Body alignment, neck tension, etc.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by RichJ, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. RichJ

    RichJ Piano User

    Jan 16, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    I made a recent "discovery" about my playing. I video taped myself playing to send a clip to Jason at Monette so that he could be as informed as possible about how I play in advising me on equipment choices. As soon as I viewed the video, I could see that I raised my head as I played up to high C (really, anywhere above the top of the staff). I noticed that this also correlated with a loss of resonance in my sound and a tightening feel that I could see in the video.

    Well, Jason noticed the same thing and suggested that I tuck my chin more as I ascend and also referred me to the Monette Prana acclimation stuff on Monette's website. I've read all this stuff before, but somehow was too dumb to really study my own playing and apply it. Now that I've been working at keeping everything aligned, it's made a huge difference in my tone, articulation clarity and upper register. I now realize that much of the resistance I was feeling as I ascended to the upper register was just overcoming the tension I was creating by raising the bell and tilting my head backward. By focusing on the angle of my head, neck, shoulders, hips, etc. and letting the bell fall whereever, it's made a huge improvement. The improvement is even more pronounced on the higher trumpets.

    Sometimes we miss the obvious. I'm trying to hook up with Adam Rapa and Charlie Schlueter next month for some lessons and I'm going to ask them to focus on body use, breathing, efficiency, etc. over all else. I think that's really the key to unlocking a lot of potential in my playing that I've been missing for years.
  2. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Serendipitous Rich - you MIGHT have been able to fix it all by changing your mouthpiece or even buying an expensive trumpet. ;-)
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  3. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    What you have found is the basis of the Alexander tecnique that focuses on alignment and relaxation, I had a session with an Alexander teacher many years ago and found it very helpfull, I should have another.

    Regards, Stuart.

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