Getting back in the swing of things. Long tones, mouthpieces, and exhaustion?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Ayukawa, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. Ayukawa

    Ayukawa New Friend

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    Syracuse, New York
    I've been playing again for about a month after a 15 year break, but have a bunch of questions. I apologize for what's likely a long-winded post. :-?

    I've built a bit of an exercise based on what I've found online, which consists of doing the following:

    1. Starting with low C, playing each half-step for 8 beats at about 40bpm, then repeating starting with G then 3rd-space C.
    2. Lip slurs with approximately the same pattern starting with G/C/G, G/C/E/C/G, G/C/E/G/E/C/G, etc.
    3. Playing sheet music from a variety of locations until I tire out.

    I've been looking at replacing step 1 with the 19/30s method I've read about, but I want to make sure I understand it properly. I start with 3rd space C, play a solid note for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat with B, then Bb, etc. My goal being to play a solid in-tune note naturally without forcing it out, until I run out of breath. Is this correct, and what everybody is referring to as "long tones"? My biggest fear is that I'm going to do something the wrong way and end up hitting a wall sooner or later.

    Are there any other must-do exercises I should be doing in addition to what I've listed above?


    When I was in high school, I always believed that with Bach mouthpieces, the higher the number, the "thinner" the sound, but the "easier" and "less tiring" to play. Lower numbers like the 3C and 1½C would sound "fuller" at the expense of being more tiring to a newer player. Could somebody please tell me if there's any truth to this, or if it's just naive teenager rubbish? I have a gold-plated Bach 3C "mega tone" mpc, and a regular Bach 7C that I honestly can't decide between. Everything I've read about mouthpieces says asking 7 people will get me 9 different answers, and to go with what feels best to me. What I don't understand, is what "feels best". I'd RATHER play with the 3C, but it's mostly for aesthetics. I seem to tire more quickly while using it, but I honestly don't know if that's just in my head. Both mouthpieces "feel" the same to me when I press them to my lips, so I don't understand where the comfort thing comes in.

    Right now aside from being horridly rusty at sight-reading, my biggest problem is a lack of stamina. After I warm up and play for what feels like 15-20 minutes, I have trouble hitting even the middle-staff notes, and when I do hit them they sound very "airy". Only being able to play through 2-3 songs back to back is unacceptable, but I'm at a loss as to how to remedy it. Will it self-correct over time? IS it a mouthpiece thing?

    Any clarifications, tips, critiques, resources, etc. would be greatly welcomed.
     
  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    You are off to a great start, Ayukawa!

    You described long tones perfectly and your playing will self-correct for as long as you listen and care about the sound on the other side of the bell.
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Welcome back to the trumpet and physiology 101. What you are experiencing in endurance is physiology. Keep up with it, don't overdo it, and that teasing physiology will reward you... someday.
     
  4. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    It appears that you are off to a great start, Ayukawa. Concerning mouthpieces, I suggest you avoid getting too hung up on gear, which is really difficult! Many adult players use mouthpieces in the Bach 3C size range with success, others do the same with mouthpieces in the 7C range. Why not let sound, comfort and performance (articulation, etc.) be your guide?

    Concerning exercises, there are enough sources to make a trumpeter's head spin! There are no magic bullets, however. I believe the key is spending adequate quality time with your trumpet and making observable progress. Try to do this without becoming overly technical, which is another thing that can be really difficult! Try to remember to relax and have fun making music with your trumpet.

    Jim
     
  5. Ayukawa

    Ayukawa New Friend

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    Jul 3, 2014
    Syracuse, New York
    Is it okay to swap back and forth between a handful of mouthpieces until I figure out which one I like the most, or should I just pick one at seemingly random and stick with it? I don't want be actively working against myself, but I still don't know which one I want to use regularly.
     
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Well...just a thought, but when it comes to the conventional wisdom you learned in high school, probably passed along from a well-meaning band director who may not have been a trumpet player, or who may not have had a solid understanding of what mouthpieces are and aren't, I'd say to forget it and start fresh based on how a mouthpiece is or isn't working for you, and forget about any numbering chart and what that's supposed to mean in terms of how a mouthpiece will perform.

    Question: do you have a handful of mouthpieces? If not, see if you can find something that works for you, and stick with that for a bit. It's been my personal experience that swapping mouthpieces around too much serves to confuse your chops, and you never have a chance to really settle into anything. I don't think you should pick at random though. If you have the means to do it, go to a music store that has a good selection of Bach or Schilke mouthpieces - those are going to be a bit more common - and find something that's comfortable, gives you a decent sound, and is relatively easy to play - that might be a tall order considering that your chops are still trying to find themselves. Once you find that piece, stick with it.

    Regarding practicing, I'd stay to stick to basic fundamentals at first and make that the biggest part of any practice session. The better your fundamentals are, the better the music will sound because you won't have to work as hard. Long tones, LOTS of tonguing exercises, (IMO there is almost nothing that will improve focus, sound and accuracy more than a lot of articulation exercises) basic flexibilities, and scale exercises are the ticket to that - those things are the most basic building blocks of all trumpet playing.

    Music is important too - that's what will help you to become more musical and to help you work on your phrasing.

    Something to keep in mind though is that at this stage of the game, once your sound starts to thin and you feel your chops getting tired STOP! Stop and take a break, or even put it away for the day. Rome wasn't built in a day and your chops won't be built in a day either. Patience and a disciplined routine is key - just keep after it and before you know it, you'll be well past anything you were doing back in the day! :-)
     
  7. salebow

    salebow New Friend

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    To be honest, I have both the Bach 3C that I used since high school, and the 7c that was in my case when I bought my Bach years ago. I tried both with the same effort and such, and I found that the 3C has a more fuller sound, but the 7C is a little easier to play after being gone so long. I'm going to stick with the 3C because that was what I used long ago, and it is what I am most comfortably with both physically and mentally.
     
  8. ultratrumpet

    ultratrumpet Piano User

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    Take your Bach 3C, have it drilled to a 24 throat like Arturo Sandoval's and have it gold plated.

    Or contact Jim New @ Kanstul / 888.KANSTUL for an exact copy of Arturo's favorite Bach Mount Vernon 3C - $125 and then send it to www.goldchops.com for gold plating - $30.

    [​IMG]

    From Bill Knevitt's "The Truth About How To Play Double High C on Trumpet"
    [​IMG]
    Upper Register Development
     
  9. ultratrumpet

    ultratrumpet Piano User

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    The Principle of Overcompensation
    [​IMG]

    from:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Is this a joke? I hope so, otherwise it's absolutely terrible advice IMO. The best way to completely ruin a mouthpiece is to drill it. It may work for some, like Arturo for example, but he could play on almost anything, but for someone just making a comeback?

    And gold plating is not necessarily a great answer either. I almost ruined a mouthpiece I really liked when I had it gold plated, because the gold plating was considerably more slick and I lost the grip that was essential to why I liked it so much in the first place.

    With that said, I agree with the follow up post regarding rest and recovery.
     

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