Breathy/Fuzzy Sound?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by sierrasutton14, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. sierrasutton14

    sierrasutton14 New Friend

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    Jul 21, 2014
    Hogwarts & Camp Halfblood
    I recently got my braces off and am currently working on trying to regain my embouchure. I have noticed what is now becoming a huge problem: my sound. Accompanied with the note is the sound of air blowing through my trumpet. It's as if my lips aren't tight enough to stop extra air from blowing through. Normally, I would assume that this is something that is usual with recovering from braces, but I remember having this problem before I got braces as well. My tone then was always blurred by a distinct buzzing or FFFTT sound. Now it is 10x worse. It’s gotten to the point where the higher I go the more the blowing air sound takes over. I can barely tongue an E-fourth space and have the sound come out; slurring up to it just makes a blowing noise. Anything above an F-first space comes out almost overwhelmed by the air. If I start at a G-below staff and go up chromatically, the first 9-10 notes just have the buzzing sound. However, as I get to the G-second line and beyond, again, the notes are overtaken by the blowing of air through the trumpet. To slur down from say, a C-third space (still going down chromatically), would result in all notes accompanied by the breathy sound, even those which previously didn’t have it. I know that it has something to do with my lips and muscles, and I think that perhaps it was a bad habit that I developed when learning how to play? Whatever it is, I have no idea how to fix it. Any ideas? Oh, and also any tips on how to come back from braces.
    Thanks!
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Sierra, this may not be what you want to hear, but there are no sage words of wisdom and there aren't any tips or tricks that's going to help you through this. The only thing that is going to help is dedicated, focused practice on the right things, and your improvement likely won't be measured in days, but rather weeks, or even months.

    What you need to do is to regain focus to your chops, and for the first little bit, I recommend that you don't try to play anything higher than a tuning C, 3rd space in the staff.

    My suggestion to you is to take it back to basic fundamentals - soft, easy, low pressure long tones, and very simple single-tonguing articulation exercises. Every day, without fail. I'm talking an hour per day, minimum. And rest frequently. And don't give up. And if you don't have a teacher and have the means and ability to get one, then get one. A teacher will be better able to direct you face to face than we can through an internet forum when we can't hear you or see you play.
     
  3. mgcoleman

    mgcoleman Mezzo Forte User

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    I second the advice of engaging an instructor for best results.

    I also believe backing off on things is smart right now. Don't overblow, keep the dynamics soft and mentally focus on creating the richest, fullest tone you can in the lower register.
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    The first thing that has to be understood: the biggest difference with and without the braces is geometry. It makes a HUGE difference if the lips are resting on your teeth or ⅛" away from them. You see the embouchure is fine motor activity and VERY SMALL changes make a huge difference. You can count on needing the whole summer to get your face really together IF you have 30 minutes or more EVERY DAY.

    The things that help the most are the things that do not frustrate: soft long tones, basic lip slurs and easy tunes like out of the hymn book. NEVER play until you are wasted. Try and get a couple of practice sessions per day. For the next two weeks do NOT work on tonguing, range or anything technically difficult. Focus on a relaxed face. If you try and squeeze out high notes, play loudly or waste your face, you will only slow the process down. Fine motor activity is trained by hundreds to thousands of repetitions of small motions.
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Soft, simple, single tonguing in the lower register - say 2nd line G on down - is one of the things that promotes air usage and chops focus, as well as one of the things that helps a player to reduce pressure if they are using too much. I'm not saying to work on the more technical aspects of tonguing - I'm talking about getting basic, clean articulations. I picked up on that correlation in my own playing almost 20 years ago, and any time I'm having any kind of chops issues, next to long tones, it's one of the first things I incorporate to bring things back around. In the last 13 years with my primary gig being slamming rock and roll horn lines, I've made low register single tonguing exercises an integral part of my routine, simply to keep things working right.

    As I see it, basic lip slurs with chops that are not focused is a good way to get an inexperienced 14 year old kid to start adding pressure as a means to try to make the chops work correctly when they aren't focusing well to begin with. Flexibilities are something to be incorporated AFTER the chops start focusing correctly again. That's just my opinion though, and usually that's worth about 2¢.

    A little bit of a difference in approach, but we're mostly on the same track.
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    I am weighing in with Rowuk at this point. Facial muscle changes have resulted, and you need time to tone new muscle. This typically takes 6 weeks with even the finest athlete in changing their response to a muscle group. The last time I checked, the lips were considered a muscle group. Give yourself time. You can not defeat physiology. No crutches allowed. This is not a time to go mouthpiece hunting and thinking that will do the trick. That would be like a sprinter trying they can get back to their peak performance by running with a crutch!
     
  7. sierrasutton14

    sierrasutton14 New Friend

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    Jul 21, 2014
    Hogwarts & Camp Halfblood
    Thanks guys! I've been a bit downhearted lately about my trumpet and my sound, and I started feeling like getting back to where I was and going beyond that would be an impossible task that I was not up to facing. Your advice and even just your replies in general have buoyed me up! I'll definitely try what you've suggested and I am getting a privet tutor as well! Thanks again!
     

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