Hopeless trumpet players: have you met them?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by DiaxII, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Paul Du Bourg

    Paul Du Bourg Pianissimo User

    Oct 27, 2006
    Hey DiaxII,

    Can you imagine giving up now after 3 years of playing and your high C was available from next week.


    I would never forgive myself.

    Those few notes above the staff open up a whole new world so keep going.

    Had a go at Clifford Browns " Once in a While" last night.

    In the entire piece he goes to A above the staff maybe twice with vast majority below F.

    You don't even have to play the higher notes to start with.

    Download off internet for some inspiration.


  2. BurningHills

    BurningHills Pianissimo User

    Jan 3, 2011
    I remember a guy from my middle and high school days of playing who played trumpet along with me for 3-4yrs. He was never really able to play above middle C. He would turn beet-red trying. He turned out to be our 1st chair tuba player all four years of high school. Fantastic musician, just was playing the wrong instrument for him. I'm not sure that is necessarily your situation, but your post made me think of that immediately.

    Another thing I thought of however, was someone who I believe is as close to a hopeless trumpet player as one may find. Another person that I played with in school, had not seen in 5+ years and am now in a community band with. Still has all the same bad habits, embouchure looks like they're trying to whistle, awkward hold on the horn and the list goes on. I'm sure some things could be turned around, but its like the golfer who plays their whole life and never gets any better.
  3. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Coolerdave I'm glad you were introduced to those fine European traditions. The word is "prosit." France also has all manners of spirits like that, deceptively called by the fruit marinated in it, which gives it an innocuous name: How about a little pear today? Naw, I'd rather have some cherry or a plum. Of course what little fruit flavor is there evaporates in a fraction of a second. The true alchol content of these products is usually not known beyond a range estimate with a very high floor...
  4. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

    Oct 22, 2009
    That's a true story, Dan. I've asked my original question without intention to receive much motivation that unexpectedly came my way from TM members. I'll give it another try now but I don't know how it'll turn out in the end.
    I asked because I have no connection with trumpet players except this forum but I know a lot of people in other areas of human life who for some reason weren't able to progress in sometimes seemingly simple activities. You would never tell looking at them or speaking to them that they couldn't achieve what they failed to do. I remember a guy with a body of athlete who was in our unit when I studied in a military institute in my young days who couldn't run fast enough to pass the running requirements of a medium distance. He was flexible and strong on a horizontal bar like no one of us but when it was time to run he looked so stiff and uncoordinated that you wouldn't believe he was the man who just did all those tricks on the bar. Chicks liked him a lot nevertheless (they never saw how he ran) :-)

    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
  5. Recursion

    Recursion Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 22, 2012
    Cape Coral, FL
    The golf analogy is an interesting one. But IMHO, golf is very much like the trumpet. Consistently practicing will reap rewards, every time. It may take some people longer than others, but it's like paying taxes--it's inevitable.

    I personally believe playing above the staff is, as I've read here a few times, a "trick." That trick may be different for different people, but it's there. You just need to find it. And don't forget that it will take practice (and experimentation). I PM'd OP with the trick I helped my kids find (my daughter too the longest), but it is there, sometimes hidden well.

  6. bamajazzlady

    bamajazzlady Mezzo Forte User

    May 16, 2011
    The only thing that makes a trumpet player hopeless is if he or she has unrealistic goals.
  7. Recursion

    Recursion Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 22, 2012
    Cape Coral, FL
    So, perhaps, I should consider my conquering of Dizzy's take on 52nd Street Theme unattainable? Well, I've got sheet music...and it's not easy, and I'm not quite up to "speed" just yet, but it's a challenge! It would be a correct presumption that, by my very nature, I set my goals quite high! :)

  8. Joe44

    Joe44 Pianissimo User

    Apr 21, 2011
    Upstate Ny
    Just try to be patient. It will come. It took me a few years to consistently be able to play F. I suggest you look at the post about inspiration and motivation. I think you could use a heap of both :-P. Good luck on your trumpet adventures. -Joe
  9. BachStrad1

    BachStrad1 Pianissimo User

    Apr 9, 2012
    Kalamazoo MI
    The only "hopeless" trumpet players I've seen are the ones who do not have the desire to succeed and just don't try. Getting some lessons either in person or by Skype would undoubtedly be invaluable to you. Self-taught virtuosos are rare...most of us need some guidance to keep from doing any number of things wrong and being our own worst enemies. Keep working and enjoy the range and sound you do have.
  10. DiaxII

    DiaxII Pianissimo User

    Oct 22, 2009
    I've been thinking for a couple days what maybe holding me back.

    If we take the two most important components of the trumpet sound production they are: 1. airflow; 2. embouchure (including the mp position, mp pressure, etc.).
    I think my breath support is adequate as I've learned a part of it on clarinet where "fast air" is crucial for higher notes playing and also on sax where the "open throat" wide airflow is more important for lower register especially if there are leaks and there are some often.
    As such I should have a good air usage experience for wind instruments. Besides three years with trumpet gave me a good feel of the trumpet resistance and response.

    It leaves me with a conclusion that I have either underdeveloped or incorrect embouchure or otherwise lip structure not very suitable for trumpet playing.

    Is my logic correct? If we have good understanding of air use then all we have to do to go higher is to continuously reduce the effective aperture size of the embouchure. If a higher note does not sound the aperture size that should be maintained at a corresponding note frequency cannot be formed and retained.

    It leaves me with the following conclusion:

    - If my embouchure is simply underdeveloped so that the lip muscles cannot retain the smaller aperture it needs additional training. I doubt this is the case because I've trained my embouchure muscles for a long time now. If many kids can blow above the staff pretty soon after picking up the trumpet this prooves that to play a high C humans don't need lips of steel. I'm sure I have enough lip muscle strength for that.

    - I can form my embouchure incorrectly, including MP placement and lip position in relation to each other. This is one of the most probable factors I'm left with. This is subject to experimentation but if I set lips evenly against each other, firm the corners avoiding stretching them into 'smile', set MP 50/50 upper/lower lip that will be a classic embouchure, won't it. OK, assuming I've done correctly correctly and I do everything else correctly (i.e. maintaining good airflow, not pressing hard on the lips, not straining) what else can hold me back? I guess only the following.

    - The last factor that can be very important for trumpet player's ability to play higher is the physical shape and structure of the lips and especially the case when a certain lip structure combination somehow works against the trumpeter's desire to paly higher. There is not much one can do about it as long as the most efficient MP position/lip formation in relation to each other for a particular type of lips is found. For some types of lips finding an efficient position can be probaby crucial. That is, literally half a mm aside and an octave is lost. Possible? Why not?
    I'm sure there are lucky people with lips structure very suitable for trumpet players. These people probably don't need to find precise MP placement/lip relationship to play well. Sort of 'set anywhere on the lips' and instantly play.

    If I'm from the category of people who's lip formation works against their high note playing then I'll simply have much harder time finding that 'sweet spot' and also retaining the lips in that particular position and learning to re-adjust qucikly when that position is lost.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013

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