Exclusive practice with a harmon mute

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by eisprl, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. eisprl

    eisprl Mezzo Piano User

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    Hey all.
    1. Who out there lives in an apartment?
    2. Who out there practices in their apartment?
    3. Who practices with a harmon mute?

    Does exclusive practice on a harmon mute have a result on your playing? I know it would for things like sound etc. But if I were to play lip slurs and tonguing exercises constantly on a harmon, would it affect those aspects when playing without the mute?
     
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    I would think that the increased back pressure from the harmon would make flexibilities a bit easier because the harmonics seem to slot better on harmon.
    It will make you feel like you can play super loud once you take it out.
    I'm sure you endurance will go up because you are constantly dealing with a harder blow compared to your normal horn.
     
  3. TrpRobster

    TrpRobster New Friend

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    My first apartment was impossible to practice in. Small, thin walls and surrounded by other tenants with sensitive ears. I tried every kind of mute out there, Yamaha Silent Brass, Dennis Wick Practice...etc. The mutes were fine for warming up with long tones and flexibility stuff, but if I practiced any tonguing for more than a few minutes it really screwed me up. So, in the mornings I would take my car and park near the GW Bridge in Jersey. If it was cold outside I would just practice in my car. Much better than with a mute. If it was nice weather, I would walk down to the shore of the Hudson and practice in the open air for a few hours. Now THAT really seem to open up my sound. Whisper rooms are great to but expensive.
     
  4. eisprl

    eisprl Mezzo Piano User

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    Could you explain a whisper room? What it is and how to make one?
     
  5. rsgtjc

    rsgtjc New Friend

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    I am on board with Trprobster. I live/lived in apartments and had to practice with the Harmon and the Silent Brass but, the best practice was to get in the car and head to the park or woods or whatever was available. If it's to cold stay in the car.

    Another option is to trade with a local church for practice space: Playing for services; janitorial...
     
  6. brunets

    brunets Pianissimo User

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    I personally have a really bad experience with practice mute. I have a Trumcor super stealth, which seems to be a really good practice mute. However, I tend to contract my throat when playing with a practice mute and it kills my playing. Last time I used it for a week and I had to "recover" during the next two weeks afterwards.

    The only alternative I see presently is to practice as softly as possible (that's a good exercise anyways) and speak to your neighbours. I had no problem with them so far.

    St├ęphane
     
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    First of all, there is NO replacement for practice in a decent room without a mute. Anything else is just an emergency measure.

    Much of our playing is governed by the interaction of what our ears tell our brains. A trumpet with mechanical constipation sends a different message and alters our development in very sensitive ways.

    Of course there are times in our lives where we can't have it all and playing with a mute keeps the horn on our face during that time.
    The best solution is to find other places to play, a church hall, school, club house, a friends house for duets (possible even if they only play recorder, violin, oboe, clarinet or !viola!). Playing in the car is not much better than using a mute - the sound reflected off of the glass gets to our ears very quickly and gives us a false sense of playing very brightly - that will make our playing dull in real rooms.
    A harmon mute is an added resonant structure and will warp our playing more drastically than a resonance killing practice mute.
    Instead of fighting physics, how about some positive external solutions? Who has found some creative solutions?
     
    MJ likes this.
  8. trpt2345

    trpt2345 Mezzo Forte User

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    I've used a harmon mute a lot over the years, especially at night, I like it a lot better than silent brass, etc., (big waste of money). As long as you don't overdo it, don't worry. I use harmon a lot when I perform.

    Michael McLaughlin
     
  9. TrpRobster

    TrpRobster New Friend

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    Whisper Rooms are small pre-manufactured "cubicles" lined with sound absorbing material. Very dry sound inside but you can barely hear the horn on the outside. A lot of music stores use them as try out rooms.

    Vocal Booths

    -Rob
     
  10. gchun

    gchun Piano User

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    Dec 10, 2003
    For me, warming up with a practice mute leads to disaster. It causes me to start the day wrong and off-balance. Generally, my chops get overblown.

    I found out that if I can get a good warmup and 1st routine in natural environment, I can establish my "set" and "feel" for the day. Later in the day, I can do some muted practice without adverse affects as my "set" had been established. But, in the times I've had to do it, I used a cup mute with some padding in the cup, and maybe a towel over the bell. I'll occasionally take the mute out and play some soft long tones to give myself a reality check as to sound, response, compression, etc. I will add more rest while using a mute that I would practicing open horn. I also play a little bit softer and concentrate on not dropping my air support. It's really not optimal but it's the best thing I've found so far.

    Also, once the "set" is established for the day, I can later do some practicing in a closet without too much problems. Again, I'll always play a few notes unmuted, (or in this case, "un-closeted") to help re-establish my base.

    I'd love to hear others' solutions to this challenge.

    Garry
     

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