Help with a student

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by B15M, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I have a student that got braces off about 3 weeks ago.

    Before the braces came off he was getting a nice sound but not a lot of range. He also plays to one side. I figured that the braces were causing some pain and he found a comfortable spot.

    When the braces came off, he had a lot of trouble. We talked about centering the mouthpiece because he was starting a new thing anyway but I didn't push it. I had him center it and play so he could feel it and get the idea and then left it alone. The next lesson it was back where it was with the braces.

    Yesterday he had a lesson. I had assigned Clarke. The second study from (I think) low C down to G. He played beautifly. Nice sound!

    Next he had Arban. A song that didn't go higher than G over the staff.
    First note great and then, fluf, fluf, fluf. We worked on sound for a long time. Bell up, full breath. When he does this and plays MF or F he is OK.

    Anything softer and it's like the lips stop buzzing. Back to Clarke and he is OK.

    Any ideas?
  2. Phil

    Phil Pianissimo User

    Jun 7, 2009
    The main thing to help him get over not having the braces is just to step up how much he practices until he gets back in the groove.
    As far as mouthpiece placement, the mouthpiece should be placed where the aperture naturally forms; not everyone has an aperture at the center of the lips. Can he free-buzz? That'd be the easiest way to find where his aperture is, if not he can just blow air with his lips closed and try to keep them closed. The second way isn't as accurate, but I suppose it could work.
    If he can't play any softer than mf he may be playing with too much pressure and the mouthpiece stops the vibrations when he isn't forcing them to vibrate through the pressure.
    Just some ideas from another student; listen to what some of the other guys on here have to say, they always help me!
  3. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    I might keep him on the mouthpiece only for a week or so. Relaxed body and breath without the stress of trying to sound good. When he can play a stable long tone and some simple stepwise tunes, try the trumpet again. On of my teachers would do this with kids and had good results. From my personal experiences with braces, it's better to take a few steps back and move slowly at first rather than jump right back into what you did before. I did the latter and had many unnecessary problems.
  4. B15M

    B15M Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Monroe Ct.
    I got one step up the practising and one back off.

    We have backed off a lot. I also have him on intervals. Play for a while but try not to get tired and rest and play and rest. I told him to play a lot but not all at one session. Try not to play when he is feeling tired.
  5. solocornet

    solocornet New Friend

    Jan 11, 2010
    Gosford, Australia
    A change of mouthpiece to one slightly more shallow may help. Sometimes even a change to another instrument like a tenor horn works. (Bet you didn't expect that!)
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    the short sessions you recommend are exactly what has worked for me too. Habits are built on repetitions and they do not care if everything is one session or not.

    I use a lot of long tones and easy tunes to keep the morale up, intervals and lip slurs to build strength.

    Practice very quietly is a standard recommendation too. The rest is time and dedication.

    You are doing a great job!

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