Advice from my instructor

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Hornlife98, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. Tjnaples

    Tjnaples Piano User

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    Hornlife98 comes in sincerely asking the community for input and has to put up with such high brow arrogance. Congrats on winning on the trumpet, your communication/life skills need lessons. Maybe some folks here don't take a stand here for this behavior, I'm not intimidated and I call a spade a spade. I'm actually quite delightful when people aren't arrogant, needing to be the smartest person on the room/thread.
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey guys,

    let's all chill out. The thread owner asked questions, got answers, went to his instructor and supposedly everything is fine, except for - it doesn't work.

    Now we start guesstimating what else it could be. Cool.

    TJ, I can't recall any time you have pointed out that Dave Monette said something opposite of what I said - unless it was a thread that I had long left due to 40 or more posts of "non-content". I am more than open to any qualified rebuttal. I also cannot recall ever decrying being a Monette owner.........

    To be honest, the thread owner has posted nothing that would cause me to believe anything differently than in my original post. Range stops at a specific note when we use too much pressure. Period. When our breathing and body use suck but we have pressure "under control", our range doesn't stop at a specific note, it just keeps getting thinner the higher we go. It is even possible to come up with a squeal embouchure that lets us make noise up to the stratosphere.

    In any case, why hasn't the teacher that sees this student regularly have a solution? I believe that I have the answer, but to be honest, the necessary information is already posted.

    I am not smart, I just have little interest in "fluff". In this case we even have additional BS now about "releasing tension in the upper register". Why have it at all in any register? Does anyone here think that tension is selective about when it occurs while playing? How do you release tension while you are playing? Another copy/paste analysis?

    Nope, the student in my opinion needs to take a serious look at his own playing based on what we have already posted, and if what he claims about his teacher is true, perhaps review that relationship.

    I will not go into the Arc method or any other specifics as my belief is that the problems start LONG BEFORE we have "methods". Without the foundation, no method works.

    As far as Bernoulli, it really doesn't apply to trumpet as most would think, as we are only feeding the standing wave, not whistling through the horn. The concept of "fast air" is a visualisation at best. If the air moving across the lips were only high speed pressure, it would blow the lips open and no sound could occur. Because our lips open and close like a switch to excite the standing wave, we have a monostable state between our "blowing pressure" and the backpressure of the horn. If the lips are free to vibrate open and closed, they do - up to very high notes! There of course is much more to this including "leakage" that we would suffocate without, but that is info for another thread.

    So, we can spend time discussing us or motivating the thread owner to come clean. There is a lot that has not been told. The peeling paint high D is a perfect example of that..........
     
  3. Hornlife98

    Hornlife98 Pianissimo User

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    "The peeling paint high D is a perfect example of that.........."

    Charge me with something. Do you think I use too much pressure?
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Hornlife,

    I have a specific attitude about the internet and people using it to ask for help. On free forums we have a completely different process than on paid forums. It is pretty much the same as asking someone for a favor or paying someone to do something. It is funny that on free forums, real help gets criticism as being holier than thou and unfriendly. What expectations did you have before posting here? How is someone who has seen this type of change repeatedly fail for the same reasons supposed to post?

    In your specific case, I detailed everything necessary for what I consider to be a necessary foundation. I have been teaching for almost 40 years now and I don't even start to talk about notes above the staff until breathing and body use are solid. The Circle of Breath that I have posted here at Trumpetmaster (too) many times goes into this in detail. The problems when trying the Circle of Breath are very easily described and can offer great insite into deeper issues. You didn't read the Circle of Breath, try it and report back what is different in your case. You just reported what you understood that your teacher said.

    I also described very clearly how range manifests itself when we use pressure. The ball is in your court. You post that you are getting lessons and your teacher says that everything is OK (except for releasing some tension). You also post:

    "I happen to play with my tongue resting at the bottom of my mouth, and I have a good high range and good tone, but my instructor and I are insistent that I adopt this method.
    I just can't get it. For now, my instructor says to keep the tip of my tongue in the aforementioned area, and he says perhaps I will begin to get it right subconsciously. "


    If you are still interested, read everything else that you have posted and then you tell us why you don't get it. Your instructor seems to be clear enough. Why are you insistent on this method before you have any proof that this can work for you?

    I told you why it is not working. I posted that is not the method (whether I agree with an arc or not). I stick by my analysis. I posted, if your range stops at a specific note, you are using too much pressure. A D above high C is not a "high" note. It is something that any decent player simply has. That D can be played with quite a bit of pressure by most players that invest more than 20-30 minutes per day. I have a 13 year old student in about an hour that "peels paint" with the G above high C and can still squeak out a double C after that. Pressure under control and good breathing habits are all that is necessary! If you had made the effort to read my post however, you would have described what happened beyond the D.

    So, what I have learned is that you are on transmit and not receive. That, over the internet added to not reading makes it really tough to zero in on anything but attitude. I will state one absolute truth: there is no silver bullet to success. There is not one single item missing that causes you not to "get it". There are many things that require you to look at the basics and fix them first. Then other things fall into place. No one here can, without hearing you live, tell you much of anything except perhaps what worked for them - with a completely different skill set.

    Why should I charge you with anything? I already gave you 90% of what most lesser experienced players need most. You didn't even take the time to think about it.

