Body Resistance. What is it and What Cures it?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Sethoflagos, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    I can't ever remember (until recent years) not being able to do LOUD when required. I'm not talking about blasting, but being able to project a tune out into a space. Even at the age of my avatar (around 11/12) I could knock seven bells out of the standard trumpet voluntaries and know that every note would be heard. Time warps the memory, but I believe I possibly had something more of an open trombone type embouchure than a typical trumpet one.

    Fast forward to now. While rebuilding with what I understand to be a more orthodox trumpet embouchure, I've been aware of experiencing considerably more resistance due to having my chops better (or at least differently) aligned and less open. Only to be expected I suppose, and actually the ability (Hobson's choice) of being able to practise quietly has helped in some respects.

    But things are not staying that way. Every now and then, and in fits and starts, the resistance changes, often just for a few notes in a particular range. And this upsets any balance I've found between chop tension, dynamics, pitch and air support.

    Typically the trend is to become more open, and each time it feels as if I'm having to relearn how to play quiet again and find a new equilibrium. I don't remember going through this as a child, or reading anything about the process here or elsewhere. It all seems a bit random.

    Anybody any ideas on how to manage the process? If indeed it is manageable.
     
  2. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    Probably over-simplifying with this, Seth. Please forgive me if this is so. Your third paragraph suggests to me that fatigue may be a factor. What might happen if you simply put the horn down for a while, returning to it after a bit of a break? Also, as I begin to experience fatigue-related anomalies, I have found that I can continue playing acceptably for a little longer by increasing my focus (concentration) on good air management.

    Jim
     
  3. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    It's something that operates over a bit longer timescale than normal playing fatigue, Jim. It's more like good one week, less good the next. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sure by any means that there's actually a problem. I'm playing a heck of a lot better than I was a year ago. It's just that some weeks everything feels really stuffy and other weeks everything (doesn't matter which instrument or mouthpiece) feels a whole lot more open.

    My current pet theory is it might be something to do with embouchure focus, by which I mean the general shape of the aperture.

    Picture if you like an aperture that's perfectly circular, as opposed to one of essentially the same 'area' that's wide but narrow.

    They may pass the same volume of air, vibrate at the same pitch, but I can see the second having a lot more resistance than the first. Then may be it also has a much richer buzz. Could this idea hold water? Maybe there's a bit of a conflict going on between wanting back the feel of a good open blow, but also the breadth of sound that a rich buzz gives.

    I just don't know. Round aperture or wide narrow aperture? Or maybe settle for something in between?

    Or maybe it's something else entirely.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Here is perhaps some food for thought: When we perceive body resistance, is it our body only screaming for oxygen? Are we just uncomfortable for the moment, or has something significant happened with the way that we release air?

    Normally I consider having more air available longer to be a good thing, even if we have that slight suffocating feeling. On those bad weeks you may benefit from practicing after a long hot shower.
     
  5. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    What I sense is a fight between a pucker (open low notes) and a smile (stuffy higher notes).

    Overlain by a whole load of short term random factors.

    A hot shower is good for breadth of sound but kills upper register.
     
  6. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

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    Curious why you would smile when tightening the pucker will work higher?

    Tom
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    I find the Vulgano RAY OF POWER helps me to have a relaxed, working body when playing. Holding my head as far away as my butt as possible helps too (cheapo Alexander Method).
     
  8. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    'Smile' is probably the wrong term, Tom. Too much pucker sends my sound in the wrong direction.
     
  9. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

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    Ah, ok.

    It's really hard to decribe what we do in the cup!

    Tom
     
  10. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

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    Seth, I'm coming in on this conversation a bit late, but if I consciously try to do anything with my embouchure (pucker/smile/tighten the corners), my playing goes to heck. I've gotta just relax and blow for everything to come together. If I think about it, I inevitably crash and burn.

    I can attest to the function of Ray of Power and Circle of Breath, but I have to go back to them occasionally, because over time I'll think myself right out of a good embouchure.

    Hope that was helpful.
     

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