Grunting/groaning while playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Repair and Modification' started by mystrumpet, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. mystrumpet

    mystrumpet Piano User

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    Nov 25, 2007
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Hello everyone,

    This past week my teacher pointed out to me that I was making small grunts while playing, mostly while tonguing. He called it "throat tonguing".This has been driving me crazy for the last four days!! I have been trying single tonguing a single note, but I still keep hearing that sound :dontknow: Anybody have any advice on this? I'm going to go insane! :bash:

    DP
     
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Easy enough. Do a search on "circle of breath". Start your routine by inhaling and exhaling without the horn. The left side of the circle is "inhale" and the right "exhale". Note at the top and bottom of the circle there are no bumps or angles. Your breathing should be the same way - a smooth transition. Practice breathing for a couple of minutes. The easiest visualization seems to be almost yawning while breathing. Once you can breath properly, replace exhale with play long tones. Watch out that the top and bottom of the circle do not get tense, bumps or angles.

    You are for sure tensing up at the top of the circle. It is proof that you do not have a solid routine that highlights these things BEFORE they become problems. Long tones may seem boring to some, so boring that they turn them into "face time", reading a magazine or watching TV in the firm belief that any time on the horn can be productive.

    I say BS!

    If you are not paying attention, you will pay the price. If you practice an hour a day, 1/3rd of that should be long tones and lip slurs where you can pay special attention to the breathing process. After that, 20 minutes of music/tunes - also paying attention. At the end, etudes and chopbusters, where you could be so busy that you start grunting again. If you notice that, STOP. Take a sip of tap water and try again. If you can't get rid of the grunt on etudes, stop playing them for a while and spend more time with CONCENTRATED BREATHING and easy tunes (like a hymnbook) where you have time to think. Grunting is a bad habit like smoking and withdrawal just takes time!

    inhale-exhale, the circle of breath.
     
  3. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

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    Jan 24, 2005
    Is this only on the initial attack, or on repeated notes?

    If it's happening on repeated notes, you might try playing some little tunes, with articulations, on your mouthpiece. Somtimes little weird things can creep in to our playing and for some reason, lots of them seem to go away when playing the mouthpiece. Play the mouthpiece for a minute or two, play a simple tune on the horn and see if you don't get a more relaxed airflow with less inturruption when tongueing.
     
  4. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    Not to argue with any of the previous responses, but, I had the same thing happening which I discovered to be my too concentrated effort to attack a note with great volume. By backing off a little bit I was able to rid my playing of that abominal "grunt".


    OLDLOU>>
     
  5. mystrumpet

    mystrumpet Piano User

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    Nov 25, 2007
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    Thanks so much guys! Rowuk, thanks for the tips on breathing and long tones. I'm increasing lone tone time to a half hour, and inhaling and exhaling without the horn for ten minutes before that.

    OldLou, I tried playing softer, and I did notice less "grunts" Thanks!
    How long did it take you to quit the habit?

    Thanks again

    DP
     
  6. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

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    I am not sure. I just noticed that the grunting was gone.


    Good luck.


    OLDLOU>>
     
  7. omelet

    omelet Pianissimo User

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    Oct 13, 2007
    charleston, sc
    "Grunting" implies that your vocal chords are being engaged while playing. Maybe try to just relax your throat and consciously stop yourself from that habit.
     
  8. PSH

    PSH Pianissimo User

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    Feb 20, 2007
    Minneapolis MN; Denton TX
    The best way that tongueing has been explained to me is like this:

    think about a flashlight. turn it on and shine it at the wall. the light is constant. now move your hand in front of the light. the light is still there, it's just being interrupted by your hand moving through it. Try thinking of your tongue like the hand. It only interrupts the airstream, it does not generate it. I think the grunting may be caused by you trying to generate the airstream with your tongue instead of interrupting what should be constant. Please know that since I have never actually heard you play, I have no way of knowing if this is what is happening, it's only a speculation. Hope this helps!

    PSH
     
  9. mystrumpet

    mystrumpet Piano User

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    Nov 25, 2007
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    That does help! I tried that a few time earlier today, and I think it's just my vocal cords being used while playing, as omelet said. I'll have to keep thinking of the flashlight....
     
  10. Joe N.

    Joe N. New Friend

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    Mar 22, 2007
    First blow air out of your lips with your embouchure formed but no buzzing. Practice clamping that air off with all tongue and no throat. Then take your trumpet, do the same thing on your mouthpiece until you get kind of a popping noise when you shut off the air. This is a good way to illustrate the different feeling between using mostly tongue and some throat and all tongue.
     

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