    Maybe one last question: success is measured in months and years not days and weeks. How long have you even been trying to arc?
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    I haven't waded through this whole thread, but it does cause me to reflect on my own playing, especially in regard to my upper register.

    I have a "peeling paint D" above 2nd ledger C, and for the most part I have that from the beginning of the gig to the end of the gig. Sadly, I don't have much past that, and never really have.

    I've messed with the anchor-tongue thing, and with that, I can produce notes up to and beyond 4th ledger G, however, it has never been particularly reliable, nor has it ever been very flexible in that it limits articulation.

    But here's the thing - I know that I have issues with my playing and my embouchure. It is not perfect, and I have always been limited due to the bad habits I learned early on and that have been a part of my playing for the 30+ years I've been at it.

    I use too much pressure, and I go through a cycle where I have to get back in the woodshed and go back to basics with long tones and articulation work to reduce pressure and regain the focus I need with less pressure.

    I'm ok with all of that though. At this point, I don't aspire to be a full-time player making my living touring with some band, and I've never really been the orchestral sort, which is beside the point that I don't have the necessary pedigree, even if I could play that well.

    So, even with these deficiencies, am I a terrible player? No. I have gigged regularly, for money, since I was 17, so I'm good enough, and that's enough for me.

    There are times I'd like to have an additional 4th or 5th of upper register ability, but it doesn't seem like it's in the cards, and I've never been able to take the kind of time off of gigging to really give it a good ol' college try. Maybe one day, but for now I'm content to practice how and what I do in order to be successful in my gigging endeavors. The lack of usable range above that "peeling paint D" has never seemed to hinder me too much, except for the fact that I've never been able to take a gig playing lead in a big band. I'm perfectly ok with that.

    I'm not sure how my ramble above ties to this thread except for to say that trumpet playing ain't all about your upper register, and there's plenty of enjoyment and gigging to be had that's well below high C, but you need to be able to do the rest of it (have good tone, accuracy, musical sense, ability to read, solid rhythm, etc) before you can, and those things are probably worth worrying about far more than range. With that in mind though, it's interesting to me that there are more threads related to extending or improving range than improving the fundamentals. Even more interesting is that if the fundamentals are worked diligently, range becomes less of a concern - it cleans up by itself to a certain extent when the basics are covered well.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Patrick,

    it was only a matter of time before this valuable lesson came up. You very much bring all of the posts together - why does someone "change" their embouchure, what that means and if it is all worth it. Your most important point for me however is the honesty with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and how it is possible to be "good enough" - which is always more than good enough. Thank you for the ramble that was not one!

     
  7. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Thanks - I appreciate that.

    My point was mainly to say to the original poster that they may be making much ado about nothing, or at least not something that's worth fretting about quite that much in the grand scheme of the playing opportunities that are out there. I'm proof that someone who has neither lead-player range, nor the ability to tear up an improvised solo, can still find plenty of work as a player. I do have limits with where I am currently - I can't in good conscience take a gig as a big band lead player, and I can't take a gig as a big band solo book player, and I can't take a gig in a jazz quartet or quintet. However, I've found plenty of work doing brass quintet, Latin Band, (I have on occasion played a bit of lead with that, but I really had to work at it) rock band, church work, and weddings. Isn't that really the point, to be able to have the general ability to do real playing?

    Speaking of that D, here it is at about 2:20 on this live vid from a gig early last month. :D (intonation was "fun" - it was about 55 degrees in the area we were playing. Not frigid, but enough that it made things a challenge between me and the sax player.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUcx-tGaScA

    Another one of a Motown medley we do.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99r6K89q9IA
     
  8. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    A more honest/complete first post could have looked like this:

    I am trying to increase my range and my instructor has recomended an Arc method. Arching my tongue is supposed to help but I don't get it. I have range to about a D, on some days I have an Eb, but it stops there. I practice about 30 minutes per day and have a mix of slurs, long tones and technical studies. I work on the arch thing about 5 minutes per day and get really frustrated. I know another player where this works really well. My teacher says that I am doing all the right things and that it just takes time.

    Have any of you been through this. Is there anything else that I can do to speed this up?


    With this we would know What, When, Why. This is a far superior place to start recommending things.

    My response would have had the same content and I am sure some of the other posts would have had different content.

    The issue is, we come on the internet, dump a bit of info and then wait for someone else to figure out what "doesn't work" means. If the answerers have not had any experience with this specific issue, a generic response that offers no path to sucess is usually what comes.

    The last thing that posters want to read is: get a teacher, high range is not important, or your basics suck. Well, statistically anyone posting a range question on the internet does have more or less serious body use and breathing issues, so it is only a case if the word SUCK is politically correct or not.

    Problem solving requires development of analysis skills, an open view of the issue and a willingness to jump over our own shadow. I personally find the PC police to be more in the way than promoting the solution loop.
     
  10. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

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    I have to say to trickg that I am in a similar boat, but not to the degree that I play for pay. I play plenty, but it is a matter of doing what I can to make good sound, not overplaying anyone else, make the ensemble better with what I do. I love the fact that at my age the range can still increase without me thinking about it terribly much, by putting the work in.
    I just can't verbalize the exact details of what's actually occuring with my entire body, it's just a motor memory that I know feels right. With this, passages that would have given me a lot of trouble are much more manageable.
    This is why some of these posts are so valuable, so be a grown up and learn from the ones with proven track records that aren't blowing smoke when they talk, ok?
     

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