Comeback player - having problems with tone around middle C

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Lucy 1980, May 16, 2015.

  1. Lucy 1980

    Lucy 1980 New Friend

    9
    7
    May 7, 2015
    Hi All,

    I played in high school many years ago, graduating in 1980. I played first chair in a large high school from 10th through 12th grade, even with braces for two years. Played in marching band, stage band, etc. I was really quite good.

    Shortly after graduating, I had jaw surgery to lengthen my lower jaw. Lost feeling in my lower lip and the surgery completely changed my embouchure. I gave up. I tried playing again several times over the years, but until recently, I just didn't have the time and ambition to work through it. The feeling didn't come back to my lip for years either.

    Anyway, I've been playing now about a month. Bought a new Schilke S42l a couple weeks ago. I enjoy this trumpet. Easy to play, great range.

    HOWEVER,

    I am having some trouble with the notes around middle C, generally between A and C on the staff. Not all the time, but often enough to bother me. My tone is excellent below and above, and my range is secure up to A above the staff. My mouthpiece is a Bach 7c, same as I used in high school.

    Doesn't seem to matter if I play loud, or soft. I can end up with a rough double tone on those trouble notes. Doesn't seem to matter if I'm warmed up or not. Doesn't matter whether I play the Schilke, my Getzen Eterna, or an old Bach Strad.

    Could I be having an issue with the mouthpiece? I did try some larger mouthpieces with a teacher, but that day, I did not seem to be having problems with the 7c either. My tone was best with the 7c, rather than larger mouthpieces.

    Any ideas? I am toying with purchasing a Bach 5c...

    Thanks for your suggestions,

    Lucy
     
  2. vern

    vern Piano User

    265
    103
    Mar 4, 2008
    Michigan
    Glad you are playing again. I'm a comeback player also and can testify that most of those types of problems solve themselves given enough time (many months). I'm not a teacher but I might suggest: 1) Avoid attributing the problem to the mouthpiece choice. 2) Work on the fundamentals (Clarke etc) and consider mouthpiece buzzing exercises as some people have had great results using them. Good luck!:D
     
  3. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I am a qualified instrumental teacher/tutor, moreso of the brass. By this, what Vern has stated I concur with. This said, while I can make a 7C work about as well as any other mouthpiece, I don't favor it for comfort. What I'll suggest is whole note slurs ascending from G past and thru the C to F and descending again and again repeating as a warm-up regimen. Take a breath after the F as you descend and another before you leave the G on the ascent again.
     
  4. Lucy 1980

    Lucy 1980 New Friend

    9
    7
    May 7, 2015
    I did find the larger mouthpieces that my instructor had to be more comfortable. I liked to play the Bach 3c that she had, but my tone was better on the 7c. She didn't have a 5c, so I was unable to give that a try. I do still have an overbite, though not to the extent I did in high school.

    I'm not looking for an easy way out. I just don't want to continue fighting something that could be caused by the mouthpiece. I had read in "Brass Playing is No Harder Than Deep Breathing" by Claude Gordon, that if a mouthpiece is too small and has too small a bore, that the back-pressure can stall the lip vibration. That's what made me begin to wonder about the 7c.

    It's odd - some days it is quite an issue, other days not. This issue is no better now than it was when I picked the trumpet back up again a month ago. That worries me too. Doesn't seem to depend on whether my lip is fresh, or beginning to tire. I don't push myself to the point tiring my lip too much. I'd rather play 2-3 times a day, 15-20 mins each time, than a bit longer once a day.

    I will work on your suggestions.

    Lucy
     
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    My beginners play 20 minutes and rest 20 minutes while I discuss or demonstrate, then repeat until they have played a full hour. The sad part of this is that they cannot afford to pay me on a daily basis and in school they've band just once a week AS IS NOT ONE ON ONE like I provide.

    With all my health issues and advanced age I try to get 2 hours of actual playing time in a cycle of 30 minutes playing and 15 minutes rest 6 days a week. I don't play at all on Sundays unless I'm soloing in Church. Wednesday evenings from 7-9 PM I play with the Cleffers' doubling on trumpet and euphonium. Then the only rest in playing is that I can steal as we change songs. That brings up the suggestion that you get with a community band ASAP.
     
  6. Lucy 1980

    Lucy 1980 New Friend

    9
    7
    May 7, 2015
    Hi! I am going to sit in with a very good community band on Monday night. Hopefully they will invite me to join the band permanently, but they are VERY good and rarely have openings. I have been taking lessons from a semi-retired teacher who plays in the band, at a large church, and a very good brass quintet in Minneapolis. She is an excellent player.

    I have been playing alot of Arbans, scales, intervals, long tones, etc.

    Lucy
     
  7. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    IMO when you've completed the entire Arban's including his variation of Carnival of Venice to your own satisfaction, you'll be ready to play with any group(s). What can I say ... I'm still not satisfied with my own rendition of his Carnival ..., but too, I'm a comebacker also after a 40+ year lapse.

    Too, if a student uses a 7C, I'll use a 7C to demonstrate, but otherwise I rotate through about all in my collection as include some odd ones.
     
  8. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    3,751
    2,152
    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Takes a LOT of time to come back. You must be patient.

    Tom
     
  9. Lucy 1980

    Lucy 1980 New Friend

    9
    7
    May 7, 2015
    I hear you. I am rather pleased at how things are going, with the exception of the mysterious tone breakdown around B and C. Seems like such easy notes should BE easy regularly. If the trouble was on G above the staff, I would be less confused and concerned. If the consensus is not to worry about my mp and keep working, I am absolutely fine with that. I am having fun, and am not discouraged. Just don't want to become frustrated because I am fighting a mp issue. If the issue is time, that is great news.

    Thank you!
     
  10. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

    2,107
    1,091
    Aug 2, 2010
    North Carolina
    I suggest taking all the hints...but most importantly HAVE FUN.
    I sense from you that you are a conscientious person, and that you world-wide a great deal of joy over remastery of the instrument.
    A few years back I undertook horn (French horn) again after a 35 year hiatus for a really good wind ensemble. It was great fun, and what struck me was that it oddly seemed to come back relatively swiftly....yes, had to build embouchure muscles back up, but I could still sight-read music very well. About a month into the comeback (which took about three focused months) I recall going through a phase where my sound became very "fuzzy"....it was odd, and I wasn't doing anything differently or after, but for about a week my sound on horn was almost like there was an air leak in the horn.
    Then, as mysteriously as it came, it went away!
    I would NOT suggest making radical equipment changes during tbis time to correct an issue...as that would be tantamount to trying to hit a moving target while riding a mountain bike going in the opposite direction. Just use equipment that you know is sound, mouthpieces known to be effective for the range and duration of your playing, and be diligent in your hours of behind the horn time, and you will again blossom!
    I found great joy in my comeback, some of my very best life experiences! Went from zero to playing aggressive solos in three months...and remember that the horn is a very tricky instrument to nail.
    Best wishes!
    I'd say I would love a video of you doing your very best right now...and then a regular progress video. There are chaps on here that are VERY, VERY good, and can give you some quite helpful advice. It easier to do if we see you and see the progress and challenges.
    Take care,
    Gordon
     
    neal085 likes this.

Share This Page