Any tips/general rules to follow for consistency?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Zalu617, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. Zalu617

    Zalu617 New Friend

    Jul 28, 2009
    Puyallup, WA
    Ok, so I had a teacher for a few months & we did a full mouthpiece placement swap (started with almost all bottom lip, switched to more top than bottom.) & for a while everything was going great - much better tone, more consistent, etc. only problem was my range went down a lot, but that's expected when making such a drastic change. But since he disappeared, my consistency has gone straight down the drain. One day i'll be playing with my usual range & usual tone, the next i'll play with the same range but as I hit a C in the staff, my tone gets really fuzzy. I've followed the same warmup & everything I did with the teacher, but it's not the same. Any ways to improve consistency?
  2. Sofus

    Sofus Forte User

    Jul 26, 2008
    Sad that your teacher disappeared!
    I think you should get a new one quickly.
    This can be seen as getting a new start
    with input from a new source of knowledge!
    Many players change teachers after a few
    years, and although this happend very early
    for you, it can still be turned into somethig

    I don´t think anyone is inclined to give you
    advice over the forum. We can´t se or hear
    what you do. The only resonable advice to
    give you would be that if you had something
    working well for you before, go back to that
    while you search for a new teacher!
    You really need one!
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2009
  3. trumpetnick

    trumpetnick Fortissimo User

    Nov 16, 2005
    Vidin, Bulgaria

    If your consistency changed you must have changed something as well. Question yourself and your routines. You may have become less disciplined than you were with your teacher present. You may consider this just as a problem of semantics, but there is an essential difference between DAILY ROUTINE and WARM-UP. There is a discussion whether a warm-up is really necessary, but as far as I know nobody questions the necessity of a good daily routine. Your report makes me think that you are not ready to develop (and even maintain what you've got) without regular lessons. So the best for you after all is to get a new teacher.
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Don't waste any more time find a new teacher, you might be practicing everything your old teacher gave you , but you may be doing something different physically with your embouchure without you realizing it. Like everyone else has said ,it's impossible to tell you the right things to do without seeing and hearing you in person.
  5. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    I agree with all the above. Do you have a good teacher you can go to?
  6. Zalu617

    Zalu617 New Friend

    Jul 28, 2009
    Puyallup, WA
    I actually don't, I assumed the teacher would call or something but never did, and I just never got back around to looking for another one.
    But ChaseFan gave me a link to some really useful information:

    Go down near the bottom and compare embouchures number 3 & 4.
    4 is my "natural" embouchure and 3A is the one I was switching to.
    So the next questions would be: was he wrong in trying to switch me from an upstream player to downstream? Should I switch back to my "natural" or keep trying to change?
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
  7. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    Switching embouchures is always a risky business -- much depends on how long you've been using your "natural" embouchure, as well as whether it was a limiting factor or not. I've met some teachers over the years who felt that there was really only one ideal embouchure and would work to change any embouchure they saw which was different from their ideal. Personally, in my private teaching I always try not to change a person's embouchure if they come to me already well established in their playing because there's no way to know until the process is complete whether it will help or not. Instead I try to work with what the player has going for him/her and then offer insights as to how they can improve their playing with the "equipment" they have.

    The best advice is to find a new teacher as the others have said, but in the absence of that, you might try playing the same passages (one lyrical, one technical) with your new embouchure and also with your original embouchure and see which gives you the best tone, most accurate intonation, and is most comfortable and easy to play.

    One thing you might try until you find a new teacher -- form your lips together as if saying "Hmm" and then blow lightly with a "P" attack (no tongue) and work with that to get a nice air flow. Then lightly place your mouthpiece where it's most comfortable and repeat the procedure. Then blow slightly harder to make your lips buzz with the "P" attack and adjust your mouthpiece as you need in order to make this the easiest possible.

    Next, back to the "Hmm . . . P(blow)" -- take your tuning slide out of the instrument (or use a spare leadpipe if you have one) and as soon as you have begun to blow with a very soft air stream, slowly slide the leadpipe onto the mouthpiece and notice that the lips will begin to buzz on their own. You may need to experiment with this a few times and be careful not to hit the mouthpiece with the leadpipe -- you should notice your lips start to buzz even before the mouthpiece is all the way into the receiver, if you've got things set properly.

    However your mouthpiece is set on your lips to accomplish that is most likely your best embouchure and what you should work with from that point onward.

    Was your teacher wrong to try to switch your embouchure so drastically? In my opinion, yes. For every "ideal" or "proper" way to play, whether it's not puffing out the cheeks or placing the mouthpiece dead-center on the lips, or upstream/downstream playing, it makes no difference -- for every such "this is the best way" instruction you find, you can find a number of players doing the opposite and quite likely making a lot more money from their trumpet playing than whatever teacher is telling you not to do that.

    Without actually seeing you, hearing you, it's impossible to tell whether you should go back or keep trying to change. Only an on-the-spot, experienced trumpet teacher could accurately answer that. And even then, since we can't be cloned and have one of us follow one procedure and one of us follow the other procedure and then be compared in a year or 6 months, there's no way to know what's really the best.

    Good luck to you in your quest to find a good teacher -- and remember that just because a trumpet player is a good (or even great) trumpet player, that doesn't mean that he or she is a good teacher, and also remember the converse -- that many who are great teachers aren't necessarily great players.
  8. Zalu617

    Zalu617 New Friend

    Jul 28, 2009
    Puyallup, WA
    Alright, so after trying that i've noticed a few things.
    1. My new embouchure takes a considerably larger amount of air to hit the same note, regardless of tone. I can use the same amount of air & hit that note at a new dynamic level.
    2. My old embouchure gives me access to my full range (G below staff - C above staff) without moving around on the mouthpiece while my new one requires me to move up to almost the middle after a G in the staff.
    3. As for comfortablity, both are comfortable while just having my mouth placed on the mouthpiece and for ease of playing - definately the old one.
  9. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Do yourself a big favor, find a new teacher.
  10. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    If you are a natural upstream player ,then I would go back to that way , very rarely does a switch from up to down ,or down to upstream ever work, there are many different types of embouchure's out there and they all work for different players.

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