Comeback player - having problems with tone around middle C

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

  1. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I believe Tom is spot on with this comment. The fact that you have both good and bad days suggest to me that you are still developing muscle tone and this does take time.
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

    Aug 7, 2013
    Lagos, Nigeria
    I went through similar mid-stave problems recently, Lucy. After a long lay-off, our lip 'remembers' bits and pieces of how we used to play but forgets much. In my case, I think I was playing high register one way, and low register another leaving this group of notes between in some sort of no man's land. Eventually the 'zone of lip confusion' moved down the stave; hung around the low register for a while; and then just vanished. Took around 3-4 months. Hour after hour of running through scales that bridged the gap seemed to help my lip work out which way to go.

    Changing mouthpiece at this stage is likely to confuse your lip further, and delay progress. Having said that, I switched to a more comfortable mouthpiece, and don't regret doing so. Hope this helps.
  3. Lucy 1980

    Lucy 1980 New Friend

    May 7, 2015
    Thank you, Gordon. Your advice, as well as the advice of the others, encourages me. I will take a video, and figure out how to post it.

    No big changes for me, other than more time, that is.

  4. gordonfurr1

    gordonfurr1 Forte User

    Aug 2, 2010
    North Carolina

    You can post it to YouTube or photobucket and copy the link to your post here.
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    This. Even after a relatively short hiatus of 18 months, it took me several months before my chops felt right again, and that was after having played the horn for the better part of 20 years.

    Just keep after it - continue to work the fundamentals and I bet those issues will go away.
  6. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    The double buzz often happens because the vertical connection between the upper and lower lip is too strong. Try letting the embouchure blow into place for the bad notes.

    That aside, listen to the doctors. It is my understanding, however, is that high doses of Ibuprofen can damage the liver.
  7. johnande

    johnande Pianissimo User

    Jun 3, 2009
    western Wyoming
    Lucy.... I suspect that many of us can identify with your problem. My thinking is similar to Sethoflagos comments above -- one of the potential problems of all players is that sometimes one consciously or subconsciously changes his/her embouchure when going from lower register to higher register. This is particularly noticeable when playing fast passages from one register to the other because the embouchure cannot change fast enough to buzz "intermediate" pitches, anywhere from G to D in the staff. If you can play chromatically from C below the staff to G above slowly, without missing any pitches, but cannot do so when playing fast(er), this might be your problem. If it is, then you might try practicing chromatic scales (20X a day) from C (or lower) below the staff to G above (or higher), making a conscious effort to prevent your embouchure from changing during the run. Practice slowly at first, building up speed over time. If this is your problem (and it may not be) you should see improvement within a few weeks. Another suggestion would be to set your embouchure for G above the staff and learn to play lower with that embouchure setting, rather than the more typical method of setting your embouchure a G (in the staff) and learning to play higher. Good luck. JA
  8. Lucy 1980

    Lucy 1980 New Friend

    May 7, 2015
    I'm at the billy Joel concert in Minneapolis. Just heard the great Carl Fisher. O my...
  9. Furcifer

    Furcifer Pianissimo User

    Jul 26, 2010
    Just to pile on, I believe it is indeed due to the transition between your "high chops" and "low chops". Ideally, the same "set" is used for the entire range of the horn, from pedal C all the way up to Super C, right? Sure, no problem! The reality is that as a comeback player or even when we are in school and still developing in the first seven or eight years of playing, we don't practice the whole time, do we? NO, we play music, and once we play that first note, we have this commitment to play all of them to the end of the chart, and that's where we abandon our own standards for what is an acceptable method during practice, and just do what it takes to get the notes!

    Also, the way we THINK about which notes are "high", "low" or "easy" (notice I didn't say "midrange", because that's not what our brain really thinks!) makes a difference in how we subconsciously create tension (or get lazy about releasing it) as we go for a note. There's a fine line between overthinking/overstressing it and playing lazy. We want a relaxed but FOCUSED aperture. The double-buzz means two apertures are happening at the same time...

    There are a number of things I've done to combat this when it happens to me. Clarke studies are good, but I have to insist on playing them softly and perfectly! Schlossberg drills are excellent. Bob Odneal's "Casual Double C" method, the way he describes how he starts off with a mid-staff G, very softly, like pulling a thread from between the lips is a great concept. You can also do these drills on just the mouthpiece to help you figure out what all you're really feeling and doing, and it helps take away the "high"/"low"/"easy" pre-set that is likely a contributing factor.

    Some say you can't just look at somebody else's embouchure, but I watch the very deliberate way that Wayne Bergeron sets his, immediately before and during his playing. This is one of the top guys who gets paid because he doesn't miss, and what he does external to the mouthpiece is quite pronounced. At the same time, he will say that whatever else happens, the only way a note is going to come out is because of what is happening inside the mouthpiece, so again, I focus on "aperture" more than "embouchure". I don't agonize over it, and don't even very often feel in control of it. What matters is that thinking this way helps refocus the micro-muscle actions that I don't know I'm doing.
  10. ExtraTeeth

    ExtraTeeth Pianissimo User

    Nov 13, 2008
    Perth, Western Australia
    Be patient. Even the great Miles Davis said it took 18 months to get his sound back after a layoff of only a couple of years.

    Incidentally, does the problem still happen when you play these notes with alternative fingerings?
    I'm not suggesting you use these fingerings for regular playing, it's just that the back pressure and feel are a little different.

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