Advice Needed, please help!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by zappamusic2010, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. zappamusic2010

    zappamusic2010 Pianissimo User

    Oct 4, 2010
    Hi folks

    I'll tell you a short story to put this into context ... I am originally a euphonium player - have been for 20 years and played in some of the top brass bands in the UK and the world. However, i'm sick of this style of music and have more or less packed it in!

    I have converted to trumpet, I have my own soul band, have been doing some big band work and pit work.

    I'm struggling with range but the more regularly I play, the better it gets which it obviously will ... But not by much. Also stamina is an issue. I do play with quite a lot of pressure. I played with a lot of pressure on the euph and my lip was like a rock (never went after hours of playing)

    My question is are there any other people who have had a similar change to trumpet or play on a variety of instruments and any advice on maybe what mouthpiece to use (currently VB 7C), should I reset my playing style to reduce pressure and/or ANY OTHER HINTS OR TIPS WOULD BE GRATEFULLY RECEIVED!

    Many Thanks!
  2. Mamba21500

    Mamba21500 Piano User

    Feb 26, 2009
    any change in instrumeent like that will take a while to get used to. The best thing you can do is be patient. Slowly ease off the pressure over time, and as you do so your range and stamina will improve too. lots of quiet playing, long tones and lip slurs will help you on the way.
  3. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Have a read of this and see how you go ...

    David G. Monette Corporation

    .... IMO the mouthpieces aren't bad either - but the concepts are gold.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    A lot of things are different with the euphonium and trumpet embouchures. I can only recommend taking lessons from someone who is successful playing the type of music that you do. DIY can work, but often requires TONS more frrort.
  5. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    One thing that you should have going for you is good breath support. With the trumpet, you just can't let the air out as fast! I suggest looking at Claude Gordon's Systematic Approach and Leon Merian's Trumpet Isometrics. Plus, a good teacher couldn't hurt!
  6. Glennx

    Glennx Pianissimo User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Hi Zappa, and welcome aboard.

    >> ...are there any other people who have had a similar change to trumpet...?

    Not too many of us on TM. I started trumpet in high school, entered university on it in 1st year, then switched to bass trombone - but haven't played anything in over 15 years. I'm now 55, returned to trumpet 15 months ago, and practice 60-90 minutes/night. My playing's really starting to take off, and I'm having a blast playing in several community bands and a swing big band. I don't currently have a teacher (but used to be one) but neither have I forgotten anything my excellent teachers taught me years ago. My thoughts on your questions:

    >> ...any advice on what mouthpiece to use

    IMO what Severinson & Lindemann have said makes a great deal of sense: play the smallest mouthpiece that gives you the sound you want while allowing you to do all that you need to do. Or: select your equipment by what the playing demands, instead of the other way 'round. Once you find the size that works best for you, go with something that feels comfortable. And Rowuk & others here are right: it takes several months to really get used to a different mouthpiece and fully assess whether it's right for you

    >> ...should I reset my playing style to reduce pressure

    Again, citing Vizzutti and others, it's all about efficiency. Ideally one wants to optimize all the elements involved in playing...and constant excess pressure doesn't sound like efficiency. Perhaps low brass players can get away with using more pressure, but trumpet and french horn are far less forgiving. Reducing pressure can be done, and everything in optimized balance is worth striving for.

    BTW, I don't personally think there's all that much difference in the foundation of low & high brass embouchures; but the the trumpet embouchure has the action taking place in a much smaller space in a far more focused manner.


    The usual: (1) much intelligent practice; (2) more patience; (3) the long view, as far as progress is concerned; (4) a constant feedback loop; (5) hearing in your head the sound you want to produce; and (6) a burning desire to be the best you can possibly be.

    All the best!
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2010
  7. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA
    I started on trombone when I was 11 and played low brass until I was 30. I first started attempting to double on cornet in college but struggled for years with range and endurance.

    My first cornet/trumpet/flugelhorn mouthpieces were the largest ones I could find, because those were the only ones I could tell had a cup on my chops. Anything smaller felt like a nickel with a throat. I started with a set of Schilke 24's, then downsized to Bach 1's, then Bach 1C's, and then jumped to Bach 3C's at the encouragement of a teacher. This progression took five or six years. I've since remained in the neighborhood of the 3C rim size, though I've safaried through other brands and have mainly played Reeves mouthpieces for the past few years.

    My playing really started to progress when I started rolling my lips in when I formed my embouchure. Prior to this I used the same embouchure setting as I did for trombone, and the trumpet mouthpiece rim rested on the red of my lips. Initially the rolled-in embouchure was an alternate embouchure of limited use: I could play a high C with very little effort, but could only play down to the G on top of the staff. To play lower I had to revert to my rolled-out embouchure, and once I had played rolled out for a few minutes the rolled-in embouchure didn't work anymore. I stuck with it though, and the more I played the rolled-in embouchure the more reliable it became.

    I gradually developed an "in-between" setting that expanded my range down without losing much off the top end, and that's been my basic embouchure since. When Jeff Smiley's "Balanced Embouchure" book came out I bought a copy and recognized a lot of my own journey in the text. Not that I had gone through every step of his methodology independently, but I was certainly comfortable with the "roll in" and "roll out" concepts.
  8. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    While presently due to dental and health issues I'm presently not playing any brass instrument, I've the ability to play them all from piccolo trumpet down to Sousaphone and I've had a special favoritism to the euphonium.

    What mouthpieces I've used, I won't suggest. I do take the perspective that a good player can make any mouthpiece work. How well one likes a mouthpiece for their repertoire is a personal issue. I will say that I use the same mpc for piccolo trumpet and cornet and another duo of the same for trombone and euphonium, and a third duo for tuba and Sousaphone. The only mouthpieces I'm locked into are those for French horn and Mellophone.

    Yes, I've now approximately a dozen (or more) trumpet mouthpieces, and such isn't because I play(ed) them all. Other than those I regularly used, they were either given me, or I found them in good enough shape and priced low enough that I bought them as there are many others that needed them, and I re-sold them or gave them away.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  9. zappamusic2010

    zappamusic2010 Pianissimo User

    Oct 4, 2010
    Thanks Ed

    How do you find moving from instrument (small) to instrument (large)? Any advice on practicing and getting used to the trumpet (especially stamina and upper register). Certainly looking at a bigger cup I think 1C, 3C - then long notes, lip flexibilties and gradually reducing pressure over a period of time ... Any other suggestions?

    Many Thanks

    P.S. Thanks to all other users that have responded. REALLY helpful and plenty of food for thought!
  10. Bizsmom

    Bizsmom New Friend

    May 14, 2010
    North Georgia
    Hi...not too much advice to offer...just wanted to say that I too am primarily a euph player now playing trumpet. Started on trumpet back in Jr. High...but even then I jumped around to french horn, mellophone, and baritone. Took many, many years off and then back to playing euph about 5 years ago. Now, due to the instrumentation needs of the church orchestra I play in, I have batted around and am back to the top of the order and am playing trumpet once again. Loving it...but oh my, what a frustrating instrument it can be! Just wanted to say "Hi" and let you know that you are not alone! Good luck on the switch.

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