Before and After Warm-Up

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Nikv, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. Nikv

    Nikv Pianissimo User

    Jun 20, 2009
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I'm doing something that I hoped I'd never see myself doing... making a post on range...

    Now, I have absolutely no problems with range. Sure, I wouldn't mind being able to play ridiculously high right now, but it's going up naturally, as it should. And I'm doing all the things I need to do in order to build it.

    But here's my couple questions...
    Why is it, that on some days, when I play trumpet after only warming up very simply, my high range is better than when I've done my sufficient warm-ups? After the sufficient warm-ups all my playing sounds better, except sometimes this issue with range. Is it just muscle fatigue? I don't get it...

    My second question is about a particular noise. This is the most obnoxious, unpleasant noise I have ever heard. When I'm going for upper notes, and for some reason I can't do it (see issue above), I'll totally miss it and instead a ghastly noise will come out. It's like a banshee-shriek/whistling noise. Why does this happen?!

  2. euphmaster

    euphmaster New Friend

    May 18, 2007
    A lot of factors can effect how your playing is gonna go on a particular day. You need to remember that the body is a biological machine. One of the most common things to cause these unwanted variables is FOOD! What you eat and when you eat it can cause any number of things to change. Here is a short list of things that I have always noticed screw with my playing, cuz heck, control what you CAN control.

    -Shower Face-

    Taking a long hot shower, and trying to play within an hour of that time has always yielded stiff feeling lips for me. Sometimes all the warming up will do is make things worse for later in the day! I try to avoid it, but try it out from time to time just to see how I can 'handle it' for the when and ifs.

    - Salty Food -

    This can dry you out fast! Sometimes your bod will be in such flux cuz of the salt content that any number of chop failures can occur.

    - Carbonated Beverages -

    I've witnessed this many times, but drinking a carbonated drink directly before, or while playing, can make you play very flat! Not to mention bubbly, which can interfere with some players ability to control their air flow too. Though, I have seen Eric Rusk drink a Diet Coke every single time he plays, and the man rocks a french horn.

    - Water -

    Yep. PLain ole water in the right conditions I suppose, can be draining on the chops. I have experienced this, and try to avoid drinking water while playing. At times it can sort of thin out your spit, and just cause a loose feeling in the mouth. Somehow the lips get sorta thinned-out in feel too. This is a weird one, but I'm sure others have experienced it too.

    - Smoking -

    I think we can all understand how this can change body chemistry.

    - Time Of Day -

    I try to practice all throughout the day. I have an early morning practice session, mid day, early evening, and then whatever playing is happening that night. The gig can be at anytime, so it's good to know how your bod reacts, and to have control over it.

    I'm sure there are more, and again, these are just a few that I've noticed have effected my chops in the past. These are also not to be taken as playing phobias... just things to avoid when necessary if they effect you.

  3. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi Nikv,
    The first question:
    Without knowing your endurance level or just how far down the road you are with your playing, it's hard to tell. You might not have the endurance to have a lengthy warm-up and still be able to play for an extended period of time. Here's how I've been warming up lately and it really helps.
    Remove the tuning slide and buzz through the lead pipe with the mouthpiece. The idea is to buzz quietly and listen VERY deeply. You want to make to sound not waiver, loos pitch, or anything. Just one straight sound without variations. It's not that easy but it tunes in the ears and gets the chops ready. Only do this for about 5 minutes.
    THEN, set the horn down for a bit (5-10 min.) and go get a drink of water or text someone. When you go back to play you'll notice a difference.
    Next question, the banshee noise when you go for the upper notes:
    It sounds like too much pressure and poor use of air.Here's something I want you to read. Check out "circle of breath" on this site and for mouthpiece pressure, be sure you're not death gripping the trumpet and here's some behaviors that are often the result of excessive pressure. See if you do any of these:
    Without a doubt, one of the most common questions Trumpetmaster recieves are questions about “PRESSURE”. Hundreds of questions are asked and hundreds of answers are given.
    This got me to thinking. Why not come up with a way or find a way (or assessment) that a player can use to help determine if they are using too much pressure. A kind of “home assessment” for the person who isn’t blessed with a good teacher but has a cheap recording device. With relative ease, a person can record themselves and assess the likelihood of using too much pressure.
    The reason for recording ones self is that if the person started out using pressure to play notes, then (after playing that way for quite a while) they might not be aware that anything is wrong! The crux of the biscuit is to stress the negative impact of pressure and the importance of a good instructor.
    I wish this was my complete idea but the majority was gleaned from a famous trumpet text (pages 19 &20). I’ll give a bright shiny quarter to anyone who can guess the text(which I highly recommend to any brass player).
    -----------------MOUTHPIECE PRESSURE ASSESSMENT GUIDE-------------------------
    The fastest way to obtain a notes on a brass instrument is to adjust the amount of mouthpiece pressure against the lips. Very little pressure for low notes and a lot of pressure for high notes. It makes sense and, it works!
    Since it seems to be human nature to follow the path of least resistance, we find the average brass player (who isn’t blessed with a good instructor) obliged to develop their own PRESSURE SYSTEM of playing. The only advantage of this system is a “quick start”, let me point out the disadvantages of “strong-arm trumpet playing as I have seen them:

