Band director (and myself) wants a darker sound out of me

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by RB-R37297, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. RB-R37297

    RB-R37297 Pianissimo User

    Mar 12, 2009
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    Ordinarily I would address these questions to my teacher, but the problem is that she's in New York for American Thanksgiving. I sort of wanted to get a little bit of background information on how to actually go about darkening up my sound so I have some idea of what to expect.
  2. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    You're missing my point. These things take time, so head start of a few days is irrelevant. Unless your teacher is gone for several weeks, relax and until you see her again, just play the way you play. WANTING your sound to change is half the battle, and you've got that. Fooling around with your basics with stuff from the internet (no offence to anyone in the thread) when you have a great resource close by (your teacher!) doesn't make any sense. You pay your teacher for a learn HER way! Too much information can just confuse the issue.
    dizforprez likes this.
  3. RB-R37297

    RB-R37297 Pianissimo User

    Mar 12, 2009
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    I'm really not on the ball today. I apologize. I generally try to limit how much stuff I actually put into practice based on the advice I receive from the internet, and if I am putting something into practice that I've only read about, then I always clarify anything that I think sounds decent or that I think could help me with my teacher first for exactly the reason you stated - I think it's bloody foolish to go charging off into uncharted territory alone when I have an excellent and very knowledgeable teacher at my disposal who practically has maps of everything I'm exploring. However, I don't think it hurts to gather information. When I was working a lot of impurities in my sound out of my playing (issues with the buzz and other weird hissing noises, which took months), I gathered quite a bit of information on my own, and then I consulted her. She pointed me in exactly the right direction, and I had no problem with throwing everything else out the window in order to comply with that. Some of what I found in my "research" helped me out. A lot of it I discarded. I have no problem with that. It's just the way I work.

    I definitely agree that, if unsupervised, too much information can cripple someone.
  4. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

    Mar 25, 2008
    You presently play with a Bach 3C and your sound is too bright.
    Try a Bach 3B mouthpiece which is slightly deeper.
    For $34 plus $7 shipping you will have a slightly darker sound while keeping the cup diameter and rim shape you are used to.

    Bach 3B Trumpet Mouthpiece

    Do NOT drop your jaw or screw up your embouchure in any other way in an attempt to get a dark sound.
    You will risk ruining your embouchure and hurting other aspects of your playing.

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Most of the time, this is a comment that comes for young players that are just too damn loud - especially in a range where they do not have enough control. The obnoxious sound in this case is just an underdeveloped sound concept!

    Your sound is governed primarily by your brain - and this is where we start. We do NOT start with hardware as it may make your sound darker, but does not fix the loud or control issues.

    If you were my student, your practice routine would be no louder than piano, you would get TONS of easy tunes (like out of a hymnbook) to develop style and learn to play and listen at the same time. This is all that is missing. An embouchure change will not "fix" your sound if your brain does not point it there. A bigger mouthpiece will make the nasty only thicker.

    Style and musical taste learning to listen will cure this problem in a very short time, everything else is merely a bandaid covering up cancer.

    Oh, one more thing, trumpets sticking out on recordings also means that they have their bells pointed ABOVE the stands at those times. Positioning the stands so our playing has a natural angle further downwards keeps the directional sound pattern of the trumpet from sticking out like that!
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2009
  6. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    Another potential issue is that the recording equipment used for many school concerts is horrible as far as accuracy to the tone which was in the room at the time. How did the band sound overall. Was everybody else producing a beautiful sound on the recording and just you were too bright? Or did the entire band seem a little top heavy in tone?

    I'd definitely suggest that you wait until your private teacher returns and address any concerns you have with her. Your tone may be fine, it may be the recording environment. Recorders are a lot like cameras -- too often concerts in schools are recorded using equipment which is a lot like a point-and-shoot snapshot camera. You can be looking at a gorgeous landscape and take a picture of it and all you notice in the picture are the damn phone and power lines which your brain filtered out while you stood there looking at the scenery. Recording equipment can do the same thing -- the concert may have sounded excellent with a darker tone than was captured on the recording. Professional recording studios use individual mikes for every instrument, and they don't necessarily use the same microphone to record a trumpet as they do to record a clarinet or flute or violin or tuba.

    So until your teacher's pair of ears and lifetime of experience return and have a chance to make suggestions, simply keep on practicing what she has asked you to practice, don't buy any new mouthpiece(s) yet or change anything.
  7. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003

    It would seem he is missing a good number of points on this thread!

    Perhaps we should all just tell him what he wants to hear.

    You really need a new mouthpiece, then drop your jaw while keeping those ab muscles tight, and don't forget to practice the pencil exercise every day! I am sure all that physical stuff while be a great fix to problem that is clearly a conceptual problem.
  8. ChaseFan

    ChaseFan Banned

    Mar 25, 2008
    Please explain what you mean.

    Are you referring to dropping the jaw so that the distance from the lower jaw to the upper jaw is increased?

    Or are you referring to tilting the front of the head downward so that the chin is closer to the chest?

    The former is bad, but the latter is good as long as it is not carried too far.
  9. RB-R37297

    RB-R37297 Pianissimo User

    Mar 12, 2009
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    He's being sarcastic because he thinks I can't handle criticism and that I'm fishing for information that only confirms what I already know. Ignore it.
  10. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    Too bad, the sarcasm doesn't really help.

    Posture is important. Do you stand (don't practice sitting for this) upright, your chest open, elbows away from your sides? Is your face at a right angle to the floor, so that there is no constriction in your throat? Are your feet apart and directly under the rest of you? The Monette website has a page: David G. Monette Corporation devoted to body position. Never mind that they are selling mouthpieces, the body position and posture stuff is very much a good idea.

    Don't be thinking about your jaw, or the rest of your face, but try to allow the air to flow from your middle without obstruction. Find the biggest room you can and play with your eyes closed, listening. Try to change the sound by relaxing, tension will make it shrill. Play long tones and try to find the resonant center of each one by bending them down and back. You will hear that much can be changed by how you think about playing them.

    Get some recordings of famous players who have a sound like you'd want to have. Turn out the lights and listen, listen, and listen some more. Then, when practicing, pretend you are them. Play along if you can and try to imitate what you hear.

    You can do this until your teacher returns, and then tell him/her what you have been doing, and I expect you'll get a positive response.

Share This Page