Humming while playing?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Trumpet Tc, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. Masterwannabe

    Masterwannabe Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 11, 2009
    That's probably easier said than done. When I was in high school my band director taught several of us to hum harmony to what we were playing, neat trick at the time. I have noticed though in the last couple of years that during practice I find myself humming what I am playing. It is not all the time and I have been trying to get a handle on just when I do it, I really haven't noticed it at big band rehearsal or during performances but then it might be hard to hear. I have tried to see if I do it when I am sight reading but when I concentrate on it I don't do it. The mind is a terrible thing!
  2. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi masterwannabe,
    Not humming while playing is probably easier said than done.
    I totally agree. We are creatures of habit and when we get use to doing something, then it takes a concerted effort to change. That's not easy. However, when we look at the broad spectrum of habits that have a tendency to cling to trumpet players, this is usually one of the easier habits to conquer. All one needs do is to learn to not "vocalize".
    I guess part of the hallmark of a habit is that it's not easy to break?
  3. BigDub

    BigDub Fortissimo User

    Dec 19, 2009
    Hillsborough, NJ
    I would say you might not want to do it continuously because if and when it becomes a habit, it becomes imbedded and much harder to stop. If you don't want to do it you especially need to try to quit...

    Now I will tell you- sometimes I do it, but only when I'm messing around, and not for long extended periods of time. I can stop any time I want, really I can....really
  4. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Whistle While You Work does not apply here!

    JNINWI Piano User

    Apr 26, 2011
    I have two students that do this also, and in both it is an involuntary muscle response. If you are not trying to do this and it happens it is a result of tightening the back of your throat and vocal chords when playing. So…. How do you get rid of it ? Without seeing you play it is a hard call to make. With my students I watch them play and work on reducing muscle groups that they tighten in their upper body and face that do nothing to enhance their playing. For instance a lot of players will squeeze their eyes shut and wrinkle their forehead when they play loud or high. Why ? Are these muscle groups needed to play loud or high ? Of course not, so we work on eliminating them. This is just an example. The same happens in your throat when you hear this low soft humming when you play. Your subconsciously tightening muscles in your neck that causes your vocal chords to vibrate when you really don’t need to do this. What I can tell you is that your WHOLE upper body needs to be VERY relaxed to play. It is ALL about air !!!
  6. Dean_0

    Dean_0 Piano User

    Jan 21, 2013
    WOW how many of us wish we could do this on-demand ?:D

    Ok if your throat ? ( vocal cords) are actually vibrating ? then you will need to train yourself to not do that,make a note and do what someone suggested, feel your throat ,does it feel like its vibrating? if so then stop and make another note ,only this time say ahh with your throat ,if that fixes it ? every day when you start practice try to do the ahh sound before you put the trumpet to lips ,if this happens near the end of a practice ? like when your getting tired ? stop a little sooner,, or go play low soft notes . (muscle tension)

    if none of this makes sense?? :roll: ignore me

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  7. fraserhutch

    fraserhutch Mezzo Piano User

    Jan 23, 2004
    Novato, CA, USA
    I'd work on the Hummel.
  8. Dr.Mark

    Dr.Mark Mezzo Forte User

    Apr 5, 2011
    Hi JNINWI,
    You stated:
    "I have two students that hum also, and in both it is an involuntary muscle response".
    Just an idea:
    Buy a couple of cup cakes (one for each student) and put a birthday candle in each one of them and light the candles.
    Have each student to blow out the candle. Did they hum when they blew out the candle? Of course not.
    If it is involuntary, wouldn't there be a hum when they blew out the candles?
    coolerdave likes this.

    JNINWI Piano User

    Apr 26, 2011
    Hi Mark! Good thought! I agree 100 % with this.. Let me explain my thoughts, and what I work on with students.. (Myself included).
    You blow out the candle without humming because you have trained your muscles, (a long time ago, without even thinking about it) that they don't need to tighten up when you blow air out...... so now it's involuntary to NOT tighten up (Muscle Memory). Now add your buddy and mine…. the illustrious trumpet, Oh Yeah!! You have subconsciously trained yourself to tighten up when you play and now THAT’S involuntary too, (More Muscle Memory : ) My method of teaching is what I call “Trumpet Mechanics” and it covers from the bell to your toes, to include the brain… (That’s a scary thought!). One of the things I enjoy is working on removing subconscious habits of tightening various muscle groups that have no effect on playing, or like most, have a negative effect….like Humming when you play and have no control of it : ). This of course is just my opinion and in no way will I knowingly claim any responsible for my opinion…….. : )
  10. Mamba21500

    Mamba21500 Piano User

    Feb 26, 2009
    I use to occasionally have this issue, it wasn't a continuous thing when I was playing, but when I tried a bit too hard to play a high note, my throat would constrict and would start to make a noise similar to humming (though somewhat less tuneful). I found what worked for me was to sing a bit in a low register (around A1 to A2) for a bit, and tried to play the trumpet with my throat as open as it was whilst singing. This happened to massively improve my range and tone quality too!

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