High note problems & Mouthpiece queries

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Justamirage, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. Ljazztrm

    Ljazztrm Piano User

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    Peoples and cats - I think it would be good at this point to consider some of the teachings of Donald S. Reinhardt. He talks about the forward pressure coming from the chops needing to equalize the back pressure coming from the trumpet which increases as we ascend. DSR used to talk about the 'Maynard Ferguson Doughnut' - You can clearly see in pics of The Boss the ring of muscle around his chops and how the forward pressure is balancing out the back pressure. In Lynn Nicholson's newly released and excellent instruction video, he addresses these ideas as well.

    Let's take the ideas of two great brass teachers, Earl D. Irons and Carmine Caruso and combine them for a way to maximize our efficiency of pressure usage and to train the playing mechanism to function optimally in regards to pressure. I'm talking about Irons Group 20. At a comfortable volume, I would suggest trying to see how much of Group 20 you can play without removing the mouthpiece from the chops and breathing through the nose. If you are using too much back pressure from the trumpet, you probably won't be able to get far at all. Excessive back pressure will cut off the sound when attempting to do these big intervals on one, smooth embouchure setting. When you can do all of Group 20 without taking the mouthpiece from the chops, you will probably find that your chops are very balanced and efficient, and you will be playing the trumpet with great ease - from a physical standpoint.

    As far as the trumpet, I think Patrick makes a good point. To determine if it is more the trumpet or your playing mechanism itself, I would see if you can play the 'E' at all and it just has a squirrelly slot, or if the 'E' simply doesn't speak. If it is the horn, then I believe you should be able to get the 'E' out but it may 'pop' up or down to the next partial..and you find yourself doing a 'lip bend' to get the E to come into some kind of tune. I think about playing some flugelhorns where the Low C is flat.. the note comes out, but it is not in the right slot..so you have to lip it up.

    I just thought of something else - if you can get someone else to play your horn that has a comfortable and easy range above high C, that could tell you a lot! Best, Lex
     
  2. Sethoflagos

    Sethoflagos Utimate User

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    This needs to be carefully worded otherwise it can be totally misunderstood. An example to illustrate:

    We know that DHC takes around 3 psi oral cavity pressure from various scientific studies.

    If your chops cover an area of, say 4 square inches, then oral cavity pressure creates a force of 12 lb on the back of the chops which must see an equal and opposite force if the chops aren't going to be blown open.

    The chops of someone like Lynn Nicholson are strong enough to contain that force with no additional assistance.

    The chops of ordinary mortals may only be able to support, say, 7 lb. There's only one place for the 5 lb shortfall to come from, and that's by pressing the mouthpiece against the lips with a force of at least 5 lb.


    Adding a bit extra will just mash the back of the chops against the teeth which is where the injuries come from.
     
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    My turn to weigh in.

    There is truth through many of the posts but not recognizing that there is common ground here. Yes, fatiguing muscle is the first phase to damaging the lip and ultimately embouchure function. There are many factors to causing this fatigue, and yes, not resting is one of them. But pressure as Rowuk so nicely describes is one of the factors leading to fatigue. And even the softest rimmed mouthpiece ever invented is not going to protect against the effects when someone overplays on that comfy piece, or forces so much pressure onto the comfy piece by tensing up trying to get lips to vibrate faster for hitting the higher note.

    To succeed, one must not be tempted to tense up on the grip or by pressing the mouthpiece into the lip. This will cut off the vibration as Rowuk so nicely pointed out. Our natural mind set toward not producing an effect with muscle use is to try to put more force into that muscle group. We must mentally develop a way to counter this behavior. Dr.Mark recently emailed me (yeah he still stays in touch) a way of keeping the mind from over-riding God Given physiology to keep pressure form closing off our attempt to go to higher ground. He recommended "spooning" that back of the tongue when playing in the higher register to conserve energy while enhancing sounding the higher range. I tried it and it worked well. What this does is less a tongue positioning effect, but rather a jaw opening effect that takes away force from the traditional lateral smile muscles, and adds a protective force to the open mouth smile muscles. In this way the embouchure opens more, force is shared, pressure maintained but against less resistance. It works well. Give it a try.

    May the force be with you.

    PS: Please excuse all the spelling errors, the hospital computer I am using does not have spell check on. More embarassing to me when writing patient notes however.
     
  4. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Brasseria says: Exactly... Pressure ISN'T the problem. Not directly. Saying "use less pressure" is not really useful. Read that wilktone article. The important points from that
    1 pros use a lot of pressure, justcaa much as an amateur.
    2. Pros aren't AWARE of quite how much they actually use.
    3. Pros can't identify what too much pressure looks like visually.

    But I have seen more than one pro show what you can do with less pressure in the high range. I have seen several pro's videos where they hang a trumpet by a string and play comandingly into the high range. They are using very little pressure in that demonstration.

    Pros that use a lot of pressure may sound fine and have the adaptation do well for the demands they set for themselves, but even pros are not immune to the damage pressure can cause if they don't back off or learn to conserve by using less pressure. This happened to Dizzy, Armstrong and Freddie Hubbard. Oh sure, they worked their way back to get back into the game, but why do you have to complicate life by compensating? By minimizing fatigue, even pros can go beyond their usual performance demand, without doing damage.
     
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  5. gunshowtickets

    gunshowtickets Forte User

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    It is early yet, but i nominate this as thrad of the year.



    Heavy weighted back squats and deadlifting have done more for my range than years of merely playing.
    Why? One can't lift 500-600 pounds on a barbell for a very long injury-reduced career without having an immensely powerful core- specifically the transversus abdominus and surrounding musculature. Do a 20-rep set of breathing squats with your 10-rep max, you'll learn the meaning of breathing into your balls (or lady balls, if you're a woman).
     
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Over the past 8 months, I have been using a Bowflex 1.5 hour work out every day focusing only on chest and abds excercises, and I have too gleaned a bit of benefit of such a work out to my trumpet playing.
     
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

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    Not to mention, I am looking a bit more buff too!
     
  8. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    Advice from one of the masters.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujrTDbnvDpU
    Please, let's not get into his use of the word air speed. Just listen to what he says and especially when he mentions the difference between actually injuring your chops and the surrounding muscles being tired. Many great players have injured themselves by either overwork or too much pressure.
    I suggest many here listen to all his tutorials. You might really learn something.
    Rich T.
     
  9. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Justamirage, marching band is just a season in a school-trumpeter's life. Before marching season we work on muscle strength and endurance, after marching season (and during!) we work on putting the chops back together with lots of soft playing. The key is balance. Every hour spent belting out loud high g's and above should be balanced by extra work playing whisper soft pedal g's and thereabouts. This balance, this "total package" works, in the long run, the best. A balanced day, a balanced week, a balanced month, a balanced year. We practice the extremes in order to enlarge our personal "middle range."

    That said, perhaps a Schilke 6A4a will give you some extra comfort, but like your present mouthpiece, is at the extreme edge of the rainbow.

    I'd advocate for more time spent working on "legit" stuff than searching for a new mouthpiece.

    Good luck!
     
  10. richtom

    richtom Forte User

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    How many kids have been ruined by marching band?
    The excessive use of the upper register demanded by some band directors who know next to nothing about the damage it can do is a leading cause of these issues.
    "Just blow harder"! Yeah, right.
    Rich T.
     

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