College student suffering severe range & buzzing issues - help!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Jason R., Jun 17, 2010.

  1. ca5tr0

    ca5tr0 New Friend

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    Feb 28, 2010
    Florida
    What has helped my range is playing in 2nd and 3rd intervals starting from middle c untill you can't make a sound.


    SLUR THIS!!!!!!!!!!! IT'S SLUR THIS AND DON'T CHEAT BY TONGUING.
    Ex. 1/2 1/2 whole..WR...1/2 1/2 whole...WR...1/2 1/2 whole WR 1/2 1/2 whole
    ......C....D.....C.............D....E.....D...............E F E F G F

    WR= Whole rest

    You do that untill you can't make a sound. After you do this put the horn down for at least 20 min and try it again....

    You do the same for 3rds
    C E C D F D ect. SLUR!!!

    Good luck and I hope this really helps. =]

    In my experience with Bach, I would say that overall it's a good horn, but I would really suggest you buy the Xeno.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  2. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Jason R.

    Welcome to college and the world of adulthood!

    I really appreciate your candor with regard to the surprises of your first year and the amount of effort you apply to things. Some good news is that many of your classmates, while being comfortable playing higher, may not be as musically well developed, nor able to read as well. So the path for you is to work on your shortcomings and continue to maintain and improve the skills you do have.

    I would advise against buying a new horn at this time. You are in flux and the horn you have will not interfere with the work you need to do. The suggestion to find a "chop" specialist teacher for the summer is a good one. You could even google Jeanne Pocius, who can give you Skype lessons and can really assess any chop issues you may have. If you are near NY or Boston there are numerous individuals you can seek out.

    Some things I can suggest are: To learn how to play double pedal tones. These will help you keep a relaxed set of chops and will help with breathing. Your lack of endurance and running out of the high range early is a clear indication that you are using too much pressure. The pressure cuts off blood flow to your lips and that is when they shut down. Double pedals require very little pressure and a relaxed lip set. You can do them with essentially no negative impact on the rest of your playing and, believe it or not, they will help you to play higher.

    Another thing I have learned fairly recently is to keep your lips closed. When you begin to play they should be touching each other. If you start with them set a bit apart you have to work much harder to produce a sound. Don't worry about free buzzing, but buzzing on the mouthpiece and the leadpipe (tuning slide removed) can be helpful. The idea is to begin with lips touching and produce a sound on the mouthpiece and/or leadpipe with a minimum of air - using a breath attack (hoo). Do this a while at the beginning of practice, and then do the double pedals. Ask around school or your teacher if you need help with pedals.

    When you practice, make a habit of putting the horn down (get a stand and use it while you practice) every 10 or 15 minutes. Leave it off your chops between phrases and during rests. When you put it on the stand try to rest as long as you played. You can use rest time to listen to music, sight sing, or even play fingerings but no lips. If there is a piano available (try to arrange that at school) spend some time learning how it works and that will really help you in your overall quest.

    It is really good that you admit to not working hard enough. DO NOT swing the pendulum to the other extreme! Practice more, a lot more if you can, but always build in rest time as you go. Range will come over time if you simply work on the basics and try to learn to be more efficient with your setup and cultivate relaxed chops. Patience is REQUIRED. Nothing happens overnight. Keep your long-term goal - teaching? - in mind and set reachable short-term goals with regard to your playing. DON"T FORGET TO ENJOY IT!
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  3. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

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    So, basically Caruso exercises.
     
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Interesting thread, lots of information. I think that a lot of this can be solved with a correct approach to some very basic techniques and exercises. I don't have the time to elaborate at the moment, but I wanted to respond to get a subscription to the thread.
     
  5. guyclark

    guyclark Piano User

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    Feb 28, 2008
    Los Gatos, CA
    Guys, I would hasten to point out that Veery's suggestion of starting out with lips touching should only be applied to trying to play pedal tones.

    You NEVER want your lips to touch one another while playing!!! If your vibrating lips touch ANYTHING, their motion will be impeded, and your tone distorted. Think of driving an amplifier too hard so that it "clips". This means that the amplifier is unable to drive the output voltage higher than its power supply. That horrible harmonic distortion is the result.

    If your lips touch each other, or the bottom or sides of the mouthpiece cup, you will "clip" their motion and get a distorted "buzzy" tone. This is actually the conscious embrochure setting issue to which I refered in another current thread about how to sing in the horn.

    Hope that clarifies things a bit...

    Guy Clark
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  6. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Guy,

    (Hope you are not leg-pulling)
    If your lips don't touch, there will be no sound. It is the intermittent opening and closing of the aperture which initiates the standing wave. If they do not close (hence touch) you cannot play.

    To elaborate a bit further (and I really hope I haven't bought into a joke), if you begin to play with an opening at the aperture, then for the airstream to begin vibrating the lips you must force them closed against the moving air. Otherwise the air passes through the opening and no vibration ensues. If the aperture is closed initially, then the airstream will blow the lips apart, and they will subsequently close again because of the flexiblity which needs to be present in your setup.

    This can be demonstrated, exaggeratingly, by forming an O with your lips, bringing the mouthpiece to them and trying to play.

