Could my pro trumpet be holding back?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Invisible-Bob, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. Invisible-Bob

    Invisible-Bob New Friend

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    I just started playing trumpet about 3 or 4 months ago. I have been learning on a Yamaha YTR-8335RG Xeno; a pro trumpet. I have been really struggling making slow progress. My ability to produce a good consistent tone is all over the map. Sometimes its good sometimes its horrible. But here's the thing. I recently started playing with a Bach practice mute with the tuning slide pulled out to bring the trumpet back into tune. Much to my amazement, my playing improved emediately and somewhat dramatically. This phenomanon only seems to work though with the tuning slide out. If I try to play with the mute and slide all the way in I'm horrible. So someone suggested that beginners need the resistance of a student horn that the Xeno simply doesn't provide because it's designed for professionals. Does that sound right? Is my Xeno holding me back?
     
  2. mrsemman

    mrsemman Piano User

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    I did see your question on the other forum, and yes, practice mutes do provide resistance, since the purpose of a practice mute is to release little or no sound and has only a small opening to release the air. However, you did not mention if you were taking trumpet lessons. A teacher could help immensely. Otherwise, start over again by doing a proper warm up with mouthpiece buzzing, using a B.E.R.P., pulling the tuning slide all the way out and buzzing through the lead pipe, and slowly practicing your scales, while focusing on long tones. Take your time. If your play for a few minutes, then rest for the same amount of time; and use that time to practice the fingerings, and singing the notes. When you get back to playing, try to mentally sing along with your playing. It will help you focus on the sound and pitch of the notes.

    Remember to always start out slow. Focus on the sound, then gradually speed up the music.
     
  3. JediYoda

    JediYoda Mezzo Piano User

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    Otherwise, start over again by doing a proper warm up with mouthpiece buzzing, using a B.E.R.P., pulling the tuning slide all the way out and buzzing through the lead pipe, and slowly practicing your scales, while focusing on long tones. Take your time. If your play for a few minutes, then rest for the same amount of time; and use that time to practice the fingerings, and singing the notes. When you get back to playing, try to mentally sing along with your playing. It will help you focus on the sound and pitch of the notes.

    Remember to always start out slow. Focus on the sound, then gradually speed up the music.
    -- what mrsemman said!!
    Remember resting is as important as practice!!
     
  4. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

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    Hawaian homey
    Every time I read a discussion about the BERP system, I think about martial arts master Ed Parker's answer when asked why he didn't stress breaking boards. "I've never been attacked by a board", he would always answer. :D
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Let's say that the characteristics of a pro horn (without a mute) CAN make life more difficult for a beginner. Pro horns are designed for more resonance and beginners chops just aren't very strong, their breathing is not organized and the ear/brain is not giving commands that it has been taught over time.

    Adding a mute is a factor that has not been well researched. I would guess that NOTHING gets easier. There can be intonation issues, the in my opinion most important part - hearing yourself is severely impaired.

    The mistake with a practice mute is its general use INSTEAD of only in emergencies. When we learn to play, we are actually teaching various things at the same time. The various factors are getting organized and complementary to one another. Breathing, exhaling into the horn, the ability of the lips to vibrate, the sound projecting into the room, the ears picking that sound back up, and the brain processing the sound - then telling the player what to do with breathing/lip tension.

    When we destroy this natural "servo" by adding a mute, our ears/brains are not getting easy clues about what signals to send to the body. This by the way, also applies to players practicing exclusively in small rooms. The information gets back to the ears too quickly (during a so called "early reflections" period) and the brain has a tough time sorting that out.

    In your case, I would try no mute first and if things don't start getting better after a month or so, maybe another horn/mouthpiece would be worth considering. If you practice time is very focussed, less mute may be enough though!
     
  6. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

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    Robin brings up a really good point. What mouthpiece are you playing on?
    I will also throw in my two cents ... let's assume you are correct in that a pro model horn is more difficult to negotiate. If you aren't planning on a performance in the next few months, what does this hurt? It will help you build up your embrochure, your breathing, and definitely your ear. The upper register will suffer for a little bit but so what. You have a fine instrument. Embrace the challenge... and definitely get lessons. Did I mention you have a fine instrument?:D

    oh and lose the mute
     
  7. xjb0906

    xjb0906 Piano User

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    I don't think a pro horn would hinder a person's growth as a student.

    I would also stay away from the practice mute as much as possible. It really messes with the feel of real playing without the mute. You are trying to learn to play the trumpet. Not a trumpet with a practice mute.

    At 3-4 months most folks struggle with consistency. Don't beat yourself up and expect too much too soon. Just make honest observations and adjust as needed.

    Get a teacher if possible.

    Don't play for too long each day. It is better to break a 1hr routine in to 4 15 minute practice sessions throughout the day than to hurt yourself in one big set. Less can really be more.

    Keep a log of your daily practice routine . You can use it to refer to as a guide to what is helping or hurting your progress.

    Hope some of this helps.
     
    coolerdave likes this.
  8. Invisible-Bob

    Invisible-Bob New Friend

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    Jun 10, 2011
    Thank you. I absolutely love that trumpet. I have taken lessons on and off and I let the trumpet teacher play it and it sounded fantastic in his hands.
     
  9. frankmike

    frankmike Piano User

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    No. Because Xeno if fine instrument with no intonation problems. With fine valve action

    What would hold you back is some cheap chinese horn because you would have to lip every note to be in tune, also you would get frustrated with sticky valves.
     
    coolerdave likes this.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I will disagree with pro horns for beginners. There are MANY potential problems! Most can be solved with breath support and strong chops, but you can't buy those - they need TIME to develop. A big breath is not the same as breath control and the resonance of the horn is like a vicegrip on weak chops.

    Pro horns are NEVER my suggestion for beginners.
     

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