    FAULTY INTONATION (playing out of tune)is the most common failing of this method. This type of player tends to move sloppily up and down to notes instead of striking the center of the intended pitch.
    WEAK LOWER REGISTER Continued pressure causes the lips to swell or thicken to the point that they will not vibrate at the low frequency required in the lower register. The tone in this register is usually “windy”.
    COURSE EXECUTION An inability to play delicately. There are short and detached and have a sharp, ragged edge to them instead of being light and round as a bubble
    BLIND NOTES Notes that fail to sound out, often happening in soft passages.
    UNEVEN SLURRING Fails to get a smooth, flowing sound and pitch usually suffers.
    SPLIT NOTES When the player attacks a note, then flies off to the partial above or below the intended note.
    NUMB LIPS This is when the lip become numb from cutting off the circulation. An often asked question on TM.
    DAMAGE TO LIPS After years of playing with extreme pressure the tissue will become damaged not unlike feet after wearing too tight shoes.

    If you suffer from any of these symptoms, assess yourself by playing a scale (two octaves if possible) up and down and ask yourself “am I pressing the mouthpiece harder against my lips as I go up and then ease up on the pressure as I go down?”
    If your notes are dictated by the amount of pressure you use, then work to reduce the pressure with exercises and while doing this, play close attention to what the lips and mouthpiece are doing. You may want to start reducing the pressure by making sure you are not holding the trumpet in a death grip. Just hold the trumpet, don't squeeze and grip the trumpet till your knuckles go white.
  4. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    The inconsistency can possibly be caused by stiffness in the vibrating mass / lack of tension in the lips. I have those days as well - where I hardly warm up and I can't miss if I tried... other days, I have to work at it a lot longer... typically I've found that I am overly tense from the day before from either a strenuous practice / rehearsal / gig.

    The noise your getting is being caused by over tensing the aperture. Try simply pushing the corners more toward the mouthpiece and avoid tensing the lips together to "squeeze" the air out. You still have to have a relaxed aperture that can vibrate when playing in the upper register.

    Hope this made sense...

  5. Nikv

    Nikv Pianissimo User

    Jun 20, 2009
    Santa Barbara, CA
    I think I worked out the issues. Thanks for the replies, I just wanted to get an idea of what people thought (although at the time I was rather frustrated).

    To give you an idea of me as a trumpet player...
    I am studying with probably one of the greatest trumpet teachers of our time. I take my playing very seriously, and plan to become the best trumpet player in the world. I practice individually 4 hours every day.

    I never eat before I play, without cleaning my mouth.

    I have been trained (of course this is relatively impossible) to be able to play using as little pressure and as little tension in my body as possible.

    I talked to my teacher about the first question, and his response was that after a short warm-up your lips stay tight allowing for better high-register playing, but after a normal warm-up your lips swell to fill the cup of your mouthpiece, allowing for a warm sound and good mid-low range but not as easy high-range. The only thing it seems I can do, is work through it.

    Thanks again everyone!

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