    (This all assumes a conventional setup (not TCE))
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  7. guyclark

    guyclark Piano User

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    Hi, Veery!

    no, I'm not leg pulling. I maintain that your lips do NOT need to touch, nor should you want them to do so.

    Here's how your lips are made to vibrate:

    Your lips start out in a relaxed position with a very small gap between them. You start blowing air between them, and a combination of the air pressure behind them and the aerodynamic effects of airflow over the surface of the lips pushes them outwards (towards the mouthpice) which also seperates them further.

    Now that they are pushed out and seperated more, the air pressure inside the mouth is relieved somewhat, and the natural springyness of the lips allows them to relax back to their initial position, but the air pressure again rises, pushing them back out and seperating them again. This happens over and over again at the frequency of the note you are trying to play.

    The resonance of the oral cavity (mouth) also affects how the air pressure builds and falls, and when a single pure note is being played, the resonant frequency inside the mouth matches the resonant frequency of the horn, and the note comes out with apparent effortlessness. :cool:

    If the lips were to touch at the beginning, they would (could) collide at the end of each cycle, and interrupt the air flow causing an unevenness to the flow that manifests itself in a distorted tone. Similarly, a shallow mouthpiece can limit the motion of the lips on the outwards direction, preventing them from opening further and allowing more air through, distorting the other side of the waveform. :thumbdown:

    To me, anyway, the ideal situation is that the lips are slightly seperated, so that they don't interfere with one another, the mouthpiece is big enough so that the lips have all the room they need to move as far apart as possible, AND I'm keeping the lips moving within their "linear" range. That is, that the flexibility and elasticity of the lips is such that a given change in the air pressure behind them results in a linearly proportional change in the air pressure inside the horn at a given position (remember, there is a standing wave of pressure inside a horn being played). :shock:

    Sorry for all the engineering type talk. :-P Ok, so I'm an engineer/scientist. :cool: I've analyzed what I do and this is what I've come up with. It seems to jive pretty well with everything I've read on the subject as well.

    I hope that this was clearer than mud...

    Guy Clark
     
  8. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Hi back at ya, Guy,

    I appreciate your analysis, and your take vis your occupation, but I must unfortunately disagree with you. Everything I have seen regarding the process taking place at the aperture, including films (vids) through visualizers, shows the lips making on-and-off contact at the aperture. If the process you describe works, it does at an extremely high cost, as the stimulation of (your) to and fro lip movement w/o contact requires hugely greater energies than does the buzzing created by an aperture which simply opens and closes. Apparent effortlessness is not the synergy of resonant oral cavity and horn in the absence of the aperture closing every Hz, even if it may feel that way. Effortlessness comes from very relaxed and flexible lips stimulated to open and close by as little air as possible.

    I submit that using a setup you describe would exhaust your air supply and strength very quickly. I am NOT saying it doesn't work for you. But I do believe that is not what is happening when most of us play.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  9. Glennx

    Glennx Pianissimo User

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    I'm in agreement with Veery715 on this one, preferring that the lips are touching (naturally, at rest, without being squeezed together) before starting the air stream. Either way produces sound, but for me the difference is between the air stream blowing the lips apart and thereby starting the desired vibration, versus the air needing to first blow the lips together so they can touch and then having them move apart to start vibrating.

    Splitting hairs, perhaps...but starting with lips touching minimizes several things: (a) the possibility of too much air/fuzz in the sound caused by lips too far apart in the mouthpiece (particularly for beginners, which is why it's really important they place the mouthpiece on lips that are touching before trying to make a sound); and (b) the fact that lips open inside the mouthpiece will, when they're forced together by the air/muscle groups, be vibrating with more of the inner red than may be desired.

    Interesting discussion in any case.
     
  10. guyclark

    guyclark Piano User

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    Los Gatos, CA
    Hi, Veery!

    You're welcome to believe what you want, but I maintain that the lips do NOT need to contact each other (and thereby close off the aperture through which the air flows)

    Your description has an electrical analogy: That of the Class B amplifier, in which the output waveform is allowed to clip on one side (generally the bottom or ground level side). It is a more efficient mode of amplification, and in the case of a radio transmitter, that's ok, because the resonant circuits up to and including the transmitting antenna reshape the waveform to get the distortion down to a legal level. The benefit is more output for a given input power, at the expense of some distortion.

    In audiophile circles, the favorite amplifier mode is "class A" in which the current through the output devices never reaches zero, (never clips on the bottom side) and remains within the devices' (most) linear range. There is always a minimum, a bias current flowing through a class A amplifier, much as there is always a "bias air flow" passing between my slightly seperated lips.

    Alas, I can't come up with a compromise (analagous to the class AB push pull amplifier topology) for the lips. Class AB involves having a push-pull design, where there are two output devices, one dedicated to the upper half of the waveform and the other to the lower half. Individually, they are class B, but put together, between them, there is a larger "linear" range, and the amplifier as a whole doesn't clip in normal operation. This achieves high efficiency along with low distortion. As I said, I can't envision an embrochure analogy to this AB mode. The lips of the embrochure are mirror imaged to one another, and that is simply analogous to a single big lip paired with a solid un-moving plane.

    I suppose your concept works for you. I know mine does for me! :cool:

    Guy
     

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