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
    Thanks guys, a lot of good suggestions there. The students in question have only been playing for a few months--most of them started in October. I've tried to talk about keeping the corners firm and speeding up the air, but it's met with mixed results. It's rewarding when I finally gets it, but frustrating when the don't... Maybe I just need to get myself some prodigies who pick up the horn and can play transcribed violin concerti right of the bat...

  2. BlackWhite

    BlackWhite Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    The teacher who gains the most respect is the one who takes hopeless students and unleashes their potential, not the one who coaches an already genius student.

    That's what on of my teahcers told me.Well,I dont mean to criticize you,just trying to encourage! :)
  3. MJ

    MJ Administrator Staff Member

    Jan 30, 2006
    I think Jimi might have been joking but I'm not sure.

  4. BlackWhite

    BlackWhite Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    I think he was oo,that's why I said,just trying to encourage.

    I know how frustrating it is when you have to repeat yourself over and over again.But I keep telling myself,someone also had to repeat themslves over and over again to teach me,so Im sorta returning the favour.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    my kids get lip slurs from the beginning and most figure out the higher part without talking too much. I also have them buzz low and high longtones on the mouthpiece at the beginning of every lesson. Beyond that, I have told them to "press their lips harder together". I haven't needed anything else in 30 years of teaching. Hope that this helps!

    p.s. I always start my kids with double tonguing from the second lesson on. It is much easier then than later. Triple tonguing comes after a year or two. They have to play a scale single and double tongued (4 16ths per note) during every lesson.
  6. krossum

    krossum Piano User

    Aug 23, 2005
    New York, NY, USA
    Jimi- (and others)

    The one concept that I try to deliver for all students is that playing high is not "hard". It just takes experimentation (read practice) to figure out what combination of lip tension, tongue arch, air speed, etc, etc, is used on any given pitch. Lifting a piano is “hardâ€; blowing air quickly through a small opening is not. Of course, it may take a dozen different explanations on how to achieve that balance, but if they subtract the physical work (read strain and unwanted tension) from their attempts, the end results are often better in the long run.

    Have fun!
    Firestas'1 likes this.
  7. Firestas'1

    Firestas'1 Piano User

    Dec 21, 2006
    New Jersey
    My teachers used to tell me to think of blowing on hot soup to cool it off, or to think of blowing through a drinking straw without touching it to your lips.

    You could also have them whistle to get the concept of tounge position.
  8. oj

    oj Pianissimo User

    Sep 9, 2005
    Here is a quote from John Wilbrahams book "Sound the Trumpet":
    By establishing the middle C (third space) as the central note, there will be less problems for the player, both mentally (only one octave to high C - not two) and physically (a firmer setting).

    This philosophy can be found in the teaching of other trumpet professors, like Armando Ghitalla (see ITG Journal - May, 1997 "Interview with Armando Ghitalla") or Bo Nilsson (see Brass Bulletin No. 113).

  9. greenpeppers

    greenpeppers New Friend

    Mar 31, 2008
    I am an adult beginner student (taking lessons for a couple of months now). I'm advancing much quicker than say a grade school student because I don't need to learn how to read and play music. However, I still struggle with embouchure and playing the high notes. I start having trouble around the G above the staff. Sometimes I can get it, other times a lower note or a splat comes out. It almost feels to me that there is more "teeth" involved in playing the high notes - I feel my teeth touching my lower lip. Am I correct about this? I do agree that more air is needed to get the note out but it's hard finding the proper amount of lip tension needed, especially when slurring up.
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    I'm a big fan of air speed, and employed the "fog the mirror" and "cool the soup" anologies, along with the mythical "ray of power" (which I posted about a while back.) What works real well with newer students, however, is the old trick of holding a piece of paper (like the sudent's $20 bill) against a vertical surface (a mirror is great) with their airstream alone. This requires speed and focus at the same time. Once the student gets the hang of it, have him (or her) move back a bit to try it again. After the lesson, pocket the $20, and everyone is happier at the end of the lesson than before. If you wish, feel free to donate the $20 to the link below.


Share This Page