Embouchure question

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by musickaye, May 20, 2009.

  1. musickaye

    musickaye New Friend

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Monmouth County NJ

    Hi All,

    Since you have all been so great in helping me in the past I thought I’d impose on your knowledge once again. If you don’t mine could some one point me in the right direction and give me some great advice, please…..

    I have reached a big bad block in my quest to return to playing the trumpet. I haven’t played for probably close to 40 years. I started playing again about 2 months ago. Ofcourse I know that it will take forever for me to get back even some of my past expertise but I am really suffering. My problem is that I have no range, I mean really no range. After about 30 minutes I’m lucky if I can hit a G just above the staff. The thing is this doesn’t happen because I’m tired and air is not just rushing out of the side of my mouth, but literally nothing comes out of my horn. I always played with a very dry embouchure but I’m thinking that might be the problem now. (could it be?)

    I have a classical background but I also studied with Roy Stevens and learned his Costello Method. Once upon a time I had a very nice range. Pretty good for a skinny girl from the Bronx.

    Do I need to sell my brand new Bach Stradivarius trumpet that I still haven’t even paid for yet and take up knitting??

    I would greatly appreciate any and all advice.

    Thanks,

    Kaye
     
  2. RUFocused

    RUFocused Pianissimo User

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    Apr 26, 2009
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    So are you tired after the 30min of Playing? I sounds to me like it could be an endurance issue. play slurring "bugle" calls in all fingerings from the bottom of your range to the top of your range. DO this for maybe 20-30 mins as a warm up. Also when this is done play your chromatic scale with a tuner infront of you. try to keep it as close to perfect as possible on your Low C, G, C in the staff, and G above. hold for around 30 Sec each (While moving up the scale). This should help with the endurance. Remember, keep your edges tight.
    Put the horm down for 5 min (work on sight reading) and then pick it up and continue playing.
    See if this works for you.

    Good Luck!!!!
    Jason
     
  3. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    40 years off, two months on, and you can hit a g above the staff after a half hour? Fantastic! Be patient, and wait for the miracle!
     
  4. Markie

    Markie Forte User

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    Hi musickaye,
    Your progress seems fairly good considering the length of your sabbatical. You might want to read the Tongue Arch and Hiss. Good Luck
     
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Kaye,
    if NOTHING comes out of the horn, I can only think of one reason: your lips are making contact with the bottom of the mouthpiece. We call this bottoming out and it happens when your lips get swollen, when we have no more strength to maintain the embouchure OR play with so much pressure that the lips are mashed into the mouthpiece cup.

    The solutions depend on why this is happening to you. Of course patience and dedicated practice will increase chop strength and let you play with less pressure. Until you get that far, take a glass of tap water into your practice sessions and when you feel like you are STARTING to get tired, take a slow sip and let the water cool your lips. If you wait too long, pressure will take over and then it is tougher to cool (swell) down.

    A good way to build chops is long tones and slurs played VERY softly. This way YOU have more control! Don't overdo it. It is easier to beat your face up than to build the muscles and fine motor control up!
     
  6. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    A good way to build chops is long tones and slurs played VERY softly. This way YOU have more control! Don't overdo it. It is easier to beat your face up than to build the muscles and fine motor control up![/QUOTE]


    In addition to Robins advice, those very long, very soft tones should always be played as perfectly in tune as possible and not allowing any variance in the very soft volume. This will build lip muscle and help you to play with minimal lip pressure.


    OLDLOU>>
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Another reason for nothing coming out is that the lips are spread too far apart to vibrate. As you ascend, do the notes get softer and softer until nothing comes out, or does it come from one good solid high note and then nothing just a half step higher?

    If the latter is true, then the lips might well be "spread." "Ghost tones" can help--notes that are so quiet that they don't even make it out the bell. Crescendo from nothing to mf, then decrescendo till nothing, with no sudden starts or drop offs. It is hard at first, but great training!

    Have fun, and don't sell your horn!
     
  8. musickaye

    musickaye New Friend

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    Jan 31, 2009
    Monmouth County NJ
    Hello All,

    Thanks for all the help. Actually I think all of the above is true. I think I am mashing my upper lip against my teeth. I think perhaps my lips are too spread to vibrate after a short time. AND I think my lips are getting swollen. I'll try the soft low tones and everything else you all suggest. Things are gettting worse by the day!!! I'm getting desperate. I need to start over fresh. Back to square one.. I hope this wasn't a bad idea to start playing again that is. Can I ever get back to where I was?

    Thanks you all,


    Kaye
     
  9. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    I hope this wasn't a bad idea to start playing again that is. Can I ever get back to where I was?

    Thanks you all,


    Kaye[/QUOTE]


    I certainly hope that it was not a bad idea, because I was in your shoes just a few years ago. I was away from the horns for over 45 years. I currently am not yet back to where I was 50 years ago, but, it is coming back in bits and spurts. For heavens sake, don't get discouraged.

    OLDLOU>>
     
    tedh1951 likes this.
  10. davidelf

    davidelf New Friend

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    Dec 7, 2006
    Give it time. I took 24 years off and the first couple of times I tried to play again it was so awful I put the horn away for weeks. 3 years later with some consistent practice and an amazing teacher, I have far exeeded my previous level of playing.
     

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