tongue and not enough air. It's amazing how forceful an attack can be played with a light tongue and the right amout of air.
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think your instructor is right AND I think that you do not yet know what focus is. It is MUCH more than attention span.

    1) The most common problems is irregular breathing. We need to practice where and how to breathe as well as all of the other playing aspects. Many fine players do not practice phrasing. They only concentrate on the notes.
    2) Another common problem is crappy rhythm. If we are playing in an ensemble where the groove is not universal, small differences in timing can create uncertainty and a clam. It does not matter if the problem is our own playing or others in the group.
    3) Yet another issue is sleep and hydration. We are creatures of habit and any changes to our body can divert our "focus" from the music.
    4) You. As I mentioned above, we are creatures of habit. Anything that we have not repeated at least a thousand times is not a habit and requires even more focus. Younger players without a great deal of consistency have to work really hard to keep their bodies under control. Many laugh at really tall 7th graders because they appear clumsy. It is all part of the development cycle - longer for others, shorter for the rest.

    My recommendation is always the same. Get a daily routine designed to get the basics uniform - long tones, slurs, scales and easy tunes - EVERY DAY with the goal being perfection not conquering the task.

    Short term it is helpful to mark all phrases with breathing marks and then use them without exception.
  7. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

    May 2, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    Playing interval studies in the Arban book while using a metronome helps me a lot. I found that I was playing the intervals correctly in the Arban book , but was taking liberties with time. When you are playing music in time with others you can't allow time to be elastic and allow yourself time to set up to hit that note. Slow down the tempo to where you can play the intervals accurately in time. Speed up the tempo each time you get it right. When you master the studies in the Arban your accuracy will improve to a point that you no longer have to think so much about hitting the right note when playing music.
  8. Friggin' Nomad

    Friggin' Nomad New Friend

    May 1, 2011
    Thanks for all the input. I didn't know that missed notes had a name. Learn something new everyday.
  9. kingtrumpet

    kingtrumpet Utimate User

    Sep 20, 2009
    New York State USA
    my take on FOCUS is to start playing soft long notes. This will help with endurance also. start by a 2nd line G (in the staff G) and play as soft as possible, and hold the note each time as long as you can. They usually say (here at TM) to do that -- or more precisely work your way up to being able to do that for 20 minutes (breathing when you need to). I use other notes also, and that type of practice is usually attributed to Cat Anderson.
    The whole point in this post is that it will help your endurance, and you WILL REALLY have to be focused to play the note in tune.
    hope that helps.

    ps. it might take a few months to be able to play a "20 minute G" -- so don't get discourage -- but at least try to see if it helps.
  10. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    As Rowuk stated, there is much more to clamming, fracking, splee-yahing, splitting, or whatever you call it than you can shake a stick at.
    Bad timing - air flow and valve not in perfect sync.
    Not getting the valve down fast enough. You MUST push the valves down as quickly playing slowly as you do playing fast. Get those valves DOWN.
    Bad air flow - holding back on the note.
    Not hearing the note before you play it.
    Failure to understand where the note is in the phrase, even if you do hear it.
    Lack of a solid, dependable practice routine.
    And lack of focus -as explained by Rowuk.
    And just maybe a dirty horn or mouthpiece.
    All of the above and more.
    Practice scales - up and down at a tempo you can get them correct. Clarke Technical Studies and Chicowicz's Air Flow Studies can go along way assisting you - provided you put in all other proper practice techniques.
    Long tones can be very valuable, but they do not inscribe in your mind the air flow needed between various notes. Clarke, Chicowicz and other pedagogues understood this and wrote exercises to act as static long tones while movement between notes is also occurring.
    EVERYBODY - even the greatest of the greatest miss (clam) notes once in a while. Phil Smith says there is no rhyme or reason for them to occur. Sometimes they just happen and you cannot stop it from happening. The trick is to keep them few and really far between.
    Rich T.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011

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