I am having tons of problems with my playing.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Practice, May 5, 2012.

  1. Practice

    Practice New Friend

    Aug 7, 2010
    Last year during thanksgiving, i had gotten my braces off after having them ever since i first started playing trumpet in the sixth grade.
    Now a sophomore in high school and almost a junior, months have passed and i feel as though i haven't made much huge improvements.

    Almost all notes tend to frack and crack, notes above B natural in the staff tend to get a double buzz, i am unable to start notes exactly on beat one as it feels like my lips are too tight or lots of backpressure, which i have been trying to get better at but not much improvements, when slurring up scales, starting at C in the staff it starts to get very resisting and very forced, completely having so much problems being able to even hold out any note above B in the staff without having double buzzes in the sound.

    Recently my director had noticed that when i put my mouthpiece on my lips, the left side tends to go up while the right side goes down, kind of like a diagonal embouchure, and might be the problem on why the starts on my notes are horrible. i haven't been able to get help from my private lesson teacher since my director had told me about my embouchure the day after my lessons were, so i have to wait next week.
    When i first got my braces off i continued to play on the same mouthpiece which was a B&S 5c, worked for a few weeks but felt a bit too sharp on the rim then went back to a bach 7c, after a few weeks the mouthpiece started to feel a bit too small and tight so i went back to the 5c, then even that felt too small and tight, so i went to a bach 3c, first week it felt comfortable and i was confident in it, but now i'm getting somewhat the same too small and tight feeling. Now i don't even know.

    I'm in the school's windensemble band and i play 1st part in 2 of our 3 music, and so far i feel as though i won't be able to get any of it ready for our recording. There have been at times where i was able to play parts perfectly and i felt confident, but when i try to replicate the same thing the next day, and the next, crap. Some parts are good but not to what i hear in my mind.

    I don't know what it is that is keeping me from improve my playing.
  2. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006

    braces change the geometry of your face. In spite of lessons, you do not seem to have a daily routine designed to stabilize and maintain your playing. My suggestion is to not change anything during the school year - your playing season.

    This summer, lets get you on a healthy diet of basics to pull things together. It will demand at least 30 minutes of concentration EVERY DAY. We can't analyse what you THINK that your embouchure is doing (it is almost always something else), but there are exercizes that promote better behaviour through routine.

    I'll ask more questions and then we can see if you really want to make the cut and change your trumpet playing life.

    Let's not confuse the issue with mouthpieces. There is NOTHING wrong with a 5c, 7C or 3C. The restriction that you feel is NOT the metal, it is your currently confused state. More on this later too.
  3. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land

    This is a very generous offer - grab it with both hands if you can - Robin (Rowuk) can give you the "Duck's Guts" and get you on track with the minimum of distraction (notice, I didn't say the minimum of effort).
  4. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    Watch your diet...getting braces off might might it tempting to eat lots of salty chps ... they will swell up your lips
    Try playing long tones softly and work on relaxed breathing .... if you get panicy or frustrated you will tighten up and won't be able to breath deep and you wil also create tension in your embrouchure.
    Sounds very frustrating... keep us posted
  5. sirspinbad

    sirspinbad Pianissimo User

    Dec 11, 2011
    You are actually in a very good position right now...at this time with proper study and focus you will develop a STRONG embouchoure. These basic principals are the things that players that have been playing a little longer than you don't want to work on and mean EVERYTHING. School band is a difficult means as well,as you are many times forced to play things that are beyond your technical ability...don't let it discourage you(but use caution in trying to do unnatural things to force notes to come,it can cause bad habits).
  6. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Listen to all the advice above... and brace youself for success... it will come
  7. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

    May 12, 2010
    Austin, TX
    "Brace" yourself? C'mon now Gary...:)"

  8. mike ansberry

    mike ansberry Forte User

    Dec 30, 2003
    Clarksville, Tennessee, U
    I would suggest starting your daily routine with this exercise: 19/30s exercise explained - View topic: Trumpet Herald forum

    I did this for a while in my daily practice and found that it changed my embouchure for the better. While I was starting out with it I did not use it on gigs or performances. Now I find that I do it all the time. My range, endurance, and accuracy have greatly improved.
  9. patkins

    patkins Forte User

    Nov 22, 2010
    Tuscaloosa, AL.
    I wore braces for 4-1/2 years as a come-back player. When I got them off my lips felt very fleshy and there was a slipperyness against my bare teeth. It took a while to adjust to my new normal. I didn't change mouthpieces. There is really no need to change mp's. The problem for me was my lips had more room than before and less friction,(i.e.from the braces) to hold them in place. After the braces were gone, I went back to my Arban's. I started over doing low range long notes, progressing over time to half notes, quarter notes by simple scales. It will take time. Your musculature will develop and your symmetry will return. Don't get frustrated, it is a mental trap. Tell yourself this is your new normal, because it is. My professor/instructor who studied the effects of braces before and after in trumpet playing was very helpful, just as rowuk is.
    Don't get in a hurry, your instructer should understand the physiology and anatomy involved. Even if you have to step down for a while to get back in shape there is no shame in that. Determination, diligence, and persitence to get back to your new normal is more important and will lead to a long successful career. Best Regards!
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  10. Practice

    Practice New Friend

    Aug 7, 2010
    yes it's true that i don't really have a real practice schedule, at home i practice in my room but the small space tends to make me to play differently and not full enough. This summer, since i have much more time to myself and no school to bother me, i plan to have a real practice schedule. I have both the Arban and the Clarke technical studies, which the Clarke has helped the most right now.
    I have read that when one tends to tense up or whatever, the note intended will either end up a partial lower or cracked, and i have been doing just that lately.

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