Hard time with an audition

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by SonicBlast, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. SonicBlast

    SonicBlast New Friend

    May 7, 2009
    Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
    I'm working on a jazz festival audition. This is my 7th year playing. I'm having trouble playing a high E in a piece, and I cannot get it. I'm playing low tones and trying to work up to the note, but I seem to have reached my limit. The D is not very difficult to get, and I can play a good high C without even warming up. Is it possible that I have reached my limit? What can I do to expand my range?
  2. Bach219

    Bach219 Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 25, 2008
    Play scales up to high E very quiet (ppp) and use LOTS of air pressure!
  3. Bixel

    Bixel Pianissimo User

    Jan 1, 2010
    High E often is terribly flat when played with 0 ( T T T ) so that the tone not even pops out at all.
    Played with 12 ( _ _ T ) should be slightly easier.

    Just give it a try?

  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    If your D is good but you have a brick wall above that, you have way too much pressure on the upper lip. The solution is EVOLUTION not REVOLUTION. Try angling the horn down very slightly without angling your head down. That places a bit more pressure on the lower lip but less on the top. Pointing it down too much would destroy your playing for now although it could be beneficial long term.

    You have not earned your high chops, but picked a piece that needs them. That does not sound like a recipe for success. I hope that the couple of degrees angle is enough......... Forget all this Blow-Hard stuff. No amount of working harder will help at all and could mess up a whole lot more. Bixels 1st and second valve for better intonation also is worth trying.
  5. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    sonicblast sez:
    Is it possible that I have reached my limit?
    OK just kidding, there may be hope. It sound to me like you probably start eating the mouthpiece around E or F and once you can't muscle anymore notes out of pressing the mouthpiece against the lips, the lips just quit.
    After reading,try this:
    Without a doubt, one of the most common questions Trumpetmaster gets are questions about “PRESSURE”. Hundreds of questions are asked and hundreds of answers are given. This got me to thinking. Why not come up with a way or find a way (or assessment) that a player can use to help determine if they are using too much pressure. Kind of a “home assessment” for the person who isn’t blessed with a good teacher but has a cheap recording device. With relative ease, a person can record themselves and assess the likelihood of using too much pressure. Something they may not be aware of it. Feel free to add to it! The crux of the biscuit is to stress the negative impact of pressure and the importance of a good instructor.
    I wish this was my complete idea but the majority was gleaned from a famous trumpet text (pages 19 &20). I’ll give a bright shiny quarter to anyone who can guess the text(which I highly recommend to any brass player).
    ------------------------Here Goes!!-----------------
    The fastest way to obtain a notes on a brass instrument is to adjust the amount of mouthpiece pressure against the lips. Very little pressure for low notes and a lot of pressure for high notes. It makes sense and, it works!
    Since it seems to be human nature to follow the path of least resistance, we find the average brass player (who isn’t blessed with a good instructor) obliged to develop their own PRESSURE SYSTEM of playing. The only advantage of this system is a “quick start”, let me point out the disadvantages of “strong-arm trumpet playing as I have seen them:

    FAULTY INTONATION (playing out of tune)is the most common failing of this method. This type of player tends to move sloppily up and down to notes instead of striking the center of the intended pitch.
    WEAK LOWER REGISTER Continued pressure causes the lips to swell or thicken to the point that they will not vibrate at the low frequency required in the lower register. The tone in this register is usually “windy”.
    COURSE EXECUTION An inability to play delicately. There are short and detached and have a sharp, ragged edge to them instead of being light and round as a bubble
    BLIND NOTES Notes that fail to sound out, often happening in soft passages.
    UNEVEN SLURRING Fails to get a smooth, flowing sound and pitch usually suffers.
    SPLIT NOTES When the player attacks a note, then flies off to the partial above or below the intended note.
    NUMB LIPS This is when the lip become numb from cutting off the circulation. An often asked question on TM.
    DAMAGE TO LIPS After years of playing with extreme pressure the tissue will become damaged not unlike feet after wearing too tight shoes.

    If you suffer from any of these symptoms, assess yourself by playing a scale (two octaves if possible) up and down and ask yourself “am I pressing the mouthpiece harder against my lips as I go up and then ease up on the pressure as I go down?”
    If your notes are dictated by the amount of pressure you use, then work to reduce the pressure with exercises played softly and while doing this, play close attention to what the lips and mouthpiece are doing.
  6. Bixel

    Bixel Pianissimo User

    Jan 1, 2010
    don't let yourself get confused about mouthpiece pressure!

    One for sure should try to minimize mouthpiece pressure.
    But: everybody uses mouthpiece pressure.

    Those who negate this obviously don't know what they are doing when playing trumpet.

    By practicing you have to build your facial muscles to be able to stand that pressure.

    Read the "introduction" part of this, if you like!

  7. Veldkamp

    Veldkamp Piano User

    Mar 29, 2004
    the Netherlands
    If you want to high(er) you have to practice high(er). When I practice low tones or have to play 4th trumpet my embouchure is set for the low and mid range. If I start to practice higher in the range or play 1st trumpet my embouchure is set for that.

    Maynard wrote a nice article about this:

  8. seilogramp

    seilogramp Piano User

    Nov 23, 2009
    Georgia, USA
    "If you find you have the right idea according to your own characteristics, work on it from the very beginning and build up slowly from the foundation."

    -Herbert L. Clarke
  9. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Very interesting article Bixel. There's nothing as enlightening as real scientific investigation.
  10. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    If you really can't make the E, then I would look for the next tonal note below and go for it (probably a C or C# or B). Many of the pros will likely say "they'll notice" but you never know. I always felt it was better to cheat a couple of notes and have it sound good rather than have a blatant clam. Just an idea.

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