Feedback needed on limited Range and Endurance

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by carljrogers, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. carljrogers

    carljrogers New Friend

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    Oct 22, 2014
    Pullman, WA
    Hello All
    I’m renewing my efforts to play trumpet after a 15 year or so hiatus. I'm encouraged by having a forum like this to get input and suggestions on how to proceed. I'm impressed by the knowledge and willingness to share by the members here at Trumpetmaster.com.
    I currently play a Getzen (probably an intermediate model) and a Yamaha 14 mouthpiece.
    I have a current issue that has long been with me on which I’d like to get some feedback. I played one summer (1992) with Southwind (Drum and Bugle Corp, Montgomery AL). The Corp provided a soprano trumpet and a Bach 3C Megatone mouthpiece. After that summer, I returned to my Getzen trumpet and Yamaha 14 mouthpiece. I sounded great (at least that’s what I was told), but I could not produce very much volume. The problem persisted into the first performance (half-time show/football game). I had a solo and the feedback that I got from friends (in the audience) was that they couldn't hear me. One day during the next week I went outside to the porch and just blew through the horn like my lips were going to come out the other end; upset my neighbor greatly. I don’t know how to explain it but it was like I broke through some kind of impediment. I don’t think I injured anything, but the ability to produce volume was immediately restored. The next week’s performance was a night and day difference. At the conclusion of the solo, I went to salute the crowd and their reaction was one I’ll never forget. They were going CRAZY NUTS. It was cool! The problem though is that my endurance greatly suffered. Our half-time show ended with me at High E for eight counts, and I was never ever confident that I would hit it or maintain it; I just felt gassed. Just so you know, I never did miss or crack it.
    I have the horn still and with it being around I’d play a little here and there. I played a couple of semesters with a small college orchestra and also a little with a community band. The sound quality is still good and doesn't take but a few days of practice to restore range up to G, top of staff. Funny thing is I can’t go much higher even with prolonged periods of practice i.e. the short stints with the college orchestra, never above the A. I've recently purchased a P.E.T.E from Warburton and I think it might be helping. I don’t really know if I’m using it correctly. Any thoughts?
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    My only thought is that you need to work on fundamentals - particularly easy long tones and LOTS of low, basic articulation exercises played at a moderate volume - nothing above tuning C. Then, be patient with your progress. Another forum member here has a saying, and one that bears repeating because there is a ton of truth to it, that success is not measured in days or weeks, but rather in months and years.

    You CAN come to some improvement in a few weeks, but certainly don't look for it in a few days - you can't force efficiency, and that's what your chops need in order to do what you want them to do.

    Others will come on with advice that's a bit more specific as to what exercises to start working and that kind of thing, but at the end of the day, it boils down to chops focus and air efficiency, and for me, that is best gained and regained with soft, low long tones, and a lot of articulation work. (Can't articulate cleanly if your air isn't being used efficiently)
     
  3. barliman2001

    barliman2001 Fortissimo User

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    Seems as if you might have acquired a few bad habits. I would suggest that you get yourself a teacher for two or three lessons and talk the problem over face-to-face. Someone here on TM is sure to know someone near your location.
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Both WSU and UofI have good trumpet teachers. Talk to them.
     
  5. Michael T. Doublec

    Michael T. Doublec Pianissimo User

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    Nov 20, 2014
    When I studied with Mr. Schilke in the 60's he had me do #16 in the opening chapter of the Arban book as loud as possible. He didn't care what the sound was like as much as he wanted the chops to experience massive air. I'm now 61 years old and still do them to stay in shape. I would think this is why you claimed a breakthrough of sorts when you did that kind of blowing as a younger player. It teaches you to play with support not to mention increasing both range and endurance. It took me 6 months of doing them and I after that had a loud and playable G above high C.
     
  6. carljrogers

    carljrogers New Friend

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    Oct 22, 2014
    Pullman, WA
    Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I did email the trumpet-specific faculty at WSU and University of Idaho and one of them actually got back with me. I met with him over the weekend. He suggested that the change in mouthpiece from Bach 3C Megatone to a Yamaha 14 could have been a factor, that the undercut or alpha angle at the inner rim of the mouthpiece was significantly different, and that my lips were pinned with the Yamaha 14 (blowing into a brick wall--his words). He had me try a few Bach mouthpieces and thought I sounded best on a 2 1/2C. I liked better the 2nd one I tried but didn't make note of the size. Anyways, the alpha angle on the Yamaha 14 as best as we could determine is 19 degrees (shallow) the Bach 2 1/2C is 13 degrees.

    I understood the blowing into a brick wall comment with regards to lips not being freed up by a restrictive angle into the cup. He mentioned that if the lips are too free then endurance suffers because the muscles have to work extra to maintain the embouchure without the assistance of the mouthpiece. I am still confused as to why I went from stuffy to producing more volume without changing mouthpieces; it was just that one time with extra push. The WSU professor didn't think I had any noticeably bad habits. He and I will meet again for some more work I'm sure.
     

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