Air problem in nose/throat

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by hoho, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. hoho

    hoho New Friend

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    Aug 18, 2009
    I have only been playing trumpet for about a month, with very little prior brass experience (a year of french horn in middle school). I think I am still trying to figure out proper form in the embouchure, playing high notes, but the problem I've noticed the most is with my air.

    I have noticed that when I try to play what I consider high (I struggle with a tuning C currently), I have a strange flow of air. While it seems I could be directing the air all through the horn, I get a strange rasping in the back of my throat and even sometimes can feel air "squeeking" in my nose. The back of my throat also feels very tense, and I feel pressure in my sinuses. I've noticed this wish notes as low as the G below tuning C. Can anyone tell me what the problem may be?

    I did google this, and the only answer I found was a clarinet player who had been raising their tongue too high. This may well be my problem, but I find that I naturally tend to have the tongue touching the roof of my mouth, and while I can force it down behind my teeth, I actually NEED it on the roof of my mouth in order to play higher than a G or so, depending on how I set my chops.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2009
  2. Bach219

    Bach219 Mezzo Piano User

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    OH
    Try to just relax. Playing tense like that does effect you as you know. Use you diaphragm area to push the air out, not your throat or upper body.If anything your upper body should be one of the most relaxed parts.


    With the low notes (Low C and below) try play like your saying OH (tongue should be low). With notes the middle register try play like your saying AH (tongue should be at middle). And lastly with the upper register try to play like your saying EE (tongue should be at the roof of your mouth).

    These help in that they put your tongue position where it needs to be for the note.

    Low notes= slow, steady stream of air.
    High notes=fast, steady stream of air.

    Air is of importance!:-)

    If you can, try getting a private teacher so they can help you one on one.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
  3. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

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    I agree with everything that Bach219 told you. However, no one here can absolutely diagnose your problem without seeing or hearing you. Get yourself a good competant private teacher and do what they tell you. By getting a good teacher you will only be helping yourself.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I will disagree with the "pushing with the abs" concept with beginners. That may work for some types of playing later, but early progress is MUCH faster with lower impact methods.

    My standard procedure is called the circle of breath and here:
    http://www.trumpetmaster.com/vb/f131/what-breath-support-46698.html
    is one of the hundred or so times that I have posted it.

    Hohos problem is simply due to lack of proper guidance by a qualified teacher, or not doing what the teacher says.

    The first couple of YEARS is as simple as inhale-exhale. Any additional tension causes the body to compensate elsewhere. THAT will stunt growth. I recommend just forgetting all this stuff about diaphragm and abs. They are generally factoids to the beginner - sound cool, but do not help understand what is wrong until a much later stage of playing.
     
  5. hoho

    hoho New Friend

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    Aug 18, 2009
    Thanks for all of the advice! As a guide, where would you say the different registers lie? As in, in what area should I be switching those vowel sounds? I have had private lessons with my section leader, and while he is no doubt a good player, he can't teach that well. I may try to get a few private lessons so that I don't keep building on bad habits.

    Rowuk, your low tension strategy sounds great. About how high is one capable of playing using this method alone? Also, if you do not believe support with the abs is required, how do you teach to play higher? Is it just more tension with the lips, faster air, or what?
     
  6. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

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    Many good advice have been given already,
    and I´d just like to add one or two:

    You have only been playing for a month, and
    chasing high notes is NOT what you should do!
    Instead you should get a good daily routine with
    long tones to begin with, then add exercises with
    slurs and tonguing.

    * Look at rowuk´s breathing material.
    * Do inhale-exhale like he says, nothing more.
    * The diaphragm is an INHALE muscle, and
    nothing at all to think about now.
    * Get a teacher!!
     
  7. hoho

    hoho New Friend

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    Aug 18, 2009
    Oh, I'm not trying to chase high notes... I don't think. It's not my mission to have a Double C in a month or anything like that. But I am anxious to get a reasonable range because I need to play pep tunes. I think the highest that I need to play is just a G above the staff. Is there more to rowuks breathing material than he linked me to already?

    I'll try to get that teacher, but I already am in marching band and take piano lessons once a week. I think I could talk my parents into a few lessons, as I'm sure it would do me wonders. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2009
  8. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

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    THE WAY TO GO, MY FRIEND!!:thumbsup:
     
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Forget about vowels at your stage. Learn to blow. Once the breathing is reasonable, the rest falls into place. The problem with all of the stuff talked about at TM is that it all needs to be synchronized. Lip compression, breathing, tongue, brain, ears all need to grow and learn to work together. Focusing on the factoids will not result in a complementary growth of everything necessary. (relaxed) Breathing is THE NUMBER ONE prerequisite for wind instruments.
    I haven't worked specifically on range in a year or two and relaxed still produces a usable double C. So at least that................

    I teach playing higher by playing smart. That means increasing musical capacity faster than range. No brains, no useful high notes. There are plenty of stupid high notes flying around the trumpet world. Long tones slurs are about 50% of playing high, breathing is the other half. Pressure and tension are evil in my opinion. I only play lead occasionally so I do sometimes use more pressure than I advertise here. The highest baroque stuff works VERY well though. Low impact on the face, high impact on the audience!

    I have to admit that I really don't care much about notes above high D or E. Unless you are the lead player in a good big band, there is just too little to do up there. I only have an hour or 2 a day so I work on the stuff that REALLY counts - making my audience jump for joy, cry or get moved in ways they never before have experienced.
     
  10. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

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    That sooo universally true. I remember my former teacher (former Principal with Munich Philharmonic) once said that 90% of the written music can be played if you have only High C. Some pieces may occasionally include a high D or E, but that's rather rare. Unless you wanna be a Maynard Ferguson or play those high range baroque concertos such as M. Haydn's or J.-S. Bach's Brandenburg #2. But will eventually come quite late in any trumpeter's development. So keep breathing in your trumpet as ROWUK suggest....and pick up a competent teacher.
     

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