Describing how to play higher to a beginning student

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Jimi Michiel, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Jimi Michiel

    Jimi Michiel Forte User

    Mar 22, 2005
    Hey guys,

    For the first time in my life I've been teaching a lot of beginners. Everything is going pretty good, but I've had trouble getting my students to play higher (think C, D in the staff) without telling them to "tighten up" or "add tension." Both of these are horrible things to say to an impressionable student, but they usually achieve results. Anyone have a more PC way to explain how to play higher?

  2. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    Jan 30, 2006
    I don't think they are as bad as you might think. Sometimes you just got to tell them. I'm not suggesting you advise "tigtening up" or "tension" week in and week out. But sometimes the kid might need to hear it.
  3. Patric_Bernard

    Patric_Bernard Forte User

    Oct 25, 2007
    You could ask them to try raising the back of there tounge up. With the ahh eee syllables. Or if your teething them with corners, have them feel the corners of there lips without the mouthpiece on there chops. then have them put the mouthpiece on there chops and get into a playing position, and feel the corners again. Then have them try and flex, or tighten that up.
  4. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    How about telling them "more air." What makes our lips vibrate faster? Air. They(the students) will tighten up anyway just trying to reach the note. Telling them to tighten up will only result in them playing with more tension and pressure. The more we press we end up fighting ourselves by not letting our corners work.
  5. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    Well, here's what's worked with me and my teacher. When I'm trying to play high, he tells me to think down. This might seem counter-intuitive, but it really works. Also, it would probably be beneficial to do Clarke Study #1 to their highest solid note. If they practice these scales everyday, their range should improve.
  6. RG111

    RG111 Piano User

    Nov 12, 2003
    How about "blow a faster stream of air" ? In other words, the higher the note, the faster the air. Then, play the note for them and show them how easy it is.
    Roy Griffin
  7. trptcolin

    trptcolin New Friend

    Nov 6, 2004
    Athens, GA
    I generally use something along the lines of "Put your lips CLOSER TOGETHER and blow FAST."

    Then if there are problems with tension, I point them out and ask them to relax whatever seems to be the tightest (usually the tongue/throat, honestly, but sometimes the lips).

    With most students, this seems to help a lot with high range. Especially if they practice.
  8. DarkKnight88

    DarkKnight88 Pianissimo User

    Mar 12, 2008
    Tallahassee/Bradenton, Fl
    Just tell them to use a faster, more concentrated stream of air. Tell them to tense up a little, but not to much.
  9. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

    May 21, 2006
    Morelia, Mexico
    "Blow faster, tighten the corners of your lips." Or I'll stand across the room and say "Hit my hand with your air stream."

    Michael McLaughlin
  10. BlackWhite

    BlackWhite Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    What I did was tell my juniors,the higher they wann go,the faster their air speed must be,the tighter their lips,the stronger thier embouchure and the smaller the whole in their lips.

    Also depends on what age group.

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