Did I stumble onto something?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Dark Knight, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010
    I am on my fourth lesson as a "comeback" player. It is all going nicely but my teacher is not a trumpet person per se. She is a great military band director. She has my full respect. But, I really need to talk to trumpet players.

    One of the reasons I joined TM is that I am in a small town with no real access to someone who specializes just in the trumpet and I just need to know if I am on the right track.

    Recently, I accidentally notice that notes beyond my normal range were easily obtained after playing a piece with higher notes (for me) on the cup mute. I "think" that the cup mute teaches me how to set and focus my embouchure correctly to obtain those higher notes. At this time (six months), I can hit a solid high C with some warm-up. And, until now, I have to reset my embouchure to get it. But, after playing a song with higher notes (A above the stave) with a cup mute, I can easily scale from low to high C with the same embouchure set. It shocks me.

    Now, here is the kicker. I read about playing softly with just enough air and pressure to make a note above a whisper. I read that the idea is that high notes are all about aperture control and should not take a lot (or, excessive) of pressure on lip.

    After practicing my etudes today, I thought I would give a try. I went from F sharp below the stave up to middle C, scaling back and forth. I even hit an E above middle C. I did it all just above a whisper. I wouldn't have believed it was possible without using more air pressure. Well, just on chance I decided to go from low C to high C with the same embouchure set. I actually did it very easily. I was shocked. It was as if playing soft just above a whisper taught me how to focus, set or control my embouchure properly, just like playing with the cup mute. My embouchure muscles were tired after playing softly but my lips remained fresh. It was a great thing to do after my normal etudes.

    Have I stumbled onto anything important here? If so, what is it? Should I be doing this all the time?

    Best Wishes,

  2. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Hi David,

    Yes - you've stumbled upon working with your aperture and fine tuning the air flow. You can also do free lip buzzing - actually buzzing the pitches starting on Low C or lower...

    Feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss further...

    Keith Fiala
  3. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit

    Do NOT pass up the opportunity to discuss it with Keith!
  4. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010

    I am thrilled to see your post. I just joint TM a couple of days ago. I started again after a 35 year layoff. It has been six months now. I actually came across your videos on the Internet when searching for information and took to heart the rebuilding of the basics.

    I gradually built up from 5 to 45 minutes of practice. Until I just started taking lessons, every day I did 5-10 minutes of free buzzing, another 5-10 minutes of buzzing with the mouth piece, then I went to practice only the scales doing every note from low F# and working towards a high C while slurring. The goal was to be mindful of breathing and air flow, excessive pressure and maintaining the same basic muscle set for my embouchure. When I started missing the higher notes, I stop to save my chops and begin the same thing all over again the next day. I read this in another post. I tried really hard not "to use the finger rest as an octave key."

    Now I have a teacher who is a military band director. I am doing Sigmund Herings' etudes and save the range practice for afterwards. I am still limiting my practice to 45 minutes or so. I am seeing a big improve in range and endurance after four weeks of playing the etudes. These etudes were way more fatiguing to my chops that my previous practice. I would actually feel the muscles quiver with fatigue, which are now getting stronger all the time.

    I am really looking forward to trying this soft playing again when I get home from work. On a lighter note (pardon the pun). When I do hit a high C my dog moans just like in your videos. My wife saw the video too and just started laughing. She said: "see, you are making progress, you can make your dog moan."

    That is basically my story. If you have any advice to offer it would be great appreciated. I like to chat more in detail. I will look around the websites that you show in your signature to see how to contact you. I am working towards some kind of venue for performing locally as a simple amature. I am willing to work a long time before that happens. I know it is in the distant future.

    Best Wishes,

  5. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    How about web cam lessons. You can buy a top of the line web cam for around $100.00. The Skype service is free.
  6. jbkirby

    jbkirby Forte User

    Sep 10, 2009
    Dothan, Alabama
    I subscribe to Keith's newsletter and it has been the best advice I have read anywhere. I am also a comeback player and I attribute my progress to Keith Fiala. At first, I read the techniques he suggested and thought, "That will never work." WRONG!

    Thank you, Keith, for sharing your experience with the rest of us!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight Pianissimo User

    Apr 7, 2010
    I guess to take advantage of huge talent I see here I will have to find some way to ugrade my Internet capabailities. When I watch a youtube video it is usually at work. My home is still "believe it or not" dial-up. The best I can do for now it text. Or, I can down load the video and watch it later. But, I am open to giving it a try; it will just take a while. A couple of people have indeed contacted me and I am truely grateful and will find a way to accomplish this.

    I know already that there are people who sincerely want to help on TM and that is a big boost to know when I will be ready.

    Best Wishes,

  8. RandyTx

    RandyTx Pianissimo User

    Mar 26, 2010
    Central Texas
    Don't think it's exactly the same thing, but I've always felt that practicing with a mute (especially a fairly restrictive one) forces you to work on your breath control as well. I especially like to start out with it on during a daily warmup, after it's removed, I feel that I do a better job breathing and supporting the notes properly.

Share This Page