Airy Tone by Older Beginner

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by glennled, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. glennled

    glennled New Friend

    Jul 26, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Wow, I'm impressed! First, that you've been able to adjust; second, that's it done consciously, with awareness and intent; and third, that you are able to express it to others. (Why not become a tutor?)

    BTW, what is your age, please, and how long have you played? Did you overcome an airy tone? Did you ever have any orthodonitics work done? ever wear a Herbst appliance?

    My student has quite even teeth and normal-looking lips--until he buzzes! Instinctively, he keeps wanting to move the mouthpiece on his mouth, up, down, sideways, or adjust the angle of the horn to his face by tilting his head or dropping the bell, always looking for the "sweet spot" where the buzz and tone are solid. He just can't seem to find it. Maybe it has to do with that little triangular "button" that pops out whenever he buzzes.
  2. ExtraTeeth

    ExtraTeeth Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    Perth, Western Australia
    Thanks for the kind comments.
    I'm 54 and started playing at 30.
    From the description, it sounds like the 'button' on his lip is an unstable feature that he's trying to pin down by moving the horn around. A move to a more puckered embouchure may help stabilise it. It seems counter intuitive and I would normally be loathe to suggest radical changes to a player's embouchure but as he's struggled for so long it may be worth a try.
    I still don't have a great range. Solid high c in a concert situation maybe d on a good day but I'm not in a position to practice many hours a day.
  3. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    To round off this situation as I see it:
    1) practicing 4 times week is enough to get a clear tone
    2) practically ANY embouchure will allow for a clear tone in some register
    3) airy tone around the top of the staff does indicate that the problem is embouchure strength preventing the lips from maintaining a small aperature.
    4) check the daily practice routine - does he play till he drops? When relativily new, it is easy to beat yourself up.

    The short term solution is probably to use pressure. The long term solution is to build chop strength with long tones and lipslurs. The pencil exercize could be of help on the days that your student can't practice.

    With student problems like this, I start with the circle of breath that I have posted many times here. Inhale-exhale with no bump, pause or stress in between. Once the breathing is round, we switch to inhale-play the same way - no tonguing - just exhale through the lips. If on those "circle" long tones, the sound is clear (usually is), we add the tongue very lightly, but positively at the apex of the circle: Everything still OK? (Usually yes). If not - back to the no tongue version.

    The idea is to establish a foundation of relaxed for all playing. The rest is most of the time simple diligence.

    If we went through EVERYTHING that could be wrong (blood pressure, level of hydration, medicines being taken.........), it would start a wave of cyberchondria for players that simply do not practice enough but need excuses.

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